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B/R Experts Predict Top Matches in World Football This Weekend

Ian RodgersWorld Football Staff WriterAugust 15, 2014

B/R Experts Predict Top Matches in World Football This Weekend

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    Sang Tan/Associated Press

    The Premier League opens this weekend as clubs across Europe prepare for their new campaigns.

    Our resident Bleacher Report experts are also up and running after their first weekend in the prediction hot-seat.

    But do you agree with their selections for this weekend? Let us know in the comments below.

Arsenal vs. Crystal Palace

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    Sang Tan/Associated Press

    Alex Livie: Arsenal 3-0 Crystal Palace

    First goalscorer: Aaron Ramsey

    The Gunners claimed the Community Shield with a 3-0 win over Manchester City; I take them to beat the Eagles by a similar scoreline.

     

    Sam Tighe: Arsenal 3-0 Crystal Palace

    First goalscorer: Aaron Ramsey

    Palace look suspect as they wait until late in the window to find value. That's fine as a long-term strategy, but it won't help them here.

     

    Michael Cummings: Arsenal 2-0 Crystal Palace

    First goalscorer: Aaron Ramsey

    Arsenal impressed in an essentially meaningless exhibition win over Manchester City but look for Arsene Wenger and the Gunners to build on that performance with a strong start against Palace.

     

    Karl Matchett: Arsenal 3-1 Crystal Palace

    First goalscorer: Olivier Giroud

    Arsenal should look to give themselves a comfortable start to the season and give Wenger the chance to play one holding midfielder rather than the double pivot.

     

    Jerrad Peters: Arsenal 3-0 Crystal Palace

    First goalscorer: Santi Cazorla

    Arsenal laid down a marker with their convincing Community Shield win over Manchester City. This could be a special season for them, and they'll get it started in style.

     

    Alex Dimond: Arsenal 1-0 Crystal Palace

    First goalscorer: Olivier Giroud

    It will be interesting to see whether Palace react well or poorly to the loss of Tony Pulis. With a number of key players out Arsenal will be far from full strength, but they should just have enough quality to avoid a repeat of last season's opening day loss to Aston Villa.

     

    Will Tidey: Arsenal 3-0 Crystal Palace

    First goalscorer: Alexis Sanchez

    New signing Alexis to start life in the Premier League with a brilliant performance, as Arsenal predictably get their season off to a flyer.

Manchester United vs. Swansea City

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    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    Alex Livie: Manchester United 2-0 Swansea

    First goalscorer: Wayne Rooney

    With Robin van Persie not yet deemed fit enough to start, Rooney can take centre stage and in some style.

     

    Sam Tighe: Manchester United 2-0 Swansea

    First goalscorer: Wayne Rooney

    The Swans' pre-season has been poor and I am very worried for them this year. United, on the other hand, should start with a bang.

     

    Michael Cummings: Manchester United 2-0 Swansea

    First goalscorer: Wayne Rooney

    New captain Wayne Rooney to score in a comfortable opening-day win for Louis van Gaal and United.

     

    Karl Matchett: Manchester United 3-0 Swansea

    First goalscorer: Wayne Rooney

    Similar to last season, United to comfortably beat Swansea on the opening day. Different to last season, that won’t be their final good performance.

     

    Jerrad Peters: Manchester United 2-1 Swansea

    First goalscorer: Wayne Rooney

    These two sides also clashed on the first day of last season, with United winning 4-1 in Wales. They'll prevail again in Louis van Gaal's first Premier League match in charge.

     

    Alex Dimond: Manchester United 3-1 Swansea

    First goalscorer: Juan Mata

    United have enjoyed a promising and reasonably competitive pre-season, and he should come flying out of the blocks against a Swansea side that has seen plenty of summer changes.

     

    Will Tidey: Manchester Utd 2-0 Swansea City

    First goalscorer: Wayne Rooney

    It won't be the stuff of United re-born, but Louis van Gaal's team will get it done against Swansea. Expect Wayne Rooney to be the catalyst.

Paris Saint-Germain vs. Bastia

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    Victor Fraile/Getty Images

    Alex Livie: PSG 3-0 Bastia

    First goalscorer: Javier Pastore

    PSG were left reeling by the injury to Thiago Silva earlier in the week, but they possess too much quality to be toppled by Bastia.

     

    Sam Tighe: PSG 2-0 Bastia

    First goalscorer: Zlatan Ibrahimovic

    PSG had a terrible opening weekend, but it won't linger. I'm tipping Laurent Blanc's side to bounce back and win their first of the season.

     

    Michael Cummings: PSG 3-1 Bastia

    First goalscorer: Zlatan Ibrahimovic

    In PSG's season opener, Zlatan scored twice and had chances for more. Meanwhile, the defending left something to be desired. Few surprises, then, as Laurent Blanc's team didn't seem quite ready for start of the campaign. Look for a positive reaction—and another Ibra goal—against Bastia.

     

    Karl Matchett: PSG 2-0 Bastia

    First goalscorer: Zlatan Ibrahimovic

    PSG are going to waltz to the league title this season. They could win every home match.

     

    Jerrad Peters: PSG 3-1 Bastia

    First goalscorer: Zlatan Ibrahimovic

    PSG were hardly convincing in their Ligue 1 opener against Reims, although they did get a pair of goals from Ibrahimovic. The Thiago Silva injury really hurts them.

     

    Alex Dimond: PSG 2-0 Bastia

    First goalscorer: Zlatan Ibrahimovic

    The scoreline will surely depend greatly on how long Bastia can go before conceding the opening goal.

     

    Will Tidey: PSG 4-0 Bastia

    First goalscorer: Zlatan Ibrahimovic

    PSG were frustrated last week, which should prompt a big reaction at home to Bastia. Zlat-trick anyone?

FC Porto vs. Maritimo

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    Paulo Duarte/Associated Press

    Alex Livie: FC Porto 3-0 Maritimo

    First goalscorer: Cristian Tello

    Porto are looking to make more of a splash in the Portuguese title race this season. They can make their mark with victory over Maritimo.

     

    Sam Tighe: FC Porto 2-1 Maritimo

    First goalscorer: Jackson Martinez

    Porto are stronger than Maritimo by a distance. I'm going with the odds.

     

    Michael Cummings: FC Porto 2-0 Maritimo

    First goalscorer: Jackson Martinez

    Porto to post a comfortable home win despite losing Eliaquim Mangala and Fernando to Man City in the summer.

     

    Karl Matchett: FC Porto 2-0 Maritimo

    First goalscorer: Adrian

    I’m backing Porto to make a complete turnaround and win the Liga Sagres this season.

     

    Jerrad Peters: FC Porto 2-0 Maritimo

    First goalscorer: Jackson Martinez

    Despite the departures of Fernando, Steven Defour and Eliaquim Mangala, Porto have once again re-stocked the cupboard with a handful of meaningful summer signings.

     

    Alex Dimond: FC Porto 1-0 Maritimo

    First goalscorer: Jackson Martinez

    After so many summer signings it may take Porto a while to gel, but they should still beat Maritimo at home.

     

    Will Tidey: FC Porto 2-1 Maritimo

    First goalscorer: Cristian Tello

    Barcelona loanee Tello to inspire Porto victory in this one.

AZ Alkmaar vs. Ajax

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    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    Alex Livie: AZ Alkmaar 2-1 Ajax

    First scorer: Aron Johannsson

    AZ made an impressive start to the season with a win at Heracles. A visit from Ajax will be a sterner test, but one they can pass.

     

    Sam Tighe: AZ Alkmaar 1-2 Ajax

    First goalscorer: Arkadiusz Milik

    Both sides started the season well but Ajax are by far the stronger outfit. Win No. 2 for Frank de Boer's boys.

     

    Michael Cummings: AZ Alkmaar 1-2 Ajax

    First goalscorer: Lasse Schone

    Ajax and Lasse Schone got off to a fine start in their season opener, a 4-1 win at home to Vitesse. AZ away will be a tougher test, but I'm backing Frank de Boer's side to take the points.

     

    Karl Matchett: AZ Alkmaar 1-2 Ajax

    First goalscorer: Lasse Schone

    It won’t be an easy game, but I fancy Ajax to maintain a strong start to the season.

     

    Jerrad Peters: AZ Alkmaar 2-2 Ajax

    First goalscorer: Muamer Tankovic

    Ajax got their title defence underway with a convincing win over Vitesse, but he will be pushed to the limit by an AZ Alkmaar side that trounced Heracles in week one.

     

    Alex Dimond: AZ Alkmaar 2-2 Ajax

    First scorer: Aron Johannsson

    Coming away with a point from this game is surely the minimum Ajax can expect if they want to be Dutch champions for a fifth time in a row.

     

    Will Tidey: AZ Alkmaar 0-0 Ajax

    Tough scrap here, with neither side able to break the deadlock.

Latest Standings

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    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
    B/R Experts' Table
    NameWeek's TotalTotal
    Karl Matchett1012
    Mike Cummings710
    Sam Tighe77
    Alex Dimond66
    Alex Livie36
    Jerrad Peters66
    Will Tidey33

    B/R

    Correct result: 1 point

    Correct first goalscorer: 2 points

    Correct scoreline: 3 points

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