Excitement across the world is about to peak, as the wait for the first touch of the new Premier League season is only hours away. We have all been through a summer of some spectacular transfers and regular face-offs with work colleagues regarding the faith of our favoured football teams over the last two months. The swagger that comes with the announcement of a major signing will now have to be turned into points on the pitch. No longer do we care about the names on the back, as our focus shifts towards the crest and the chest. With that in mind, at Shots & Goals, we look at the fixtures of the first week and predict the respective outcomes of these mouthwatering match-ups.
The campaign kicks off with Tottenham‘s visit to Old Trafford and this year in particular, Spurs seem to be facing a rather superior opponent in Louis van Gaal’s well-prepared and well-equipped Manchester United side. Last season, United enjoyed average possession of 63.1% in home games, making them Europe’s third-strongest team in this regard. With the additions of further passers like Schneiderlin and Schweinsteiger, Tottenham should not expect to see much of the ball. Furthermore, Spurs will have to beware of United’s tricky wingers in Depay and Young, although the Tottenham defence looks much more stable with the likes of Wimmer and Alderweireld in contention to start.
As Manchester United do not normally lose opening day fixtures (last season’s loss to Swansea was the first since 1972) and Tottenham have been a rather favourable opponent for the Red Devils in the recent pass, our prediction is a 3-1 victory to the home side.
Our predictions for the 3pm kick-offs are as follows:
Bournemouth – Aston Villa 0-2
Everton – Watford 3-0
Leicester – Sunderland 2-2
Norwich – Crystal Palace 1-4
Later this evening, current champions Chelsea will be hosting Swansea City. Despite the Swans’ success of winning the opening fixture away at a Premier League fortress, a defeat looks highly unlikely for Jose Mourinho’s side. Chelsea have not made as many changes to their squad as many of their competitors and as a result, they will find their rhythm much more quickly than some other teams. With Diego Costa likely to miss this game, goalscoring responsibilities will be placed on either Loic Remy or new signing Radamel Falcao. There is clearly enough firepower to overcome Swansea’s strong goalie Fabianski.
Generally, Swansea are great starters, but Chelsea are the most successful club when it comes to opening day fixtures during the Premier League era. Although Swansea’s new attacker Ayew will add quality up front, our prediction is a comfortable 2-0 victory for the Blues.
Here are our predictions for Sunday and Monday:
Arsenal – West Ham 4-0
Newcastle – Southampton 1-2
Stoke – Liverpool 1-1
West Bromwich – Manchester City 0-2
Feel free to share with us your thoughts and predictions in the comments section. We are excited and look forward to the start of a hopefully great season of English football.