Thursday, 11 August 2016

Predictions For Premier League Gameweek One

The new season kicks off this week and with it my Premier League Predictions return too. I somehow managed to win my own predictions league last season and will do my best to defend my title this season. It's open for anyone to play with the details at the end of this post and it certainly gives you an added interest in all of the Premier League games.

As well as the predictions league there's the ever popular Fantasy Premier League and you can find the details of how to join my league at the end of this post too. There were over 1,000 teams in my league last season and yet again there will be a €50 prize for the winner. 

I'll post updates on both leagues on my blog every week along with my predictions for the upcoming games and tips on what players I think might do well for fantasy managers.

Saturday August 13

Hull City v Leicester City

12.30pm BST, KCOM Stadium, Hull

Hull did very well to get back into the Premier League at the first time of asking. They have parted ways with Steve Bruce though and haven't strengthened anywhere near as much as is needed to survive in the top flight. It looks like it could be a long hard season for them and a home game against the reigning champions will throw them in at the deep end.

I can't see any Hull players to recommend to fantasy managers this week or for the season either to be honest.

Leicester lived the dream last season and beat all the big boys to claim the Premier League against all the odds. It won't be so easy for them to defend their title though and they will do very well to even finish in the Champions League places. When it comes to this game they will be strong favourites to continue on where they left off last season.

Leicester have managed to hold on to most of their players who impressed so well last season with Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez looking like they could yet again be good buys for fantasy managers.

I think Leicester will be too strong for Hull and will win this game by a couple of goals at least.

Prediction: 0-2

Burnley v Seansea City

3pm BST, Turf Moor, Burnley

Burnley did very well to get back into the Premier League just like Hull and just like Hull they don't look to have strengthened enough either. The gap between the Premier League and the Championship widens every season and Burnley will have their work cut out to try to beat the drop. Their home form will be very important if they're going to stay up and they will feel they have a chance of getting something from this game.

I don't see any Burnley players at the moment who might make a difference for fantasy managers.

Swansea finished strongly last season to leave themselves comfortably in mid table, but they might not find the going so easy this time around. They have already lost Andre Ayew to West Ham and Ashley Williams to Everton and they need to strengthen if they're going to steer clear of the wrong end of the table. A trip to a newly promoted team gives them the ideal opportunity to get their campaign off to a winning start.

Sigurdsson looks like he could be the Swansea player to have again and maybe new boy Fernando Llorente might do well too.

I think Swansea might just have enough to edge this game by the odd goal.

Prediction: 1-2

Crystal Palace v West Bromwich Albion

3pm BST, Selhurst Park, London

Palace faded badly in the second.half of last season, but they did make it to the FA Cup final where they lost to United. It looks like they have plenty of work still to do before the transfer window closes and like so many other teams it's hard to know what their chances will be until that window closes. They have the potential to finish a lot higher than they did last season, but they will have to do an awful lot better at home if that is to happen.

Andros Townsend has come in from Newcastle and he could be the Palace player to watch for fantasy managers while Yohan Cabaye and Wildried Zaha can't be discounted either.

West Brom were pretty nondescript last season and it doesn't look like too much has changed for this season. If they don't strengthen they could find themselves struggling at the wrong end of the table and relegation has to be a real concern. They struggled for goals last season and will need to find the net more often if they are to steer clear of the bottom three.

It's not easy to see which West Brom players might make an impact for fantasy managers, but maybe Matt Phillips or Saido Berahino (if he's not sold) could do something this season.

I think this will be a very close game, but Palace might just get the nod.

Prediction: 1-0

Everton v Tottenham Hotspur 

3pm BST, Goodison Park, Liverpool

Everton finished in the bottom half of the table last season and will want to improve on that with Ronald Koeman now in charge. Their home form was a real disappointment last season with only two teams winning less games at home. A home game against Spurs is a tough start, but a positive result could be a springboard for them for this season.

With a new manager at the helm Everton might just improve on last season and if they do Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku are the players most likely to impress as long as Lukaku isn't sold.

Spurs somehow contrived to finish third in a two horse race last season and let Arsenal overtake them on the final day. They won't find it as easy to finish in the top four this season with all of the big clubs strengthening and Spurs having Champions League games to distract them too. It's not beyond them to do very well again, but it does look like they missed their golden opportunity last season.

More of the same from last season would see players such as Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen and the Spurs defenders at a premium for fantasy managers.

This is a game which could go either way and I think it might end in a draw.

Prediction: 2-2

Middlesbrough v Stoke City

3pm BST, Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough 

Boro look the most likely of the three promoted teams to retain their Premier League status at the moment. They have added some good players to their squad from last season and look the most balanced of the new boys. They won't find it easy against Stoke, but their home form could be very important and they will want to get something from this game.

I have a feeling Boro might just do well defensively at home and their defenders might be a good option for fantasy managers while Alvaro Negrado is an outside shot too.

Stoke finished in the top half of the table last season and they will hope to climb even higher this season. They have struggled away from home in past seasons and will need to improve that away form if they are to push for a top six place. A trip to a newly promoted team might just give them the chance to start their away games off on a positive note.

Marco Arnautovic looks like the Stoke player most likely to perform for fantasy managers again this season although he looks like he'll miss the first game.

This game could go either way and a draw is probably the most likely outcome.

Prediction: 1-1

Southampton v Watford

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

Southampton over performed again last season, but they have lost their manager and three key players. They still have some very good players, but surely they will struggle to finish in the top six again. Their home form was very impressive last season and they will need it to be so again if they are to continue to impress.

Dusan Tadic could be the Southampton player to have for fantasy managers while Jay Rodriguez mightn't do too badly if he plays as he's listed as a midfielder and a fit Charlie Austin is a possibility too.

Watford faded badly in the second half of last season and they will have to overcome second season syndrome if they're going to stay up. Like Southampton they parted ways with their manager, but their decision was made by the club. They have two good strikers, but they still struggled for goals last season and need some goals to come from other players.

It's hard to look beyond Watford's top performers from last season such as Troy Deeney, Odion Ighalo and Huerelho Gones, but if ever a player was destined to do well it has to be Isaac Success.

I think Southampton should be good enough at home to take the three points.

Prediction: 2-1

Manchester City v Sunderland

5.30pm BST, Etihad Stadium, Manchester 

City have brought in the always successful Pep Guardiola to take the reins and he's brought a lot of new players with him. They should start as favourites to win the league with the strength of their squad and the calibre of their manager. Their home form wasn't at it's very best last season, but we can expect that to change and it would be hard to bet against City being the top scorers in the league.

There's so many City players to choose from for fantasy managers with Sergio Aguero, Kevin de Bruyne and David Silva the best of them for me.

Sunderland just about missed out on relegation yet again last season and Sam Allardyce got the England job as a result (well maybe not). David Moyes has come in, but he has yet to add any real quality to a team who desperately need it. They struggled badly away from home last season and they face a daunting task in their first away game this season.

With virtually no changes from last season it looks like Jermain Defoe might be the only possibility in the Sunderland team for fantasy managers.

It's hard to see anything other than a comprehensive win for City in this game.

Prediction: 3-0

Sunday August 13

Bournemouth v Manchester United

1.30pm BST, Dean Court, Bournemouth 

Bournemouth defied all the odds by retaining their Premier League place last season and they did it in some style too. They gave most of the top teams a run for their money at some stage, but it might not be so easy to do it this season. They took more points on the road than they did at home last season and that will have to improve at home if they are to steer clear of the bottom three.

Calum Wilson promised so much before succumbing to injury last season and maybe he can fulfill some of that potential this season.

United have brought in Jose Mourinho to try to bring back some success and he hasn't been afraid to spend their money. They still have a lot of the squad who didn't make the top four last season though and they will do well to keep pace with their Manchester neighbours. They struggled away from home last season and will have to improve on the road if they are to challenge at the top.

With Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and all arriving there's plenty of new United players to interest fantasy managers while Anthony Martial has to be considered now he's listed as a midfielder and the United defenders and keeper could flourish under Mourinho too.

I think United will get the new season off to a good start with a win by at least two goals.

Prediction: 0-2

Arsenal v Liverpool

4pm BST, Emirates Stadium, London 

Arsenal somehow managed to pip Spurs to second place last season, but they missed a great chance to win the league. They have only added one top class player so far, but their squad did improve during last season with the breakthrough of some younger players and the addition of Mohamed Elneny. They face a tough test in their first game and they haven't had a great record on the opening day for the last few years.

Arsenal have some of their best players missing early on but when they get going Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and their defenders are all good fantasy choices with Alex Iwobi as an outside bet.

Liverpool brought in Jurgen Klopp during last season and they will hope for him to work his magic in his first full season in charge. They have added to their squad and will hope his style of football can bring them their first league title in 27 years. A trip to Arsenal is a tough start for them, but a positive result could be just what they need if they are to challenge at the top.

If he can stay fit Daniel Sturridge can do very well for fantasy managers while Phillippe Coutinho, Sadio Mane, Georginio Wijnaldum and Roberto Friminio all look pretty good too.

This promises to be a very close game, but my loyalties always point me towards an Arsenal victory.

Prediction: 2-1

Monday August 14

Chelsea v West Ham United

8pm BST, Stamford Bridge, London

Chelsea had a disastrous season last time out, but they will at least have no European football to distract them this season. They haven't added too much to last season's squad yet, but the new man in charge will hope to get an awful lot more from the players who underperformed so much last season. Their first game will be far from easy against a good West Ham team, but they have the players to get the three points.

Willian and Cesc Fabregas could be the Chelsea players to have while Diego Costa and Michy Batshuayi are possibilities too as are all of the Chelsea defenders under their new manager.

West Ham pushed for a top four place for most of last season, but ended up finishing seventh. They have added to last season's squad and will hope to bring in even more players to continue on where they left off last season. A trip to Chelsea is hardly an ideal first game for them, but any points they might get from this game would be a good start.

Dimitri Payet again looks like the West Ham player most likely to succeed with Michail Antonio, Andre Ayew, Manuel Lanzini and Andy Carroll could be worth keeping an eye on too.

I think home advantage should be just enough to swing this game in Chelsea's favour.

Prediction: 2-1

To join my fantasy league go to the official site and set up your team after entering your details. Once you've set up your team go to the league's option and join a private league. The code for my league (Ever Arsenal league) is 64693-22498 and there's already well over 500 teams in it.

For my predictions league go to the official site and make your forecasts for the first set of games (you can change them later if you want) and then go to the mini leagues option. Go to the join a mini league option (invitation code) and use the code for my league 64693-215432 to sign up. After that you can join in the fun of predicting every single game in the upcoming season.

That's it for this week.

See you next week.

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