Friday, 15 August 2014

Predictions For Premier League Gameweek One

The new season is upon us and with it comes the return of fantasy football too. As usual I'll be running my own league with a €50 prize to the winner. I'll keep the league open to new entries for a month or so but it will be closed after that so nobody can parachute in if their team is doing very well.

I'll also be running my predictions league again just like I have for the past few seasons. The details of how to join both leagues are at the bottom of this post and I'll be posting my predictions for every single Premier League game throughout the season right here. 

Saturday August 16

Manchester United v Swansea City

12.45pm BST, Old Trafford, Manchester 

United had a very disappointing season last season and will have no European football this season as a result. The lack of European football could be a real help for them as they attempt to get back among the title challengers. Their home record last season was very poor by their standards, but they did well away from home and will be hoping for a vast improvement at home this season.

It's hard to look beyond Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Juan Mata as the best fantasy choices in the United team although van Persie might have a slower start than the other two after coming back later from his World Cup duties.

Swansea weren't as impressive last season as they had been in their previous two seasons since promotion, but they still play some very attractive football and are capable of beating any team on their day. They have managed to hold on to most of their important players from last season and have even strengthened a little. I'm sure they would be happy to finish in mid table again and maybe have a good run in one of the cups.

Wilfried Bony again looks like a very good fantasy buy and Gylfi Siggurdsen could just regain the form he showed when he was with Swansea a couple of seasons ago.

United need to get off to a good start under their new manager and I think they will do just that with a two goal victory.

Prediction: 2-0

Leicester City v Everton

3pm BST, King Power Stadium, Leicester

Leicester are back in the Premier League after after five years in the Championship and they will be keen to stay up. They haven't added an awful lot to the squad which won the Championship last season and they could face a tough battle to retain their status. They had a very good home record last season with 17 wins and only two defeats in their 23 games.

It's not easy to see which Leicester players might make a big impression for fantasy managers this season, but Marc Albrighton and Casper Schmeichel are both possibilities.

Everton did very well last season but they couldn't quite break into the top four. Their away form was probably their biggest issue last season with only eight wins in 19 games despite having a good defensive record on the road. They have managed to sign Romelu Lukaku permanently from Chelsea and that could be their best piece of transfer business.

The usual suspects of Lukaku, Leighton Baines, Seamus Coleman, Kevin Mirallas and Tim Howard all look to be the Everton players most likely to succeed again with Lukaku maybe as the best bet and Ross Barkley an outside shot too if he can stay fit and get more game time.

I can see this being a very close game and ending in a draw which should make both teams a little happy at least.

Prediction: 1-1

Queens Park Rangers v Hull City

3pm BST, Loftus Road, London

QPR spent an awful lot of money when they were last in the Premier League two seasons ago and a fair few of those players are still in their squad. Despite their budget they only scraped through in the last minute of the play off final against Derby and avoiding relegation has to be their first priority. Their best piece of business could be failing to sell Loric Remy as he could score the goals they need to stay up after returning from his loan spell at Newcastle.

Remy might not be a bad fantasy purchase and Steven Caulker gets his fair share of goals as a defender which means he has to be considered too.

Hull did well after their promotion last season and ran Arsenal very close in the FA Cup final too. They have managed to make it through to the final qualifying round of the Europa League and they could find this season difficult if they have to play European football too. They had a fairly good defensive record for most of last season at home in particular and they will need to find that defensive stability again. 

Robert Snodgrass, Curtis Davies and Allan McGregor are all worth considering for fantasy managers as is Robbie Brady if he can rediscover his form from before his injury last season.

This has the makings of another draw with another newly promoted team at home to a team who over performed last season.

Prediction: 1-1

Stoke City v Aston Villa

3pm BST, Britannia Stadium, Stoke

Stoke continue to be a tough team to beat at home season after season with only the top four losing less games at home last season. They finished ninth last season which was their highest finish in the Premier League and they will hope to improve on that this season. Their problem is their lack of goals, but the purchase of Bojan Krkic might help to solve that problem.

Krkic could be worth a punt for fantasy managers and he's available at a good price with Geoff Cameron and Asmir Begovic possibly worth considering too.

Villa had a battle against relegation for all of last season and just about managed to stay up. If they're going to do any better this time they will need to find some consistency and improve their home form too. They haven't added too much to their squad yet and it looks like this season could be a struggle again.

Ron Vlaar might not be a bad fantasy purchase with Christian Benteke worth considering when he comes back from injury and Charles N'Zogbia a possibility after missing all of last season through injury.

Stoke's home record should be enough to see them take all three points in this game.

Prediction: 2-1

West Bromwich Albion v Sunderland 

3pm BST, The Hawthorns, Birmingham 

West Brom only finished one place above the relegation zone last season and they won less home games than any other team. They also lost less games than any other team in the bottom half of the table, but drew too many games for their own good. They have taken a chance in appointing Alan Irvine as their manager and they need that gamble to pay off.

It's not easy to predict any West Brom players who might do well this season, but I have a feeling Stephane Sessegnon might not do too badly.

Sunderland managed to avoid relegation last season after looking dead and buried with only a few weeks to go and they will look to build on that. They have added a few decent players to their squad and Gus Poyet will want to push them towards the top half of the table. Their 11 home defeats last season were just not good enough and they need to make the Stadium of Light a tougher venue for teams to visit.

Vito Mannone and Adam Johnson look like the most obvious candidates in the Sunderland team for fantasy managers with Conor Wickham worth considering too if he can find his form of late last season.

I can see this being a very close game which could go either way, but I think it will end in a draw.

Prediction: 2-2

West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur

3pm BST, Upton Park, London

West Ham will be worried that Andy Carroll is injured yet again as they struggled to score goals far too often last season. They can't afford to drop out of the Premier League again with a move to London's Olympic Stadium coming in two years time. Added to that there is a desire among the fans for the team to play some good football which isn't easy with Sam Allardyce in charge.

Kevin Nolan, Mark Noble and Guy Demel are all fantasy possibilities although Winston Reid might be the best option along with whoever gets the nod in goal for West Ham.

Spurs have had very few transfer dealings in the summer and will be hoping new boss Mauricio Pochettino can work his magic on their team. They bought an awful lot of players last summer though and some of those might perform a little better in their second season. Their away record was as good as any other team in the league last season and they will hope to continue that this season.

I think Christian Eriksen could possibly have a very good season for Spurs and Erik Lamela could do an awful lot better than last season too.

West Ham are never an easy proposition at home and I think they will get off to a winning start with a narrow victory.

Prediction: 2-1

Arsenal v Crystal Palace

5.30pm BST, Emirates Stadium, London

Arsenal won their first trophy in nine years last season and they have added to the strength of their squad over the summer too. They need some defensive reinforcements though if they are going to go the distance this season. They were in the title race for much of last season and will hope to be in it again, but they will have to improve their record against the other contenders to do so.

Aaron Ramsey is a must buy for fantasy managers in my opinion with Alexis Sanchez, Olivier Giroud, Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott (when he returns from injury) all good choices too along with Mathieu Debuchey from a defensive perspective. 

Palace haven't added too much to their squad over the summer and the lack of purchases has led to Tony Pulis departing. He saved them from what seemed like certain relegation when he took over last season and they will need to find someone who can instill the same spirit in the team. They won't be looking forward to a trip to Arsenal after such a difficult week for the club.

Jason Puncheon did very well for Palace last season and could be worth a shot along with some of the Palace defenders if they can continue on from where Pulis left off.

Arsenal look to have too much firepower for Palace even with a few players out and I think they will win by a couple of goals.

Prediction: 3-1

Sunday August 17

Liverpool v Southampton 

1.30pm BST, Anfield, Liverpool

Liverpool sold Luis Suarez to Barcelona and their chances will depend upon how they adapt to life without their star player. From where I see it they haven't brought in players to improve on the ones they have, but some of their players will have learned a lot from last season and could improve. I can't see them challenging for the title again unless they sort out their defensive issues, but they might still score a lot of goals. 

Daniel Sturridge could be the Liverpool player to score their goals post Suarez with Raheem Sterling and Steven Gerrard worth considering too along with Adam Lallana and maybe even Dejan Lovern.

Southampton did really well last season, but they have sold an awful lot of the players who helped them to finish eighth in the league. A lot of those players have joined Liverpool and this game will have a very strange look to it from a Southampton perspective. The arrival of Ronald Koeman could be a good thing for Southampton, but it could take a while for all of the new signings to find their feet.

With so many changes in the Southampton team it's hard to know which players to choose but Jose Fonte and Fraser Forster could perform and Graziano Pelle is a possibility too along with Jay Rodriguez when he returns from injury.

Liverpool are a very tough team to get a result from at Anfield and I expect them to take all three points in this game.

Prediction: 2-0

Newcastle United v Manchester City

4pm BST, St. James Park, Newcastle 

Newcastle finished safely in mid table last season without ever troubling the teams above them. They had a lot of trouble scoring goals and the loss of Loric Remy won't make that task any easier. They only won eight of their 19 home games last season and they will have to improve on that or Alan Pardew will find himself in a spot of bother.

It's not easy to predict great things from Newcastle players this season, but Tim Krul, Steven Taylor and new boy Siem de Jong all have a good chance of performing well.

City have to be among the favourites as they look to retain their title and they have added a few players to make their squad even stronger. They were the top scorers last season with over 100 league goals, but they were vulnerable away from home at times. The title race looks very open this season and City will feel they have every chance of their third title in four seasons.

The old reliables look to be good fantasy choices in the City team with Yaya Toure, David Silva and Pablo Zabaleta all good choices and Vincent Kompany, Sergio Aguero and Eden Dzeko all worth considering too.

I think City will have too much class for Newcastle and will win by the odd goal.

Prediction: 1–2

Monday August 18

8pm BST, Turf Moor, Burnley

Burnley did very well to get promoted last season and their sole aim this season has to be to stay in the Premier League. They only lost two of their 23 home games last season and only conceded 14 goals in those games. That home form could be very important for them if they are to have any chance of staying up, but they have to be favourites to finish last.

Some of Burnley's defenders might do well this season as they were very strong defensively at home in the Championship last season and Danny Ings might not do too badly either.

Chelsea have invested heavily over the summer and they're going to be a very hard team to beat this season. They had the best defensive record away from home last season and look like they have a very good balance between attacking and defending players. They look like the team to beat and Jose Mourinho will feel he has a team more than capable of winning the league.

I think Cesc Fabregas could have a very good season for Chelsea along with Diego Costa and Eden Hazard along with all of their defenders.

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

Prediction: 0-2

Finally for today I'm running my league in Fantasy Premier League yet again this season and there will be a prize of €50 for the winner now that there's over 1,000 teams in it. To join just go to the site and use the code 13125-4843 to join my league once your team is set up.Absolutely finally for today I'm also running my predictor league again this season. I'll be previewing every Premier League game every week throughout the season too. You can make your predictions here and then join my mini league with the code FD20D-AVD after you have set everything up. 

That's it for this week.

See you next week.


  1. On paper the gunners shd easily brush CP aside by a 2 goal margin. But then football is not an exact science. Recall the times when the gunners were leading only to be pegged back and worst of all get mugged.
    The cd is ,imho, an issue.I believe the bg is aliability . No doubt he can read the game but if he is isolated ,it could be a disaster waiting to happen.
    Btw,Neville put I in perspective. The gunners maybe skilled players but the epl is not only about skill. It's about aggressiveness and power.Sanchez was easily out muscled as was Wilshire.We need some monsters like Veira to scare the enemy.

    1. Every single team is looking for the next Vieira style player but they're not easy to find. There are a lot of tough challenges ahead of Arsenal and I think they're in a better to position to meet them than they have been for years. With another couple of additions before the transfer window closes this Arsenal squad has a real chance. I don't think Alexis will have any issues once he is fully match fit.