It was a largely chastening welcome to the Premier League, for the newly-promoted clubs, last weekend. Can they assert themselves, in Game-Week 2? John Newsome provides his thoughts.
CARDIFF v NEWCASTLE
Early Saturday afternoon kick-off live on Sky Sports sees newly promoted Cardiff take on Newcastle at the Cardiff Stadium. Cardiff got a rude introduction to the Premier League in their first game back in the big time away at Bournemouth. Whilst competing well enough, they were ultimately beaten 2-0 and will put that game to bed and move on. Neil Warnock has managed to get in a few new signings who were impressive on their Cardiff debuts. He persuaded Bournemouth’s Harry Arter to join on loan, but Harry couldn’t play in the game against his parent club so should feature in this game against Newcastle. Rafa Benitez was frustrated in the Transfer Window, but right on the deadline, owner Mike Ashley bought Scottish stalwart Hauser Fraser for £90 Million. The significant timing of that purchase will not have gone down well with manager Rafa Benitez and the Toon Army. Mike Ashley purchased Newcastle in 2007. In 2005, England, Liverpool and strangely, Manchester United legend Michael Owen was bought by Newcastle from Real Madrid for £15 Million. 13 year later and after 11 years of the Mike Ashley ownership, Michael is still Newcastle’s record signing. That cannot appease the great fans of the North East Magpies, £15 Million is nothing in today’s football, yet Mr Ashley has paid £90 Million for a struggling High Street Chain, struggling because of the high overheads, the horrendously high prices these stores charge for a pair of Armani Jeans or a Lacoste Top. The same reason why pubs are closing. £5 quid for a pint and you can’t even have a Silk Cut with it unless you go outside. Hope the Big Scot Hauser Fraser turns out to be a good signing for Mr Ashley. Neil Warnock v Rafa Benitez has not happened that many times so should be interesting on the sidelines. Newcastle played Tottenham last weekend and lost 2-1. Joselu scored for the Magpies getting his head onto a Matt Ritchie cross.
Online Bookmakers Come On! have this pretty even with Cardiff at 37/20 Newcastle are 17/10 and the Draw is 11/5.
TOTTENHAM v FULHAM
Tottenham kicked off their Premier League campaign with a well-deserved win against Newcastle. Despite the World Cup heroics of the Tottenham players, with 5 of the Spurs team that started against Newcastle playing in the Semi-Final and in Hugo Lloris’s case the Final of the World Cup, Tottenham were just that bit too good for Newcastle. The 1st goal came by the way of Goal Line Technology. Jan Vertonghen got his head onto a speculative cross and the Newcastle goalkeeper appeared to have saved it. Referee Martin Atkinson immediately pointed to his wrist and stated that the ball had crossed over the line. Apparently, it was a mere 9mm over. That’s the thing about GLT, once given, no one argues. Dele Alli got a trademark header to give Spurs all 3 points and a great start to a historic year for Tottenham embarking on a new season in a new Stadium.
Fulham, like Cardiff, were welcomed to the Premier League with a 2-0 loss at home to London rivals Crystal Palace. The stats show Fulham had the majority of possession and more shots on goal, but ultimately the only stat that counts is the 2 goals scored by Crystal Palace. Like Cardiff, Fulham will put that game to bed and move onto this game against another London rival Tottenham. Fortunately for Fulham, the new White Hart Lane Stadium isn’t yet ready so this game will be played at Wembley. Fulham went 43 years without playing at Wembley until the Championship Play-Off final against Aston Villa in May. Now within 3 months, they are back at Wembley. Come On! have Tottenham as clear favourites at 2/7 with Fulham at 35/4 and the Draw at 21/4. Tottenham should be too strong.
Home Win 3-0
WEST HAM v BOURNEMOUTH
West Ham were blast away at Anfield last Sunday and will just put that to bed and move on. They are at home this time in front of their 50,000 loyal Hammers fans and will want to put on a show after a disappointing season last term. The West Ham owners, David Sullivan and David Gold have brought in a new Manager in ex-Man City boss and Premier League title winner Manuel Pellegrini. The experienced Chilean manager has been backed in the Transfer market, but his new-look Bubbles were simply blown away by Liverpool and will see this home game against Bournemouth as the perfect way to get off to a winning start. Jack Wilshere started against Liverpool, had a loan spell at Bournemouth and will want to put in a performance to show why the Hammers have put faith in him. He really does need to kick-start his career after injuries and see if he can force his way back into Gareth Southgate’s England plans.
Bournemouth got off to a winning start against newly promoted Cardiff, beating the Bluebirds 2-0. The Cherries have been in the Premier League a few years now and under the guidance of the excellent Eddie Howe will try and push on and maybe have a good run in a cup competition. Premier League survival is key but the Cherries faithful would love a good cup run. Ryan Fraser got Bournemouth off to a great start, scoring after 24 minutes from a Callum Wilson pass. Callum had an interesting game, he assisted the opener for Ryan, missed a penalty in the 1st half then scored Bournemouth’s 2nd in the 91st minute to get the 2-0 win. Eddie thought it just to give Callum a standing ovation and took him off in the 94th to rapturous applause from the Cherries faithful. Last season this game was played in the cold of January and finished 1-1. Ryan Fraser got Bournemouth’s that day and Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez got the Hammers equaliser. Online Bookmakers Come On! have it pretty even with West Ham 6/5 to win, Bournemouth 12/5 to win and 51/20 for the points to be shared. Bournemouth’s win against Cardiff will have given them confidence and they could snatch a surprise away win.
Away Win 1-3
EVERTON v SOUTHAMPTON
Everton performed well in their opener against newly promoted Wolves. New signing and ex-Watford striker Richarlison scored 2 goals on his Toffees debut, showing doubters why Marco Silva invested so much money in him. Having worked with him at Watford he obviously knows what Richarlison can do. Considering Everton lost Phil Jagielka in the 40th minute for a reckless challenge, they matched the 11 men of Wolves away from Goodison and the Toffees faithful should be buoyed by that and look forward to this game against Southampton. Barnsley Boy Mason Holgate came on to replace Phil when he was sent off with the unfortunate Gylfi Sigurdsson having to be sacrificed.
Southampton played in probably the most predictable game ever on an opening game of a season. Everyone probably had their game against Burnley as a 0-0 Draw. I think the Bookmakers had it at 4/9 for it to finish 0-0. The Southampton faithful must really be looking forward to this season, the goals will flow on the South coast. They have the players, Nathan Redmond, Charlie Austin, James Ward Prowse and the recent acquisition of Danny Ings should be able to keep Southampton away from the relegation zone. Simply put though, Mark Hughes is not the answer, a terrific player but a dinosaur in the modern management era. Good luck Saints fans. Come On! have Everton has favourites at 6/5 with Southampton at 13/5. The Draw is 12/5. Everton should be too strong for the Saints.
Home Win 2-0
LEICESTER v WOLVES
Leicester take on newcomers Wolves in a Midlands Derby. Geographically there are only 65 miles between the 2 clubs and after the opening game of the new campaign, 1 Premier League point between them. Leicester played on Friday night in the opener against Manchester United and put up a decent display but ultimately lost to the Red Devil’s so will be looking to kick-start the new season against Wolves. Daniel Amartey tried to chest the ball down in the opening couple of minutes, but unfortunately, the ball caught his upper arm and the referee had no choice but to award a penalty. One nil down after only 2 minutes which meant Leicester were always chasing the game. New signing James Maddison made a good start to his Leicester career and if he trains on, will be a real player for the Foxes. United scored a 2nd late on which proved to be the winner, despite a consolation goal from Jamie Vardy. Kasper Schmeichel went up for the last minute corner and got his head to the ball but couldn’t direct it towards goal and the game was over. The Foxes faithful shouldn’t be too disheartened with the result as the display was more than impressive considering Jamie didn’t start the game. Once he’s back to match fitness and starting, Leicester should be able to get up and running and will see this game against Wolves as winnable at the King Power.
Wolverhampton Wanderers or Wolves got the best result of the 3 Promoted teams from the Championship gaining a 2-2 draw at home against Everton. They were helped along the way by the referee when a rash tackle by Everton defender Phil Jagielka resulted in a red card for the Toffees ex-Sheffield United player. Phil will feel this a bit harsh but he possibly could have stayed on his feet and not give the referee the option. Ruben Neves took the free-kick and scored a superb goal past England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. Raul Jimenez scored Wolves 2nd to give the hosts a share of the points after Everton’s Richarlison had scored 2 for the Toffees. A decent start to the Premier League for the Molineux faithful. Come On! are offering 21/20 for a Leicester win and 11/4 for a Wolves win, the Draw is 13/5. Foxes v Wolves.
CHELSEA v ARSENAL
What a cracker of a game to round off Saturday football with this game live on BT Sports. Chelsea went up North to Yorkshire last Saturday and despite losing Thibaut Courtois in the Transfer Window, TC thought it best to join a little Spanish club called Real Madrid, whoever they are, Chelsea were way too good for Huddersfield. SuperMan and World Cup winner N’Golo Kante has been challenged to score more goals this season by new Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri and he certainly didn’t disappoint at the John Smiths Stadium. Little N scored the opener in the 3-0 win against the Terriers who will come again. New signing Jorginho slotted away a cool as you like penalty to make it 2-0 and Pedro rounded off the scoring to give the Blues an easy 3-0 win in the sun of Yorkshire. Chelsea will have harder games and this one against the Gunners will be one of them. Keeping Eden Hazard might just be the best signing of the Transfer Window and the little wizard will be vital to where the Blues end up this season. The downside to that is Spain can still come in for Eden up to the 1st of September and he could still leave to join Postman Pat at Real.
Arsenal were unfortunate enough to start the new era without Arsene Wenger against current Premier League Champions Man City. The Gooners lost 2-0 which to be fair is not the worst result Arsenal will have this season. At one point in the game, about the hour mark, City were time wasting which does show that Arsenal were involved for a bit. Ultimately City were too good for the Gunners, but City will be too good for the majority of teams in the Premier League, so Arsenal need not worry. They won’t win the Premier League this term but will aim to get back into the Top 4 and showed signs against City that they can come good. Come On! have Chelsea favourites at 5/6, with Arsenal at 33/10. The Draw is priced at 59/ 20 which is not a bad option. Last season this game was played exactly, almost to the day on 17th August and finished 0-0. There should be goals in this one and Chelsea might be too good at home.
Home Win 2-0
BURNLEY v WATFORD
Another Sunday Afternoon and another Burnley game. How long will the Burnley faithful last before they start getting annoyed with the Europa League? They played against Turkish club Basaksehir on Thursday and now face Watford in the Premier League after one of the drabbest games ever against Southampton last Sunday. It was always going to be the case. That is the Premier League, you fight every week to finish the highest possible position you can and are rewarded with a European place, yet then this then as an adverse effect on the following season. The game against Southampton was turgid and no doubt this game against Watford won’t be much different. That’s football for you and the Burnley faithful will not want it any other way.
Watford got off to a flyer in their opening day game against Brighton. Argentinian Roberto Pereyra grabbed a couple for the Hornets who can do no more than beat the team that’s in front of them. Javi Gracia, it’s Gracia, not Garcia has the distinction of starting a new season after finishing the last with Watford. A rare occurrence. This game last term was played in December and Burnley had their traditional score of 1-0. One nil to the Burnley! There won’t be many goals today either and a 1-0 might just be the score. Come On! have Burnley as slight favourites at 7/5, with Watford at 9/4. The Draw is the same, also 9/4 which means no one has a clue what will happen.
Home Win 1-0
MAN CITY v HUDDERSFIELD
Current Premier League Champions Man City take on Huddersfield live on Sky Sports in the early Sunday afternoon kick-off. This game last season took place in May and was a bit of a non-event as City were already Champions and Huddersfield were effectively safe from relegation and the end result ended in a goalless draw. The fixture planners have thought to themselves ‘hang on, let’s see City take on Huddersfield early doors with some sort of jeopardy on offer’ Man City beat Arsenal last week in the final fixture of the weekend and whilst the result was comfortable in the end, City weren’t clinical. Kevin de Bruyne and Leroy Sane started on the bench and will become more significant as the games come thick and fast. At one point in the game against Arsenal, while the score was only 1-0, City were actually time wasting with over half an hour to play. That might be a significant pointer to Jurgen and the rest for coming games. Raheem Sterling finally showed he can score and got the opener and David’s brother Bernard Silva got the 2nd. Riyad Mahrez started and played an hour for City and Riyad did what Riyad does. He really is the Football equivalent of Ronseal. Pep’s City will be there or thereabouts come the end of the season but do have a re-invigorated Liverpool to watch. City neighbours United won’t trouble the scorecards, there’s too much anxiety at Old Trafford which needs to be cleansed.
Huddersfield had a difficult start against Chelsea and will have better days to come. They lost fans favourite Michael Hefele in the Transfer Window who was obviously not in David Wagner’s plans. Any Terriers player who scores a winner against deadly rivals Leeds will always be revered in Huddersfield. Big Hef has joined Championship side Nottingham Forest and will certainly enhance the Nottingham club. Come On! have City clear favourites at 2/17 with the Draw at 37/4 and if you are feeling courageous, you can back the Terriers at 20/1. City will win this time.
Home Win 5-0
BRIGHTON v MANCHESTER UNITED
This game is the late Sunday afternoon game live on Sky Sports. Manchester United got off to a flyer against Leicester last Friday. After 75 seconds they were awarded a penalty for handball by the Foxes defender Daniel Amartey. Paul Pogba, who captained United, coolly slotted the penalty away past Kasper Schmeichel. Pogba showed the class that won him a World Cup winners medal and why United paid £90 Million for him, however, he needs to show this ability consistently in a United shirt. Something isn’t right between Pogba and Manchester United. What that is? Who knows? That’s for Jose to worry about. Luke Shaw scored United’s 2nd and ultimately the winner, his first ever league goal. United conceded a late goal when Jamie Vardy nipped in and headed in the rebound from a cross which David De Gea could have dealt with better.
Harry Maguire’s transfer to United didn’t materialise but this might re-surface in January depending on the state of play for both teams.
Brighton lost their opener against Watford 2-0. No drama, it’s the opening game and Brighton will come again. This game against United last season was played in May and saw The Seagull’s get a famous win and ultimately cement their place in the Premier League for another season. Pascal Gross got the all-important goal that gave Brighton all 3 points.
United are favourites with online Bookmakers Come On! who are offering 5/6 for the away team. Brighton are 7/2 to get the win and Come On! are offering 27/10 for the points to be shared. United will have learned from last season and should reverse the scoreline.
Away Win 0-2
CRYSTAL PALACE v LIVERPOOL
Monday Night Football live on Sky Sports, sees Crystal Palace host Liverpool. After last season’s start of 7 games, no goals and no points, Crystal Palace got off to a winning start against newly promoted Fulham. Jeffery Schlupp got the Eagles off to the perfect start with a goal in the 41st minute, hammering a left-foot shot past the helpless Fabricio in the Fulham goals. Last season, if Wilfried Zaha didn’t play, then Palace didn’t get a point, so it was vital that Roy Hodgson held onto his star player. Wilfried scored Crystal Palace’s 2nd in the 79th to get their new campaign off to a winning start.
Liverpool blitzed a new-look West Ham on Sunday in front of the Sky Sports cameras. The Anfield faithful will enjoy many a good game this season with Jurgen Klopp adding to his already menacing squad. New signing’s Alisson and Naby Keita were excellent in the Hammers win, admittedly Alisson didn’t really have much to do. Keita though was outstanding in his role of midfield general. Mo Salah continued where he left off last season and opened the scoring with an easy tap-in. Sadio Mane got a couple in the rout and forgotten man Daniel Sturridge came off the subs bench to score the 4th. The scousers will have loved that and know their team will be a genuine threat to Pep’s City. This fixture last season finished 2-1 to Liverpool with Sadio and Mo getting the Reds goals. Luka Milivojevic scoring a penalty for Palace. Come On! understandably have Liverpool clear favourites at 20/39 with Crystal Palace at 19/4. The Draw is 7/2. Roy will want to get one over his old club but Liverpool should be too strong although they were not as good away from Anfield last term. Let’s see if they have improved their away form.
Away Win 0-3
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