With the first week of Premier League matches ended there is very little to tell us about how this season will shape up. I suppose that this was too much to ask after one round of matches, but several narratives will need to be rewritten.
This weekend kicks off with Aston Villa v Manchester United on a Friday night (afternoon for those watching in the States). United did not jump out to a convincing start against Tottenham, but the fact that they kept a clean sheet without David De Gea and having been the second best team shows some amount of character. Villa’s own 1-0 to start the season was one that wasn’t exactly expected. Sure, it came against Bournemouth, but they were not expected to keep a clean sheet.
For this first weekend match I am predicting a Manchester United win. It might not be convincing and could be downright ugly, but it is still a win that should come for the Red Devils.
Everton’s struggles seem to be continuing into this season. The loss of Leighton Baines is a blow for the Toffees, but should not be used as an excuse for their woeful defending against Watford. The same could be said for Southampton in their own 2-2 at Newcastle.
My pick for this match is a win for the Saints. Everton’s defense looks shaky at best and the Saints will be bolstered by playing their first home match of the season.
There are a few matches this weekend that could easily end 0-0 with Sunderland v Norwich, Liverpool v Bournemouth, and Tottenham v Stoke being a few of them. At the same time these could also become goal-fests. I am predicting wins for Norwich, Spurs, and Liverpool, but these will all be difficult matches.
Sunderland are this year’s punching bag for journalists and for good reason. The two goals they scored against Leicester in week 1 certainly make them look better than they were. Spurs looked good against Manchester United for periods of the match, but their finishing was poor. Stoke probably should have gotten a draw out of their match against Liverpool and a similar 1-0 loss could occur against Spurs.
Bournemouth fought hard in their opening match against Aston Villa and they could do some damage against Liverpool, but ultimately I do believe that Liverpool’s first win of the season will give them some momentum. There is no reason to write off the Cherries, however, as they proved that they are not going to be pushovers this season.
Swansea and Newcastle both stormed out to 2-2 draws to start the season and I’m predicting a similar score line as they face each other. Both teams have shown their intent to attack, even at the expense of their defense.
West Ham and Leicester should be a good match to watch. The Hammers 2-0 win over Arsenal showed a defensive solidity that I didn’t think was there while also displaying their speed in attack. Leicester City also showed what they can do this season and that they should not be underestimated. While I’m predicting a West Ham win, this is one that could go either way.
Another London derby for Arsenal could again be a disappointment. Crystal Palace’s potent attack once again came through in their 3-1 away win over Norwich. Arsenal is certainly a different team than Norwich, but the Gunners have already shown that a quick attacking team can get to them.
This is another match that could go either way. I had high expectations for Arsenal’s defense going into the season and the first match could certainly be a fluke. Then again, if Crystal Palace take anything away from Arsenal’s gameweek one match it should be that the Gunners always believe they can score if they push enough men forward. This leaves them vulnerable at the back and Palace can take advantage of that, particularly with the speed they have. A draw is my pick.
|Friday, August 14|
|14:45ET/19:45BT||Aston Villa||0||v||2||Manchester United|| 0 – 1
|Saturday, August 15|
|10:00ET/15:00BT||Sunderland||0||v||1||Norwich|| 1 – 3
|12:30ET/17:30BT||West Ham United||2||v||0||Leicester City||1-2|
|Sunday, August 16|
|11:00ET/16:00BT||Manchester City||3||v||2||Chelsea|| 3 – 0
|Monday, August 17|
The big match of the weekend is certainly Man C v Chelsea. Chelsea have already shown that they are not invincible after allowing two goals and having Thibault Courtois sent off. While they are appealing the red card decision and he could be available on Sunday, there are still doubts about this team’s defense this season.
Man C jumped out to a huge 3-0 win in their opening match of the season and will certainly be looking to build further on that start. Their main attacking threats in Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling were mostly blunted against West Brom, but they have so many other players available that it is almost inevitable that they will score. If players like David Silva and Yaya Toure continue this form, they will be a team capable of scoring well over 100 goals this season.
In Chelsea’s first match they seemed to underestimate Swansea and their attack. While I’m sure this won’t be the case against a team like Man City, there were several warning signs in that first match.
While predicting a 3-2 win is probably unrealistic, I do so because of the attacking options available for both teams. Yes, Mourinho will most likely “park the bus,” this Man C team is stacked full of attacking talent. If Man City do not come away as winners, then this is most likely going to end as a boring 0-0 draw with Chelsea have little possession.
That wraps up this coming weekends set of matches. While my predictions for Premier League matches aren’t an exact science I hope that they can help you prepare your fantasy Premier League team for the week 2 set of matches. Good luck and enjoy the games!