Aug 17, 2012
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FA Premier League Week 1 Match Previews

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It’s a matter of hours until the start of the 2012/12 Premier League season, here are the match previews and scoreline predictions for the weekend’s fixtures.

Saturday 18th August 2012

Arsenal v Sunderland – Emirates Stadium – Kick Off 15:00

Team News

Arsene Wenger will assess the fitness of Theo Walcott who has a thigh strain that forced him out of the England squad in midweek, but midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (ankle) and France defender Laurent Koscielny (calf) both miss out having withdrawn from the midweek internationals. Santi Cazorla will be monitored after his trip to Puerto Rico with Spain, while Jack Wilshere continues his rehabilitation from an ankle injury as does defender Bacary Sagna (broken leg).

Martin O’Neill could hand a start to new striker Louis Saha, who joined on a one-year deal this week after being released by Tottenham, and is likely to feature with striker Stephane Sessegnon an injury doubt (ankle). Wes Brown (knee ligaments), Phil Bardsley (ankle) and David Vaughan (surgery) are all set to miss out.

Previous Corresponding Meeting

Arsenal 2 -1 Sunderland

Prediction

Wenger has made a number of new additions to last season’s squad but recently he’s lost star man Robin Van Persie to rivals Manchester United.

Arsenal have a history of struggling in the initial stage of the league but I can’t see that happening again this time round. In my opinion, the team’s activity in the transfer market has been sufficient to ensure a good run of form in the opening fixtures.

Sunderland had a strong spell under Martin O’Neill after he took charge last term which they’ll certainly look to build upon their form from last season, but I think Arsenal will have the quality to edge this match. Arsenal 3 – 1 Sunderland

Fulham v Norwich – Craven Cottage – 15:00

Team News

Martin Jol has excluded Clint Dempsey from the squad with the midfielder having been the subject of summer transfer speculation. “If we get the right price for Clint we will sell him,” said Jol. “If not, he will stay.” Kerim Frei (pelvis), Philippe Senderos (foot) and Zdenek Grygera (knee) are unavailable.

Chris Hughton is hopeful Wes Hoolahan, who is recovering from an Achilles injury, and Anthony Pilkington, who has hamstring trouble, will be fit to make the squad. Summer signings Steven Whittaker (ankle) and Jacob Butterfield (knee) will miss out, but Robert Snodgrass and Michael Turner should feature. Javier Garrido is awaiting international clearance on his season-long loan from Lazio, so may be unavailable. Midfielder David Fox (knee) and defender Elliott Ward (leg) continue their rehabilitation.

Previous Corresponding Meeting

Fulham 2–1 Norwich

Prediction

This is a very difficult match to predict. Both sides go into this fixture having made big changes to their club set-ups.

At the start of summer, Norwich lost Paul Lambert to Aston Villa, whilst Fulham have since released Danny Murphy and Pavel Pogrebnyak. All these names had a big influence on their respective sides last term.

It’ll be interesting to see how effectively both teams have dealt with these changes. Chris Hughton, Norwich’s new head coach, has been quick to bring in new faces, with the likes of Jacob Butterfield and Robert Snodgrass joining the club. At Craven Cottage, the fans have welcomed the singings of Mladen Petric and Hugo Rodallega as Martin Jol began preparations for the start of the season.

This will be a very close match in my opinion and I think it’ll probably result in a draw. Fulham 1-1 Norwich

Queens Park Rangers v Swansea – Loftus Road – 15:00

Team News

Mark Hughes will not name his new captain until he announces the team. The Welshman has a number of candidates to replace Joey Barton, who is serving a 12-match ban for his dismissal in the final match of last season against Manchester City. Only Alejandro Faurlin, who is still lacking match sharpness following a long injury lay-off, and Armand Traore (ankle) are definite absentees, while Bobby Zamora and Samba Diakite (both knee) could also miss out.

Michael Laudrup is to make a late decision on the availability of Scott Sinclair, who has told the club he will not sign a new contract at the Liberty Stadium. New signings Michu, Chico Flores, Jonathan de Guzman and Itay Shechter are all set to make their debuts, while Kyle Bartley is also available after joining from Arsenal on Thursday. Defender Garry Monk is set to miss out with a back problem.

Previous Corresponding Meeting

QPR 3-0 Swansea

Prediction

I think the loss of Brendan Rodgers and Joe Allen will hit Swansea hard, however, new boss Michael Laudrup has made a number of clever signings to strengthen the side before the start of the Premier League season.

At QPR, Mark Hughes hasn’t hesitated to improve his side. In total the R’s have brought in 7 new players, including Park Ji-Sung and Junior Hoilett. The team looks very different compared to the end of last season.

This will be a very interesting match; both teams had very different fortunes in 2011/12. But, I think QPR will overcome Swansea in the fixture, they look much stronger this campaign. QPR 2-1 Swansea

Reading v Stoke – Madejski Stadium – 15:00

Team News

Brian McDermott is mulling over whether to include Jem Karacan in his squad, saying that the midfielder was “desperate” to return from a broken leg. Reading will be without Jimmy Kebe (hamstring) and Jason Roberts, who is serving the first of a two-match ban.

Tony Pulis may be able to call on Robert Huth despite the Germany defender spending most of last week in hospital with viral meningitis. Jermaine Pennant, who is struggling with a thigh strain, is another doubt. New signings Michael Kightly and Jamie Ness could make their debuts but defender Geoff Cameron will not be at the Madejski Stadium after having to stay in the United States to sort out his visa.

Prediction

This is a big game for Reading, they’ll want to kick start their return to the top flight with 3 points against Stoke.

Tony Pulis’ Stoke have struggled to add players during this transfer window and I think we’ll see the consequences of this against newly promoted Reading. Reading 2-0 Stoke

West Bromwich Albion v Liverpool – The Hawthorns – 15:00

Team News

Steve Clarke says Jonas Olsson is a doubt after playing the full 90 minutes for Sweden in midweek while the same is true for Scotland’s James Morrison. New signing Markus Rosenberg (fitness) and midfielder Graham Dorrans (family reasons) are unavailable. Shane Long is available despite missing the Republic of Ireland’s match with Serbia.

For Liverpool, summer signing from Roma Fabio Borini is pushing for a Barclays Premier League debut while Joe Allen may also start a week after signing from Swansea City. Joe Cole has recovered from a hamstring injury and is available.

Previous Corresponding Meeting

West Brom 0-2 Liverpool

Prediction

I think Liverpool will end the match with 3 points. The addition of Rodgers to the side is a very positive move and he’s made some good singings. The likes of Borini and Allen already look to have changed the side for the better.

For me, West Brom have a weak side this season. I think they’ll struggle against a Liverpool side in transition. West Brom 0-3 Liverpool

West Ham v Aston Villa – Upton Park – 15:00

Team News

Jack Collison will miss the match because of a knee injury that has kept him out of pre-season but James Collins has recovered from a groin injury to be fit to face his former club. Sam Allardyce has revealed his summer signings, Alou Diarra and Modibo Maiga, will not start.

Summer signing Brett Holman has shaken off a knee problem and is available for the trip to Upton Park. Other newcomers, central defender Ron Vlaar, right-back Matthew Lowton and midfielder Karim El Ahmadi, are also in contention. Injuries prevent Paul Lambert from being to call on Gabriel Agbonlahor (knee), Richard Dunne (groin) and Marc Albrighton (foot).

Previous Corresponding Meeting

West Ham 1-2 Aston Villa

Prediction

Tough one to call, both sides have seen changes during the summer. West Ham have several new players and now look a very tidy side. Whereas, Paul Lambert has arrived at Villa as the club changed their management.

Unfortunately, I don’t think Villa have made enough strong signings. The squad is still very similar to the side that struggled for form the majority of last season.

With the home advantage, I can see West Ham stealing the points in this one. West Ham 3-1 Aston Villa

Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur – Sports Direct Arena – 17:30

Team News

There are doubts over four players: Papiss Cisse, Demba Ba, Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa. Fabricio Coloccini should be able to play, despite suffering a knock in last weekend’s friendly against Cardiff City. Steven Taylor and Sylvain Marveaux are back in the squad after long-term injury lay-offs, while new recruits Vurnon Anita, Curtis Good, Gael Bigirimana and Romain Amalfitano are available to make their debuts.

Luka Modric is expected to be left out of the squad having been linked to a move to Real Madrid. Jan Vertonghen and Gylfi Sigurdsson are likely to make their competitive debuts, but Scott Parker (Achilles) and Heurelho Gomes (ankle) are out.

Previous Corresponding Meeting

Newcastle 2-2 Tottenham

Predictions

In my opinion, this is the most exciting match of the weekend. Both sides have very good squads; this is reflected by their league position last season.

Newcastle have had a very successful summer as far as transfers go. Pardew has managed to add to the squad without losing any of his key players from last campaign. The Likes of Cisse, Ba and Ben Arfa will all be extremely important again this season

Tottenham on the other hand have experienced a change in management. New boss AVB has brought Vertonghen and Sigurdsson to White Hart Lane, two good signings. Unfortunately it seems the club are set to lose Luka Modric and they’re currently lacking a top class striker.

Due to this, I think Newcastle will steal the win. Newcastle 2-1 Tottenham

Sunday 19th August 2012

Wigan Athletic v Chelsea – DW Stadium – 13:30

Team News

New signing Ivan Ramis is a doubt after the Spanish centre-half, who was bought from Real Mallorca, has a hamstring strain. James McCarthy has a back injury that makes him a doubt, too. Victor Moses is in the squad despite interest from Wigan’s opponents Chelsea, while Fraser Fyvie, Arouna Kone and Ryo Miyaichi are all in line for debuts.

Roberto Di Matteo is considering handing Oscar his debut despite the recent signing having only arrived at his new club on Thursday after spending the last few weeks on international duty with Brazil. Fellow new boy Marko Marin remains sidelined by a hamstring injury.

Previous Corresponding Meeting

Wigan 1-1 Chelsea

Predictions

In the first of Chelsea’s double headers this weekend, di Matteo’s side travel north to face Wigan. The Blues have made a number of top class additions to their squad this summer and I fully expect to see them hit the ground running in this match.

In the last few days, Roberto Martinez has successfully added players to the squad. He’ll be looking to replicate Wigan’s end of season form.

I think Chelsea will completely outclass Wigan this time. Unfortunately for the Latics I can’t see this match being a very close battle. Wigan 0-3 Chelsea

Manchester City v Southampton – Etihad Stadium – 16:00

Team News

Roberto Mancini will run the rule over Jack Rodwell before deciding the extent of the midfielder’s potential involvement. The midfielder, who has been troubled by hamstring problems in recent times, could make his City debut, a week on from the confirmation of his move from Everton. Mancini will also assess the fitness of goalkeeper Joe Hart (back), while defender Micah Richards (ankle) and midfielder Gareth Barry (abdominal problem) are definitely ruled out.

Midfielder Jack Cork is the only injury concern for Nigel Adkins. The 23-year-old, who represented Great Britain at the Olympics, is out for the next few weeks after picking up an ankle knock in the pre-season friendly at Bristol City. Danny Fox and Steven Davis returned safely from midweek international duty and should be included in the squad, although Adkins kept quiet on whether Tadanari Lee would be included after a foot injury.

Predictions

This will be a tough match for newly promoted Southampton. I fully expect the defending champions to open their season with 3 points. Manchester City 4-0 Southampton

 

Monday 20th August 2012 – TEAM NEWS TO COME SOON!

Everton v Manchester United – Goodison Park – 20:00

Team News

Previous Corresponding Meeting

Everton 0-1 Manchester United

Predictions

The addition of Kagawa and Robin Van Perise make United extremely dangerous in attack. Plus, with Vidic back from injury they’ll be a tough team to play against in the opening fixture.

Everton on the other hand have lost a number of key players this summer. The Departure of Yobo, Cahill and Rodwell have certainly weakened the side.

Unfortunately I don’t think this will be much of a contest. Sir Alex will be expecting a win from this match.

Everton 0-2 Manchester United

Wednesday 22nd August 2012 – TEAM NEWS TO COME SOON!

Chelsea v Reading – Stamford Bridge -19:45

Team News

Predictions

Chelsea’s second game of the week, I don’t think Reading will cause too much of a problem here. Di Matteo should be confident of 6 points heading into Gameweek 2. Chelsea 3-0 Reading

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Chris is the founder of The Boot Room. He is a Swindon Town supporter, having lived in Wiltshire for most of his years. His work has also featured on Squawka, Bleacher Report and Eurosport.

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