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Friday, August 12, 2011

Barclays Premier League Preview and Predictions: Let The Games Begin!!

After exactly 82days of waiting, the 2011-12 Barclays premier league season kicks off this Saturday. The violence that rocked London and other major cities in the UK in the past few days threatened to disrupt the start of the eagerly awaited season but it seems the situation has cooled off. However, the match between Tottenham and Everton at White Hart Lane will not take place due to security fears.

Six matches are lined up for Saturday, two on Sunday while Manchester City versus promoted side Swansea will be the only match on Monday.

Saturday August 12 Match Previews
Liverpool v Sunderland
Liverpool have been active in the transfer window and one of their biggest signings is 21-year-old midfielder Jordan Henderson who they snapped from their weekend’s opponents Sunderland. Sunderland have not been quite either using the proceeds from Henderson’s sale (thought to be around £16 million) to bring in no less than 10 players including Reds’ target Connor Wickham. The two teams meet at Anfield and Liverpool will be hoping for a better result than the 2-2 draw they shared last season at Anfield.
My Prediction: Liverpool 3-1 Sunderland

Newcastle v Arsenal

Do you remember that entertaining 4-4 draw between these two teams at St. James’ Park last season? Could we be in for another treat this weekend? Newcastle was one of Arsenal’s toughest opponents last season. The Magpies snatched a 1-0 win at the Emirates and came from four goals down to draw 4-4 at home in the last game of the season. The two teams have had a frustrating summer with no major signings though Arsenal has acaquired the services of Ivorian striker Gervinho and Southampton whizkid Alex Oxlade-Chamberlin. Newcastle on the other hand have lost Jose Enrique to Liverpool and Joey Barton has been told he can leave the club though he might feature in the late Saturday night kickoff.
My Prediction: Newcastle 1-2 Arsenal

Blackburn v Wolves

These two teams will be among those fighting to avoid relegation this season. They both just survived from dropping to the championship last season. Blackburn beat the Molineux club in both their meetings, 3-0 at Ewood Park and 3-2 at the Molineux.
My Prediction: Blackburn 2-1 Wolves

Fulham v Aston Villa

Both teams will start the season under a new manager. Martin Jol took over the reigns at Craven Cottage, replacing Mark Hughes while Alex McLeish took the controversial and unpopular switch from Birmingham to Villa, replacing Gerard Houllier who stepped down. Fulham has been busy in the Europa League qualification campaign while Aston Villa has been in the news mostly for selling Ashley Young and Stewart Downing to Manchester United and Liverpool respectively, but added the services of Charles Nzogbia to their ranks. The two teams drew 2-2 in both fixtures last season.
My Prediction: Fulham 1-1 Aston Villa

QPR v Bolton

Newly-promoted Queens Park Rangers is the only promoted team that will start their campaign at home. The Hoops easily won promotion to the league from the championship but welcoming Owen Coyle’s men to Loftus Road will be as hard a test as they come. The two teams have previously met five times with Bolton emerging superior in four occasions. However, QPR have a weapon in Adel Taarabt who if they unleash will be nightmarish to Bolton’s defenders.
My Prediction: QPR 1-2 Bolton

Wigan v Norwich
Like Blackburn and Wolves, Wigan only survived relegation last season on the last day. They welcome Norwich, one of the three promoted sides, to the JJB stadium. The two teams have never met in the Premier League and could well be involved in the relegation dogfight come end of the season.
My Prediction: Wigan 3-1 Norwich


Sunday August 13 Match Previews

Stoke v Chelsea

The Britannia Stadium will be Chelsea new boss Andre Villas-Boas first competitive game in the English league. Tony Pulis’ side has been improving since they gained promotion back in 2008 and even qualified for the Europa League, third qualification round after featuring in the FA Cup final which they lost to Manchester City. The two teams drew 1-1 in the corresponding fixture last season but the Blues should find the going not as rough but a 6-0 routing they gave West Brom in their first match last season will be impossible.
My Prediction: Stoke 0-2 Chelsea

West Brom v Manchester United

West Brom were thrashed 6-0 by Chelsea in their opening fixture last season but the Baggies have very much improved under the tutelage of Roy Hodgson. United showed why they are being tipped to win their 20th Premier League title last weekend when they came from two goals down to beat Man City 3-2. United beat the Baggies 2-1 in the corresponding fixture last season and this should be more of a routine win for the Red Devils.
My Prediction: West Brom 1-2 Man Utd


Monday August 14 Match Preview

Manchester City v Swansea

Swansea’s debut in premier league football will see them take a trip to Eastlands to face cash and player-rich Manchester City. The Swans earned promotion after beating Reading 4-2 in the championship playoffs and will become the first Welsh side to play in the premier league division. However, a few defenders will want to visit Eastland this season to face the likes of Mario Balotelli, Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko. Anything less than an emphatic win will be an underachievement for Roberto Mancini’s side. 
My Prediction: Man City 4-0 Swansea


Best of luck to my team.

And that's thesteifmastertake!!