Predicting this Saturday's Premier League fixtures
This weekend sees the return of what is in my opinion the most entertaining and exciting league in the world, welcome back football!
Football fans all over the UK and Ireland will be rejoicing and prancing to the tune of Match of the Day on Saturday, as they see how their beloved teams got on.
New faces will be on show, new managers will be in their dugouts, it is sure to be a rollercoaster ride for all teams and their fans. For some its the start of a fantastic journey, for some it is all about grabbing a coveted Champions League spot, and for others its to aspire to be crowned Champions come May.
Seven games take place come Saturday, and here are my predictions for the first games of the season: (3pm unless stated)
Liverpool v Stoke (12.45pm)
The first afternoon kick off of the season sees Brendan Rodger's Liverpool pit his witts against Stoke City and Mark Hughes. Talisman Luis Suarez is out for Liverpool, so Daniel Sturridge may lead the line. Stoke City have brought in Erik Pieters from PSV and he is expected to slot in at left-back. Last season this fixure was 0-0 as Liverpool found the resiliant Potters hard to break down. I expect it will be tough again on Saturday afternoon, but I predict Liverpool will shade it just, with a 1-0 win.
West Ham v Cardiff.
Cardiff City start their Premier League adventure away to West Ham. Malkay Mackays men have bought well with Tottenhams Steven Caulker an impressive £8million signing. West Ham have recently brought in Stewart Downing, joining other former Liverpool employee Andy Carroll in the West Ham ranks, both are expecting to start this Saturday. The Hammers took some big scalps at home last season against the likes of Chelsea, but I believe these two sides will play out an entertaining score draw, possibly 1-1.
Sunderland v Fulham.
Sunderland got 4 of the 6 points up for grabs when the two sides locked horns last year in the league. Paolo di Canio made a host of sweeping changes this summer as he trys to put his stamp on the Wearsiders. Winger Emanuele Giaccherini from Juventus is the most impressive at £6million. Whilst Martin Jol has bolstered his goalkeeping ranks with Maarten Stekelenbug, a Holland international, brought in from Roma. Expect Sunderland to make a winning start, i'm predicting a 2-1 win.
Norwich City v Everton.
Evertons start a new era under manager Roberto Martinez, and so far the Merseysiders have managed to hold on to Maroaune Felliani and Leighton Baines, whilst adding Arouna Kone to their ranks. Norwich have impressed me with a host of signings including Gary Hooper and Leroy Fer, and I believe the Canaries will have an impressive season under Chris Hughton. Evertons last victory at Carrow Road came in 2004, and I think that rotten run will contine; Norwich to win 1-0.
West Brom v Southampton.
A tough one to call. West Brom under Steve Clarke suprised many last season, finishing 8th. The well-travelled Nicolas Anelka and Matej Vrdra, the latter on loan, to carry the goal burden along with Irishman Shane Long. Southampton play attractive football, and Ricky Lambert, fresh after scoring on his England debut will be raring to go. Victor Wanyama, a £12million signing from Celtic is an impressive signing and he will give the Saints some steel in midfield. A highscoring draw, possibly 2-2 is on the cards for me.
Arsenal v Aston Villa.
Fans at the Emirates are growing frustrated at Arsene Wengers inactivity in the transfer window, with no big name signings coming in to date. Paul Lambert has strengthened his squad, bringing in much needed reinforcements to a team who narrowly avoided relegation last year. They have also held on to star man Cristian Benteke, who will look to bully Arsenal defence. But Arsenals Olivier Giroud has been in impressive form this in pre-season, with him alongside Walcott up-front, I reckon they'll have too much firepower for Lamberts Villa. 3-0 to the Arsenal.
Swansea City v Manchester United (5.30pm)
The evening kick-off sees champions Manchester United away to Swansea. Michael Laudrups men took points of the Champions at home last season with a 1-1 draw, but I reckon they can go one further this season. Yes i'm going for a shock win. A new era under Moyes has seen a frustrating summer with the Rooney saga rambling on and no big signings made to date for the Red Devils. But still, with Robin Van Persie up-front, they can beat anyone on their day. Swansea signed Vitesse Arnhem stiker Wilfred Bony for £12million, and what a mouthwatering partnership he could form with Michu up front. I reckon the Welsh club will sense a vulnerability meeting the Champions so early in the season. Swansea to nick it with a 2-1 win.
Leave your predictions below for the first seven games of the season.
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