Despite missing the opportunity to post the first two fixtures of the season, I have secretly been predicting my own outcomes.
Week 1: August 17th - 19th
*Key - Real scores in (brackets)
Arsenal 1-1 Aston Villa (Arsenal 1-3 Aston Villa)
Crystal Palace 0-0 Tottenham (Crystal Palace 0-1 Tottenham)
Chelsea 4-0 Hull (Chelsea 2-0 Hull)
Liverpool 3-1 Stoke (Liverpool 1-0 Stoke)
Man City 4-0 Newcastle (Man City 4-0 Newcastle)
Norwich 2-1 Everton (Norwich 2-2 Everton)
Sunderland 0-1 Fulham (Sunderland 0-1 Fulham)
Swansea 1-2 Man Utd (Swansea 1-4 Man Utd)
West Brom 1-1 Southampton (West Brom 0-1 Southampton)
West Ham 2-0 Cardiff (West Ham 2-0 Cardiff)
Chelsea 1-0 Aston Villa (Chelsea 2-1 Aston Villa)
Week 2: August 24-26th
Aston Villa 1-1 Liverpool (Aston Villa 0-1 Liverpool)
Cardiff 2-3 Man City (Cardiff 3-2 Man City)
Everton 1-0 West Brom (Everton 0-0 West Brom)
Fulham 1-2 Arsenal (Fulham 1-3 Arsenal)
Hull 0-1 Norwich (Hull 1-0 Norwich)
Man Utd 0-0 Chelsea (Man Utd 0-0 Chelsea)
Newcastle 0-1 West Ham (Newcastle 0-0 West Ham)
Southampton 2-0 Sunderland (Southampton 1-1 Sunderland)
Stoke 1-1 Crystal Palace (Stoke 2-1 Crystal Palace)
Tottenham 1-0 Swansea (Tottenham 1-0 Swansea)
Week 3: August 31st - 1st September
Cardiff 0-0 Everton (Cardiff 0-0 Everton)
Crystal Palace 2-1 Sunderland (Crystal Palace 2-1 Sunderland)
Man City 3-0 Hull (Man City 2-0 Hull)
Newcastle 2-0 Fulham (Newcastle 1-0 Fulham)
Norwich 2-1 Southampton (Norwich 1-0 Southampton)
West Ham 2-0 Stoke (West Ham 0-1 Stoke)
So without further ado here are my predictions for the up and coming week 3 fixtures:
Arsenal vs Tottenham
Preview: Arsenal have really impressed after their open day disappointment against Villa, Ramsey and Giroud in particular shining in their victories against Fenerbache and Fulham. They also welcome back Laurent Koscienly following his one game suspension, he should slot back in the centre back position with Per Mertesacker pushing Bacary Sagna back to right back. Although Arsenal will be without Mikel Arteta, Alex Oxlade-Chainberlain and two-goal hero against Fulham - Lukas Podolski, Arsenal have a great record against Spurs at the Emirates. Since the move in 2006, Arsenal have only lost once to Tottenham in the Premier League - a 3-2 defeat in the 2010-2011 season. Most recently Arsenal have beaten Tottenham 5-2 at the Emirates for the past two seasons.
Nonetheless, that is where the good news ends for the Gunners. With Arteta sidelined indefinitely and Wenger dithering in the market to sign a top quality holding midfielder, Tottenham's midfield should be able to run amok. Despite Arsenal being most likely to dominate possession, they have conceded several shots for their opponents to score from. A quick look (below) at Arsenal's matchday statistics as provided by WhoScored details this exactly.
This makes Arsenal very susceptible to the counter attack, a method of attacking Spurs have traditionally prided themselves on. Of course without Bale playing and Lamela unlikely to start, Spurs lose efficiency in their attack. Despite having several chances against Crystal Palace and Swansea, they were only able to get the one goal via Soldado penalties. However, considering the gung-ho (or defensively naive take your pick) nature of Arsenal, this should open up far more space for the Spurs attack.
Expect Belgian new-boy Nacer Chadli to excel as he looks to consolidate his place in the team before other new-boys Eriksen and Lamela join the squad. Chadli has created the most chances for a team-mate than any other player in the Premier League so far. As long as Tottenham can get the ball to like of him and Andros Townsend, I fully Tottenham to spark calls for panic buys in the red half of North London.
Prediction: Arsenal 1-3 Tottenham
Preview: Liverpool go into the match with Joe Allen and Kolo Toure as doubts, whereas deputy left back Aly Cissokho is a definite absentee with an ankle injury. Having Allen and Cissokho out for this match should not cause too much concern for Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers. However, should the injury to Toure prevent him from stepping out onto the pitch, Liverpool fans should brace themselves. Martin Skrtel suffered from many calamitous mistakes last year, most noticeably putting in the worst performance of his Liverpool career against Oldham in the FA Cup. The poor run of form led to Jamie Carragher dusting off his boots and replacing him in the starting line up from February onwards. Since February Skrtel has had very little game time and must be short on match fitness, meaning he has had little time to improve on last years deficiencies, namely getting used to the high line Rodgers plays.
All of this bodes well for United and in particular star striker Robin Van Persie. Van Persie currently has 4 in 3 against Liverpool and would be licking his lips at the prospect of scoring against 3rd choice (soon to be unwanted if rumours are to be believed) Skrtel and a Daniel Agger that has been carried by the surprisingly impressive Kolo Toure.
Even if Wayne Rooney is not there to supply Van Persie due to a knock sustained during training, United tend not to monopolise possession against Liverpool (at least in recent matches). Expect United to shadow Liverpool's 4-3-3 formation, using wingers Daniel Welbeck and Antonia Valencia to spread out on the counter. As the match against Aston Villa showed last week, Liverpool still have not addressed their weakness against pace and diagonal balls; pace being a commodity United have plenty of and diagonal balls being a favourite tactic of United's.
Theoretically, allowing a team like Liverpool so much possession would be dangerous as they create so many chances, unfortunately they also spurn as many chances as they create. With Daniel Sturridge being the only Liverpool player capable of scoring right now and United having the best defence (when all fit) in the league, I can only see one outcome. For the fourth time in row, the score will be:
Prediction: Liverpool 1-2 Man Utd
Preview: Both West Brom and Swansea go into this fixture in the relegation zone and although neither team will (at the very should) not be involved in the relegation fight this season, already this match has become a must win match. In the next few games, West Brom will visit Man Utd at Old Trafford before entertaining Arsenal at the Hawthorns. As Swansea, right after the international break they will host Liverpool at the Liberty Stadium, before jetting off to sunny Spain to face Valencia in the Europa League. Much is made (in my opinion too much) about the effects of jetlag, but there is no doubting a less than savory result against Crystal Palace will see the usual excuses played out. Afterward, Swansea will open their doors to Arsenal.
For this reason alone we could see a tentative showing from the two teams, especially considering Swansea's 2,500 mile journey to Romania. West Brom on the other hand will have no choice but to keep it tight, failing to resign powerful striker Romelu Lukaku has left them bereft of goals. While West Brom can welcome back Nicolas Anelka to the fold, he is far past his best and with him recently being on compassionate leave and rumours of retirement, you wonder just where his head is right now. Bore draw.
Prediction: West Brom 0-0 Swansea
*All statistics courtesy of WhoScored