Angus “Statto” Loughran – Premier League Analysis

I would be surprised if Manchester United didn’t start their second season under Louis Van Gaal better than their first when they suffered a shock 2-1 home defeat to Swansea at Old Trafford to dampen spirits after a great pre-season.

Manchester United v Tottenham, Saturday 12:45
Despite a recent run of decent results against United which was ended by an abject 3-0 reversal at Old Trafford in March, United have not been a happy hunting ground in the Premier League for Tottenham and after two tough matches in midweek, I fear for them on Saturday.

Goals often come in Tottenham matches with no team in the Premier League involved in more games that had 3 or more goals last season! A United win is the bet in the season opener for me, although a saver on a bore draw, with a bet on no goalscorer is also advised to get your stake back.

Bournemouth v Aston Villa, Saturday 3pm
Bournemouth will relish the visit of Aston Villa in their opening top flight match just six years after finishing 21st in League 2. They scored just under a hundred goals last season but will find it tougher this campaign. Villa, despite the losses of Benteke to Liverpool and Delph to Man City, will not be a pushover for The Cherries in a match where the home side will understandably be very nervous.

Everton v Watford, Saturday 3pm
Everton will be most people’s bankers on the opening weekend in a match which brings back memories of 1984 FA Cup Final which Everton won 2-0. Everton are often slow starters in the Premier League and struggled against the bigger teams last season with only 3 wins against sides whom finished above them.

Watford go into the unknown and have been given a tricky start on their return to top flight.

Leicester v Sunderland, Saturday 3pm
Even on the opening weekend, Leicester v Sunderland has the look of a 6 point relegation battle. A draw would not be a bad result for either side and it could be a very long season with the main aim to avoid the drop to The Championship.

Norwich v Crystal Palace, Saturday 3pm
Crystal Palace have made some shrewd summer signings and will be hoping to start the campaign with 3 points at newly promoted Norwich. The Canaries will rely on the players who got them promoted along with Graham Dorrans from West Brom and Robbie Brady from Hull. Alex Neill, the 34 year old Manager, faces a huge task to keep them up and they will continue to play their own brand of football. Palace may have more experience in this clash.

Chelsea v Swansea, Saturday 5:30
Chelsea managed 9 goals against Swansea Last season and only conceded the same amount in all Premier League games at home all season. It will be a shock if they don’t beat Swansea whom may struggle this season but rather than take huge odds on, why not try Draw Half Time and Chelsea Full Time which has been a very profitable bet at Stamford Bridge under Jose Mourinho.

Newcastle v Southampton, Sunday 1:30
Southampton have a great record against Newcastle winning 9 of last 11 home and away. Steve McLaren’s side will be no pushover and I be will shocked if that run continues at St James’ Park on Sunday.

Arsenal v West Ham, Sunday 1:30
Arsenal have real confidence ahead of the new season following their Community Shield win over Chelsea but Gunners fans will be devastated when the news is confirmed that Jack Wilshere will be out for the majority of season. The addition of Petr Cech is a huge boost to Arsenal but injuries could hamper their serious title bid. What is not in dispute is the record Arsenal had last season against the bottom 10; unbeaten in 20 with 16 wins and 4 draws. It all points to 3 points for The Gunners after West Ham’s Midweek Europa League adventure.

Stoke v Liverpool, Sunday 4pm
Liverpool have been given the chance of instant revenge in a quirk in the football fixtures calender following their 6-1 reverse at Stoke in Gerrard’s farewell which nearly cost Brendan Rodgers his job. Liverpool stuck by their man but would not tolerate a repeat on Sunday. Although it will not be easy, I expect Liverpool to head back up M6 with 3 points.

West Brom v Manchester City, Monday 8pm
Manchester City will be hoping to make a fast start at WBA on Monday night but the home side will be hoping to continue their amazing record at the end of last season; when they netted before the half hour mark in their last 7 matches winning six of them. With WBA basing their game on a tight defence, something has to give. An early goal and it will be City all the way but if WBA can get to half time level, it could be game on!