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EPL Predictions: Picks, Top Players for Week 2 Premier League Fixtures

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistAugust 12, 2019

Manchester City's Raheem Sterling applauds at the end of the English Premier League soccer match between West Ham United and Manchester City at London stadium in London, Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019. Sterling scored three goals in Manchester City's 5-0 win. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

Week 2 of the 2019-20 Premier League season will serve up an early measuring stick for this year's title race, with defending Champions Manchester City taking on UEFA Champions League finalists Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.

Spurs added the likes of Tanguy Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso to their squad and are seen as one of the most improved teams following the transfer deadline. They'll face a massive early test at the Etihad Stadium, however.

Other standout contests include the clash between Chelsea and Leicester City, and the match between Everton and Watford. The Foxes, Toffees and Hornets are among the top contenders to break into the top six this season, and a strong start will be vital to do so.

Here is a look at the fixture list, along with predictions:

Saturday, August 17

Arsenal 2-0 Burnley

Aston Villa 1-1 Bournemouth

Brighton & Hove Albion 1-0 West Ham United

Everton 1-1 Watford

Norwich City 1-2 Newcastle United

Southampton 0-2 Liverpool

Manchester City 3-1 Spurs

Sunday, August 18

Sheffield United 0-0 Crystal Palace

Chelsea 2-2 Leicester

Monday, August 19

Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-1 Manchester United

       

Top Players

Raheem Sterling, Manchester City

With a hat-trick in his first Premier League match of the season, a 5-0 demolition of West Ham, Raheem Sterling hinted the 2019-20 campaign may be the season where he takes another step in his development, into the ranks of true world-class players.

He bagged 17 Premier League goals last season, and at the age of 24, he is still improving. His opening-day hat-trick was the first in some time:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Raheem Sterling is the first player to score a hat-trick on the opening weekend of the Premier League since Didier Drogba in 2010-11 (vs. West Brom). He didn't even need that penalty. 🙃 https://t.co/MkwY0kw1HD

Spurs conceded 39 goals last season and didn't lose any key defenders during the summer. Jan Vertonghen didn't feature in the 3-1 win over Aston Villa, but the duo of Toby Alderweireld and Davinson Sanchez locked down the centre well.

Danny Rose and Kyle Walker-Peters had their struggles in the wide areas, however, and that's where Sterling and the Sky Blues will likely concentrate the bulk of their attack.

     

Tanguy Ndombele, Spurs

Ndombele overcame a shaky start to put together a fine Premier League debut against Villa, capped off by a goal in the 3-1 win.

His final numbers were promising:

Statman Dave @StatmanDave

Tanguy Ndombele’s Premier League debut by numbers: 86% pass accuracy 25 final third passes 4 ball recoveries 3/4 tackles won 1 through ball 1 goal A memorable Ndebut. 🇫🇷 https://t.co/QYDnVMyxi5

The all-action midfielder isn't known for his scoring prowess, with just one Ligue 1 goal scored last season. His work rate more than makes up for his lack of goals, however, as he'll run down gaps and recover balls, taking the pressure off his team-mates. He's also a solid creator in the attacking third.

Ndombele will have his hands full against City, who boast arguably the best group of midfielders in all of football. Kevin De Bruyne is one of the best creators in the Premier League, while Fernandinho and Rodri are industrious work horses like the Frenchman. Ilkay Gundogan adds depth and versatility to the formidable group.

Disrupting City's momentum starts in midfield, and Ndombele's ability to do so will go a long way toward beating the defending champions in their own house.