EPL Week 1 Predictions: Breaking Down Opening Matches for League's Top Clubs
In a competitive league like the EPL, it is important for top contenders to get off to a good start.
It is a long season, but momentum means a lot for clubs trying to earn a league title. In Spain last season, Barcelona was able to virtually clinch the La Liga title in the first few months thanks to an incredible start of 18 wins and a draw in the first 19 matches.
It would be highly surprising to see any Premier League club pull of a run like that, but a win in the first match at least sets it in the right direction.
There are four top contenders for the title this season, and each is looking to get off to a strong start. Here is a look at the Week 1 matchups for the most notable clubs.
Arsenal vs. Aston Villa
Of the top clubs, Arsenal might have the hardest time getting a win in their opening match. The club did little to improve heading into the season, while Aston Villa should be much better as the young team continues to grow.
However, Aston Villa had one of the worst defenses in the league last season and made few changes to their back line.
Playing at Emirates Stadium will allow players like Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla to shine in front of the home crowd as they try to rack up goals at the start of the year.
At the other end, Christian Benteke will be extremely difficult to defend as he continues to be one of the top goalscorers in the league. Another year with Gabriel Agbonlahor and Andreas Weimann will make this one of the better attacks around.
Arsenal will be able to pull out a win, but there will be plenty of mistakes at both ends and it will become a high-scoring contest.
Prediction: Arsenal 3, Aston Villa 2
Swansea City vs. Manchester United
Like Arsenal, Manchester United have to start their season against one of the up-and-coming clubs in the league.
Swansea City have a solid attack led by Michu and Wilfried Bony, and are set to compete in the Europa League during the upcoming season.
Based on United's poor summer that includes multiple losses to inferior foes in Asia, it would be easy to think that the club is ripe for an early upset. However, the team showed in the Community Shield against Wigan that it still knows what it is doing on the pitch.
Swansea will struggle to stop Robin van Persie up front, plus Shinji Kagawa has a chance to have a big year in his second season with the club.
Manchester United will do anything it takes to come away with three points in this one, and they should achieve that.
Prediction: Manchester United 2, Swansea City 1
Chelsea vs. Hull City
By simply holding onto its best players, Chelsea had as good a summer as almost any other club in the league. Key players like Juan Mata and Branislav Ivanovic remain on the roster, while the team also gets Romelu Lukaku back from loan.
This will make the Blues one of the most talented teams in the league at either end of the pitch.
While Hull City will hope for a strong year in the Premier League after a recent promotion, this first match will not be the time to turn heads. The team simply will not have enough offense to score, and it is tough to imagine it even maintaining much possession.
Chelsea will look to send a message to the rest of the league that it is a top contender once again under Jose Mourinho, and this home match is a good time to do it.
Prediction: Chelsea 4, Hull City 0
Manchester City vs. Newcastle United
After finishing fifth in 2011-12, Newcastle United barely avoided relegation last season by finishing 16th and with a goal differential of minus-23.
Toon could not find a replacement for Demba Ba and the rest of the squad seemed to fall apart down the stretch.
While the club should expect better this season, it is still far from showing the quality that it displayed two years ago.
Meanwhile, Manchester City also had a disappointing drop last year from first place to second. Of course, this will be easier to redeem after acquiring Stevan Jovetic and a few other top players.
The best defense statistically in the league last season should remain strong this campaign as the offense tries to improve with a bounce-back performance from David Silva.
There is simply little chance Newcastle even earns a point on the road in this match.
Prediction: Manchester City 3, Newcastle 1
Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for the latest breaking news and analysis.
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?