Friday Night football in the EPL is a great idea especially for teams participating in the UCL and the first one this season will be at Old Trafford when Manchester United welcome Southampton.
Jose Mourinho, the world’s most expensive footballer, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and other new signings will potentially make their Old Trafford bow (in a competitive game) on Friday under floodlights – how much box-office can it get?
I don’t think Claude Puel’s Southampton have enough to hurt this Jose Mourinho Manchester United side. I feel the Saints can do better than Nathan Redmond and Shane Long upfront. Manchester United have everything going for them right now and I expect them to win.
Both teams finished in the top two spots last season, both teams lost their opening fixtures this season and both teams will face each other this weekend. Yes you guessed right, it’s Leicester City welcoming Arsenal to the King Power Stadium.
I expect many goals in this one, reminiscent of the corresponding fixture last season the provided seven goals. Arsenal should have their heavyweights in Koscielny, Ozil and Giroud play some part on Saturday. But they lose Ramsey and Iwobi. For Arsenal, their infamous injury issues have cropped up and we have not even played the second match of the season.
The Champions should have Robert Huth back for this one but I don’t think it will stop them from conceding. Their defensive solidity was one of their strong points last season but it won’t continue into this season. Why? Morgan, Fuchs, Huth and Simpson played out of their skins last season, they were omnipresent at times and I just don’t see them keeping up that form this season. The loss of Kante doesn’t make their job any easier.
We’ve seen this over the past few years – Arsenal lose their opening game and then they bounce back so I expect more of the same this weekend.
Pep Guardiola’s City train travels to one of the league’s most difficult grounds – the Brittania Stadium – this weekend.
There’s always this joke about Messi: “Can Messi do it on a cold, wet night in Stoke?” I’ll paraphrase that joke: “Can Pep Guardiola do it on a sunny, windy afternoon in Stoke?”
Pep Guardiola’s style yielded some positives in Europe as his City side won 5-0 in Bucharest in a UCL Playoff. To travel back from Romania and then play lunchtime on Saturday will probably get Guardiola scratching his head but it’s what it is and the City manager would have to get used to the style here.
You can bet Stoke will have a big go at City on Saturday. This won’t be a walk in the park for City but all the same, I don’t expect them to lose.
Antonio Conte got off to a winning start with Chelsea on Monday and a trip to Watford beckons. I am fascinated at seeing how Conte responds to Mazzari’s 3-5-2 formation. He’s a big fan of the tactic don’t forget so he should know the weaknesses. Anyway, this one would be a tactical fest and I have a feeling both teams might have to settle for a share of the spoils.
Liverpool are on a high after that thrilling victory at Arsenal. And the league is definitely on high alert. It won’t be un-liverpool-like to go onto lose at Burnley now and I’m looking forward to seeing how this one pans out.
The Hammers will welcome Bournemouth to their new home ground looking to kick on after the disappointment against Chelsea on Monday.
David Moyes would have seen a lot of positives in his team’s game against Manchester City to be confident about his team’s chances this season. And Middlesbrough shouldn’t be a tough nut to crack this weekend.
Palace have lost Bolasie to Everton. They don’t have a top striker too so I can only see Tottemham stream-rolling through them this weekend while Swansea will just about find a way to burst Hull City’s bubble.
Lastly, I expect Everton to win away at West Bromwich Albion. Ronald Koeman has got something great cooking with the Toffees and the Baggies are about to be the first casualty.