Had a look at the fixture list for the weekend, and thought I’d knock out a few quick predictions on some of the bigger games. It goes without saying that I fancy QPR for a win against Spurs, but here’s my take on a few of the others.
Villa v Newcastle
Opta fact: Newcastle were the only team not to hit a shot on target on the opening weekend.
Despite my affection for Newcastle and its fans, I can’t see past a draw for this one. I think as the season progresses Newcastle will get stronger, but at the moment I think their attacking players need a little time to gel, and Villa’s central defensive partnership of Vlaar and Senderos will be enough to keep it tight at the back. Coloccini, Janmaat and Williamson look decent at the back for the Toon too, so it’s got a draw written all over it.
Everton v Arsenal
Opta fact: Last season Everton opened with two draws; they drew their opener last week at Leicester.
Everton were my boyhood team, and I fancy them to get a draw out of this. While Arsenal have quality players in every position and will no doubt be pushing for the title at some stage of the season, Everton have a solid back four, and some excellent players going forward. I can’t see this being a nil-niler, but I think Everton have enough going forward to cancel out any damage that Arsenal can inflict, especially after a testing midweek game.
Chelsea v Leicester
Prediction: Chelsea win
Opta fact: Cesc Fabregas has assisted 50 goals in his last 104 Premier League appearances.
This is gonna be a tough game for Leicester, and I can’t see them getting anything out of it. Chelsea had a good team last year, but the addition of Fabregas, Costa and the returning Drogba gives them the added firepower they were missing at times. If Leicester avoid a hammering they’ll have done well, and Kasper Schmeichel will have had an outstanding day between the sticks.
Sunderland v Man Utd
Prediction: Manchester United win
Opta fact: Manchester United have conceded just two goals in their last seven trips to the Stadium of Light in the Premier League.
As everyone has acknowledged, this is far from a vintage United team. But with the addition of Rojo at the back, and after the wake up call against Swansea last week, I fancy them to get a result against a Sunderland team that could only draw against West Brom last week. I think Rooney will take the step up as captain, and I fancy him to score this weekend and lead the team forward over the course of the season.
City v Liverpool
Prediction: Manchester City
Opta fact: Liverpool have conceded as many goals (10) in their last four league trips to the Etihad as they had in the previous 11.
I fancy City to get a result against Liverpool. They have strength in depth in every area of the field, and in Aguero and Silva they have players capable of breaking open the tightest of defences. Lovren and Skrtel look a decent central pairing for Liverpool, but they’ve only played one game together so far so it’ll be interesting to see how they deal with City. I think it’ll be tight, but I really fancy City to edge it by the odd goal.