Premier League Week 1 Picks: Sides That Will Have Strong Start to New Campaign
Although it’s not entirely essential, having that little bit of initiative at the start of a season never harmed any Premier League club.
The ability to come by results early on is a trait that has eluded many a side in England’s top tier, though, and will continue to do so as long as the division exists.
That being the case, the start of the new campaign promises to bring about the usual batch of early birds catching the proverbial worm, many of whom will find that consistency is next on the agenda.
With that in mind, it’s time for a look ahead to this weekend’s season-opening encounters, considering just which sides look likeliest to get off to fine starts.
Week 1 Opponent: Hull City (H)
In terms of 2013-14 prospects, there isn’t much more of a Premier League mismatch than Chelsea playing Hull City; the favourites for the title square off against a club only now re-entering its vicinity.
As a result, it’s difficult to see past a Chelsea triumph when the pair meet at Stamford Bridge this Sunday, and a routing in favour of the home side at that.
Last season, the Blues went their first eight games of the season without a loss, and that record only stands better chances of improving with Jose Mourinho now at their helm.
Although, the Independent’s Sam Wallace has tweeted that Mata and Fernando Torres may miss the encounter:
Fernando Torres & Juan Mata could miss 1st PL game v Hull; Chalobah & McEachran to go on loan, says Mourinho http://t.co/GuwNUHqEfU— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceIndy) July 23, 2013
Add to the mix the likes of Marco van Ginkel, Kevin De Bruyne and Andre Schurrle now having their say on attacking matters in West London, and it would seem the Tigers are in a jungle of completely different proportions.
Week 1 Opponent: Stoke City (H)
For the past few seasons, Liverpool’s transfer activity has meant that hopes remain consistently high around Anfield, although actual results have tended to realise a more disappointing fate.
However, things really do seem to be running in the Reds’ favour this summer, save for the dour saga that continues to engulf Luis Suarez.
Having said that, however, the club was buoyed by the news that the forward would pen a new contract on Merseyside, per the Telegraph's Pete Jenson, buoying the club and their supporters ahead of the campaign’s start.
Even without the striker, though, Liverpool have looked fierce in preseason, and Stoke City are the Premier League guinea pigs who’ll test out Brendan Rodgers’ new hopes.
Conceding just three goals across their eight summer friendlies, Iago Aspas and Philippe Coutinho have looked especially promising, while Daniel Sturridge is set to return at the opportune moment.
Now under the tutelage of Mark Hughes, it’s uncertain how things will run for the Potters at the beginning of the post-Tony Pulis era, but Liverpool have the opportunity to make it a miserable one.
Week 1 Opponent: Crystal Palace (A)
Another matchup pitting European participants against promoted opposition, Tottenham travel to Selhurst Park this Sunday looking to ensure their pursuit of Champions League football is in the best shape possible from the start.
Roberto Soldado has come into Andre Villas-Boas’ lineup for a club-record fee of £26 million and has looked impressive since scoring on his debut for the club in preseason.
Defence wasn’t exactly Palace’s strong point on their journey back to the holy land last season, either, meaning the Eagles will have their work cut out for them at Selhurst Park.
Regardless of just how much of a role Gareth Bale plays in the fixture, Spurs have a side capable of dismantling Palace this weekend if on the top of their form.
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