The first blockbuster match of the new season could see Chelsea beat Arsenal.
Chelsea made a good start to the new Premier League season with a 3-0 win at Huddersfield but their opponents are one of the favourites for relegation so the value of the form is questionable. The new man in charge, Maurizio Sarri, encourages attacking football so three goals on the road is a good start.
Manchester City will have many more comfortable away wins than the 2-0 victory at Arsenal over the opening weekend. The match marked the start of the post Arsene Wenger era at Arsenal and there were plenty of encouraging signs but ultimately City were the better team and scored two goals without reply. Chelsea can inflict a second defeat so Arsenal will be at the wrong end of the table.
The live TV weekend football programme from the Premier League begins with Cardiff’s home match against Newcastle on Saturday. When 13 football odds compilers were asked which teams they thought would be relegated from the Premier League season not one did not include Cardiff in their projected bottom three. The consensus is that Cardiff are the least equipped of the promoted teams to avoid an immediate return to the Championship.
The owner of Newcastle spent £90 million buying the House of Fraser but Mike Ashley has not provided funds for Rafa Benitez to buy players. The manager is fighting a losing battle with Ashely who seems to prioritise expanding his retail empire over improving the Newcastle squad. However, the side should have enough to win maximum points at Cardiff.
The champions are in action for the first time this season and Manchester City should record a comfortable win at home against Huddersfield. City won more than 100 points and scored more than 100 goals and finished 19 points ahead the pack in winning the Premier League last season. The hunger and desire was there in spades in the 2-0 win at Arsenal and City will again be the team to beat.
Huddersfield scrapped and scraped their way to Premier League safety last season but second season syndrome is possible. They had the smallest budget in the top flight by some distance and they have not splashed the cash this time. Some aspects of playing at the top level could be more difficult second time around. Avoiding defeat in Manchester looks beyond them.
Brighton relied on their home form to stay in the Premier League and managed to finish 15th with 40 points. Leicester were the only side not in the top six to earn maximum points at Brighton but only won twice on the road. Manchester United overall were the second best team in the Premier League last season but could not lay a glove on their rivals across town. Jose Mourinho has bemoaned the lack of arrivals but United have a squad that could get closer to City over the full season and take care on Brighton on the road.
Wilfried Zaha is Crystal Palace’s key player and they find it difficult to win in his absence. He did not start in nine matches last season and Palace lost the lot so his influence and contribution is obvious. Liverpool are being touted as the team most likely to give Manchester City a run for their money. They could not have made a better start to the new campaign with a 4-0 home win over West Ham with Mo Salah scoring the first goal again. A win at Palace can consolidate their position at the top of the league.