Chelsea should be three points clear at the Premier League summit come Wednesday evening.
Due to the Blues’ Super Cup commitments, their game against Aston Villa has been pushed forward to Wednesday, giving them the perfect chance to apply some early pressure to their rivals.
Here we predict how they will fare as well as taking a look at the matches scheduled for Sunday and Monday.
Late Weekend and Midweek Predictions
|Date and Kickoff Time||Fixtures||Prediction|
|Sunday 18 August, 1:30 p.m. BST/ 8:30 a.m. ET||Crystal Palace vs. Tottenham||2-4|
|Sunday 18 August, 4 p.m. BST/ 11 a.m. ET||Chelsea vs. Hull||4-0|
|Monday 19 August, 8 p.m. BST/ 3 p.m. ET||Man City vs. Newcastle||3-1|
|Wednesday 21 August, 8 p.m. BST/ 3 p.m. ET||Chelsea vs. Aston Villa||2-1|
Crystal Palace vs. Tottenham
What an opening fixture for Palace fans.
Ian Holloway’s Blackpool almost pulled off one of the Premier League’s great fairytales as they lit up the division with their gung-ho style, but he was unable to prevent them being cruelly relegated at the death. A similar attacking approach is to be expected from his Palace side, and it could prove fruitful against a Spurs team that have leaked goals in preseason, including five in one game against Monaco.
Their defence is set to be similar to that which got them promoted from the Championship—a ploy which is made even more risky given they conceded over 60 league goals last season.
Even Tottenham without Gareth Bale will create chances against such a back line. In new striker Roberto Soldado, Spurs now possess a much-needed goalscorer, too. It’s likely to be an incredibly open match, which will play into the visitors' hands, and it’s hard to look past the North London club although it might be a bit of a goal-fest.
Chelsea vs. Hull
Sorry, Hull fans, but this has "three points Chelsea" written all over it.
The Tigers did superbly to get promoted, and recent acquisitions Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore will be great additions in midfield, but they have nothing on Brazilian pairing Ramires and David Luiz—or goal machine Frank Lampard.
Whoever Jose Mourinho gives the nod to upfront should top the scoring charts after Week 1 with Hull’s defence unlikely to be capable of stopping the title contenders. Stamford Bridge was a fortress under the Portuguese manager during his last spell in charge, and a winning start will give Chelsea the platform to repeat their past success.
Manchester City vs. Newcastle
Manchester City begin their quest to wrestle the title back from United against the Premier League’s new French force.
City’s attacking options of Alvaro Negredo, Stevan Jovetic, Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero have more than enough about them to find goals against the Toon, but they’ve looked suspect in defence during preseason.
New Newcastle signing Loic Remy is out injured, according to Louise Taylor of the Guardian. It's also doubtful that likely replacement Shola Ameobi, who has played a major part in preseason, has the quality to take his chances against the Premier League runners-up.
City have strengthened since putting four past Newcastle last season and can expect another victory, although probably not by the same convincing margin.