An attempt at predicting this weekends matches following an exciting Gameweek 1. With all teams in action once again, we look forward to another exciting round of fixtures.
Saturday 25th August
Swansea City v West Ham – Liberty Stadium – Kick-off 12:45
Swansea Defender Chico Flores is a fitness doubt with a groin problem and will undergo a fitness test, with Alan Tate, Garry Monk and Kyle Bartley all potential replacements if he is unavailable.
Striker Itay Shechter will miss out as Swansea are still awaiting the completion of the paperwork for his loan move from Kaiserslautern.
South Korea international Ki Sung-yeung appears set to join for a club record fee today but will not be included in the squad, while Scott Sinclair will feature again despite electing not to sign a new contract with the club.
West Ham Matt Jarvis will go straight into Sam Allardyce’s squad in the only change from last weekend’s win over Aston Villa. Jarvis, 26, signed just over 24 hours before the Hammers kick-off at the Liberty Stadium but Allardyce has confirmed he has no concerns about throwing the former Wolves winger into his side.
Midfielder Jack Collison (knee) remains sidelined while Alou Diarra and Modibo Maiga are in contention to break into the starting XI.
Swansea (from) Vorm, Taylor, Flores, Tate, Williams, Britton, Orlandi, Michu, Graham, Sinclair, Dyer, Routledge, Monk, Lita, Moore, De Guzman, Rangel, Tremmel, Agustien, Gower, Richards, Bartley, Davies.
West Ham (from) Jaaskelainen, Henderson, Demel, Tomkins, Collins, Reid, McCartney, O’Brien, Potts, Spence, Diarra, Diame, Noble, Taylor, O’Neil, Nolan, Jarvis, Vaz Te, Maiga, Maynard, Cole.
Swansea – W
QPR 0-5 Swansea
West Ham – W
West Ham 1-0 Aston Villa
Both teams opened their 2012/13 Premier League campaigns with 3 points, although Swansea slightly more emphatically, but I feel this game will be much more of a challenge.
Laudrup’s Swansea look very dangerous in possession and their new signings already seem a serious threat. West Ham, on the other hand, seemed to lack quality against a weak Aston Villa side, but I think the addition of Matt Jarvis will give them a real boost this weekend.
It’s a tough one to call, but with the home advantage, I believe Swansea will be victorious.
Swansea 2-1 West Ham
Aston Villa v Everton – Villa Park – 15:00
Aston Villa Striker Nathan Delfouneso will boost manager Paul Lambert’s attacking options after being cleared to play. The forward missed last weekend’s Barclays Premier League opening defeat by West Ham with a thigh problem but, like defender Chris Herd, will be included in the squad for the Villa Park clash.
Striker Gabriel Agbonlahor (knee), defender Richard Dunne (groin) and winger Marc Albrighton (foot) are still sidelined while youngster Samir Carruthers has an ankle problem.
Everton Manager David Moyes will make a late decision on whether to include Kevin Mirallas in his squad. The Belgium international has only had a couple of days’ training since signing on Sunday and although he has had intensive sessions Moyes is unsure about his fitness.
Sylvain Distin (back) and Nikica Jelavic (groin) are minor injury concerns.
Aston Villa (from): Given, Guzan, Lowton, Lichaj, Stevens, Vlaar, Clark, Baker, N’Zogbia, Bannan, Holman, El Ahmadi, Ireland, Herd, Gardner, Delph, Bent, Weimann, Delfouneso, Hutton.
Everton (from): Howard, Baines, Distin, Jagielka, Hibbert, Neville, Gibson, Fellaini, Pienaar, Osman, Jelavic, Naismith, Mucha, Heitinga, Coleman, Anichebe, Barkley, Gueye, Mirallas.
Aston Villa – L
West Ham 1-0 Aston Villa
Everton – W
Everton 1-0 Manchester United
Villa looked very poor against West Ham, almost incapable of scoring a goal, but I’m sure when the likes of Bent regain top form this will change.
Everton’s surprise win against United will have caught many people’s attention, they fully deserved the 3 points in that match.
I think this match will be dependent on injuries and player fitness. Villa could struggle without Dunne at the back, whilst Jelavic is a key player for Moyes’ side.
Everton 1-0 Aston Villa
Manchester United v Fulham – Old Trafford – 15:00
Man United Robin van Persie is set to make his first start for Manchester United, following his recent move from Arsenal. United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has hinted that the Netherlands international striker – who made his debut for the club as a substitute in the 1-0 defeat at Everton on Monday – will be promoted to the first XI for the visit of the Cottagers.
Ferguson has also confirmed Van Persie’s compatriot and fellow new recruit, full-back Alexander Buttner, will be involved, most likely starting on the bench, and that he will once again be without the defensive quartet of Phil Jones (back), Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling (both foot) and Rio Ferdinand (leg) that was unavailable for the Everton game.
Fulham Having missed last week’s 5-0 rout of Norwich, Clint Dempsey will again be missing from the lineup, while Kerim Frei (pelvis) and Philippe Senderos (foot) are also unavailable. However, Zdenek Grygera (knee) has been passed fit.
Manchester United (from): De Gea, Lindegaard, Rafael, Vidic, Evra, Valencia, Nani, Scholes, Carrick, Anderson, Cleverley, Kagawa, Powell, Giggs, Young, Rooney, Van Persie, Welbeck, Hernandez, Berbatov, Macheda, Buttner.
Fulham (from): Schwarzer, Stockdale, Somogyi, Etheridge, Kelly, Riise, Hangeland, Baird, Briggs, Grygera, Hughes, Riether, Halliche, Sidwell, Kasami, Duff, Diarra, Kacanicklic, Petric, Ruiz, Rodallega, Trotta.
Manchester United – L
Everton 1-0 Man United
Fulham – W
Fulham 5-0 Norwich
Sir Alex will be anxious to register the Red Devils first 3 points of the season against Martin Jol’s Fulham.
Despite losing against Everton, United looked very dangerous in attack. The addition of Shinji Kagawa to the side seems to have added the much needed creativity that the team lacked at times last season.
At the back, United have a number of injury concerns (we saw a makeshift defence against the Toffees on Monday) but Ferguson has since signed Alex Buttner, a player who should solve at least part of this problem.
Fulham started the season excellently with a huge 5-0 win against Norwich City. Even without star man Dempsey, they stormed to an easy 3 points in front of their home fans.
This game will be much different to what we saw last weekend. United rarely lose at home and with Van Perise set to start I think the Red Devils will steal the glory.
Manchester United 2-0 Fulham
Norwich City v Queens Park Rangers – Carrow Road – 15:00
Norwich Winger Elliott Bennett is sidelined with a knee problem, but new signings Sebastien Bassong and Javier Garrido, who now has international clearance for his season-long loan from Lazio, are both in contention, as manager Chris Hughton ponders his options following last weekend’s 5-0 defeat by Fulham.
Centre-half Steven Whittaker (ankle), midfielders Jacob Butterfield (knee) and David Fox (knee) and defender Elliott Ward (ankle) all continue their rehabilitation.
QPR New signing Jose Bosingwa is in line to make his debut. The 29-year-old former Chelsea right-back may be part of a reshuffled Hoops defence after last week’s 5-0 home loss to Swansea.
Only Alejandro Faurlin and Kieron Dyer are definite absentees as they both lack match sharpness following long injury lay-offs.
Norwich (from): Ruddy, Garrido, Turner, Bassong, Martin, Pilkington, Johnson, Howson, Surman, Snodgrass, Holt, Rudd, Vaughan, Morison, Hoolahan, Tierney, R Bennett, Lapin.
Queens Park Rangers (from): Green, Cerny, Murphy, Ferdinand, Onuoha, Bosingwa, Hill, Nelsen, Fabio, Traore, Derry, Park, Diakite, Park, Dyer, Taarabt, Hoilett, Wright-Phillips, Ephraim, Mackie, Johnson, Zamora, Cisse.
Norwich – L
Fulham 5-0 Norwich
QPR – L
QPR 0-5 Swansea
Both sides started the season in appalling fashion, both losing by 5 goals. As a result, this game will be extremely interesting.
QPR looked poor defensively against Swansea, but the addition of Jose Bosingwa should boost the side’s back four. Norwich will field pretty much the same side that played at Craven Cottage.
In my opinion, QPR have the stronger team and despite being away from home, I think they’ll take the points.
Norwich 1-3 QPR
Southampton v Wigan – St Mary’s Stadium – 15:00
Southampton Midfielder Jack Cork remains the only injury concern as he is still recovering from an ankle knock picked up in pre-season and which rules him out for the first home match of the season.
Tadanari Lee played 70 minutes for the development team this week after a foot injury and could be involved.
Wigan Manager Roberto Martinez is monitoring the fitness of three players, while it remains to be seen whether or not forward Victor Moses has already made his last appearance for the Latics.
Wide man Jean Beausejour missed last Sunday’s 2-0 home defeat by Chelsea due to a soft tissue problem and will be assessed, along with fellow midfielders James McArthur (back) and Shaun Maloney (dead leg), who both had to be substituted during the contest, with Wigan last night confirming they had accepted a bid for him from the London club.
One of the hosts’ stand-out performers against the Blues was Moses and he could be a Chelsea player by the weekend, with Wigan last night confirming they had accepted a bid for him from the London club.
Southampton (from): Davis, Gazzaniga, Richardson, Butterfield, Clyne, Fox, Shaw, Hooiveld, Fonte, Seaborne, Stephens, Chambers, Ward-Prowse, Do Prado, Cork, Chaplow, De Ridder, Lallana, Schneiderlin, Puncheon, Hammond, Davis, Lambert, Lee, Rodriguez, Sharp
Wigan (from): Al Habsi, Kone, Alcaraz, McArthy, Caldwell, Jones, Crusat, Watson, Di Santo, Maloney, Moses, Pollitt, Gomez, McManaman, McArthur, Boyce, Boselli, Fyvie, Ramis, Beausejour, Stam, Lopez, Figueroa, Miyaichi.
Southampton – L
Manchester City 3-2 Southampton
Wigan – L
Wigan 0-2 Chelsea
Nigel Adkins’ Southampton looked very impressive against the Premier League Champions last weekend. They gave them a real scare as they almost stole 3 points.
Wigan however looked fairly average against Chelsea after conceding twice in the opening 10 minutes.
Martinez’s side look very different to the team we saw at the end of last season and the imminent departure of Victor Moses will not help their cause.
Southampton will be still be buzzing after their promotion from the Championship last season and I think they’ll win their first 3 points of the season against Wigan.
Southampton 3-2 Wigan
Sunderland v Reading – Stadium of Light – 15:00
Sunderland Steven Fletcher could make his debut after his switch from Wolves was completed before the Friday deadline. The 25-year-old striker joined for an undisclosed fee and could start in the Black Cats’ first home game of the season at the Stadium of Light.
Wes Brown (knee ligaments), Phil Bardsley (ankle) and David Vaughan (ankle) are still recovering from injuries and will miss out.
Reading Brian McDermott has no fresh injury doubts. Jem Karacan is still working his way back from a broken ankle while Jimmy Kebe (hamstring) will not be available until after the international break.
McDermott does welcome striker Jason Roberts back from suspension but a calf problem, coupled with a lack of match fitness, means the 34-year-old is unlikely to be involved from the start.
Sunderland (from): Westwood, Mignolet, Cattermole, Larsson, Gardner, Campbell, Wickham, Richardson, Kilgallon, Colback, O’Shea, Ji, Meyler, Bramble, McClean, Elmohamady, Saha, Cuellar, Fletcher, Sessegnon.
Reading (from): Federici, Taylor, Gunter, Cummings, Gorkss, Pearce, Mariappa, Shorey, Harte, McAnuff, Guthrie, Leigertwood, Tabb, McCleary, Pogrebnyak, Le Fondre, Roberts, Hunt, Robson-Kanu, Church, McCarthy.
Sunderland – D
Arsenal 0-0 Sunderland
Reading – DL
Reading 1-1 Stoke
Chelsea 4-2 Reading
Sunderland played well to earn a point at the Emirates last weekend, whilst Reading came from behind to draw against Stoke.
McDermott’s side were in action again in midweek, they looked bright against the European Champions, Chelsea, they led 2-1 before eventually losing 4-2.
I think this will be a fairly boring fixture. Although, Sunderland will be boosted by the signing of Steven Fletcher from Championship side Wolves and I think they’ll win this match.
Sunderland 2-0 Reading
Tottenham v West Bromwich Albion – White Hart Lane – 15:00
Tottenham Defender Jan Vertonghen is likely to make his debut after Younes Kaboul was ruled out with a knee injury.
Luka Modric will not feature with the playmaker still linked with a move to Real Madrid, but Michael Dawson is available despite holding talks with QPR over a potential move this week.
Emmanuel Adebayor is available after his transfer from Manchester City went through on Tuesday, but Scott Parker (Achilles), Giovani Dos Santos (muscle) and Heurelho Gomes (ankle) are out.
West Brom Steve Clarke hopes to have a full squad to choose from. The Scot may even be able to call on the services of Graham Dorrans as the midfielder’s daughter continues to make progress from having contracted meningitis.
There are no injury concerns for Clarke, whose side beat Liverpool last weekend, with summer signing Markus Rosenberg in contention for a place in attack.
Tottenham Hotspur (from): Friedel, Cudicini, Dawson, Gallas, Dawson, Walker, Assou-Ekotto, Vertonghen, Caulker, Naughton, Bale, Lennon, Van der Vaart, Rose, Livermore, Sandro, Bentley, Jenas, Sigurdsson, Carroll, Townsend, Defoe, Kane, Adebayor.
West Bromwich Albion (from): Foster, Myhill, Reid, Olsson, Yacob, Ridgewell, Morrison, Long, El Ghanassy, Brunt, Thomas, Allan, Jara, Lukaku, Mulumbu, Gera, McAuley, Rosenberg, Dorrans, Odemwingie, Dawson, Jones, Tamas, Fortune.
Tottenham – L
Newcastle 2-1 Tottenham
West Brom – W
West Brom 3-0 Liverpool
Although West Brom had a great start against Liverpool last weekend, I think Tottenham will overpower them, especially with the return of Emmanuel Adebayor.
Tottenham 3-0 West Brom
Chelsea v Newcastle – Stamford Bridge – 17:30
Chelsea are likely to be without captain John Terry due to a neck injury, but David Luiz (knee) is expected to be fit after sitting out the 4-2 victory over Reading in midweek.
Marko Marin remains unavailable because of a hamstring injury.
Newcastle United Manager Alan Pardew will make late checks on captain Fabricio Coloccini and striker Demba Ba.
The pair were among nine men who missed or were rested for the 1-1 UEFA Europa League play-off draw at Atromitos on Thursday night, the Argentinian with a thigh problem and the Senegal international with a sore shin.
Pardew is hoping both will be fit after training in London this evening, although Cheick Tiote (calf) and Shola Ameobi (hamstring) remain doubts.
Chelsea (from): Cech, Ferreira, Ivanovic, Cahill, Luiz, Cole, Bertrand, Mikel, Meireles, Malouda, Lampard, Ramires, Mata, Hazard, Oscar, Piazon, Torres, Sturridge, Turnbull.
Newcastle (from): Krul, Elliot, Harper, Santon, R. Taylor, Tavernier, Coloccini, Perch, Williamson, S. Taylor, Simpson, Cabaye, Gutierrez, Obertan, Marveaux, Gosling, Anita, Bigirimana, Amalfitano, Cisse, Ba, Campbell.
Chelsea – WW
Wigan 0-2 Chelsea
Chelsea 4-2 Reading
Newcastle – W
Newcastle 2-1 Tottenham
Both Newcastle and Chelsea have enjoyed perfect starts to the season. In my opinion, this will be the most exciting match of the weekend.
Chelsea have the home advantage and the greater run of form, I think they’ll just win this match.
Chelsea 2-0 Newcastle
Sunday 26th 2012
Stoke v Arsenal – Britannia Stadium – Kick-off 13:30
Stoke Dean Whitehead is serving a one-match ban after he was dismissed last weekend at Reading.
American defender Geoff Cameron is available after signing in the summer, while Jermaine Pennant could return to the squad after recovering from the thigh injury which kept him out from the game at the Madejski Stadium.
Arsenal Arsenal will need to assess goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, who has a minor rib problem, but England winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (ankle) is fit again, along with reserve keeper Lukasz Fabianski (back).
Defender Laurent Koscielny (calf) will again miss out, along with Tomas Rosicky (hamstring), while midfielder Jack Wilshere continues his rehabilitation from an ankle injury and Bacary Sagna stays out with a broken leg.
Stoke City (from): Begovic, Sorensen, Huth, Shawcross, Cameron, Upson, Higginbotham, Wilkinson, Shotton, Wilson, Whelan, Etherington, Pennant, Delap, Palacios, Jones, Jerome, Crouch, Walters, Sidibe, Ness, Kightly.
Arsenal (from): Szczesny, Jenkinson, Vermaelen, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Diaby, Cazorla, Walcott, Arteta, Podolski, Gervinho, Fabianski, Arshavin, Ramsey, Giroud, Santos, Djourou, Coquelin.
Stoke – D
Reading 1-1 Stoke
Arsenal – D
Arsenal 0-0 Sunderland
Both Arsenal and Stoke started the 2012/13 campaign with draws last weekend. This will be a tough second fixture for the Gunners, Crouch and co will be tough opposition, especially with the home advantage.
Arsenal looked dangerous last week despite being unable to find the back of the net. I think the goals will come with time, we could see a few in this fixture.
Stoke 1-2 Arsenal
Liverpool v Manchester City – Anfield – 16:00
Liverpool Captain Steven Gerrard, striker Luis Suarez and defenders Martin Skrtel and Glen Johnson all return to the squad. The quartet were rested for the UEFA Europa League win over Hearts on Thursday, while striker Andy Carroll, who travelled but missed out with a hamstring problem, will be assessed in the next 48 hours.
Centre-back Daniel Agger is suspended after his red card last weekend but fellow defender Jose Enrique could return after a knee injury kept him out at The Hawthorns.
Manchester City The Barclays Premier League champions are without last season’s top scorer Sergio Aguero after the Argentina striker suffered a knee injury in last week’s defeat of Southampton and is expected to be sidelined until mid-September.
Midfielder Gareth Barry (abdominal) is set for a reserves outing but defender Micah Richards (ankle) is still out of action.
Liverpool (from): Reina, Kelly, Johnson, Skrtel, Carragher, Gerrard, Lucas, Allen, Downing, Suarez, Borini, Jones, Coates, Enrique, Henderson, Shelvey, Spearing, Adam, Sterling, Carroll.
Manchester City (from): Hart, Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, K Toure, Savic, Clichy, Kolarov, Nasri, Milner, Johnson, Y Toure, De Jong, Rodwell, Silva, Tevez, Balotelli, Dzeko.
Liverpool – L
West Brom 3-0 Liverpool
Manchester City – W
Man City 3-2 Southampton
Liverpool’s poor start to the season could continue against Manchester City. I can’t see them beating the Premier League champions in this match.
Liverpool 0-2 Manchester City