August 25, 2012
The start of the new soccer season in England threw up a number of surprise results, but for many teams it was business as usual. This is a chance for teams to continue their good start to the season or recover from an early setback.
Chelsea are already three points clear, mainly thanks to the fixture planners giving them an extra game in the first week, but Manchester City are following closely behind. Arsenal and Manchester United got off to bad starts, but it only takes a couple of good results to catch up this early in the season.
Swansea v West Ham
The early game on Saturday gives Swansea a good chance to follow on their impressive 0-5 victory at QPR with a home game against newly promoted West Ham. New manager Michael Laudrup will hope for victory in his first full home game although West Ham are buoyant from victory in their first game back in the Premier League. This will be a tough game, but the home side should come out on top.
Prediction: Swansea 1 – 0 West Ham
Last Season: Did not play
Aston Villa v Everton
Last week, Everton had a memorable victory over Manchester United, but it is 25 years since they last took all three points from a trip to Villa Park. Aston Villa got off to a bad start, with a defeat at West Ham but this will be a chance to restore some confidence in the first home game under Paul Lambert. It is difficult to see Everton getting the victory at an unlucky ground, so both teams will probably play out a score draw – just like both games last season.
Prediction: Aston Vila 1 – 1 Everton
Last Season: Aston Villa 1 – 1 Everton
Manchester United v Fulham
This season is opposite to normal seasons, with Manchester United losing at Everton last weekend and Fulham recording a great victory over Norwich. It will be difficult to see beyond Manchester United recording the win in their first home game, but Fulham are confident so it might be a close game.
Prediction: Manchester United 2 – 1 Fulham
Last Season: Manchester United 1 – 0 Fulham
Norwich v QPR
The big losers from last weekend are now propping up the Premier League table. Both teams will want to get a victory to recover from that traumatic opening day and Norwich have a great home support that inspired them to a number of victories last season. It will be a tense game, and if it goes too long without a Norwich goal then the crowd could make it difficult for the home team to play properly. This game looks like a narrow home victory, just like last season.
Prediction: Norwich 1 – 0 QPR
Last Season: Norwich 2 – 1 QPR
Southampton v Wigan
Both teams have a difficult start to the season with away trips to one of the big four teams, and both lost the game. Southampton will take a lot of confidence from their performance against Manchester City and by all accounts Wigan played well against Chelsea. Southampton won promotion on their great home form, and will want to carry that into the new season with a victory against perennial strugglers Wigan.
Prediction: Southampton 2 – 0 Wigan
Last Season: Did not play
Sunderland v Reading
Reading had a difficult game at Chelsea on Wednesday, and played well until they let in two late goals. Both teams started the season with draws – Sunderland at Arsenal and Reading at home to Stoke and will want to get a win under their belt. Sunderland are a difficult team to play against, and should take all three points from this game.
Prediction: Sunderland 2 – 0 Reading
Last Season: Did not play
Tottenham v West Brom
West Brom were on cloud nine with a great victory over Liverpool last week, while Tottenham slipped to defeat at Newcastle. Both teams are in transition after a change of manager, but Andre Villas-Boas will want to record a victory in his first home game. Tottenham should have too much for West Brom, but I said the same about Liverpool last week!
Prediction: Tottenham 2 – 0 West Brom
Last Season: Tottenham 1 – 0 West Brom
Chelsea v Newcastle
The late game on Saturday sees Chelsea play their third game and victory will increase their lead at the top of the table. Newcastle played well to beat Tottenham, but Chelsea are a much better team than their north London rivals. Last season, both games went to the away team, but this time the home team should emerge victorious.
Prediction: Chelsea 3 – 1 Newcastle
Last Season: Chelsea 0 – 2 Newcaslte
Stoke v Arsenal
Arsenal are in transition after losing Robin Van Persie and Alex Song to Manchester United and Barcelona respectively, and could only manage a draw last week at home. Stoke were unlucky to draw after conceding late at Reading, and this game could well go the same way for both teams.
Prediction: Stoke 1 – 1 Arsenal
Last Season: Stoke 1 – 1 Arsenal
Liverpool v Manchester City
Last seasons champions, Manchester City, got off to a great start last week with victory against Southampton and will look to keep up the title charge with victory over Liverpool who got off to a terrible start at West Brom. Liverpool look to be struggling to score again this season, which was their main problem last time around. Manchester City should record a comfortable victory.
Prediction: Liverpool 0 – 2 Manchester City
Last Season: Liverpool 1 – 1 Manchester City
The matches this weekend will spring a number of surprises, and will start to show the teams that are having a strong start to the season and those that are looking at a season of toil in the relegation spaces.