As the new season begins for the Barclays Premiere League, The Profits are introducing a new segment on English football. A weekly overview of the forthcoming matches, information on statistics, players form, ins and outs, past results and possible line ups will allow viewers to be regularly informed to make the best punts or multis.
The opening week sees the Premier League showcase 11 matches with Chelsea and newcomers Reading play twice. Here are the thoughts from JL.
Saturday 18 August Fixture
Newcastle ($2.45) vs Tottenham ($2.85), Draw ($3.25)
Newcastle – Tiote
Tottenham – Bale
Tottenham and Newcastle both had great seasons last year and both have the potential to improve this season. Travelling to St James Park is a tough assignment for any team and shows why Spurs haven’t won there in their past 5 games. Question marks remain over Tottenham’s strike power and inability so far to sign another striker in this transfer window with Jermain Defoe the only experienced and recognised striker. There is also whispers that Villas-Boas could hand the unproven but undoubtedly talented Harry Kane a start as striker. It’s a risky move, but given Spurs strength in midfield with the likes of Van der Vaart, Bale and newly recruited Sigurdsson supplying the ball, it may be a risk worth taking – The unknown quantity in midfield is the effect of the Luka Modric to Real Madrid Saga, how will this affect the playing group? The concern for Newcastle is the injury cloud over Cheick Tioté and Coloccini after picking up injuries in their friendly against Cardiff (Losing 4-1). They are arguably two of their most important players in midfield and defence respectively. In saying that, Newcastle are coming off a fantastic season seeing them finish 5th.
Last time at St James Park – Newcastle 2, Tottenham 2 – Tottenham were looking to have won with only Demba Ba to score a late equaliser to make it 2-2 on 86mins.
Predicted result – Draw 2-2
West Ham ($2.25) vs Aston Villa ($3.20), Draw ($3.30)
West Ham – Nolan
Aston Villa – Bent
As we welcome West Ham back into the top flight they will host Villa at Upton Park. It’s certainly a winnable game for the hammers with Aston Villa only just avoiding relegation last season. The concern for the hammers is the departure of Goalkeeper Robert Green to QPR. And although they have a suitable replacement in Veteran keeper Jasseklainen from Bolton, the question mark remains as to whether he can stop Villa’s firepower in a fit and firing Darren Bent. An injured Bent significantly hampered Villa’s efforts last season and he is very much the key player for Villa as well as the dip in form at the end of last season for keeper Shay Given. The positive is Bent’s recent preseason form scoring a brace against Werder Bremen and if Given can recapture his best form, Villa are a red hot chance at winning.
Last Meeting 16th April 2011 – West Ham 1 Villa 2, Robbie Keane opened the scoring for the Hammers with Darren Bent equalising on 36 mins – The game looked headed for a draw only for Agbonlahor to snatch a winner at 92mins!
Predicted result – Villa 1-0
Arsenal ($1.40) vs Sunderland ($10), Draw ($5.10)
Arsenal host Sunderland on the opening day with the Gunners looking to make a significantly improved start from their last campaign. The last time the two teams met at the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal won 2-1 thanks to a brace from Robin Van Persie. This could be a different story this time around as the ongoing future of RVP is of uncertainty, however the reinforcements upfront with the signings of Giroud from Montpellier, Podolski from FC Cologne and Cazorla from Malaga will ensure the Gunners have the scoring threat to defeat the Black Cats.
Predicted Result: Arsenal 2-0
Fulham ($1.89) vs Norwich ($4.70), Draw ($3.70)
Fulham play hosts to Norwich in the opening game, last result was a 2-1 win to Fulham with home advantage proving to be the advantage, key player to look out for in this encounter is Clint Dempsey who had a brilliant 2011/12 season scoring 17 goals, only problem is can the Cottagers hold on to him with speculation of him leaving. Grant Holt was the leading goal scorer for the Canaries with 15 goals last season ensuring they cemented their status in the topflight.
Prediction: Draw 1-1
QPR ($2.16) vs Swansea ($3.75), Draw ($3.50)
The Rangers have reinforced in the summer transfer window with the likes of Park (Man Utd), Hoilett (Blackburn), Johnson (Fulham) all signing, Swansea on the other hand have also strengthened through Guzman (Villarreal) on loan, however with a new manager in Landrup, and losing Allen to Liverpool QPR look like taking the win at home. The last time these two teams met QPR ran away 3-0 winners. Key players to watch are Ji Sung Park and Sinclair in the midfield.
Prediction: QPR 2-0
Reading ($2.46) vs Stoke City ($3.25), Draw ($3.40)
Reading host Stoke at the Madejski Stadium with both teams looking to kick start their campaign with a win. Newly promoted Reading has secured the transfer of Pogrebnyak and Guthrie on free transfers which have improved the squad. This will be a close encounter with Reading looking to take home advantage.
Prediction: Reading 1-0
West Brom ($4.10) vs Liverpool ($2.02), Draw($3.65)
Ex Liverpool coach Steve Clarke will be looking to upset his old employers on day 1 of the new season as his reign begins with WBA, while Liverpool also start a new era in management with Brendan Rodgers. Both teams have invested in the transfer window with the Reds recruiting Allen (Swansea) and Borini (Roma), while WBA have completed some tidy business with signing Lukaku (Chelsea) on loan for the season and Rosenberg (Werder Bremen) for free. The last time the two teams played at the Baggies, the Reds won 2-0, will there be a repeat?
Prediction: Liverpool 2-1
Sunday 19 August Fixture
Wigan ($7) vs Chelsea ($1.47), Draw ($4.15)
Wigan: Victor Moses.
Chelsea: Torres – This is his time to prove himself.
Wigan has a tough first assignment at home hosting Chelsea. The blues have certainly been opening their wallet this transfer window to strengthen the squad particularly with some of Europe’s brightest young talent, in particular Eden Hazard (Though he may take time to adjust). Wigan can take confidence in their last meeting at the DW stadium resulting in a 1-1 draw. However, that was last December and Chelsea have won 3 of the last 5 (1 draw) there. Wigan have also lost goalscoring firepower in Hugo Rodallega (Fulham) up front and Mohamed Diamé (West Ham) from Midfield which will not only hamper their chances but also place even more pressure on potential Chelsea bound Victor Moses to stand up. The big question is can Torres start to justify his £50 million price tag from Liverpool? With the additions to their midfield, there should be plenty of quality ball for him to do so.
Predicted result: Chelsea 2-0, comfortably.
Man City ($1.21) vs Southampton ($20), Draw (7.80)
Last season’s Champions City hosts new boys Southampton, this looking like a daunting prospect for the newcomers. Man city have not bought any players since January, but nevertheless the quality and class of their current crop will be too much for their opponents. Watch out for Silva and Aguero to repeat their blistering form from last season.
Prediction: Man City 4-0
Monday 20 August Fixture
Everton ($4) vs Manchester Utd ($1.9), Draw ($3.5)
Manchester Utd: Rooney
The recent transfer of Jack Rodwell to Manchester City is a blow to Everton to start the season as many saw him taking big steps this year on his way to becoming a future England star. With the loss of Tim Cahill to New York Red Bulls, the changes are certainly rolling through at Goodison Park. Everton have strengthened up front with the signing of Croatian front man Jelavic last January, a nd the recent signing of Steven Naismith who brings good form after scoring a hat trick in preseason against AEK Athens. Utd have also strengthened with the signing of Japanese attacking midfielder Shinji Kagawa from Borussia Dortmund who not only provides assists but can score goals, exactly what Man Utd and Rooney need for the season. It’ll be a tough game, but Utd should come out on top.
Predicted Result: Man Utd 2-1
Last Time at Goodison – Utd won 1-0 with an early goal from goalsneak Hernandez.
Wednesday 22 August Fixture
Chelsea vs Reading
A short break for both teams after their first match should certainly suit Chelsea with their depth and a big home ground advantage. This is very much a David and Goliath fight with Chelsea almost certain to monster the newly promoted Reading. Reading do have the potential to score goals through Pogrebnyak, but one would question their ability to provide quality ball for him to do so. Even with such a short break, Chelsea’s depth is unmatched by Reading and they have plenty of quality to bring in if players need a rest after the trip to Wigan.
Predicted Result: Chelsea 3-0
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