As the new season starts Premier League predictions return to ComeOnLads website. We expect a very interesting and competitive season in the English top flight. Here are our predictions for the opening match week.
Manchester United vs Leicester City
Man United start the new season on Friday night at Old Trafford against the Foxes. They should be winning this game, but I fancy Leicester to grab a point for one main reason. Jose Mourinho’s team is solid, but still look like a bunch of players who aren’t very happy to play for their manager. The reason for that is simple – he always blames them for bad results and never takes responsibility when United underperform. Criticizing others is very natural to Mourinho. This doesn’t make him less of a manager, but just makes the players to feel like they do not receive enough support.
Newcastle vs Tottenham
I’m very curious what kind a Magpies team will turn up against Spurs. Rafael Benitez would prove once again he is an exceptional manager. He hasn’t been given a sufficient transfer budget, but he still managed to bring some quality players to St. James’s Park in the likes of the defenders Ki Sung-yueng and Federico Fernandez and strikers Salomon Rondon, Yoshinori Muto from German club Mainz. I guess that the Magpies will be a stable team this season.
There is no doubt that Tottenham are the superior team at the moment, but this does not mean that Newcastle cannot get a result at St. James’s Park. Spurs are the only Premier League club who did not make a single signing in the summer. This might prove to be a very bad idea in December, but for now Mauricio Pochettino’s team is strong enough. The Magpies will probably need to wait until their away game at Cardiff in the second match week to start picking points.
Tottenham to win: 1:2
Huddersfield vs Chelsea
It would take some time for Maurizio Sarri to start winning games in the Premier League, if he would be given any. The Chelsea owner is notorious for being impatient with the club’s managers and if Sarri fails to win, it might not take long before he gets sacked. Courtois has already departed the club, Chelsea have a new expensive goalkeeper in the like of Kepa Arrizabalaga. The Blues players now need both to adapt to a new goalkeeper and to start playing with a four man defence. They used to play very differently within the last two seasons under Antonio Conte. It looks to me that Eden Hazard will not stay in Chelsea beyond the winter transfer windows and I’m skeptical about Chelsea’s chances to return to the top four.
Huddersfield should improve from last year, otherwise they will return to the Championship. The manager Dawid Wanger have signed six new players with defenders defenders Terence Kongolo (from AS Monaco) and Erik Durm (from Borussia Dortmund) among them. The Terriers have also bought a talented midfield in the like of Juninho Bacuna has arrived (from FC Groningen) and wingers Ramadan Sobhi (from Stoke City) and Adama Diakhaby (from AS Monaco). Huddersfield are a solid team, but this season they will face a stronger competition than they had last one.
Bournemouth vs Cardiff City
Bournemouth has signed three players during the summer in the likes of David Brooks, Diego Rico and Jefferson Lerma. Some prominent figures in the squad such as Benik Afobe, Harry Arter have left the club. Harry Arter joined Cardiff City and will probably start the season against hi previous club. The Cherries should win their opening game especially for the fact that it is against a newly promoted side, which shouldn’t be stronger than they are. I haven’t watched Cardiff City yet, so I would gamble a little bit here.
Bournemouth to win: 1:0
Watford vs Brighton
This is a must win game for the Hornets, whom I see at the bottom table three this season. They have sold Richarlison to Everton and they will not be a better team than they were last season. The Pozzo family have been changing Watford managers every season and they haven’t made any marque signings with the experience of the Brazilian Richarlison who left for Goodison Park. The most prominent figures in the Hornets squad are the strikers Troy Deeney, Andre Gray and Stefano Okaka, but all three of them scored only 11 goals last season. Watford have bought Gerard Deulofeu from Barcelona, a player who has a significant experience in the Premier League. He might help them to survive.
Brighton I’m the opposite are a team in process of a positive development and I think that they’d keep their Premier League status for another season. The Seagulls have brought 16 new players to Falmer Stadium. The most interesting names are the right back-Martin Montoya who came from Barcelona and the midfielder Bernardo Fernandes da Silva Junior who came from RB Leipzig.
Brighton to win: 1:2
Fulham vs Crystal Palace
Fulham have been very active on the transfer market. They have bought Jean Michael Seri and Maxime Le Marchand from Nice, Fabricio Agosto Ramirez from Besiktas, Andre Schurrle from Borussia Dortmund, Aleksandar Mitrovic from Newcastle, Calum Chambers, Sergio Rico from Sevilla, Luciano Vietto from ATletico Madrid, Timothy Fosu-Mensah from Man United and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa.
The first game of Fulham’s return in the top-flight would be an interesting one to watch. They play a very good football and a win in the London derby in the season’s opening weekend would be a huge motivation for the Slavisa Jokanovic players. However Crystal Palace are a very experienced team and I think they’d get something out of this fixture.
Wolves vs Everton
This is another interesting fixture. Wolves could have had a worse opponent than Everton on the start of the season, but the Toffees are good enough to cancel them on their long waited Premier League return. Wolves are expected to play an attacking football and to entertain the football fans. This would bring them a lot of sympathy and even new international supporters, but would it be enough to keep them in the top-flight.
Lucas Digne, Andre Gomes and Yerry Mina who came to Googdison Park from Barcelona and Bernard whom the Toffees signed from Shakhtar Donetsk should help a lot Marco Silva to change Everton and to make them playing attractive football. They have also bought a very good midfielder in the like of Richarlison who came from Watford.
Southampton vs Burnley
The Saints have a lot of problems last year and it wasn’t easy for them to avoid relegation. This summer they have done a good business buying central defenders Jannik Vestergaard from Borussia Monchengladbach, the winger Mohamed Elyounoussi from Basel, goalkeeper Angus Gunn from Manchester City, midfielder Stuart Armstrong from Celtic. Central defender Florin Gardos and defensive midfielder Jordy Clasie have returned from loans. The latest addition to their squad is the Liverpool striker Danny Ings. Mark Hughes has spent almost £80 and could increase the club spendings in the last hours of the deadline day. On paper this Premier League should be easier for the Saints.
Burnley signed the central defender Ben Gibson from Middlesbrough, forward Matej Vydra from Derby County and brought goalkeeper Joe Hart to Turf Moor. Those three should be enough to secure them another good season in the Premier League.
Liverpool vs West Ham
Liverpool have signed probably the world’s best goalkeeper in the like of Allison Becker and for the first time within the last two decades have a world class player on this position. This means a lot. Naby Keita and Fabinho have impressed in the preseason and it looks like that Liverpool would finally have a midfield that levels the quality as their striking trio – Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah.
A good news for the Reds is that Daniel Sturridge is returning to his best, so they have a lot of options in their attack. The only part of the Liverpool’s team which would be considered as weaker is the defence. Jurgen Klopp hasn’t found a replacement for Dejan Lovren. The last season was good for the Croatian center-back, so he didn’t loose time to proclaim himself as “one of the best defenders in the world”. Considering all the mistakes he has made in Liverpool games in the past few seasons for various reasons, Lovren’s self-confidence could cost Liverpool some important points this season.
West Ham have a fantastic manager in the like of Manuel Pellegrini. He would prove to be the right man to improve the Hammers’ status in the Premier League. Pellegrini has signed wingers Felipe Anderson from Lazio and Andriy Yarmolenko from Borussia Dortmund, central defenders Issa Diop from Toulouse and Fabian Balbuena from Corinthians and brought back from loan another central defender Reece Oxford.
The Hammers have also bought the right back Ryan Fredericks from Fulham and a top central midfielder in the like Jack Wilshere from Arsenal. Pellegrini has also replaced Joe Hart with another top goalkeeper – Lukasz Fabianski. The Chilean manager will need some time to make those players a good team on the pitch, however.
Liverpool to win: 2:0
Arsenal vs Manchester City
I think that Sunday afternoon will present the fans with a game that they will enjoy to watch. There is not better chance for he gunners to start the season at hight than hosting the champions Manchester City. The new Arsenal boos Unai Emery have bought a very promising young midfielder from FC Lorient in the like of the Italian Matteo Guendouzi. He has been a real bargain for the Gunners as they spent only £7.20 million on him. Guendouzi made an instant impact in the preseason and he is very likely to establish himself as central figure in the Arsenal’s midfield. He plays with a lot of energy and controls the ball very well.
Another promising signing for Arsenal is the defensive midfielder Lucas Torreira, whom they brought for Sampdoria. Both of them will make the Gunners’ midfield less predictable, something which was missing in the final few seasons under Arsene Wenger. Arsenal have always been able to keep the ball and to pass it very well. However, it wasn’t that hard for their opponents to guess where the ball is going and they new what to expect from Arsenal players. This is something that Emery will probably change. I’d add to that the under the Spanish manager Arsenal would have much better defence.
The reigning champions Manchester City have signed only one prominent player this summer – Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City. However, they have ended loans for a number of players, some of whom might force their way to the pep Guardiola’s math days squad. It is not going to be easy for them as the Sky Blues are a team who is the most serious challenger for this season’s Premier League title.
This fixture looks like Manchester City victory as Pep Guardiola’s team should be too good for the new Arsenal team. I’ll tip Gunners to draw this game, however.