Does it even feel like the football season has been away? It’s been a week since the start of the season, and we are 11 games down and ominously for the rest of the league Chelsea have started the season 2 from 2, whilst the both the Manchester sides went goal crazy in their opening fixtures.

EPL Predictions & Team News 24 - 25 Aug 13

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Something has to give though this week as Chelsea travel to United on Monday night.

Fulham v Arsenal – Saturday 24 August 2013 – 1245KO

Arsenal have hit both ends of the spectrum this week after a poor second half performance saw them get turned over by Villa, but they bounced back in fine style and all but guaranteed themselves a route through to the group stages of Champions League with a 3-0 win in Turkey. You can see why Wenger is slightly hesitant to splash the cash as when it clicks, it’s good, however the squad is paper thin and that has to be addressed.

Perhaps they could do worse than the business Fulham completed this week when they nabbed Scott Parker out of the grasp of QPR, which is amazingly his 5th London club!

Premier League Team News: Parker could make his Fulham debut either replacing Sidwell or Boeteng, whilst Taarabt may also make a start. Stekelenburg is injured so Stockdale will start in goal. The Gunners have lost Oxlade-Chamberlain to a knee injury for a few weeks, whilst Koscielny is suspended.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-2
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Oliver Giroud

Everton v West Bromwich Albion – Saturday 24 August 2013 – 1500KO

Everton showed what a threat they can be against Norwich last week when they scored two quick goals to go ahead at Carrow Road, and Ross Barkley showed a lot of the early promise that was talked up around Goodison Park since he made his debut as a 16 year old.

The Baggies looked a bit toothless in attack last time out against Southampton, and their cause has not been made any easier by the news that Nicolas Anelka will miss this one on compassionate grounds.

Premier League Team News: Distin will have a late fitness test after picking up a knock against Norwich last weekend, whilst Alcaraz still hasn’t escaped the treatment table. Scott Sinclair may start for West Brom after signing on loan from Manchester City, whilst fellow loanee Vydra may replace Anelka.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 2-1
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Ross Barkley

Hull City v Norwich City – Saturday 24 August 2013 – 1500Ko

It didn’t take long for Hull fans to see how hard this season is going to be for them against Chelsea as the movement of Hazard, De Bruyne and Oscar caused them all sorts of problems earlier on last Sunday. But to give them credit they did seem a lot more organised after the break.

I have a sneaky feeling Norwich are going to be one of those inconsistent sides this year and show flashes of brilliance and incompetence in equal measure. I did give Chris Hughton some praise last week for going out and signing strikers and he has done it again this week with the loan signing of Johan Elmander

Premier League Team News: Hull will hand full debuts to ex-Spurs pair Livermore and Huddlestone whilst Danny Graham may have to settle for a place on the bench. Bassong should have recovered from a knock that made him miss the opening day for the visitors whilst Leroy Fer is now available after suspension.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-1
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Jake Livermore

Newcastle v West Ham United – Saturday 24 August 2013 – 1500KO

Newcastle are fast becoming the joke side of the league this season, but love or hate Alan Pardew he took the pressure off his sides awful performance last week with a dig at Arsenal about their reported bid for Cabaye. However, he did also say they looked good until Steven Taylors sending off and I did wonder if he was watching a different game to the one I was!

Big Sam will be happy with his sides start to the season as they clinically dispatched Cardiff, with the second of their goals containing 16 passes. Last season’s away form was pretty poor to say the least, and The Hammers were the only side not to manage back to back wins in the league so can you guess where I’m going with this prediction!

Premier League Team News: Steven Taylor and Gutiérrez miss out through suspension and injury so youngster Paul Dummett (who spent time on loan in Scotland last season) may make his full debut. West Ham are still without Andy Carroll and may remain unchanged from last weekend’s victory.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 2-0
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Hatem Ben Arfa

Southampton v Sunderland – Saturday 24 August 2013 – 1500KO

The Saints dug out an impressive late win last week against West Brom and will be buoyed after breaking their transfer record again with the signing of Daniel Osvaldo (who had been heavily linked with Spurs), but chose Southampton to link up with Mauricio Pochettinho again.

Sunderland seem to be under a bit of pressure already after losing their opening day fixture, something which soon to be ex-Sunderland full-back Phil Bardsley, seemed to take a bit of joy from on Twitter!

Premier League Team News: There are no injury problems at St Marys, but Pochettinho will have to decide whether to throw Osvaldo straight in to the mix. The Black Cats will be hoping Steve Fletcher will be fit enough to play some part and are bolstered by the return of both Gardner and Vaughan from suspension.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 2-0
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Gaston Ramirez

Stoke v Crystal Palace – Saturday 24 August 2013 – 1500KO

This is surely the fixture that made all the TV companies go crazy with their new football deals! Almost a certainty for last game up on MOTD.

I thought Palace acquitted themselves pretty well against Spurs on their EPL return last week, and didn’t give away too many clear cut chances to a tidy Spurs side.

Stoke should really now have a point under their belts but for Jonathan Walters missing a last gasp penalty at Anfield last week.

Premier League Team News: Palacios is still out for Stoke after pulling out of last week’s game during the warm-up. Palace this week signed Jason Puncheon on loan and he is pushing for an instant start.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 2-1
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Robert Huth

Aston Villa v Liverpool – Saturday 24 August 2013 – 1730KO

Villa were unlucky not to get anything out of Chelsea in midweek and can feel a little hard done by that Ivanovic was still on the pitch when he nodded home The Blues winner after his elbow had a little altercation with Christian Benteke. Benteke has already notched three this season and looks sharp, as does defender Okore who looked very quick and composed after coming on for his debut.

Liverpool are quietly going about a rebuilding job, and if I’m being honest I have no real idea how close to 4th spot they can get. They looked good against Stoke at times but without Suarez they really seem to lack bite in front of goal.

Premier League Team News: The Villains have picked up injuries to both Baker and Herd in their opening games and both of these are doubtful. Liverpool look like they will be unchanged from last week’s win.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-1
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Gabby Agbonlahor

Cardiff v Manchester City – Sunday 25 August 2013 – 1600Ko

As previously mentioned, Cardiff went down at West Ham in their first ever EPL game without really creating a clear cut chance. They also failed to deliver anything worthwhile into the box from set-pieces and that could be crucial as the season unfolds.

City, looked to be a very good unit against Newcastle on Monday night, they looked cohesive and have bought well during the summer. Navas looked to have an instant understanding on the right with Zabaleta, whilst Fernandinho and Toure combined well in the middle of the park. Will they move back into the transfer market for a defensive replacement before the window shuts?

Premier League Team News: Cardiff will be hoping young £8.5m man Andreas Cornelius will be fit to start up front after overcoming an ankle injury. Andrew Taylor will also return form suspension. Vincent Kompany will be out for a couple of weeks after picking up a groin injury and with Nastasic already injured Javi Garcia will be pressed into his secondary role at centre-back.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-3
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Yaya Toure

Tottenham v Swansea – Sunday 25 August 2013 – 1600KO

Spurs looked pretty good in Georgia whilst on UEFA cup duty in midweek, but did labour to a win at Selhurst Park last weekend. With the amount of new signings coming into the club though consistency will take a while to find. It looks as though one potential new signing, Willian, may have fallen through. His transfer saga is a bit like the pretty girl you used to flirt with in Maths, you got on really well then went to lunch and found her kissing the school bully behind the bike sheds.

Swansea also scored five in Europe in midweek, but got a hiding against on the opening weekend from United. They will be pleased Bony has had a full week of training under his belt this week, as his partnership with Michu will have a big influence on where The Swans finish the season.

Premier League Team News: Sandro may win a place on the bench after returning to reserve team action this week, whilst Vetonghen returns to the heart of the Spurs team after being rested in midweek. Bony will make his full EPL debut for the visitors.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 2-0
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Paulinho

Manchester United v Chelsea – Sunday 25 August 2013 – 2000KO

The admin team at Chelsea have played a bit of a blinder if I’m being perfectly honest! They got their fixture against Villa moved to the first week of the season, due to their UEFA Supercup fixture against Bayern next week, and they’ve taken full advantage being 3 points clear in the table already. A win away against United and they are 6 points clear of one of their main rivals in only the second week.

David Moyes probably had the most positive start he could hope for in his first EPL game in charge of United, he got them playing neatly and would have been impressed with the RvP/Welbeck partnership. As per last week though he still has the Rooney dilemma playing out which will be intriguing against Chelsea, the club that seems to want the England man the most!

As for my prediction, I’m sitting on the fence!

Premier League Team News: United have a choice over who to start on the left with Rooney or Zaha favourites to replace Giggs if Moyes decides to change his winning side. Predicting the correct Chelsea line-up could be fun this season, especially after not picking Mata last weekend and then dropping Torres from the squad altogether in midweek. Luiz still isn’t fit to start.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-1
Dream Team Star Man: Petr Cech

That’s me for another week, let us know how your predictions and teams got on, and remember to check out our Free Fantasy Football League for a chance to win some great prizes!

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