By Britwatch Team
- The Britwatch Football Team give their preview and predictions for the opening weekend of the season
- Follow their progress throughout the season and see which writer takes up the Premier League Prediction cup
- Correct result gets one point, correct result and score gets three points.
To kick off the new Premier League season, the Britwatch Team give their take on the opening weekend’s fixtures.
|Arsenal 2-1 Leicester||Arsenal 2-1 Leicester|
|Watford 2-2 Liverpool||Watford 1-3 Liverpool|
|Chelsea 3-0 Burnley||Chelsea 3-1 Burnley|
|Crystal Palace 3-1 Huddersfield||Crystal Palace 1-1 Huddersfield|
|Everton 1-0 Stoke||Everton 0-1 Stoke|
|Southampton 2-0 Swansea||Southampton 1-0 Swansea|
|West Brom 1-0 Bournemouth||West Brom 2-2 Bournemouth|
|Brighton 1-4 Man City||Brighton 1-3 Man City|
|Newcastle 0-2 Tottenham||Newcastle 3-2 Tottenham|
|Man United 2-1 West Ham||Man United 2-1 West Ham|
Arsenal vs Leicester City (Friday, 19:45)
Niall: The new season kicks off with a very tasty looking Friday night offering at the Emirates as Arsenal take on 2015/16 champions Leicester City.
The Gunners traditionally struggle on the opening day but they will take confidence after winning the Community Shield last weekend. Alexis Sánchez will be unavailable as his future still looks in doubt, but with the addition of Alexandre Lacazette, Arsenal should have enough firepower to get the win.
Prediction: Arsenal 2-1 Leicester
Neil: In what will be the first-ever Premier League curtain-raiser to take place on a Friday, there will be a sense of the surreal at the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal had a strong outing versus Chelsea in the Community Shield on Sunday, but it will not be easy versus Craig Shakespeare’s men.
The Sánchez saga rumbles on and Arsene Wenger will be without his talisman with an abdominal strain. However, with both Vicente Iborra and Danny Drinkwater absent for the Foxes, I am backing the Gunners to record a rare opening win.
Prediction: Arsenal 2-1 Leicester City
Watford vs Liverpool (Saturday, 12:30)
Niall: Liverpool had a successful campaign last season and finished inside in the top four, but the challenge for Jürgen Klopp is to not only match that result, but go further.
The Reds kick off their campaign against a Watford side tipped by many to be relegated this season. On paper it should be an easy three points for Liverpool, but this the type of match-up they struggle in, so i think the Reds will drop points in a fairly high scoring affair.
Prediction: Watford 2-2 Liverpool
Neil: With Liverpool in the midst of a battle to hold on to Philippe Coutinho from the clutches of Barcelona, Klopp takes his side to Vicarage Road this Saturday lunchtime.
Marco Silva has taken over from Walter Mazzarri during the summer and the addition of Will Hughes in attack will be one to watch this season, however Andre Gray will unavailable for his new club after his £18.5m move from Burnley. Despite the Reds’ defensive issues, their attacking trio of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino will be razor-sharp and should be too much for the hosts.
Prediction: Watford 1-3 Liverpool
Chelsea vs Burnley (Saturday, 15:00)
Niall: The reigning champions start their title defence at home to Burnley on Saturday in hopes of kick staring a second straight triumph. Chelsea’s summer has largely been spent replacing leaving players and therefore it is difficult to say they have strengthened their side, but then again they are the side to beat.
If this was at Turf Moor, then you would say there is a chance of an upset, but at Stamford Bridge it is hard to see anything but a Chelsea victory. The Blues will look to make a statement to their rivals here, but Burnley will be gutsy and avoid a complete hammering.
Prediction: Chelsea 3-0 Burnley
Neil: The Blues looked rusty at Wembley last Sunday versus Arsenal and in the end came up short following an exhaustive pre-season in the USA. The loss of Nemanja Matić in the Chelsea engine room will take some adaptation time – with or without Tiemoue Bakayoko.
Burnley will be a potential banana skin for the champions and boss Sean Dyche will ensure that. Whilst I am backing the Clarets to score at Stamford Bridge, Antonio Conte’s men will have too much in attack and will end up comfortable winners.
Prediction: Chelsea 3-1 Burnley
Crystal Palace vs Huddersfield Town (Saturday, 15:00)
Niall: Newly promoted Huddersfield Town kick off their campaign against a Crystal Palace side under the management of Frank de Boer. The Dutchman got his Ajax side playing entertaining football, so Palace may be a treat to watch this season.
Huddersfield are also a great side to watch, so there will be some good attacking football on show. Expect goals in this one, but it will likely go the way of the Eagles.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 3-1 Huddersfield
Neil: The Terriers make their Premier League debut with an away trip to Crystal Palace on Saturday, with both sides keen to put a marker down, particularly their respective stewards. Eagles boss De Boer has begun to put his own stamp on his new side and will be keen for on-loan Chelsea man Ruben Loftus-Cheek to make an instant impact in attack.
David Wagner’s Huddersfield will be a well-drilled unit this term, with particular reference to their gegen-pass attacking brand. While most pundits are tipping them to go straight back down this term, I am backing them to take their first points this weekend.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-1 Huddersfield Town
Everton vs Stoke City (Saturday, 15:00)
Niall: Everton have spent big in the summer to push themselves closer to the European places, and they will be hoping to get their charge off to a fast start against a Stoke City side aiming for a top half finish.
The Potters will provide a stern test for the Toffees who will be playing without Romelu Lukaku this time around. It will be interesting to see how they cope without the Belgian, but for this match they should have enough to get the three points.
Prediction: Everton 1-0 Stoke
Neil: This season presents a watershed moment for both Everton and Stoke City. With the Toffees battling for a place in the Europa League, Ronald Koeman will be forced to juggle commitments. For Potters’ boss Mark Hughes, this term could be tough.
The return of childhood Everton Wayne Rooney is a huge fillip for the Merseysiders, but with the player a shadow of his former self, quite what his role will be is yet to be determined. In recent weeks, Koeman’s men have struggled for goals and with Stoke’s typically dogged defensive style, Hughes’ men could nick a goal on the break or at a set-piece and take a surprise away win.
Prediction: Everton 0-1 Stoke City
Southampton vs Swansea City (Saturday, 15:00)
Niall: Here are two sides expected to be fighting in different sections of the table. Swansea are candidates for relegation whilst Southampton will hope to push for a Europa League place.
It is a match that will likely see the Saints prevail as winners. The Swans are not among the strongest sides in the league and although they will not make it easy, it is likely Paul Clement’s side will lose their opening match.
Prediction: Southampton 2-0 Swansea
Neil: The Swans roll to St. Marys’ as Mauricio Pellegrino takes charge of this first Premier League game. Defender Virgil van Dijk continues to seek a move away from the south coast whilst recovering from injury and once more, the Saints approach a season of the unpredictable. The hosts lack of goals at home last season was an issue and will want to get off to a flyer.
Clement takes charge of his first full season for Swansea but keeping his own side afloat this term may prove tricky. Gylfi Sigurdsson is expected to start despite his ongoing transfer wrangling with Everton and will need to be at his best for Swansea to take anything back to south Wales. A fresh Southampton should be too strong for them unfortunately, winning by the odd goal.
Prediction: Southampton 1-0 Swansea City
West Brom vs Bournemouth (Saturday, 15:00)
Niall: This is one of the more low key matches of the weekend, but it is still one of the more interesting ones stylistically. West Brom are disciplined and hard to break down whilst Bournemouth like to play an attacking free flowing style.
At the Hawthorns, the Baggies hold the advantage and will be tough for the Cherries to break down. Bournemouth have made a lot of improvements to their squad and I can see them having a solid season, but a season that starts with a loss.
Prediction: West Brom 1-0 Bournemouth
Neil: Two sides renowned for goals from defence meet at the Hawthorns this Saturday. Tony Pulis’ evolution to more attacking side could continue this season with the addition of Jay Rodriguez in attack, but the emphasis first on foremost will be to keep a tight ship at the back.
Bournemouth have bolstered their defence significantly with shot-stopper Asmir Begović and the at-times prolific Nathan Ake from Chelsea this summer. Of all the ten matches this opening weekend, I am tipping this to surprise many as the best of the bunch, with new boy Jermain Defoe to bag his first goal for the Cherries. However, I see both sides sharing the spoils in an open game.
Prediction: West Brom 2-2 Bournemouth
Brighton vs Manchester City (Saturday, 17:30)
Niall: Talk about been thrown right in the deep end as Premier League new boys. Championship runners-up Brighton will be welcomed to the top flight by title favourites Manchester City at the Amex.
This is the types of matches that encapsulates the new season. Brighton should have won the Championship last season but fell short at the last hurdle. They are a decent side and will certainly make it tough for the Citizens.
But the City attack will likely be too much for the Premier League newcomers. Sergio Agüero and Gabriel Jesus will pose the main attacking threat, and it will be interesting to see how the new players settle into the side. I can only see a one sided victory for Manchester City with a few goals to go along with it.
Prediction: Brighton 1-4 Man City
Chris Hughton’s Brighton face a baptism of fire at the AMEX this Saturday evening, as perennial title favourites visit the Sussex coast. The Seagulls’ Championship-winning side last season was built on goals last term and their approach will be no different this one.
That feat will be a tall one against Pep Guardiola’s cavalier side, that have strengthened in almost every area of defence this summer. Jesus is sure to be a thorn in the side of Brighton this weekend, with the arrow-like distribution of Kevin De Bruyne. Brighton may surprise many however and prove a test first up, but City will have too much in the end.
Prediction: Brighton 1-3 Manchester City
Newcastle United vs Tottenham Hostpur (Sunday, 13:30)
Niall: It is another promoted side against title challenger as Newcastle host Spurs in the first Super Sunday of the season. Both sides are guilty of not tinkering much with their squads. Tottenham have not spent a penny so far, and Newcastle’s additions have been few in total.
Tottenham will play their home games at Wembley this season, and given their poor form there in the Champions League, away form may be crucial to their success. I expect Spurs to hit the ground running and grab a comfortable win to set up their campaign. Tottenham were very good at beating the sides they should beat last season and they should beat Newcastle.
Prediction: Newcastle 0-2 Tottenham
Neil: Rafa Benitez leads the Magpies back into the top-flight at the first time of asking this season and face last season runners up Tottenham Hotspur at St. James’ Park. Dwight Gayle almost single-handedly led Newcastle back to the promised land last term and the Toon Army will look to the pacey forward to continue that trend.
Their defence will be sorely tested on Sunday versus Mauricio Pochettino’s men who are yet to invest this summer, with the financing of a new stadium to manage. Harry Kane has in past seasons struggled to get going and will need to be on song to get his side off to a winning start. Perhaps surprisingly, I am tipping Newcastle for a surprise win on Tyneside.
Prediction: Newcastle United 3-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Manchester United vs West Ham United (Sunday, 16:00)
Niall: Jose Mourinho will certainly have been left scarred by his side’s 2-1 loss to Real Madrid in mid-week, but a return to league action should be the perfect medicine. Manchester United drew too many games last season, and will need to convert their chances more this time around if they want to challenge for the title.
West Ham pose a serious threat, especially with Javier Hernández up top against his former side. But this is the type of match United must win in order to be champions and I believe they will narrowly get it done.
Prediction: Man United 2-1 West Ham
Neil: Manchester United are being tipped by many to lift this season’s Premier League trophy, not least after prising Matic away from the clutches of Chelsea. Lukaku – despite his hefty price tag – looks to be the perfect man to lead the Red Devils line, but despite this, new man Victor Lindelof may take some time to adapt to English football.
West Ham have added new faces to their attack in particular Marko Arnautović and United old boy Hernandez, who returns to Manchester this Sunday. I fancy goals in this, but I just shade the hosts to win this one.
Manchester United 2-1 West Ham United
POLL: Pick Your Winners
The Premier League kicks off on Friday August 11th
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