The international friendlies are over, the transfers are still ongoing, and the fans have bought their season tickets – that’s right, it must be about time for a brand new season.
Excitement continues to multiply as the weekend draws ever closer, and to put you in the spirit for the flurry of matches on the horizon, SportsNewsIreland have compiled the top five Premier League matches to watch this weekend:
Swansea v. Manchester United
This will be David Moyes’ first league match in charge of Manchester United, and it will be a tough task. Without a doubt, the honeymoon period is over for the Scotsman who must now put all the drama of the summer behind him and rally his players around him. Swansea are a decent side who have developed very well since their introduction to the top-tier of British football, and they will provide Robin Van Persie and company with a stern challenge.
Predicition: 2-1 to The Red Devils and Moyes to raise a smile at the final whistle, get on at 7/1 with Boylesports.com
Sunderland v. Fulham
It will be interesting to see how Snuderland line out for this one, and it will be even more interesting to see just how well Paolo Di Canio’s men gel together. The Italian has thrown together a patchwork of immensely talented players over the summer with Emmanuel Giaccherini and Jozy Altidore, among others, both joining his ranks. Provided they can hit the ground running they should have enough to dispatch Martin Jol’s men.
Prediction: The Black Cats to win 3-2 in an exciting encounter is 100/1 with Boylesports.com
Liverpool v. Stoke
Brendan Rodgers and Mark Hughes will both have the privilege of being the first two managers to do battle this domestic season as they each look to get off to the perfect start. Of course, Liverpool have often disadvantaged themselves with their poor early season showing, and they’ll be keen to remedy that on Saturday. It will be extremely interesting to see if the controversial Luis Suarez makes an appearance on the field of play, especially considering the transfer furore that’s been following him everywhere all summer.
Prediction: Liverpool to win 2-0 as they continue their decent pre-season form is a big 9/2 with Boylesports.com
Crystal Palace v. Tottenham
Alongside Hull, Crystal Palace face the toughest opening match of the season as they face up to Andres Villa-Boas’ team. The one positive they can already take from the match is that they are at home – and it’s expected that if they are to survive, they’ll need to transform Selhurst Park in to a veritable fortress. For Spurs, Gareth Bale is unlikely to feature through injury, but with Roberto Soldado and Paulinho both likely to get game time, it’s bound to be an enthralling encounter full of attacking play from the visitors.
Prediction: Spurs to have too much class as they run out 3-0 winners, so get on at 12/1 with Boylesports.com
Arsenal v. Aston Villa
Arsene Wenger has brought in no big names, has spent none of his reported £70 million kitty and continues to attract criticism form his fans on a daily basis. And that’s all before a ball has even been kicked; it could well be a long season for the Frenchman . The attention now, however, will switch to the players and their ability to perform on the pitch. Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will all be called upon to step up to the plate as they look to emulate, or improve on, last season’s fourth place finish. Villa will hope that Christian Benteke remembers where he’s been stashing his shooting boots, as they desperately need his goals.
Prediction: Arsenal should win, despite having not resolved their striker conundrum. 2-0 to the Gunners is 6/1 with Boylesports.com
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