Premier League Predictions 2017/18

Reporter:

Daniel Heald

Today sees the start of the 2017/18 Premier League season and heralds the return of some educated guesswork from the Leader’s sports desk.

Starting with this evening’s opener between Arsenal and Leicester, we’ve predicted the outcome of each of this weekend’s top-flight fixtures.

Have a read of our game-by-game forecasts, before letting us know your thoughts on how the weekend will play out.

ARSENAL v LEICESTER CITY

NICK HARRISON: Arsenal haven’t been the best at home on the opening day in recent years and Leicester have a chance, especially if Vardy’s in tip-top condition. Ozil is key for The Gunners, who will probably just sneak it. 2-1

TOM NORRIS: Can Wenger’s Arsenal start the season on the front foot? Will Leicester play like the team that finished the end of last term?  So many questions make this good game to start the new campaign. Arsenal should have just enough to get the win they crave. 2-1

DAN HEALD: A promising opening fixture to the season should at least yield goals. Arsenal made the perfect start by lifting the Community Shield against Chelsea, doing so without Alexis Sanchez.  Leicester’s indifferent pre-season form does not inspire confidence. 2-0

WATFORD v LIVERPOOL

NH: Klopp hasn’t brought in quality in defence and with Coutinho a wanted man, this fixture may not be as easy as it looks. The Hornets are hardworking but Liverpool should have enough quality to see them through. 1-2>w<

TN: At the end of last season this game would have been one Liverpool were relishing. But, Watford have hired Marco Silva, who will be well-drilled and determined. Liverpool haven’t strengthened where they needed either. Should be a close contest. 0-1

DH: Marco Silva’s first league game in charge at the Hornets is a challenging one. I expect Watford to struggle this season and believe the Reds can win comfortably even with an unsettled Philippe Coutinho in their side. 1-3

CHELSEA v BURNLEY

NH: With Matic gone, Conte has the perfect opportunity to give the class that is Fabregas more starts alongside Kante in midfield. It’s a nice easy one to start off with although as a little side-bet, back Burnley keeper Heaton to save a spot-kick at The Bridge. 3-1

TN: Chelsea’s squad isn’t capable of standing up to the rigours of league and Champions League action, but a home start against Burnley will hand the Conte’s men the ideal start to the new campaign. His team selection will be interesting. 2-0

DH: There are some big question marks over Chelsea’s credentials this season. Antonio Conte has made no secret of his frustration in the transfer market and his current squad may lack the depth to retain the title. But hey should overcome a stubborn Burnley side. 2-1

 CRYSTAL PALACE v HUDDERSFIELD

NH: Big test for The Terriers and one for Palace’s new boss De Boer too. Benteke was a bit of a flop last season so it may be the likes of Zaha and Puncheon who will take centre stage at Selhurst Park. 2-0

TN: Certainly doesn’t look much on paper, but this could be very entertaining. De Boer will take time to stamp his authority on Palace, who will play some nice football – just like Huddersfield in fact. 1-0

DH: Whether or not Frank De Boer can impose the Ajax style on Crystal Palace remains to be seen. Huddersfield have bought well with the likes of Aaron Mooy and Steven Mounie. Difficult to call result-wise. 1-1

EVERTON v STOKE CITY

NH: There’s a lot of pressure on both managers. Sparky is among the favourites to lose his job if things don’t go right at Stoke while Koeman has finally splashed the cash although I can’t see Rooney, Sandro and Mirallas all together matching Lukaku’s goal return. 2-1

TN: At this moment, Everton have a functional look about them. They’ve signed some good players, but they lack real pace. Stoke seem to have sold some of their most reliable  performers and Sparky needs to get off to a promising start or he might come under pressure. 2-0

DH: Of all the Premier League club’s summer dealings, Mark Hughes’ Stoke were among the least inspiring. By contrast, Everton have been proactive and could flourish as a result. A home win for Ronald Koeman’s men. 2-0

SOUTHAMPTON v SWANSEA CITY

NH: Two clubs who could feature in a relegation battle this season. The Saints do have bounce-back-ability while The Swans have let the Sigurdsson transfer saga rumble on for far too long and that is bound to unsettle them heading into the opener. 2-1

TN: It will be interesting to see how Southampton’s new boss Mauricio Pellegrino gets on at St Mary’s. Claude Puel lost the dressing room and Pellegrino has work to do, while Swansea will miss Sigurdsson and have to replace him if they are to avoid a relegation scrap. 1-0

DH: Two clubs clinging valiantly to their prized assets amid interest from Premier League rivals. The marquee signing of Juventus midfielder Mario Lemina should bring a feel-good factor to Saints’ opening day clash. 2-1

WEST BROM v BOURNEMOUTH

NH: Two teams who didn't keep as many clean sheets as they should have done last season. Bournemouth always give it a go so should be a decent end-to-end encounter and not a clean sheet in sight. 2-2

TN: Defoe will be the Bournemouth talisman this season and you wouldn’t back against him scoring on his return to the club. West Brom have failed to strengthen with the loss of Darren Fletcher a potential worry. 1-1

DH: Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth remain one of the most watchable and likeable Premier League sides, while the same cannot be said for the more pragmatic Baggies. Jermain Defoe and Nathan Ake are astute additions and I hope we’ll see the same attacking brand of football this term. 0-1

BRIGHTON v MANCHESTER CITY

NH: Here’s a chance for the team that should be champions in May to show why. Guardiola has spent big but key to his and City’s success is will the boss be able to keep all his big-name players happy. 1-4

TN: Pep will be excited to start. City could be the standout team with an attack to frighten even the most compact defences. Brighton will be looking forward to this but dreading it in equal measure. 0-4

DH: A Premier League baptism of fire for Albion. I’ve tipped big-spending City for the title this term and their pre-season form looks ominous. A convincing win for Guardiola’s side. 1-3

NEWCASTLE UNITED v TOTTENHAM

NH: Everyone says Spurs are slow starters but can’t see them getting stick in reverse at St James’ Park. They’ll need all the guile and trickery of Eriksen to unlock what will be a typically-tight Benitez defence. 1-2

TN: Benitez will have been working out how to grind out a point since the fixture computer threw this game up. Spurs are slow starters and have a fair amount of injury problems. They have Kane though, so Newcastle will have to be careful. 0-1

DH: Rafa Benitez will be relishing heading up Newcastle’s Premier League return and will have a point to prove. I fancy them to start well and restrict Spurs. 1-1

MANCHESTER UNITED v WEST HAM

NH: Will United turn into the free-flowing Red Devils of old? They’ve got the players but there are still huge question marks over whether Mourinho’s men can be considered as serious title contenders. 2-1

TN: Wouldn’t it be great to see Hernandez return to Old Trafford and hand the Hammers a win? Can’t see it though with United closer to full fitness given their midweek Super Cup exploits. Home win here. 1-0

DH: Critics of Romelu Lukaku have suggest that he only scores against ‘lesser’ teams. Good news for United then, because they struggled badly against those same sides last season. I expect him to mark his Old Trafford league debut with a goal or two against the Hammers. 3-0

Email:

daniel.heald@nwn.co.uk

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