By Ryan Moran
- Manchester City vs Chelsea the stand out fixture of the weekend’s action.
- Xherdan Shaqiri starts his Potters career away to Tottenham.
- Bournemouth, Norwich and Watford look for their first wins in the Premier League.
Last season’s champions take on last season’s runners up as Chelsea take on Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium and Xherdan Shaqiri will look to live up to the hype around him as Stoke’s record signing.
The Premier League returned in its usual glory, making headlines and providing shock results, the biggest being West Ham United’s 2-0 win over Community Shield winners Arsenal. Chelsea will hope to bring some joy to fans after doom and gloom has surrounded the club. The medic scenario and a four goal draw at Stamford against a free flowing Swansea side ruffled Jose Mourinho’s feathers. The three promoted sides, Bournemouth, Norwich and Watford, will hope they can add three points to their tally as early as this weekend’s games.
Manchester City vs Chelsea
Manchester City will be the more positive side going into this Sunday’s game on the back of a 3-0 win over West Bromwich Albion on Monday, while Chelsea still seem to be on their holidays. The Blues have not matched their displays of last season in the Premier League opener or the Community Shield. Add to that an internal dispute with the medics over Eden Hazard’s treatment coming out in the press, Mourinho’s side will need to perform on the pitch or more unwanted media coverage will loom over the club. Vincent Kompany has said Manchester City have a point to prove this season and a win over Chelsea could prove a massive 3 points come the end of the season. Manuel Pellegrini’s side come in the stronger of the two with Thibaut Courtois suspended, Asmir Begovic is expected to start in goal.
Crystal Palace vs Arsenal
Crystal Palace got off to a flyer with a convincing win over Norwich with Alan Pardew still unsure of his best eleven and so am I. The Eagles have bought well and their attack with the additions of Yohan Cabaye and Connor Wickham looks threatening. Arsenal will hope to recover from their defeat against West Ham United however, the Gunners rely too much on their midfield maestros Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil and the Eagles will look to give both players as little time on the ball as possible.
Tottenham Hotspur vs Stoke City
The Potter’s travel White Hart Lane with the addition of Shaqiri and a home side looking to pick up their first points of the season. After conceding an own goal against the run of play, Mauricio Pochettino’s side will need to take their chances when on top, starting this weekend. The Potters are on the same page having strengthened in attack with no goals to their name – any chance of a 7-goal thriller?
Aston Villa vs Manchester United
The action kicks off on with the Red Devils travelling to Villa Park hoping to add another win to the 1-0 victory they achieved over Tottenham last week. Louis Van Gaal’s side look too strong for Tim Sherwood’s Villa but United took 65 minutes to register a shot on target last weekend. A winning Villa side had their lapses defensively against Bournemouth in their opening fixture on the contrary they took their chances in attack. The Claret and Blues will need to take any chance they get as they will be few and far between.
Liverpool vs AFC Bournemouth
After a 1-0 victory over Stoke on Sunday, Brendan Rodgers’ side will hope to entertain more in what was a dismal game that needed a goal. Bournemouth on the other hand had chances on their Premier League debut, they failed to take them and got their comeuppance when Aston Villa took their chance. Premier League new boys always provide a tough test and Eddie Howe’s side need to start their points tally to provide any sustainable challenge of staying in the top flight.
Watford vs West Bromwich Albion
Any Tony Pulis side is usually resolute at the back, three goals against would have been a shock to the system and the Baggies will have their tails up this weekend. Away to Watford who managed a draw against Everton in a top draw performance from the Championship runners up. If another performance similar to the one produce against the Toffees, a win could be likely. Rickie Lambert will hope to get up and running for his new side and recover the eye for goal that got the ex- Southampton striker his dream move to Liverpool.
Sunderland vs Norwich
Dick Advocaat will wish he had retired at the end of last season after last week’s result. The Black Cats have a point to prove along with a Norwich side who feel they deserved a point against Crystal Palace last week. Cameron Jerome will want to get his name on the scoresheet having a goal disallowed against the Eagles. Sunderland look a sorry side defensively, another loss looks likely here.
Southampton vs Everton
Two teams I have tipped for high finishes this year meet at St Mary’s Stadium this weekend. Both drew on the opening weekend, both scoring two goals. Ross Barkley will need to be instrumental in midfield as well as John Stones displaying ability beyond his years at the heart of the defence. Graziano Pelle will need to carry on the goal scoring from last week along with Dusan Tadic pulling the strings in midfield, both influential players last week and last season.
West Ham vs Leicester
Both teams produced surprising results, West Ham for a shock win over Arsenal and Leicester for the amount of goals they shipped against a lacklustre Sunderland side. Riyad Mahrez, Marc Albrighton and Jamie Vardy were a class above the rest last weekend, place in front of them a much tougher test, can they produce the same quality? We shall see. Reece Oxford maintained Mesut Ozil last week, he will need to maintain the likes of Danny Drinkwater and England international Vardy this weekend, an easier test, surely. If Leicester maintain the same intensity they showed against Sunderland, another win is on the cards.
Swansea vs Newcastle United
The Swans looked a side to be reckoned with, especially with the French duo of Bafetimbi Gomis and Andre Ayew leading the line. Newcastle’s defence will need to be on their A-game to keep Garry Monk’s side off of the score sheet. The Magpies shouldn’t be underestimated, showing a new lease of life under new manager Steve Mclaren especially with Georginio Wijnaldum grabbing a goal on his debut. Swansea are a team playing with the shackles off and after causing Chelsea major problems last week, a win over Newcastle seems likely.
The Premier League continues on Friday 14th August when Manchester United travel to Villa Park to face Tim Sherwood’s Aston Villa.