It’s Back!

 

So it’s the return of the Premier League and we’ve all booked our TV’s for the weekend so no one can complain about your lack of movement when sat around with a beer in your hand watching the beginning of the worlds best league. Here is my predicted results for the opening fixtures.

Arsenal 2 – 0 Leicester 

The last time Leicester beat Arsenal in a league match Rob Holding was yet to be born. I can’t see there being any surprises come the end of this Premier League opening fixture. Lacazette will get a double making it an easy 2-0 win over The Foxes.

Laza
Alexandre Lacazette playing for Arsenal
Watford 1 – 3 Liverpool

Another game with a pretty obvious outcome. Liverpool are going to have a cracking season this time around and will start off at Vicarage Road. Saying that, Watford have made some good signings this transfer window and will give Liverpool a tough time, unfortunately for The Hornets I can just see Liverpool being too powerful.

 

Watford v Liverpool
Emre Can bicycle kick 01/05/2017

Chelsea 4 – 0 Burnley

Antonio Conte’s men will dominate physically and will simply play better football than Burnley. Alvaro Morata has a lot to prove coming in to the Premier League and will look to start his career in England strongly. The Clarets have also just lost their key man in defence, Michael Keane. The last time Burnley beat Chelsea in the league it was 1983, this is the same year it was made mandatory to wear a seatbelt if you were a passenger or the driver in a car!

Chelsea v Burnley
Hazard goal v Burnley 27/08/2016
Crystal Palace 1 – 1 Huddersfield

I can guarantee this will be played last out of all the fixtures on Match Of The Day come Saturday night. Neither side seem to stand out on any day so when they come across each other it looks a very standard, bland match. This could easily be a Championship match in the coming years.

 

Crystal Palace v Huddersfield
Wilfred Zaha and Jack Hunt clash (2013)

Everton 3 – 1 Stoke

This is one where I could be completely wrong. Everton are a risky team to be put in your accumulator until we all know if the gamble of selling Lukaku will work or not. Saying that, Everton outclass Stoke and not having to play at The Bet365 stadium on a cold rainy night might help.

 

Everton v Stoke
Ross Barkley and Ibrahim Afellay compete for possession 01/02/2017

Southampton 2 – 0 Swansea

Southampton have won 6 out of the last 8 when it comes down to The Swans. Relatively new saints man Manolo Gabbiadini will prove too strong for Swansea’s defence, he will break the line and score at least 1.

 

Southampton v Swansea
Manolo Gabbiadini celebrates after scoring

West Brom 1 – 2 Bournemouth

Bournemouth have made some great signings this season so I can see them winning this 2-1 at The Hawthorns. Eddie Howe’s men look keen to start the season positively, new men Defoe and Begovic will be a major link to the team. I’d put my money on a Jermaine Defoe goal.

 

West brom v Bournemouth
Charlie Daniels scores winning goal for The Cherries against West Brom 19/12/2015

Brighton 0 – 5 Manchester City

Yep, I can see this one leaving Brighton fans red faced for more reasons than one. Man City look a great team this season and are going to blow more than one team away this way in the next nine months.

 

Brighton v Man City
Kevin De Bruyne celebrates scoring winner against Sevilla 21/10/2015

Newcastle 1 – 4 Spurs

Rafa Benitez himself has said he is preparing for a relegation battle, whether this was to get a reaction from the club or the players and it was just a mind game or he was being serious, he’s not wrong. The club haven’t done enough in the transfer window and will struggle big time. Spurs, on the other hand, have a fully fit Harry Kane and Dele Alli to bag plenty of goals and they’ll start on their first game of the season.

 

Newcastle v Spurs
Harry Kane and Dele Alli celebrate goal together

Man United 3 – 2 West Ham

The final game of the opening games of the season. West Ham have made some great signings but will not be able to stop the new Red Devil Romelu Lukaku. This is going to be one cracking game and I would keep my eyes on this one if I was you. Chicharito will score on his debut for The Hammers against his former club.

 

Man U v West Ham
Phil Jones and Sofiane Feghouli battle in 2-0 defeat for West Ham 02/01/2017

Thank you for reading. I am thinking of making this a weekly thing so let’s hope I haven’t got it too wrong this week! Let me know what you think.

 

Advertisements

My Premier League Table 2017/18 prediction

My League Table 2017/18 prediction

1st – Manchester City

2nd – Chelsea

3rd – Liverpool

4th – Tottenham Hotspur

5th –  Manchester United

6th – Arsenal

7th –  Everton

8th – West Ham United

9th – Southampton

10th – AFC Bournemouth

11th – Leicester City

12th – Burnley

13th – Crystal Palace

14th – Watford

15th – Newcastle

16th – Stoke

17th – West Bromwich Albion

18th – Brighton Hove Albion

19th – Swansea City

20th –  Huddersfield Town

Reasons for team positions.

Manchester City (1st)

When looking at Manchester City’s squad as last season was approaching an end there were only a few positions that needed to be replaced with fresh faces. These positions were both fullbacks and a goalkeeper. Since the window has opened they have signed three fullbacks in Danilo (£26.9m), Benjamin Mendy (£49.2m) and Kyle Walker (£45m) as well as goalkeeper Ederson (34.7m). This shows Manchester City have seen the weakness within their team and have looked to strengthen.

Without the new signings Pep still had a number of world class players under him as well as outstanding prospects who have the potential to shine this year. The likes of Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus will have a huge impact as the youngsters will be fighting for places in Guardiola’s starting 11.

Chelsea (2nd)

I can see Chelsea just falling short from first place this year as they are likely to lose their top goalscorer of the past three seasons (Diego Costa). The only reason I think they will manage to only drop one place is Antonio Conte was quick to get the replacement in the 70 million pound man Alvaro Morata.  In just 14 starts Morata scored 15 goals for Real Madrid during the 2016/17 season in the La Liga coming off the bench 12 times. The statistics show he could be a very dangerous player to have up top, however, the spaniard is yet to play in the English Premier League and may struggle in the worlds most competitive division.

Liverpool (3rd)

Liverpool will raise one place compared to their fourth place finish in the 2016/17 Premier League table. If Liverpool manage to keep hold of their two time players’ player of the year award (2014-15 2015-16) midfielder Philippe Coutinho I can only imagine what the partnership between himself and their new Egyptian winger Mohamed Salah will bring.

Mohamed Salah signed from Roma for a fee of £34m which looks a good signing when considering his Robben-esque style of play. With him breezing past fullbacks  with his blistering pace and putting the ball in for Senegalese international Sadio Mane you can only see Liverpool being a nasty team to come across.

Tottenham Hotspur (4th)

I feel generous when giving Spurs a position this high in the table this year. Although they finished 2nd last year they didn’t have to deal with the fact of playing in a completely different stadium as a home ground for a year, as a West Ham fan I know what that could do to a team too well. Over a total of 10 games played at Wembley stadium Tottenham have only managed to win 2 whilst drawing 1 and losing a whopping 7 games. Thats only a 20% win rate which is similar to the likes of Middlesbrough home form in the Premier League 16/17 season with a 21.1% win rate from home. We all know what happened to Middlesbrough last season.

That being said, moving stadiums does not mean you lose the likes of Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen and, of course, Harry Kane. Last seasons top goalscorer in the league Harry Kane managed to get 29 goals and 7 assists in just 29 starts for the lily whites!

Manchester United (5th)

Manchester United will rise one position up the table compared to last years 6th place. After fighting off Chelsea for the signature of the Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku you can only see him continuing his constant high goal count year after year. This year will see him get top goalscorer in the league as he only fell short by 4 goals last season and is now surrounded by better players creating countless opportunities per game.

Overall, I think the Red Devils will have a fairly successful season but do not quite have it in them to make it in to the Champions League places. Having said that, seeing Lukaku play in the Champions league for the first time since his Anderlecht days where he has now developed as a player can only be a good sign for Manchester United. Whilst at Anderlecht he still managed to score 3 goals in just 4 games at such a young age! In my opinion, Jose Mourinho’s men will be told to go all out for the Champions League trophy and may field a slightly weakened team days before their european games. Could this be the year in the Champions League for Manchester United?

Arsenal (6th)

Last season was a season to forget for the Gunners. Sadly for them, I can only see this year getting worse. If it wasn’t for new man Alexandre Lacazette I could imagine Arsenal finishing further down the league table than I have predicted.  The previous one-club-man scored 100 times starting in only 173 games in the Ligue 1 between the years of 2010 to 2017.

Lets not hide the fact that Lacazette looks as though he is a replacement for the Chile international Alexis Sanchez. For me, Sanchez is a player that is irreplaceable. Not only does Sanchez have a goalscoring record of 53 premier league goals from just 103 games but you have to admire the fact he has done this in the English Premier League. Will Lacazette be able to handle the tough, gritty defensive style that comes from the Premier league?

Everton (7th)

Everton have been risky this transfer window and spent big money on players who, in my eyes, don’t live up to their price tag. Jordan Pickford was signed for a fee of £30m. To me that is massively overspending for a goalkeeper that was in a team that conceded 69 goals in just the Premier League last season. They also paid £30m for the English 24 year old Michael Keane and £23.6m on former ajax captain Davy Klaassen. I’m yet to see what Klaassen is like so won’t comment on that one yet and am a big fan of Michael Keane, however, that is a serious amount of money to spend on a centre back considering Toby Alderweireld only cost Tottenham £11.4m just 2 years ago.

Losing Lukaku is a big departure that could backfire for Everton. Romelu was a frequent goalscorer for the club and will be missed. I do not think Everton are done yet in the transfer window and seem to have started to build a strong squad instead of a few big name players. Ronald Koeman seems to be able to get every player wanting to do the best for the club and is a truly great manager. With the managing of Koeman I can see new signing Wayne Rooney having a great season scoring over 15 premier league goals this year. Rooney is back home and wants to prove himself to his fans. This could be the beginning of Everton pushing up the ranks.

West Ham United (8th)

Last season West Ham had a terrible transfer window, they went most of the season struggling with unfit, injured strikers as well as playing midfielders at right back. Halfway through the season they lost their most important player in Dimitri Payet to set them back that little bit more as well as moving from their home in Upton Park to renting the Olympic Stadium. Despite all of this West Ham finished just 1 point off of where I am predicting them to finish this season coming.

Slaven Bilic has shown that he has been working hard this transfer window as it is arguably their best ever transfer window. Bringing in England’s number one Joe Hart (loan) and his former team mate Pablo Zabaleta on a free was the first two bits of business done by the Hammers. Having two experienced league winners in a team will motivate the players around them and a lot can be learnt by the players surrounding these two new valuable members of the team. Shortly after West Ham introduced Stoke City’s Marko Arnautovic for a cost of £24m and Mexico’s highest ever goalscorer Javier Hernandez (£16m).

Slaven Bilic has added 4 premier league proven players to his claret and blue army, 3 of which have had champions medals hung around their necks.  (Hernandez at Man United, Hart and Zabaleta at Man City). I can see this being a good season for the cockney boys.

Southampton (9th)

Southampton have been a repetitive club for numerous years now. Sign players, make them good, sell the players. They have even got to the point where they are doing the same with their managers!

I can’t see much change happening with southampton which is why I have them dropping just one position in the table as other teams look to be improving southampton seem to be going back just a little bit. Admittedly, Southampton seem to take me by surprise when signing new players and seeing it work. I struggled to predict a finish for The Saints this season.

AFC Bournemouth (10th)

The only reason I see last seasons 9th place move down one is that I believe everyone else is stronger this season. I honestly cant help but think although they will have moved down a position they will have a very good season after signing the recently returned England international Jermaine Defoe. Love him or hate him there is one thing we all agree on and that is that he is a goalscorer. They have also signed goalkeeper Asmir Begovic from league champions Chelsea who will get a few clean-sheets this season i’m sure.

Leicester City (11th)

As we know the Leicester City of 2015/16 seem long gone despite not losing many of their players. Last season Leicester only missed out on 11th by 1 point. Craig Shakespeare seems confident in bringing Nigerian forward Kelechi Iheanacho to The Foxes. Kelechi looks like he could have a huge impact in the league if he is played on a regular basis and this is what Leicester are prepared to do.

Seeing Jamie Vardy and Kelechi Iheanacho start up top for The Foxes could cause chaos for teams with a slower defence. If it wasn’t for rumours that Kasper Schmeichel may be heading to Old Trafford Leicester may be higher up in my prediction of the Table.

Burnley (12th)

Burnley finished just 6 points out of the relegation zone last year with Sam Vokes starting to find his feet in the league scoring 10 goals in the 37 games he played in last season. Bardsley with fit in well with their defence if he can keep his attitude positive.

My main reason for Burnley pushing up the league compared to last season is their new £3m striker Jon Walters. Walters is a proven goalscorer in the premier league and will only help Sean Dyche avoid a relegation battle.

Crystal Palace (13th)

Crystal Palace are going to have a poor season this time round. They have lost their goalkeeper Steve Mandanda and loanee Mamadou Sakho. Last season they conceded 63 goals and now they have lost 2 vital players in their defence. Looking back at this I feel as though I may have been generous placing The Eagles this high up and can’t help but feel if it weren’t for the new manager Frank de Boer I would have placed them a few positions lower.

Watford (14th)

Watford finished 17th last year after a very poor season. I can only see this season getting better as they have made some very good signings. The likes of Nathaniel Chalobah only cost Watford £5m and Will Hughes for £8m! I see these 2 players stepping up The Hornets game this season.

Newcastle (15th)

I think I am the only person to predict Newcastle finishing so low down the table. Im going to put this simply across, for a team who have just come up signings need to be made and Newcastle have not done enough in the window so far, hence why I can not see them doing well this season.

Stoke City (16th)

Stoke have lost 5 players who all played a part in their first team last season (Phil Bardsley, Marko Arnautovic, Glenn Whelan, Bruno Martins Indi and Jon Walters) . These were all important to The Potters and some point during last season and I stoke will struggle to replace all 5 of these. I could see Stoke in a relegation scrap if it weren’t for their new loanee Kurt Zouma who has a point to prove to fight for his place at Chelsea the following season.

West Bromwich Albion (17th)

I can see West Brom shocking the premier league next season for all the wrong reasons. Last season they finished 10th and I know it comes across weird saying they will struggle when all they have changed is a good signing in Jay Rodriguez for £12m but I am going to have to put this one down to gut feeling.

Brighton Hove Albion (18th)

Brighton have not made the signings appropriate enough to stay in the premier league this season. Unless they get their heads down and start signing some premier league quality players the only place I can see them going is straight back down.

Swansea City (19th)

Swansea City survived by 7 points last season and I am almost certain that the majority of the reason for The Swans staying up was thanks to their Icelandic midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson. Sigurdsson assisted the third highest amount of goals with 13 as well as being their second highest goalscorer behind Fernando Llorente (15 goals) with 9 goals. It is looking more and more likely that Gylfi will no longer be a Swansea player come the beginning of the season putting Swansea City in serious trouble.

Huddersfield Town (20th)

Huddersfield Town looked likely to win the Championship at one point last season and somehow started to slow down. I predict Huddersfield players will start to get tired and give up after around 20 Premier league games this season and accept defeat.


 

Thank You for reading this. Feel free to leave a comment and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Also, I’m going to do an update of this in January for anyone interested.