Football | August 17, 2018

Premier League: Week 2 Preview

Week 2 of the Premier League’s fixtures sees Arsenal attempt to bounce-back from their opening day loss in a London derby against Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea.

Unai Emery travels to Stamford Bridge under a cloud of heavy criticism from former Gunners captain Tony Adams. The Spanish coach had a baptism of fire against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, and things are unlikely to get easier against a Chelsea team that are buoyed by a 3-0 win, and who are likely to restore talisman Eden Hazard back to their starting XI.

The Bluebirds welcome Newcastle to the Cardiff City stadium to kick-off the weekend’s action, and both teams will be looking for their first points of the season. Newcastle were the more competitive side in their opening fixture, but Neil Warnock will be hoping that his team will be inspired by their home crowd, as he reignites his old feud with Rafa Benitez spanning over a decade.

Injury concerns over Richarlison were allayed when the two-goal hero took part in full training for Everton on Tuesday. The Toffees host the Saints but will be missing captain Phil Jagielka, who is suspended following his red card, so Kurt Zouma or Yerry Mina could be in line for a debut. Southampton leaned on keeper Alex McCarthy to earn a point at Burnley and the 28-year-old could be in for another busy afternoon at Goodison.

Leicester City put in a valiant effort at Old Trafford but left with nothing. Claude Puel will be expected to start Jamie Vardy for the visit of Wolves, who made a positive start to life in the Premier League. Rúben Neves lit up the opening round of fixtures, so Nuno Espírito Santo will be hoping his fellow countryman can replicate his performance at the King Power Stadium.

England captain Harry Kane will be looking to put to bed his August hoodoo when Tottenham Hotspur host the Cottagers. The World Cup Golden Boot Winner’s Premier League goal drought in August has now reached 14 matches. That will not concern Mauricio Pochettino as long as Spurs can collect another three points. Fulham conceded nine shots on target last week, more than any other team. If they are unable to give keeper Fabricio more protection, it could be a long season for the Cottagers.

West Ham sit at the foot of the league after receiving a 4-0 drubbing against Liverpool at Anfield, but will be hoping to change things around when they host Bournemouth at the London Stadium. Despite a substantial investment, the Hammers offered very little against the Reds, whilst the Cherries earned a 2-0 win over Cardiff with Callum Wilson at the heart of everything,

Watford’s Roberto Pereyra takes his talents to Turf Moor on Sunday, as he looks to replicate his outstanding brace from last week. Burnley were last year’s overachievers finishing in 7th place, but only managed 36 goals (15th overall). The Clarets drew blanks again in week one, so will be hoping to get on the scoresheet when they face the Hornets.

The Manchester clubs will integrate more players back into their first team after a disruptive preseason post World Cup, and both managers will be fully expecting three points. United travel to Brighton who failed to register a shot on target in defeat to Watford, and Huddersfield were comfortably defeated 3-0 by Chelsea at the John Smith’s Stadium.

On Monday evening, Crystal Palace host Liverpool in what promises to be an exciting encounter, after both teams enjoyed opening round victories. Wilfried Zaha is fresh after signing a new 5-year contract and will cause Jürgen Klopp’s men more problems than the whole of West Ham’s attack on his own. But Liverpool’s front three are one of the best in Europe, and will be expected to come out on top to underline their credentials as title contenders.

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