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Brentford v Arsenal
Arsenal to win 2-0
What a game for Brentford to start their Premier League adventure! I think they’ll be an unknown quantity to a lot of fans and could surprise a few of the big boys this season.
In Ivan Toney they’ve got someone who can give them a chance of staying up. He’s a very composed finisher in front of goal and is one of the best penalty takers I’ve seen in years. He scored 31 goals in the Championship, and I think if he could score at least 15 in the league this year, Brentford have a chance of survival.
As for Arsenal, it feels like nothing has really changed at the club since Arsene Wenger left. I expected a few more ins and outs at the club and would expect them to be busy before the end of the window.
Ben White’s a big investment but is definitely an improvement on what they had and he’s a quintessential modern-day centre half. Aubameyang had a quiet season last year, but I think that he will bounce back this season, he’s too good a striker not to.
It’ll be a loud night at the Brentford Community Stadium, and I think Brentford will give Arsenal a good game. My gut tells me that Arsenal will have too much quality and expose a defence which could be susceptible to the counter. Arsenal to win 2-0 is my pick.
Man Utd v Leeds
Man Utd to win 3-2
This might just be the game of the weekend. United – Leeds games are always special, I should know, I scored a double at Elland Road in one! Leeds were a joy to watch last season and I’m sure Bielsa will be getting the players ready on the training ground.
I’m not one to place too much value on preseason results but Leeds have lost 4 of their last 5 which has to be a worry for Bielsa ahead of this one.
As for United, they’ve have had a superb window so far and I have a feeling they might bring in more arrivals before the window shuts. I think Sancho will arrive back in England with a point to prove and will fit in seamlessly to that attack.
Maguire has needed a reliable partner next to him since he signed and if they can get the Varane deal over the line, they don’t come much better than him. I’ve always been a huge fan of Cavani but would worry that they are reliant on him at his age and would think another striker could arrive before the end of the month. Still, the Uruguayan’s movement remains exceptional, and I would fancy him to have another good season.
United beat Leeds 6-2 at Old Trafford last season and I fancy another win here. I don’t think it will be as conclusive this time around, but I think they will edge a thriller and win 3-2.
Burnley v Brighton
It’s a real contrast of styles at Turf Moor, which makes this a hard one to predict. Sean Dyche year on year continues to get the most out of his Burnley side and this will be their sixth consecutive year in the league. In fact, I’m surprised Burnley have kept hold of him for another year.
I’m a big fan of Graham Potter and think he’s doing an excellent job at Brighton. I saw a lot of the Seagulls last season and it was a familiar story, attractive football but a failure to put the ball in the net. It must be frustrating for their fans because they create chance after chance. I expected them to add a bit more firepower up top but as of now, haven’t done so.
These two finished 16th and 17th in the league last season, so I don’t think there will be much between them. Both games last season finished all square, so I’m going for a 1-1 draw.
Leicester v Wolves
Leicester to win 2-0
I love what Leicester have done in the transfer window so far. I’ve heard a lot of positive things about the youngster Patson Daka and his goalscoring record in Austria was excellent. I don’t think he’s been signed to instantly start but he can still contribute. For years, Leicester have been so reliant on Jamie Vardy to score them goals but with Daka and Iheanacho in the squad, that’s no longer the case.
I love the intensity Harvey Barnes plays with, and I think he was a huge loss to the side when he got injured last season. He looked the best player on the pitch for spells of the Community Shield and I’d be surprised if he didn’t add to his one England Cap this season.
It feels like this could be the end of an era for this Wolves side. Nuno Espirito Santo did an excellent job and it’s a big ask for the new man, Bruno Lage, to step into his shoes. I’m glad to see Jimenez back after his horrible injury and hope he can return close to the level he was prior. With Neto, Traore and Trincao, on loan from Barca, he should at least have some top service.
I think Leicester’s confidence after winning the Community Shield will be sky-high and I’d fancy them to kickstart their top four push with a 2-0 home win.
Chelsea v Crystal Palace
Chelsea to win 2-0
I’d be shocked if at the end of the season, Chelsea aren’t right up there competing for the title. Tuchel continues to do an excellent job and they are building a strong squad. Lukaku will be a brilliant signing and returns to English football a much more complete striker than the one who left.
I’m hoping Werner gets a bit more luck in front of goal because his movement last year was consistently brilliant. Trust me, if a striker continues to make the right run, be in the right position, eventually he will start scoring at will.
I have no idea what to expect from Palace this season. I don’t think Roy Hodgson ever quite got the credit he deserved at Selhurst Park and it’s a big job for Vieira to replace him. Obviously, Patrick has a wealth of experience in this league but it’s a big difference being a manager. I’ve heard a lot of good things about the new signing Olise, but they remain as reliant on Zaha as ever.
Chelsea kept 12 clean sheets in 20 PL games under Tuchel last season and I think this could be more of the same. I’m tipping a comfortable 2-0 win for the Blues.
Everton v Southampton
Everton to win 1-0
It’s been a strange summer at Goodison Park, and I’ve got to say, I’m shocked my old gaffer, Rafa Benitez, has ended up in the dugout. Rafa’s always been his own man though and I’m sure he thinks he can win the Goodison faithful over. The pressure’s going to be on him and believe me, a couple of bad results will see those fans get on his back.
However, this should be an ideal opener against a Saints side who look weaker than they did last season. Everton faded towards the end of the 20/21 campaign, but Calvert-Lewin had a superb season last year, scoring 16 goals for the Blues.
I fancy him to have a good season under Benitez who will play a more direct style and play to his strengths more than other managers have.
The Saints were far too reliant on Ings last year, so I do worry where the goals will come from. It was a miserable end for Hasenhüttl’s side, who picked up the fewest points of any PL side over the last 25 games.
They conceded 68 goals, the second most in the league last season, and it could be a tough season to come for them.
I don’t think it will be pretty, but I think Rafa, and Everton will get off to a winning start with a narrow home win.
Watford v Aston Villa
Aston Villa to win 1-0
It’s not going to be easy for Dean Smith to replace Jack Grealish, but I think he’s made some excellent signings so far. I’m a big fan of Emi Buendia, in fact, I’m surprised that one of the top 6 didn’t make an offer for him.
He will help to fill Grealish’s void and Leon Bailey will add some pace and goals to their wide areas. Danny Ings is one of my favourite signings any club have made so far. He guarantees goals for Villa and him and Watkins give Dean Smith great options in that position.
Watford are difficult to judge and as always, have a huge squad of players. They’ve got a lot of pace up front in Sarr, King and new-man Dennis. Deeney should link the attack well so I don’t think they will struggle at that end of the park. They aren’t the youngest of teams at the back so I worry that pace could cause them problems.
I don’t think there will be much in this game, but I think Villa will narrowly edge it 1-0.
Norwich v Liverpool
Liverpol to win 3-1
Last season was a difficult one for my old club, but they saved it by making the Top four. Defence was an issue all season but with the main man Van Dijk on his way back and new signing Konate settling in, I’d expect a big improvement.
It can’t be overstated what a miss Van Dijk was to the team and him being back on the pitch will galvanise the whole club.
Norwich cruised to the Championship title, playing some lovely football along the way. I worry they are a little too open at this level, and Emi Buendia will be a major loss to this team. Signing Billy Gilmour on loan looks a nice bit of business but they’ll need Pukki to have another good season for them to stay up.
Norwich conceded 75 goals in the league when they got relegated two seasons ago, and I worry it could be a similar outcome this season. Liverpool beat them 4-1 on the opening day that season and I fancy similar here, with the Reds to win 3-1 is my tip.
Newcastle v West Ham
West Ham to win 1-0
West Ham had a brilliant season last year and were unlucky to miss out on the top four by just two points. I don’t think they’ll be quite as successful this year, but I still fancy the Hammers to compete for Europe once more.
Jesse Lingard will be a big miss for them, and I had expected him to return on a permanent basis. Tomas Soucek’s goals from midfield will be even more vital in Lingard’s absence.
It seems that Newcastle has a transfer crisis every summer, but they have signed Joe Willock on a permanent basis, so that should get the fans back on side.
I don’t anticipate lots of goals in this, but I think West Ham will sneak it 1-0.
Spurs v Man City
Man City to win 3-1
I can’t wait for this one and I expect City to be at their best here. I’m curious to see how Guardiola plans to use Jack Grealish and would expect the most expensive Englishman of all time to make his debut here.
I’m surprised City are yet to sign a striker and do feel they are a little short there with Gabriel Jesus the only out and out number nine on the books. Of course, Harry Kane would have been perfect for this side.
I feel sorry for Nuno Espirito Santo as he’s inherited a lot of issues. The Kane situation hasn’t been ideal and could still linger on until the end of the window. I’m sure Nuno would love the window to shut now, so he could work with the players he has.
City have won the last two against Spurs and look too strong here. I fancy the Champions to lay down a marker and win this one 3-1.