Aug 12, 2013
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The Boot Room Predicts: EPL Fixtures August 17-19th

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With the season getting ever closer, teams have began to add to their to squad, while letting go players. With the likes of Manchester City, who have spent nearly £90 million on four players, and Chelsea, who have Jose Mourinho back and have brought Andre Schurrle, Marco van Ginkel and Mark Schwarzer. I look at the opening weekend of fixtures in the Premier League and predict the scoreline.

August 17th:

12:45 pm: Liverpool v Stoke City

Brendan Rodgers had a flat first season at Anfield after joining from Swansea City. After finishing 7th, the reds should be challenging for a top 4 finish this season.

Rodgers has brought in four players into Anfield. Spanish forward, Luis Alberto has joined from Sevilla for £6.8m, Iago Apas has also joined from from a Spanish club, Celta Viga. The Spanish forward signed for £7m, providing competition for Suarez, Sturridge and Alberto.

Belgium goalkeeper Simon Mignolet signed from Sunderland for £9m, with Pepe Reina joining Italian side Napoli on loan. Liverpool also snapped up the signature of Kolo Toure from Manchester City on a free.

The players departing from Anfield are Andy Carroll who has joined West Ham for £15.5m and Jonjo Shelvey to Swansea for £5.5m,

For the visitors, there has been a change in the manager, with Tony Pulis leaving the Britannia Stadium and former Manchester City and Queens Park Rangers manager, Mark Hughes.

Player wise, Hughes has only signed to players. Erik Pieters signed for £3m from Dutch team PSV and Marc Muniesa from Barcelona on a free.

Four players left Stoke, who finished 13th last season. Rory Delap has joined League 2 side Burton, Carlo Nash has joined fellow Premiership team Norwich City, Matthew Upson has joined Brighton after an successful loan spell at the AMEX.

Dean Whitehead has also departed, joining Middlesborough. Mamaday Sidibe was released.

Score Prediction: Liverpool 2-1 Stoke

15:00: Arsenal v Aston Villa

Both teams have been busy during this transfer window. Arsenal, who have only signed one player, have been linked with many well-known players. Some of the candiantes linked with a move the Emirates are Wayne Rooney, Gonzalo Higuain, Mezut Ozil and most recently, Luis Suarez.

The only signing for Arsene Wenger’s side is French striker Yaya Sanog0 from Auxerre. Brazilian midfielder, Denilson has left Arsenal to join Sao Paulo after enjoying two seasons on loan at the club. Russian winger, Andrei Arshavin has also left the club, joining Zenit in Russia.

Italian goalkeeper, Vito Mannone has joined Sunderland for around £2m. Young midfielder, Jernade Meade has joined Swansea City, while Sebastian Squillaci has been released.

Andre Santos has left for Flamengo after an unsuccessful two years at Arsenal.

For Aston Villa, Paul Lambert has signed six players after surviving the drop last season. Aleksandar Tonev has joined from Lech Poznan in Poland for £2.5m. Defender Jores Okore also has joined Lambert’s men, signing from Norweignan club Nordjaelland form £4m.

Leandro Bacuna and Nicklas Helenius has moved to Villa Park. Bacuna joining from Groningen and Helenius joining from Aalborg. Defender Antonio Luna signed for £1.5m from Spanish club Sevilla and goalkeeper Jed Steer has signed for a free from Norwich City.

Players have also left the team. Richard Dunne has signed for QPR after being released, while Brett Holman has joined Al Nasr for a free.

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Score Prediction: Arsenal 3-1 Aston Villa

15:00: Norwich City v Everton

Norwich finished 11th last season and Chris Hughton’s men will be hoping for more success after the signings the Canaries have made. Dutch striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel has joined from Sporting Lisbon for £8.5m. The ‘Wolf’ scored 28 goals last term for Sporting, playing 55 games.

Javier Garrido also signed after an successful loan spell at Carrow Road. The Spanish left back has been joined by Nathan Redmond, who signed from championship side, Birmingham City.

Martin Olsson left Blackburn to play Premier League football and Carlo Nash joined from Stoke City on a free. Leroy Fer, 23, has joined Norwich after playing for FC Twente.

Hughton has also added Gary Hooper to his strikers, joining van Wolfswinkel and Becchio. Two strikers have left Norwich. Simeon Jackson has joined German side BTSV and Grant Holt has joined relegated Wigan. Lee Camp has been released, while James Vaughan has joined Huddersfield Town.

The visitors, Everton, have a new manager at Goodison Park. Roberto Martinez has replaced David Moyes, after the Scottish manager joined Manchester United. Martinez has signed three players this summer, all three played for his old team, Wigan Athletic. Arouna Kone joined Everton after only one season at Wigan for £5m. Paraguay international, Antolin Alcarez joined after being released from the Latics.

The Toffees have also signed Joel, after the Spanish goalkeeper spent last season on loan at the DW Stadium, helping them win the FA Cup.

Everton have only got rid of two first team players. Thomas Hitzlsperger has been released, along with Jon Mucha.

Score Prediction: Norwich 1-1 Everton

15:00: Sunderland v Fulham

Paulo Di Canio saved Sunderland from relegation last season. A famous 3-0 victory away at Newcastle the most notable success from last season. David Karlsson singed form Goteborg for £1.5m, while Modobo Diakite and Valentin Roberge have also signed for the Black Cats.

Cabral has signed from Basel on a free, while Vito Mannone joined from Arsenal to replace Simon Mignolet. American striker Jozy Altidore has also joined, signing from AZ Alkmaar for £6m.

El-Hadj Ba and Emanuele Giaccherini will also be playing at the Stadium of Light next season. Di Canio has sold many players, as he continues to build his squad.

Titus Bramble was released, Matthew Kilgallon joined Blackburn, Adam Reed joined Burton, Ryan Noble joined Burnley, Simon Mignolet joined Liverpool, Ahmed Elmohamady joined newly promoted Hull and Danny Graham joined the Tigers on a loan.

Maritn Jol has been busy this window, signing five players.

Sascha Riether joined from Cologne for £1.3m, Fernando Amorebieta signed from Bilbao for free, Derek Boateng signed from Dnirpo, Maarten Stekelenburg joined from Roma for £4m.

Fulham also released four players (Simon Davies, Chris Baird, Mahamadou Diarra and Mladen Petric). Along with Austrlain goalkeeper, Mark Schwarzer joined Chelsea.

Score Prediction: Sunderland 3-0 Fulham

15:00: West Brom v Southampton

The Baggies have really done a lot of business this window. Nicolas Anelka signed form Italian giants Juventus, while Goran Popov signed on loan from Dynamo Kiev.

Gonzalo Jara left for Nottingham Forest, Jerome Thomas left for Crystal Palace, Zoltan Gera was released and Marc-Antoine Fortune joined Wigan.

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Southampton, under Mauricio Pochettino, have signed two players. Croatian defender, Dejan Lovern signed from French side Lyon, while Victor Wanyama signed for £12m from Scottish champions, Celtic. Vegard Forren signed for Molde.

Score Prediction: West Brom 0-0 Southampton

15:00: West Ham United v Cardiff City

Sam Allardyce’s men finished 10th in the return from the championship. With the help from Andy Carroll on loan from Liverpool and Kevin Nolan, the hammers will be hoping for more of the same this season.

Romanian defender Razvan Rat has signed from Shakhtar Donetsk for a free, while Spanish goalkeeper Adrian joined from Real Betis. Andy Carroll has also joined after an successful loan period at Upton Park last season.

Carlton Cole was released, along with Gary O’Neil.

Last seasons championship winners, Cardiff City, have broken their transfer record, signing Andreas Cornelius from Copenhagen for £7.5m. The Bluebirds have also signed John Brayford from Derby for £1.5m.

Helguson has retired, Nathaniel Jarvis has left, along with Stephen McPahil.

Score Prediction: West Ham 3-1 Cardiff City

 

17:30: Swansea City v Manchester United

After winning the Capital One Cup, Swansea City have the opportunity of playing in the Europa League, meaning the league will be a competiton for the Swans to compete for a European place. Michael Laudrup’s men finished 9th last season and will be looking for a higher position this season.

Swansea have signed just less than 10 players already. Jose Canas signed from Real Betis on a free, Jordi Amat from Espanyol for £2.5m, Alejandro Pozuelo signed from Betis, Gregor Zabret from NK Domzale, Alex Gogic from Olympiacos, Jonjo Shelvey from Lverpool for £5.5m, Wilfried Bony from Vitesse for a club record £12m and Jernarde Meade from Arsenal.

Jonathan de Guzman has also joined on loan from Villarreal.

Kyle Bartley and Alan Tate have both joined championship clubs on loan. Bartley has joined Birmingham while Tate has joined Yeovil.

For the away team, Manchester United have a new manager for the first time for over 25 years. David Moyes has took over after Sir Alex Ferguson retired last season.

The Scotsman has only signed one player, Uruguayan defender Guillermo Varela from Penarol. They have been linked with Cesc Fabregas, but have had two bids rejected by Barcelona. Wilfried Zaha has returned from his loan from Crystal Palace, while Wayne Rooney is being constantly linked with Chelsea.

Score Prediction: Swansea 1-0 Manchester United

 

August 18th:

13:30: Crystal Palace v Tottenham Hotspur

Ian Holloway’s men got promoted through play-off after beating Watford 1-0.

Holloway has brought in five players already. Stephen Dobbie joined from Brighton after a loan spell last season. Dwight Gayle signed from Peterborough for £4.5m, while Jerome Thomas signed after being released by West Brom.

Jose Campana signed from Sevilla for £1.7m, along with Kevin Phillips signing a 1 year contract. Academy players have left Selhurst Park.

Tottenham have been in a transfer saga this summer, with Gareth Bale being linked with Manchester United and Real Madrid. Paulinho signed from Corinthians for £17m after an successful Confederations Cup with Brazil. Belgium international Nacer Chadli signed for £7m from FC Twente.

Gallas, Bentley and John Bostock have all left White Hart Lane.

 

Score Prediction: Crystal Palace 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur

 

16:00: Chelsea v Hull City

With the return of Jose Mournho, Stamford Bridge should be seeing a lot of wins this season. Germany international Andre Schrulle signed from Bayer Leverkusen for £18m. Dutch play maker Marco van Ginkel signed from Vitesse for £8m.

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Mark Schwarzer and Cristian Cuevas have also joined the blues.

Jose Mourinho also let players go. Israel midfielder Yossi Benayoun has been released, with French winger, Florent Malouda joined Turkish side Trabzonspor, joining ex Chelsea striker Didier Drogba in playing in Turkey.

Goalkeepers, Ross Turnbull and Hilario, both have been released, after spending the last 4 years on the bench. Portuguease right-back, Paulo Ferreira has also been released.

Newly promoted Hull have a solid start to the season, playing Chelsea and Manchester City away in their first three games in their return to the top flight.

Manchester United legend Steve Bruce took the Tigers to automic promotion last season, after an dramatic last day of the season saw Hull snatch the promotion place after Watford lost to Leeds.

Five players have joined the KC Stadium team. Last season’s loanee, George Boyd, signed on a free from League One side, Peterborough United.

Honduras defender, Maynor Figueroa signed from relegated Wigan Athletic. Bruce also brought in competition for Eldin Jakupovic for the number one spot, bringing in Allan McGregor from Turkish side, Besiktas for £1.8m and Steve Harper, after the 38 year old left Newcastle after 10 years.

The newly promoted side also added to their attack, bringing in Ivory Coast striker Yannick Sagbo, joining the likes of Didier Drogba, Wilfried Bony, Gervinho, Salomon Kalou, Arouna Kone, Kolo Toure and Yaya Toure in the list of Ivory Coast players to play in the Premier League.

Score Prediction: Chelsea 4-0 Hull City

 

August 19th:

20:00: Manchester City v Newcastle United

Manchester City, like Manchester United and Chelsea, have a new manager. Manuel Pellegrini replaced Roberto Mancini after the Italian was sacked after losing the FA Cup final against Wigan Athletic.

Pellegrini was quick to improve his squad, splashing £30m on Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho from Shakhtar Donetsk. They continued their spending, buying Spain World Cup and European winner, Jesus Navas from Sevilla. The 2011-12 English champions brought the 27 year old for £14.9m.

The Blues brought another Spanish Sevilla player, Alvaro Negredo joined Pellegrini’s men, a £20m move replaced Argentinian striker Carlos Tevez, who left for Italian side Juventus for £12m.

The same day as Negredo’s signing, Stevan Jovetic also joined Manchester City. The Montengro forward left Fiorentina for City in a £22m.

Along with Tevez, Kolo Toure left the blues to join Liverpool on a free contact. Wayne Bridge left for championship side Reading after spending last season on loan at Brighton.

Paraguay striker Roque Santa Cruz also left for Spanish side Malaga after spending last season on loan at the club. Brazilian right back, Maicon also left after only a year at City.

For Newcastle United, Alan Pardew is yet to add to his squad, after ex-manager Joe Kinnear was appointed Director of Football. Much to the disgust of most Newcastle fans.

Pardew has let three players leave. Danny Simpson left for QPR, James Perch left for Wigan and Steve Harper left for Hull City.

Score Prediction: Manchester City 2-0 Newcastle United.

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