Friday, 23 August 2013

Predictions For Premier League Gameweek Two

It's that time of the week again when I attempt to predict the outcomes of the upcoming Premier League games. I managed one perfect outcome last week along with five correct outcomes and five incorrect. It was a fairly average start to the season which left me in a mid table position in my predictions league. From next week on I'll include a copy of the top 10 in my league, but it's a little early in the season to do so at the moment. 

The big winners last week were managers who picked the Chelsea and Villa players who did well in their two games. As always Robin van Persie did well too and has to be the favourite to top the fantasy scoring charts again. There's still more than a week of the transfer window left and there could be quite a few more players to choose from next week.

Saturday August 24

Fulham v Arsenal

12.45pm BST, Craven Cottage London

Fulham got their season off to a good start with a win away to Sunderland last week and have signed both Darren Bent and Scott Parker in the last week. They will relish the chance to play Arsenal in the early kick off after Arsenal had to travel to Turkey for a Champions League qualifier on Wednesday night. They will fancy their chances of taking all three points and have a very good chance of doing so.

Dimitar Berbatov and Bent could be the Fulham players to profit from Arsenal's lack of defenders on the day.

Arsenal got off to a bad start by losing at home to Villa last week and their squad looks wafer thin at the moment. They bounced back during the week with a 3-0 win away to Fenerbache and it should be a real confidence booster for them. Despite their lack of options they still have a very good starting team and will give Fulham a very tough game.

Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott and Santi Cazorla are the Arsenal players most likely to score well for fantasy managers this week.

I think this is going to be a very close game, but as always I just have to go for an Arsenal even if I'm not sure how thy can manage it.

Prediction: 1-2

Everton v West Bromwich Albion

3pm BST, Goodison Park, Liverpool

Everton looked set to get an away win at Norwich last week, but they only got a draw in the end. They may be a little unsettled after United put in bids for both Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines this week although Everton did reject those bids. They will want to win their first home game of the season and they have to be favourites to do so against West Brom.

Seamus Coleman looks to be a great bet for fantasy managers at the moment and both Baines and Fellaini have to be considered too.

West Brom won't be happy with their opening day loss at home to Southampton and they won't find the going easy in this game either. They didn't travel too well last season and need to find a striker who replace the goals of Romelu Lukaku. If they can't find a regular goalscorer among the strikers they have they could bein for a tough season. 

It's not too easy to see which Albion players might do well this week or this season either, but it is still very early.

I think Everton should have enough to get all three points.

Prediction: 2-1

Hull City v Norwich City

3pm BST, KC Stadium, Hull

Hull are back in the big time but with the squad they have it won't be an easy task for them to stay up. If they are to have any chance they will need to do well at home and a home game against Norwich is one they have to get something from. Their problems could bein front of goal though as they look to have a fair deal of defensive stability.

It's hard to see any Hull players to recommend at the moment, but that could change as the weeks go by.

Norwich got a good point at home to Everton last week, but they struggled away from home last season. The additions to their strike force this summer might be what is needed to make more of an impact on the road. They will see a trip to newly promoted Hull as an ideal chance to get their away campaign off to a good start.

Ricky van Wolfswinkel might be the man to score the goals Norwich need with Ribert Snodgrass and Gary Hooper possibilities too if and when they're fit.

I think Norwich have enough quality to overcome a Hull team that look to be well short of that commodity.

Prediction 1-2

Newcastle United v West Ham United 

3pm BST, St. James' Park, Newcastle

Newcastle were well beaten in their first game away to City and the transfer speculation surrounding Yohan Cabaye hasn't helped their cause. They are usually a much tougher team to beat at home rather than away and will want to get their season going before they slip into the relegation trouble which plagued them last season. They have the players to do well in the league but those players need to show what they can do.

With Cabaye possibly on his way out it's hard to see what Newcastle players to pick, but Hatem Ben Arfa could be the best if them and Loric Remy has to be considered too when he returns from injury.

West Ham had a good 2-9 win at home to newly promoted Cardiff on the opening day. They have strengthened over the summer and look like they are capable of finishing in the top half of the table. They struggled on their travels last season but will hope to do a lot better this time around. 

With Andy Carroll still injured the best fantasy bets in the West Ham team are probably Joe Cole and Kevin Nolan. Cole is available at a good price and so is James Collins who along wit the rest of their defence does well at home in particular.

I can see West Ham making things difficult for Newcastle and taking a point from this game.

Prediction 1-1

Southampton v Sunderland 

3pm BST, St. Mary's Stadium, Southampton

Southampton had a very good win away to West Brom on the opening day and will want to continue their winning ways in their first home game. They have added some quality during the summer and will be one of many teams who will be aiming for a top half finish. Their home form was very good last season and they will fancy their chances against a Sunderland team that haven't started too well.

Arthur Boruc and Rickie Lambert are probably the best fantasy choices in the Southampton team. 

Sunderland were very disappointed to lose at home to Fulham in their first game and a trip to Southampton will be a tough task for them. There's a lot for Paolo di Canio to do with all of his new players and he's still looking to add to his squad. They will need to settle quickly or their chances of doing well this season could be over before they begin.

With so many new players to settle in it's hard to see which Sunderland players to choose at the moment.

I think Southampton have the overall strength and ability to take the three points in this game.

Prediction: 3-1

Stoke City v Crystal Palace

3pm BST, Britannia Stadium, Stoke

Stoke very nearly got a point at Liverpool last week despite being well outplayed, but Jonathan Walters missed a late penalty which cost them dearly. They are a different proposition at home though and will expect to get a result in this game despite Mark Hughes trying to change their style of football. A home game against a newly promoted side could be just what they need to kick start their season. 

Walters is still probably the best fantasy bet in the Stoke team although Asmir Begovic has to be considered too if he continues to play as well as last week,

Palace lost their opening game by a single goal at home to big spending Spurs, but they rarely looked like a force going forward. They will have to improve an awful lot in the attacking third if they are to have any chance of staying up. Stoke aren't as good as Spurs though and Ian Holloway will do all he can to get his players up for this game.

It's not easy to pick any Palace players to recommend to fantasy managers.

I can't see anything other than a Stoke win in this game.

Prediction: 2-0

Aston Villa v Liverpool

5.30pm BST, Villa Park, Birmingham 

Villa got off to a great start by winning at Arsenal last Saturday and were unlucky to lose to Chelsea in midweek. They are very good on the counter attack and will give Liverpool some real problems in defence. It's been a tough week for them with three games against teams who are considered among the best in the league, but they have done well in the first two. 

Christian Benteke is the outstanding fantasy performer for Villa and Gabriel Agbonlahor is looking pretty good too.

Liverpool completely outplayed Stoke last week but could only manage a narrow 1-0 win. They need to be more ruthless in front of goal and Luis Suarez should change that when he returns from suspension in a few weeks. Until then they need to take as many points a they can, but it won't be easy for them against Villa.

Philippe Coutinho, Daniel Sturridge and Iago Aspas are all looking good for Liverpool as is Simon Mignolet and Steven Gerrard can never be discounted. 

I think Villa showed enough in the opening week to suggest they're going to have a good season and might just get the better of Liverpool in this game.

Prediction: 2-1

Sunday August 25

Cardiff City v Manchester City

4pm BST, Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff

Cardiff didn't do an awful lot to impress when they lost to West Ham last week and this will be an even tougher test for them. They will get great support from their home fans but they will need a lot more than a strong support to get a result from this game. Anything other than a defeat would be a great result for Cardiff and could give them some confidence going forward.

It's never an easy job to pick players from newly promoted clubs and the options at Cardiff seem very limited at the moment.

City had a relatively easy 4-0 opening victory over Newcastle and will be looking forward to a trip to Cardiff to make it two wins out of two. They have a lot more class than Cardiff and should get the victory as long as they play to their best. The players are still trying to impress the new manager and with the size of their squad most of them have to perform very well just to stay in the side.

There are so many choices at City that it's not easy to know who to pick but David Silva, Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure and Pablo Zabaleta are probably the pick of the bunch at the moment.

I can't see anything other than a comprehensive victory for City in this game.

Prediction: 0-3

Tottenham Hotspur v Swansea City

4pm BST, White Hart Lane, London

Spurs weren't overly impressive in winning away to Palace last week but they had an easy win away from home in a Europa League qualifier on Thursday night. They have invested heavily to allow for the expected departure of Gareth Bale and it could take a while for all the new players to blend together. They will be favourites to win at home to a Swansea team that like to play good football.

With Bale all but gone the best performers for Spurs could be Roberto Soldado and Jan Vertonghen, but there are a few players possibly to be added to their squad who could be very good for fantasy managers. 

Swansea were well beaten at home by United last week but they bounced back with a good Europa League qualifying round win on Thursday night. They have some good players and have done very well since their promotion two years ago. This will be a tough test for them but on their day they can put it up to te best of teams.

Miguel Michu is still the Swansea player most likely to succeed but both Wilfred Bony and Jonathan de Guzmzn could be considered too.

I think Spurs will manage to edge a very close game but it won't be easy for them. 

Prediction: 2-1

Monday August 26

Manchester United v Chelsea 

8pm BST, Old Trafford, Manchester

United got off to a very good start under their new manager with a 4-1 win at Swansea last week, but this will be a much tougher test for them. They will have to be at their best if they are going to beat Chelsea and it's a game which they really need to win. If they are going to retain their title they need to show the teams who can genuinely challenge then that they're good enough to do so. 

Robin van Persie is again the must have player from the United team with Patrice Evra to be considered too. Both Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck did well last week but it's hard to know if that form will continue.

Chelsea are top of the table with two wins from two home games but they didn't exactly set the world alight in either game. They beat new boys Hull by two goals and were very lucky to beat Villa with the help of some poor refereeing. This will be a much tougher test for them and it could just show if they are up to the task of challenging for the title.

Frank Lampard is very much in favour with Jose Mourinho and worth considering with Branislav Ivanovic, Eden Hazard and maybe Emboaba Oscar possibilities too. The other Chelsea defenders in favour at the moment are all worth considering too with their defensive record and Mourinho's too.

I have a feeling there will be a few goals in this game and it will end with the spoils shared.

Prediction: 2–2

That's it for this week.

See you next week.

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