Title favourites already…?
Well, the Premier League is back and in some style. The opening weekend had almost everything – goals, red cards, late drama, shock results and it was as if it had never been away. Manchester United were the biggest winners of the weekend, as they dismantled West Ham United 4-0 at Old Trafford, with new summer signing, Romelu Lukaku grabbing a brace on his debut. Whilst there was a shock defeat for the champions, Chelsea as they lost 3-2, at home to Burnley in a match which saw Chelsea reduced to nine men as Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas saw red.
The biggest fairy tale of the weekend? Well that has to be Huddersfield Town, who stunned Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park with a 3-0 victory on their first attempt in the Premier League.
The games come thick and fast again this weekend, with some mouth-watering clashes on the cards, including Tottenham’s first league game at Wembley as they take on a Chelsea side who are severely under pressure after a dismantled start to their defence of the title. Then on Monday night, Manchester City welcome Wayne Rooney and Everton to the Etihad, as the Toffees look to send a message out to the rest of the so called ‘top six’.
Here’s our predictions at A1, for what is set to be another memorable weekend in the most entertaining league in the world…
Swansea v Manchester United – 12.30pm
Manchester United certainly put down a marker last weekend in their 4-0 execution of West Ham, making them many pundits firm favourites for the title this season. Though a trip to Swansea hasn’t always been pleasurable for the Red Devils who have lost two of their last four visits to the Liberty Stadium. The Swans started their campaign with a satisfying point away at Southampton.
A1 Predicts: Swansea 1-2 Manchester United
Bournemouth v Watford – 3pm
Bournemouth kicked their season off by stumbling to a 1-0 defeat away to West Brom, whilst Watford’s opening game was anything but disappointing, as they held Liverpool to a thrilling 3-3 draw. One thing that is for sure is that there should be goals in this one on the South Coast, as both sides look for their first three points of the campaign.
A1 Predicts: Bournemouth 2-2 Watford
Burnley v West Brom – 3pm
By far one of the biggest shocks of the opening weekend was Burnley’s incredible 3-2 win away at reigning champions Chelsea. The Clarets were outstanding at Stamford Bridge and were full value for their 3-0 lead at half-time. It looks set to be another steady season for West Brom who will look to build on their 1-0 win over Bournemouth last time out.
Burnley were excellent at Chelsea last weekend.
A1 Predicts: Burnley 2-0 West Brom
Leicester v Brighton – 3pm
Leicester were incredibly unlucky to lose last week at Arsenal. They look like they’ve got the Jamie Vardy back from a couple of years ago, and Craig Shakespeare is doing a brilliant job there so far. Brighton held on incredibly well last weekend at home to Manchester City, but in the end the class and quality of City showed, as it looks set to be a very testing start to life in the top flight for the Seagulls.
A1 Predicts: Leicester 3-1 Brighton
Liverpool v Crystal Palace – 3pm
Liverpool were heavily criticized for their defensive display in that crazy 3-3 draw at Watford last weekend, but they responded with a fantastic result in the week at Hoffenheim in their UEFA Champions League Qualifier. Palace on the other hand, were on the end of a 3-0 shock home defeat to new boys Huddersfield last weekend, and it already looks like a very tough job for new boss, Frank de Boer.
A1 Predicts: Liverpool 2-1 Crystal Palace
Southampton v West Ham – 3pm
The Saints looked slightly flat last week in their stalemate at home to Swansea, and new boss Mauricio Pellegrino still has a few issues to deal with off the field, with the ongoing transfer saga that is surrounding defender, Virgil van Dijk. West Ham meanwhile will have to improve majorly after their hammering away at Manchester United last Sunday.
A1 Predicts: Southampton 1-2 West Ham
Stoke City v Arsenal – 5.30pm
Stoke were no where near their normal standards in their 1-0 defeat away at Everton in their opening game. Though, the arrival of Jese Rodriguez should lift spirits around the Bet 365 Stadium ahead of the visit of Arsenal, though the Potters need no motivation when the latter come to visit. Arsenal dramatically rescued themselves from yet another opening day defeat last week against Leicester, and confidence will be high ahead of their trip up north, where they won very convincingly at the back end of last season.
Arsenal left it very, very late against Leicester last time out.
A1 Predicts: Stoke City 1-3 Arsenal
Huddersfield Town v Newcastle United – 1.30pm
The battle of the two newly promoted sides at the John Smith’s Stadium this Sunday afternoon, as Huddersfield will be brimming with confidence after their wonderful 3-0 win at Crystal Palace last time out. As for Newcastle, they were very much a match for Tottenham last Sunday, until Jonjo Shelvey’s red card. They have added striker Joselu to their side, as the Spaniard arrived from Stoke City this week, and could be set to make his debut on Sunday.
A1 Predicts: Huddersfield Town 1-1 Newcastle United
Tottenham v Chelsea – 4pm
Arguably the biggest game of the weekend. All eyes will be firmly fixed on Wembley this Sunday when these two rivals meet, with the added factor of it being Spurs‘ first ever league game at their new home for the forthcoming season. Tottenham were impressive at Newcastle last week, though Harry Kane will be desperate to break this failure to score in August curse. Though Chelsea have a few issues ahead of their trip to Wembley. Antonio Conte will be without Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas this weekend, following their red cards in that amazing 3-2 defeat to Burnley, as the Blues look to get their season up and running.
Dele Alli and Harry Kane celebrate Tottenham’s opener at Newcastle last Sunday.
A1 Predicts: Tottenham 2-2 Chelsea
Manchester City v Everton – 8pm
Another eye-catching fixture this weekend. Manchester City were frustrated for the best part of an hour at Brighton until Sergio Aguero broke the deadlock, but their attack is just simply too good to keep quiet and Everton will have to be at their very best to make it two wins from two on Monday night. It was the perfect homecoming for Wayne Rooney, as he marked his Everton return with a goal in their 1-0 win over Stoke last weekend, and Rooney will know all about trips to the blue side of Manchester…
Rooney rather enjoyed his goal on his return to Goodison
A1 Predicts: Manchester City 3-1 Everton