Premier League 2017/18 week 2 predictions
Tottenham Hotspur host Chelsea in the weekend's stand-out clash as the English top flight enters the second matchday of the 2017/18 season.
Swansea City vs Manchester United (Away win)
With the recent loss of Gylfi and the continued absence of Llorente, I can’t see the Swans getting anything from this game. The big, powerful side that Mourinho has assembled for this season blew West Ham away last weekend and despite Paul Clement’s best efforts to outsmart his opposite number, and their strong finish to las season, the resources on the field will determine the outcome and expect Romelu Lukaku to add to his tally against lower strength teams.
Bournemouth vs Watford (Home win)
Watford took advantage of some questionable defending to take a point last weekend and their new manager, Marco Silva, will be hoping to gain at least another as they travel down to Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth. But the tidy football that we’re now used to on the south coast has added Jermain Defoe to their frontline and many expect goals to follow. Junior Stanislas and Callum Wilson will both miss the game for the hosts while Troy Deeney should be ready for the visitors after a groin injury. There won’t be much to choose between them but I see the Cherries picking up their first points of the season.
Burnley vs West Bromwich Albion (Draw)
Sean Dyche’s side bust coupons throughout the land when they visited the champions on the opening day of the season (you’d think we’d learn!) but if they can’t follow it up with a solid home performance against a team likely to be battling with them for similar league position it’ll quickly be forgotten. Both of these sides are looking for six points from their opening two games in the top flight for the first time since the 1970s. They’ll both settle for a point.
Leicester vs Brighton & Hove Albion (Home win)
These two sides had tough opening day fixtures against Arsenal and Manchester City respectively. Both ended the game without any points but both showed signs of strength, clearly from different starting points. The Foxes will have to do without Drinkwater, Iheanacho and Iborra while Brighton will miss Izzy Brown from their midfield. The Seagulls will again show their organisation and make it difficult for Craig Shakespeare’s side but will have to wait another week before they collect their first points in the Premier League.
Liverpool vs Crystal Palace (Home win)
Three points is a must (OK, it’s a bit early in the season to be saying that) for the Reds. After throwing away a win at Watford they were victorious over Hoffenheim in the Champions League playoff, something that no one else has been able to do since early 2016. Coutinho will not feature but Klopp’s attack will prove too much for Crystal Palace, and the question will be if they can keep a clean sheet. The Londoners were shocked by new boys Huddersfield on Day 1 and will hope to bounce back but Anfield is unlikely to be in forgiving mood.
Southampton vs West Ham United (Draw)
The Saints didn’t give too much to go on in their goalless draw with Swansea last weekend to determine how their season may pan out. But with no injury concerns Mauricio Pellegrini will be focused on securing an early home win against a side that shipped four in their first game. West Ham’s pre-season optimism was diluted at Old Trafford and they’ll be without one of their most creative players as Manuel Lanzini recovers from a knee injury. Slaven Bilic will have his troops’ heads back in the game for a second successive away match and should be able to restore some confidence with a score draw, Chicharito making his mark.
Stoke City vs Arsenal (Draw)
New signing Jese Rodriguez has the perfect chance to show his worth against one of the big boys but on the other side of the park Alexandre Lacazette is looking to become the first ever Gunner to score in his first two Premier League games. Koscielny is out through suspension and Alexis Sanchez is unlikely to be ready, but Wenger does welcome back Coquelin and Mustafi to the squad. With a strong home record against Arsenal (winning three and losing just one) Mark Hughes will have his side ready to frustrate Ramsey and co and could cause a slight upset.
Huddersfield vs Newcastle United (Home win)
Steve Mounie became Huddersfield’s record signing this summer and what a start he made against Crystal Palace with two goals. That 0-3 win may have surprised many but now the Terriers have a great chance to take six out of six as they face another promoted side. In the Championship these teams both won in the other’s home but prepare for the early wave of top-flight optimism to get two early wins on the board for David Wagner. Opposite number Rafa Benitez is without silly-boy Jonjo Shelvey as well as Paul Dummett and Florian Lejeune in his back line. Mounie can plan how he’ll celebrate in front of his new home crowd.
Tottenham Hotspur vs Chelsea (Draw)
Spurs were the only realistic side in the latter part of last season that looked capable of catching Chelsea at the summit. But whereas Chelsea have strengthened in the transfer market, Morata scoring on his debut, their London rivals have yet to. This game marks the start of the season for Spurs playing at Wembley and based on the opening fixtures they should be confident of turning over a side that looked far from their title-winning side against Burnley. Conversely, Conte needs a response from his team: it’s got a draw written all over it.
Manchester City vs Everton (Home win)
Monday night is a tasty affair and is peppered with potential milestones. A single goal from either Sergio Agüero or Wayne Rooney would see them claim the title of highest scoring non-European or second ever player to reach 200 goals in the Premier League. Both Pep Guardiola and Ronald Koeman have strong squads to pick from and if the Merseysiders’ intentions to push the top six this season are serious then this would be a great time to demonstrate it. I expect the home side, though, to have enough for the three points but it may take them a little while to make the breakthrough.