The first weekend of the Premier League is finally upon us and one of the most eye-catching matches will be taking place at St James’ Park. Newcastle United are back in the Premier League and they will be welcoming Tottenham to the North East. The Magpies’ last match in the top flight was against Spurs, as they ran riot and triumphed by a 5-1 scoreline. Although they were already relegated, this was important as the atmosphere convinced Rafa Benitez to stay with the club.
Newcastle’s first task this season will be securing their Premier League status for another season. They may not be your typical promoted club given their size and their manager, but they are still new to the league and they can’t afford to get ahead of themselves. Their transfer business has been a touch underwhelming, but they have a good squad and under Benitez, they have the tools to compete at this level.
Oddly, Tottenham enter the season under a cloud, despite an excellent last two campaigns. They have yet to make a signing this summer and have lost Kyle Walker to Manchester City. However, the most worrying thing for the club is that the negativity among the supporters is spreading to the players. Danny Rose gave an explosive interview to the Sun, in which he criticised the club’s transfer policy and indicated his desire to leave. Mauricio Pochettino needs to get this under control as it has the potential to be hugely damaging to the club’s season.
Despite returning to the Premier League, Newcastle opted for a low-profile pre-season with the majority of their matches played in the UK. Two matches in Germany provided them with a sterner test and they had mixed results. A loss against Mainz was disappointing, but they were excellent against Wolfsburg. Last weekend, they completed a comfortable victory against Hellas Verona to give them momentum heading into the season opener.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men played a number of high profile friendlies to prepare them for the coming campaign. There were impressive wins over PSG and Juventus, which will have boosted confidence within the squad. It wasn’t all positive though, as they did suffer a heavy defeat to Manchester City in the US.
Dwight Gayle is a doubt with a hamstring complaint, but he is expected to be pull through in time. DeAndre Yedlin will be missing for the opening fixture. The American should return later this month. Jamaal Lascelles is fit again, but as he didn’t complete a full pre-season, the club captain is expected to start from the bench.
Kieran Trippier and Victor Wanyama are both doubts for this weekend. Meanwhile, Son Heung-min, Danny Rose and Erik Lamela will all be missing for the visitors with various injuries.
Florian Lejeune and Javier Manquillo are in line to make their full debuts for Newcastle. Benitez is hoping that Gayle is fit to start, but Aleksandar Mitrovic is waiting in the wings if he isn’t. Christian Atsu’s impressive pre-season form should mean he is named in the starting eleven.
They club will be hoping that Kieran Trippier pulls through in time, but if he doesn’t, Moussa Sissoko could start against his former club after a good showing against Juventus. The rest of the Spurs team is what would be expected. Harry Kane and Dele Alli are both certainties to start.
Match Prediction: Newcastle United 1-1 Tottenham
St James’ Park is sold out and the atmosphere will be great for the Magpies’ return to the Premier League. Newcastle have been a bogey side for Tottenham in recent seasons, with the North East side picking up five wins in the last eight Premier League meetings. Benitez will make his side tough to break down and seek to threaten on the counter-attack. The negativity at Tottenham during this past week could have an effect on the match. It isn’t an easy game for the visitors and a draw would represent a solid start for them.
Tottenham Hotspur vs Bournemouth: Premier League match preview, likely line-ups and score prediction
Tottenham Hotspur head into tomorrow’s clash with struggling Bournemouth still searching for their first Premier League victory at Wembley Stadium. Much as been made about Spurs’ hoodoo at the national stadium, where they are temporarily based while construction continues on their new ground.
Mauricio Pochettino’s charges have dropped more points at ‘home’ so far this season than in the entirety of the last campaign. However, they take on a Bournemouth outfit that have collected four points and are above only Crystal Palace in the league standings.
Despite their difficulties at Wembley, Tottenham are unbeaten in the top-flight since August and sit third in the table with 14 points from seven matches. Their demolition of Huddersfield Town before the international break, in which the in-form Harry Kane netted a brace, highlighted their ability to crush opponents.
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe will be acutely aware of the task facing his side. The Cherries have a terrible record against Spurs since being promoted to the Premier League and have yet to gain a single point on their travels this term.
Pochettino has no fresh injury concerns and could be boosted by the return of Mousa Dembele, who has recovered from a foot problem. Victor Wanyama is still sidelined with a knee injury, though. Harry Winks, who impressed on his England debut, is set to retain his place in the starting XI. Long-term absentees Danny Rose and Erik Lamela are several weeks away from first team action.
Howe’s line-up will depend on whether striker Joshua King passes a fitness test after suffering a tight hamstring for Norway. Ryan Fraser and Brad Smith are both poised to miss out, after suffering knocks during the international break. Callum Wilson has been continuing his recuperation by getting minutes under his belt for the Under-23s.
Match prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Bournemouth
Spurs have thrashed Bournemouth in the two fixtures between the clubs at White Hart Lane – and a change of venue is unlikely to bring the Cherries better fortune. If at their best, Howe’s side can at least give Tottenham something to think about and prey on the anxiety they have experienced at Wembley. However, with no away form to speak of, Spurs look set to be too strong.
Liverpool vs Manchester United: Premier League match preview, likely line-ups and score prediction
The two most successful clubs in the history of English football will resume hostilities tomorrow, when Liverpool welcome Manchester United to Anfield. It is a mouth-watering return to the Premier League following the international break, which sees Jose Mourinho’s side put their unbeaten start to the season on the line. The atmosphere is sure to be electric for Saturday’s early kick-off and victory for the hosts would bring them to within four points of their fierce rivals.
With only one win from their past four top-flight outings, Liverpool’s form has stalled somewhat after a bright start. Scoring goals has not been a problem for Jurgen Klopp’s men – but in contrast, no club in the top half has shipped more. It is these defensive shortcomings which have been to blame for too many dropped points.
United meanwhile, have been mightily impressive, taking 19 points from 21. For all their attacking flair, they have also been watertight in defence, with the only goals they have conceded coming in the 2-2 draw away to Stoke City.
Klopp has been left reeling from the news that key player Sadio Mane has been ruled out from up to two months after injuring his hamstring during the international break, which means Daniel Sturridge may keep his place in attack. Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne are edging towards a return, although no date has yet been set.
United have selection problems of their own and will be without Marouane Fellaini, who suffered damage to his knee while playing for Belgium. Paul Pogba, Phil Jones, Michael Carrick and Marcus Rojo all remain sidelined.
Match prediction: Liverpool 1-1 Manchester United
Mourinho is a master tactician whose game-plan will be to keep it tight and frustrate Liverpool. Klopp’s team are more than capable of ruining his approach however, although Mane’s absence is a huge blow. The first goal will be crucial in deciding the outcome.
Everton vs Burnley: Premier League match preview, likely line-ups and score prediction
Everton will look to record just their third Premier League win of the season when a high-flying Burnley take the short trip across the north west to Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon.
Sean Dyche’s side have started the year in impressive fashion, losing just once in their opening six matches, and they’ll provide another stern test for an Everton side that are struggling to grind out results.
Yet Ronald Koeman will hope his side’s comeback victory over Bournemouth last time out can add some inspiration around Merseyside and kick-start a season that hasn’t got going just yet.
Despite spending over £100million during the summer on some well-known names, Everton have found it difficult to convert that into results on the pitch with just two wins from their first six league games.
Consecutive defeats against Chelsea (2-0), Tottenham (3-0) and Manchester United (4-0) had dampened spirits around Goodison somewhat but they secured a much-needed win last week against the Cherries.
Their Europa League adventure hasn’t quite gone to plan either, losing heavily away at Atalanta before being held at home by Cypriot minnows Apollon Limassol to leave them at the bottom of Group E.
The visitors have fared a little better so far this season, only losing the once against West Brom, and they’ve already surprised a few by drawing with Liverpool and Tottenham and seeing off Chelsea.
They’ll arrive on Merseyside with a fine away record too, unbeaten in their first three matches – all three of which ironically were against these top-six contenders – and they’ll want to extend the run.
Ronald Koeman could be without the services of both Phil Jagielka and Michael Keane after the defensive duo missed out on the draw with Apollon Limassol through respective injury problems.
That could see young Mason Holgate drafted into the centre of defence alongside Ashley Williams, with Everton potentially reverting to a four-man defensive system to cater for their lengthy injury list.
There’s little to report for Burnley ahead of Sunday’s clash, although Jonathan Walters could be in contention for a spot on the bench after recovering from an ongoing ligament problem in his ankle.
Match Prediction; Everton 2-1 Burnley
Ronald Koeman will be desperate to see a reaction from his team after their disappointing late set-back against ten-man Apollon on Thursday, and he will want to make it two wins from two in the league.
But it certainly won’t be an easy task against a disciplined Burnley team, who have only conceded five goals all season despite facing a tough run of away games against Premier League title contenders.
Oumar Niasse is in-line for a start after his starring role in the win last weekend and his presence could lift a depleted Everton side, and whilst it won’t be a stroll in the park the hosts should nick a close affair.
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