Waiting for the Premier League season to start has proven to be something like waiting for a bus, with two rounds of fixtures coming at once, though there won’t be a full compliment of games as there are Europa League qualifiers being played too. Clearly on Saturday I was still getting my eye in after a long Summer as I picked up five correct results but no perfect scores so hopefully today’s effort will be more accurate!
Tuesday Fixtures, 7.45pm K.O.
Sunderland vs. Chelsea
Both of these sides got off to a winning start at the weekend but it’s fair to say that the Black Cats were a touch more convincing in beating Bolton while Chelsea had to wait until injury time for Drogba to snatch a winner. That said, Chelsea may find they have more freedom away from home as Sunderland will be under a bit more pressure to get something from the game than Hull were at Stamford Bridge and so there should be more space to exploit. Sunderland will be a threat with Bent and Jones combing well though, so it could be an entertaining match up.
Wigan Athletic vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers
Wigan picked up a massive win against Villa on the opening day and returning to the DW Stadium with three points will be a major bonus for Martinez. They’ll fancy three more from Mick McCarthy’s Wolves side too who weren’t completely outclassed by West Ham but suffered from a lack of killer instinct. They’ve certainly got a bit about them but they do have a lot of young and inexperienced players and this will probably be a tough away trip that’s come too soon for them. Wigan to make it two in two.
Wednesday Fixtures, 7.45pm K.O.
Birmingham City vs. Portsmouth
I was impressed by Birmingham against man Utd on Sunday, they were pretty solid and made things difficult for the Champions while James McFadden and Seb Larsson will provide danger all season. Alex McLeish will hope record signing Christian Benitez gets fit sooner rather than later and if he clicks they could do well indeed. Pompey look like half a team at the moment, they really need some investment and inspiration but neither seem particularly forthcoming. I think City will make the most of their home advantage get a first win under their belt here.
Burnley vs. Manchester United
Well United didn’t get off to as confident a start as they’d have liked against Birmingham, but they got the three points and to be fair, weren’t unduly troubled by Birmingham. It’ll be interesting to see how Owen Coyle and his Burnley side approach this game though, They caused plenty of Cup upsets last season and I hope they’re brave enough to take the game to their illustrious visitors on their own turf. If they tried to defend it out United would wear them down, but playing attacking football has its own risks. Think United will sneak it.
Hull City vs. Tottenham Hotspur
Hull fought very hard against Chelsea on Saturday and were pretty unfortunate to concede late on after a performance that showed more spirit and fight than they did for the whole second half of last season. Spurs though got a fantastic win against Liverpool, they really took the game to the highly fancied Reds and dictated play very well. If they can do that again at the KC Stadium then they’ll win but Hull will also be trying to dictate terms so it won’t be easy to do. I think Spurs have a bit much quality for the Tigers though, and will shade it.
Liverpool vs. Stoke City
Liverpool were very poor on Sunday and fully deserved to get beat by Tottenham (no matter what Rafa said about the referee). Stoke got a solid start at home but as with last season, will struggle to be such a force away from home. That said, last season Liverpool’s title challenge failed due to an inability to win games like this and so Pulis will fancy his chances of frustrating a Liverpool side that look a bit out of sorts without Alonso. Still, it only takes one moment of magic from Gerrard or Torres and the game will be lost, so I’ll tip Liverpool to bounce back, but don’t be surprised if they stumble again.
Disagree with any of my predictions? Do leave a comment and put me right…