Blackburn 1-1 Wolves:
Can’t pick this one either way. Both sides scraped their way through to Premier League survival last year and could both face more of the same this time around.
Fancy a punt: Kevin Doyle first Goalscorer
Fulham 1-2 Aston Villa:
I fancy both sides to do reasonably well this season. Could be a tough period of adaptation for Villa under new boss Alex McLeish and having lost some of their star players, but I can see them winning this one.
Fancy a punt: Charles N’Zogbia to score on debut
Liverpool 3-2 Sunderland:
Game of the weekend for me. Two of the Premier League’s most active clubs in the transfer market go head to head at Anfield and I’m predicting a thriller resulting in a narrow Liverpool win.
It should be really interesting to see how many of the new recruits get a game and if they do how they settle into life at their new clubs. One to keep an eye on will be young England prospect Jordan Henderson who is immediately facing up to his former employers after a £20 million pound move.
Fancy a punt: Jordan Henderson to score against his former club
QPR 2-2 Bolton:
Another good game on paper as QPR make their long awaited return to the top flight of English football. Since Owen Coyle took over at Bolton there has been a greater emphasis on keeping the ball at feet and playing ‘real’ football, a philosophy also suited to the playing staff at QPR.
Adel “mercurial talent” Taarabt is QPR’s super star after a magical year in the Championship and it will be intriguing to see if he can make the step up to the big time after failing to bowl over the Spurs hierarchy in his last spell in the top flight. If his head is in the right place then he could be the key to QPR’s survival this year, I’m backing him to start brightly and contribute to an opening day point.
Fancy a punt: Taarabt last goalscorer
Wigan 1-2 Norwich:
Tough one to call with new-boys Norwich full of enthusiasm on their return to the promised land. Last year surprise Premier League newcomers Blackpool stunned Wigan on the opening day and this year’s surprise arrival in the Premiere League could follow suit. I don’t think Wigan will quite as abject or shambolic as they were this time last year but I fancy a narrow victory for the Canaries.
Fancy a punt: Norwich to win from behind
Newcastle 1-1 Arsenal:
Both sides have had a bit of a nightmare in the recent transfer windows. In January Newcastle lost their ‘local boy done good’ up top and this summer’s window has seen the departure of their skipper Kevin Nolan and top quality full-back Jose Enrique. Likewise, Arsenal look like they are on the verge of losing their two best players in one fell swoop.
I foresee a morale boosting draw for the hosts, and a morale sapping draw for the Gunners.
Fancy a punt: Home win for the Toon
Stoke 0-2 Chelsea:
I am backing Chelsea to win after a hard battle on Andre Villas-Boas’ first taste of Premier League action. No win at the Brittannia ever comes easy, and I expect a typically resolute showing from Tony Pulis’ men on opening day. I am not ruling out a shock in this one though as Stoke have dealt pretty well in the transfer market so far this summer and it sounds as if another couple of high quality players could be on their way also, so confidence levels should be pretty high at the club.
Fancy a punt: 0-0 at half time
West Brom 1-3 Man Utd:
I can see this being a pretty routine win for the Champions. West Brom have decent options up top if everyone is fit to play so I think they might put one past new recruit David De Gea in the United goal, but the confidence taken from an exciting win in last weekend’s Community Shield should be enough to see United to a comfortable victory.
Fancy a punt: Wayne Rooney to score a brace
Swansea 1-3 Man City:
The Premier League’s first Welsh representatives will be very excited about what is in store this campaign but I think they might just get their first reality check this Monday evening. There is a good chance that Swansea’s positive approach could take city by surprise early on, but I think the FA Cup holders will prove a scalp too far for the Swans once they are into their rhythm.
Fancy a punt: Aguero to score on debut