Premier League Matchweek 2 Preview

by Sean Clark

The first Matchweek of the Premier League season brought about some memorable, tragic and controversial moments. Liverpool, the defending European champions, dominated newly promoted Norwich City 4-1, but it came at a cost as elite goalkeeper Alisson Becker suffered a calf injury that may keep him out a few weeks. Also, Manchester United had a dream start to the season as they demolished Chelsea during Frank Lampard’s debut 4-0. VAR was also introduced for the first time in the Premier League and it already caused controversy as goals by Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus and Wolverhampton’s Leander Dendoncker had goals disallowed via VAR. It is now time to see what the next set of games in the Premier League will have in store.

Arsenal vs Burnley

Saturday August 17 7:30 EST/4:30 PT am

Arsenal was able to defeat Newcastle United on the road 1-0 despite missing some key players such as Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac, who are both still under house surveillance during a London gang war, and striker Alexandre Lacazette. Arsenal had three transfers Dani Ceballos, Gabriel Martinelli, and Nicolas Pepe make their debuts are subs. Arsenal manager Unai Emery announced Ozil and Kolasinac returned to training and Pepe, who they got from Lille for 70 million euros, could make his first start against Burnley in their home opener. Burnley opened their season with an impressive 3-0 at home vs Southampton with two goals from Ashley Barnes. With a shorthanded win under their belt, Arsenal will have more weapons in their arsenal to work with as they should take all 3 points at home.

Prediction: Arsenal 2 Burnley 1

Aston Villa vs Bournemouth

Saturday August 17 10:00 EST/7:00 PT am

Aston Villa started last week’s debut vs Tottenham Hotspur strong, maintaining a 1-0 lead until the 73rd minute when last season’s European runners-up scored 3 goals after the 73rd minute to win 3-1. Bournemouth had a disappointing 1-1 draw at home vs Sheffield United and gave up the equalizer to Billy Sharp in the 88th minute. Bournemouth was 5-1-13 on the road last season and look to spoil Villa’s home opener. With these two defenses shaky early, expect a back-and forth battle as the two teams share the points.

Prediction: Aston Villa 2 Bournemouth 2

Everton vs Watford

Saturday August 17 10:00 EST/7:00 PT am

Watford are looking for a much-needed bounce-back game as they were embarrassed at home by underdog Brighton & Hove Albion 3-0. Everton are looking for their first win of the season after a 0-0 draw vs Crystal Palace after Morgan Schneiderlin’s red card. With Gerard Deulofeu fit enough to start again for Watford, they should be able to get some solid chances with his wingman Troy Deeney up front. But with all of Everton’s playmakers including former Juventus striker Moise Kean and former Watford winger Richarlisson, expect Everton to have rhythm on the attack and win their home opener.

Prediction: Everton 3 Watford 1

Norwich City vs Newcastle United

Saturday August 17 10:00 EST/7:00 PT am

Norwich City got off to a rough start as they were decimated at Anfield but return home for their home opener to take on Newcastle United, who lost 1-0 at home to Arsenal last week. Newcomer Allan Saint-Maximin made his debut after his transfer from Nice, looks to make a big impact this week. Norwich was 15-4-4 in the Championship last season and look to continue that success in the Premier League. Expect a slugfest as both teams try to figure out their attacking identity.

Prediction: Norwich City 0 Newcastle United 0

Southampton vs Liverpool

Saturday August 17 10:00 EST/7:00 PT am

Liverpool is coming off Wednesday’s UEFA Super Cup victory over Chelsea in penalties, and now must track on in the Premier League with backup goalkeeper Adrian, who saved the final penalty Wednesday, and will fill in for injured goalkeeper Alisson Becker. They dominated Norwich City 4-1, and they now take on a Southampton team that just lost 3-0 at Burnley. While it looks to be a blowout, Liverpool will have some exhaustion after playing 120 minutes in Istanbul just 3 days prior to this game. Expect Liverpool to survive a low-scoring game.

Prediction: Liverpool 1 Southampton 0

Brighton & Hove Albion vs West Ham United

Saturday August 17 10:00 EST/7:00 PT am

Brighton was one of the most impressive teams in the Premier League last weekend as they throttled Watford 3-0 on the road in manager Graham Potter’s debut. West Ham on the other hand was not at all impressive last week as they ran into the Manchester City juggernaut and were defeated 5-0. Brighton in the last two seasons has been 3-1-0 vs West Ham and look to take care of business as West Ham forwards Sebastien Haller and Felipe Anderson may not be available. Expect Brighton’s midfield to set the pace and maintain possession as they look to continue their impressive start to the season.

Prediction: Brighton & Hove Albion 2 West Ham United 0

Manchester City vs Tottenham Hotspur

Saturday August 17 12:30 EST pm/9:30 PT am

These two top Premier League rivals square off for the first time this season after facing off 4 times last season. While Manchester City got the better of Tottenham in Premier League, the real battle came during the UEFA Champions League as they squared off in an epic 4-4 two-legged battle, but the Spurs came out on top on away goals. This is the first meeting this season and there will be some new faces entering the rivalry. Rodrigo and Joao Cancelo were huge pickups as Man City is gearing up for another season of trophy hunting after winning the Premier League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup last season. After falling one game of the European Trophy last season, the Spurs picked up star midfielder Ndombele from OL-Lyon and he provided a huge goal in the 3-1-win vs Aston Villa. As both teams gear up for another season, expect another intense battle, but this time, Manchester City will just have too many weapons for the Spurs to keep up with as they may not have Son Hueng-min available for the match.

Prediction: Manchester City 4 Tottenham 2

Sheffield United vs Crystal Palace

Sunday August 18 9:00 EST/6:00 PT am

Sheffield stole a point at Bournemouth in their first game back in the Premier League since 2007 as substitute Billy Sharp scored the equalizer in the 88th minute. Crystal Palace amid Wilfried Zaha transfer talks, couldn’t take advantage of a one-man advantage as they drew 0-0 vs Everton. Crystal Palace will win on the road in this matchup as the weapons will come through for a huge win as Sheffield will struggle in their home opener.

Prediction: Crystal Palace 1 Sheffield United 0

Chelsea vs Leicester City

Sunday August 18 11:30 EST/8:30 PT am

Chelsea is not in a good position currently as they were embarrassed 4-0 at Old Trafford last weekend, and just played a marathon 120-minute match vs Liverpool in a game they lost. It was obvious that Chelsea was sorely missing Eden Hazard as they could not take advantage of controlling possession the first 60 minutes of the game. Leicester played their first game since center-back Harry Maguire left for Manchester United and was lucky to escape with a 0-0 draw at home vs Wolverhampton. With Chelsea struggling to finish and Leicester still strong at the midfield, expect to see a defensive slugfest.

Chelsea 0 Leicester City 0

Wolverhampton vs Manchester United

Monday August 19 3:00 EST/12:00 PT pm

Wolverhampton was last year’s Robin Hood as they stole points from every top 6 team besides Liverpool and dropped points against relegated teams. They did this after earning promotion the season prior and had an influx of Portuguese players. Last week, it was a frustrating result as VAR canceled their one goal vs Leicester in a game that ended 0-0. Manchester United had a dream result as they destroyed Chelsea 4-0, and 3 new players all had great debuts. New defenders Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire picked up clean sheets and new winger Daniel James scored a goal in his first game. While Manchester United is riding high, Wolverhampton will continue to play up to their competition and will look to make amends for last week’s result.

Prediction: Wolverhampton 2 Manchester United 1

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