The new season is upon us once again, and with it the return of my Premier League predictions. For those with a real interest in predicting all the results every single week I have again set up my predictions league. The link to join the league is the end of this piece.
Saturday August 18
Arsenal Vs. Sunderland
3pm BST, Emirates Stadium, London.
Arsenal kick off the new season full of hope despite the more than likely departure of Robin van Persie. They have added three very good players to their squad, and the addition of Steve Bould to the coaching staff will hopefully tighten up their shaky defence.
From a fantasy football perspective RVP was fantastic last season, but he's a risky purchase until his future is sorted out. Santi Carzola could be the new boy to shine with Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny possibilities if the defence can hold firm.
Sunderland need to find some firepower if they are to improve on last season. This is a tough start to the season for them, but Martin O'Neill will have them ready to go.
Both Stepane Sessegnon and James McLean look good bets again, and their defenders can be good point scorers on occasions.
I think Arsenal will have a bit too much for Sunderland and take all three points.
Fulham Vs. Norwich City
3pm BST, Craven Cottage, London
Fulham finished off last season very well, and they will be hoping to continue on where they left off. Their ability or not to hold on to Clint Dempsey could decide an awful lot for them this season.
Dempsey was the top scoring midfielder for fantasy managers last season. If he joins another club he might have to change his game a little, and that could affect his points haul.
Norwich had a great first season back in the Premier League last season. It will be hard for them to match that with Paul Lambert gone, and survival will be their aim.
Grant Holt and Anthony Pilkington could be the players to perform best for Norwich.
I think Fulham will be good enough to take all three points at home where they usually perform very well.
Queens Park Rangers Vs. Swansea City
3pm BST, Loftus Road, London
QPR only just avoided the drop last season, but surely they will do better this time. They seem to have a glut of strikers at the club, but they could do with adding a defender or too and some midfield creativity.
Djibril Cisse could be the man to score the goals QPR need, as long as he avoids red cards this season.
Swansea punched well above their weight last season, and Brendan Rogers was seen as the reason for their relative success. Now that he has left it could be a tough job for Michael Laudrup to keep them in the Premier League.
If Swansea can keep their defensive solidity from last season their defenders are certainly worth a punt. Scott Sinclair could do quite well too after an impressive time last season.
I'm not sure QPR have the right blend yet, and Swansea might just get a point from this game.
Reading Vs. Stoke City
3pm BST, Madjeski Stadium, Reading
Reading got over a poor start to win the Championship last season, but this is a big step up for them. They look to be quite solid at the back, but they will need to improve their attacking options to make an impression in the Premier League.
Ian Harte is getting on a bit, but his set piece deliveries could earn him plenty of points if he can get his game.
Stoke scored less goals than any other Premier League team last season, and on a good day they are slightly less boring than watching paint dry. They will have no European distractions this season, but if they can't score more goals a mid table finish is the best they can hope for.
It hurts me to say so, but Ryan Shawcross looks like he could be a good fantasy purchase.
It's vital to get off to a good start, and I think both sides might just be happy if they shared the spoils.
West Bromwich Albion Vs. Liverpool
3pm BST, The Hawthorns, Birmingham
West Brom found it hard to win games at home last season, and they need to do better at home. The post Roy Hodgson era should see them finish in mid table if Steve Clark can these players to perform to their potential.
From a fantasy perspective it's hard to see what Weat Brom players will excell. Possibly Jonas Olsson, Peter Odemwinige, Shane Long and Chris Brunt could make an impression, but maybe none of them will.
Liverpool have a new manager and Rogers will probably get them to play a little more like the Liverpool teams of old. He will have his work cut out to get them anywhere near the top four with his current squad though.
Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez are the most obvious candidates to excel for Liverpool, but Glenn Johnson and Martin Skrtel could do well under Rogers too. If Charlie Adam stays and plays he's always good for fantasy points too.
Liverpool struggled on the road last season and a draw would be a decent enough rest for both teams in this game.
West Ham United Vs. Aston Villa
3pm BST, Upton Park, London
West Ham managed to come up through the at offs, but Sam Allardyce has strayed from their traditional style of football. They're a lot more direct now and they will look to impose themselves on opponents. It will hardly make for attractive football, but it could keep them up if they can find the back of the net often enough.
Kevin Nolan and Mark Noble are probably the two Hammers most likely to score fantasy points this season with Matt Taylor as an outside bet.
Villa were awful under Alex McLeixh last season and it was no surprise when he was shown the door. They have some good players and Paul Lambert could be the man to get the best out of them.
Darren Bent should score a few goals once he stays fit, and Stephen Ireland and Charles N'Zogbia are capable of a lot if Lambert can inspire them.
I can see this game ending in yet another draw.
Newcastle United Vs. Tottenham Hotspur
5.30pm BST, Sports Direct Arena, Newcastle
Newcastle performed far beyond expectations last season, and eventually finished fifth. The exertions of Europa League football will be tough on their relatively small squad, and they could find the going tough. They have got some very good players though, and if they shine again they have to be considered for the top six.
Harem Ben Arfa and Papiss Cisse are probably the stand out choices from Newcastle, but Yohan Cabaye and Demba Ba can't be ignored either. Tim Krul and Ryan Taylor scored well last season, but can their defence continue to hold firm.
Spurs were desperately unlucky to lose their Champions League place after Chelsea won the tournament. Europa League football is no reward for their efforts, but their new manager will hope to build on last season. They have added a couple of good buys, but they could find it hard to adjust if Luka Modric goes.
Gareth Bale looks a good bet again, but their defenders could struggle to amass points under Andre Villas Boas. Gylfi Suggurdsson did very well at Swansea last season, and he could bag a fair few goals for Spurs too.
I think Newcastle could give Spurs a tough game, but a draw is the most likely conclusion.
Sunday August 19
Wigan Athletic Vs. Chelsea
1.30pm BST, DW Stadium, Wigan
Wigan had a fantastic finish to last season as their 3-4-3 system saw them comfortably avoid relegation. More of the same this season would be a welcome boost, but they could struggle if Victor Moses is sold.
Moses is the most likely of the Wigan players to do well for fantasy managers.
Chelsea won the Champions League playing their own particular brand of non football. It meant Roberto Di Mateo got the manager's job, but he will need to make them more exciting to keep it I would imagine. I think they will shut up shop against the top sides, and maybe use their newly bought attacking flair against some of the so called lesser teams.
If Chelsea are to challenge they will need Fernando Torres, Juan Mata and Eden Hazard to perform well. Their defenders should get plenty of points too with any of them worth a shot once they get their game.
I think Chelsea will have too much firepower for Wigan and take all three points.
Manchester City Vs. Southampton
4pm BST, Etihad Stadium, Manchester
City won the title last season with a thrilling finish, and they are favourites to retain their title. The transfer window hasn't closed yet, but I expected them to have added more players already. It's never easy to retain the title, but their owners bottomless pit of money could make it a little easier.
The City defenders are all good buys again if they can be afforded. David Silva, Yaya Toure, Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez just can't be ignored either.
Southampton have done very well to gain back to back promotions, but life in the Premier League will be far from easy for them. Success for them will be to avoid relegation, and it will be a long hard struggle probably.
Southampton might let in a few goals this season, but defender Frazer Richardson might still be worth a gamble for his offensive capabilities. Besides him they also have Ricky Lambert and Adam Lallana who could do pretty well.
I can't see anything other than a good win for City in this game.
Monday August 20
Everton Vs. Manchester United
8pm BST, Goodison Park, Liverpool
Everton finished strongly yet again last season, and they overtook Liverpool to claim seventh place. The sale of Jack Rodwell could be a blow, but if David Moyes can reinvest the money in his team it could be just what they needed.
Nikolai Jelavic was fantastic for Everton when he signed from Rangers last season, and he might get quite a few goals this season too. Stephen Pienaar might be a good buy, and Everton defenders are usually good for a few clean sheets.
United only lost out to City with the last kick of the last game last season , and they will be determined to regain the title. They look even stronger this time around, and they are rightly classed as the next most likely to take the title after City.
Nemanja Vidic, Wayne Rooney, Ashley Young, Shinji Kagawa and Antonio Valencia could all have very good seasons for fantasy managers.
Everton are never easy to beat at home, and I think they can get a draw from this game.
Wednesday August 22
Chelsea Vs. Reading
7.45pm BST, Stanford Bridge, London
Chelsea have the opportunity to set the early pace in the Premier League by playing twice in the first week. A win for them would more than likely see them sitting on top of the table unless they lose to Wigan in their first game.
Reading will do very well to get anything out of this game. It will be Chelsea's first home game since winning the Champions League, and they will want to celebrate with a good display.
I think Chelsea will turn on the style and win comfortably.
Finally for today don't forget to join my Fantasy Premier league for the new season with prizes for the top three teams. To join up just go to the site and use the code 17031-6252 to join my league when your team is set up. If you were in my league last season you should automatically be given a choice to rejoin it once your team is set up. There are over 400 teams in my league at the moment, and I'm hoping to match last season's total of over 1,000 teams.
I'm also running my predictions league again, and it's open to anyone who wants to join too. It's an easy game to play with points awarded for predicting the outcomes of every Premier League game. To sign up just go to the site , http://predictor.talksport.co.uk/landing.htm and use the code FD047-YLG to join my league once you have registered.
That's it for today, but as always feel free to tell me where I may have gone right or wrong as the case might be.
See you next week.