It's finally here—the start of the Premier League season.
We've waited through all the transfers, preseason friendlies and daily rumours.
We've seen some teams change managers, others drastically alter their roster during the transfer window and some teams—cough, cough, Arsenal and Manchester United, cough—stay rather stagnant.
A legend, Sir Alex Ferguson, is gone, while the Special One, Jose Mourinho, returns. The top of the table looks to have as much parity as we've seen in years.
It's enough to make a grown man giddy. And enough to make a grown man anxiously jot down his predictions for every opening week game.
Let's do some predicting!
Liverpool vs. Stoke City
Despite all the Luis Suarez drama—and the odds of him playing in this game are minuscule—the Reds have improved this summer. A second season under Brendan Rodgers' system, and the familiarity that breeds, should help the team start more brightly this season.
Stoke City won't be as boring a watch this season under new manager Mark Hughes, but this isn't a team strong enough to steal a point at Anfield.
Liverpool win, 1-0.
Arsenal vs. Aston Villa
Say this for Arsenal—despite the lack of a major signing, the Gunners also managed to hold on to their key players. That means, unlike the past two seasons, this is a cohesive squad and should get off to a fast start.
Plus, a healthy Jack Wilshere is like a signing all by himself, while Theo Walcott should only get better and Olivier Giroud might have a chip on his shoulder with all of the talk that Arsenal needs an elite striker.
Arsenal win, 2-1.
Norwich City vs. Everton
The Roberto Martinez era begins. And while there have been some obvious tactical adjustments, an Everton side that finished sixth in the table last season looks pretty similar. If Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini remain, Everton should once again remain a very competitive side.
Everton win, 1-0.
Sunderland vs. Fulham
The Jozy Altidore era begins, while the addition of Emanuele Giaccherini was a positive one for Sunderland. There are a lot of new faces for Sunderland under fiery manager Paolo di Canio, so their start could be patchy, but Fulham aren't exactly the most daunting side to face early on.
This game ends in a draw, 1-1.
West Brom vs. Southampton
West Brom had an excellent season last year, finishing eighth in the table and lingering near the top five for a good portion of the season. Still, the loss of Romelu Lukaku will sting.
Southampton are improved, having added Victor Wanyama and Dejan Lovren in the offseason. Don't be surprised if they steal a point on the road.
This game ends in a scoreless draw.
West Ham vs. Cardiff City
Keeping Andy Carroll around and adding Stewart Downing should keep West Ham in the top 10 this season. Meanwhile, Cardiff City could find it very, very difficult to remain in the Premier League and are prime relegation prospects.
West Ham win, 1-0.
Swansea City vs. Manchester United
Ohmigod, you guys! Manchester United haven't made any major signings! The Red Devils are screwed! GAHHHHH!
Puh-lease. This is still one of the best teams in the Premier League and, while there is a need for upgrades in the midfield, a quiet summer hasn't changed that fact. Not even Michu can say otherwise.
An improved Swansea City will test the Red Devils, but the defending champs will open with three points.
Manchester United win, 2-1.
Crystal Palace vs. Tottenham
So, um, will Gareth Bale play? Even if he doesn't, Spurs are prohibitive favorites, but all the talk will be about his potential sale to Real Madrid, one of the longest-running sagas of the summer.
Either way, Crystal Palace won't be slowing down a team with top-four aspirations.
Tottenham win, 1-0.
Chelsea vs. Hull City
The Jose Mourinho era, uh, resumes. Chelsea are a trendy pick to win the Premier League this year—and for good reason. Last year's core remains intact, there's the Mourinho effect and few teams have the depth of Chelsea after Andre Schurrle was signed and players such as Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne returned from loan.
Chelsea roll, 3-0.
Manchester City vs. Newcastle
Manchester City are this humble author's pick to win this Premier League this season, with Manuel Pellegrini providing a clear vision and additions such as Jesus Navas, Stevan Jovetic, Alvaro Negredo and Fernandinho perfectly suited to carry out that vision.
A loaded roster was made even deeper this summer. Newcastle don't stand a chance on the road at the Etihad.
Manchester City win, 3-1.
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