EPL Fixtures Released: 5 Bold Predictions for Premier League Opening Weekend

Ryan Bailey@ryanjaybaileyFeatured ColumnistJune 19, 2013

EPL Fixtures Released: 5 Bold Predictions for Premier League Opening Weekend

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    The arduous task of compiling the Premier League schedule has once again been completed, and the fruits of the fixture computer's labor are officially upon us.

    We know that Manuel Pellegrini's first Premier League match will be in Tyneside, The Special One's second coming will feature Steve Bruce in a supporting role and David Moyes faces a Red Devil baptism of fire at the Liberty Stadium.

    Here's B/R's five bold predictions for the Premier League's opening day.

David Moyes Will Lose His First Match with Manchester Utd.

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    David Moyes may have won his first game with Everton in 2002—a 2-1 victory over Fulham—but a perfect start isn't guaranteed for his reign at Manchester United, with a trip to the Liberty Stadium on the cards.

    In 10 away visits to Swansea dating back to 1932, the Red Devils have only won once, suffering six defeats.

    The current champions kicked off the 2012-13 season with a defeat (against Moyes' Everton) while Michael Laudrup's Capital Cup winners kicked off another impressive campaign with a 5-0 win over Queens Park Rangers.

    Manchester United also have form with losing significant season openers—they lost on the opening weekend of the Premiership to Sheffield United in 1992, conceding the first ever Premier League goal after four minutes.

    With visits to Liverpool and Manchester City and a home meeting with Jose Mourinho's Chelsea in his first five games, Moyes will have his work cut out for him.

    Perhaps his record will mirror that of his predecessor Alex Ferguson, who lost his first match in charge and didn't win until his third.

Hull Will Earn a Draw at Stamford Bridge

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    Jose Mourinho won the first four fixtures of his debut Premier League season, going on to deliver Chelsea's first league title in 50 years.

    The Blues also have a good recent history of convincing opening day victories, such as their 6-0 rout of West Brom in 2010-11 and their 4-0 win over Portsmouth in 2008-09.

    However, Chelsea have drawn two of their last three encounters against Hull.

    Furthermore, the Blues faced the Tigers at home on the opening day of the 2009-10 season (which was Carlo Ancelotti's first match in charge) and bravely scraped three points thanks to two injury time goals from Didier Drogba.

    The Special One also has strong form for drawing his first league match with a new side. His Real Madrid team tied with Mallorca in 2010-11 and his Internazionale could only get one point from Roma on the first day of the 2008-09 campaign.

Crystal Palace Will Beat Tottenham

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    In the last season that Crystal Palace graced the top flight (2004-05), they were relegated on the last day of the season. There's a lot of goodwill out there for Ian Holloway's side, but they are currently the bookmakers' favourite to drop straight back down again in 2013-14.

    However, the Eagles will get off to a good start against Tottenham. In the aforementioned 2004-05 season, Palace drew 1-1 with Spurs at White Hart Lane in December, but managed a triumphant 3-0 win at Selhurst Park the following month.

    Tottenham, in fact, have won only one of their last three visits to Croydon.

    Spurs also have a pretty terrible opening day record. In the past 10 seasons, they have only won the opener twice, losing out on six occasions.

Stoke Will Get a Result Against Liverpool

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    Under Mark Hughes, Stoke City fans will be looking for a more tactically positive approach. Thankfully, it looks as if the Potters will start the season with points on the board.

    Neither Stoke nor Liverpool are particularly good at winning on the opening day. Both have only one win in the past five seasons.

    Also, Liverpool's opening day record is almost as bad as Tottenham's, managing just two wins in the last 10 seasons (but only three losses).

    Both Stoke and Liverpool have drawn twice in their last three openers, and two of their last three league meetings have been goalless draws. So the stats suggest this one has draw written all over it.

    Liverpool, however, have only managed one win against Stoke in their last seven league encounters, losing their last visit to the Britannia 3-1 in December 2012. So Brendan Rodgers' men might just come away from the opener empty handed.

Manchester City Will Score at Least Three Goals Against Newcastle

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    There is a high level of expectation on Manuel Pellegrini's shoulders at Eastlands, but the Chilean won't disappoint on the opening day.

    Manchester City have not been beaten at home by Newcastle since September 2000, and have won seven of their last eight matches against the Toon Army.

    In five of those seven victories, City have scored three goals or more. In their last 10 league encounters, in fact, the Manchester side have scored an average of 2.6 goals.

    City are no strangers to high-scoring openers either. They put three past Southampton at the start of 2012-13 and managed a 4-0 win over Swansea at the beginning of 2011-12.

    Playing against a side that leaked 68 goals last season—the fourth worst record in the league—it's a safe bet that City will score at least three on August 17th.



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