English Premier League – Matchday 2 Preview

Premier League Preview

What an opening weekend it was for the English Premier League! The fire is not subsiding as the teams are making last-ditch efforts to bolster their rosters before the September 1st deadline for transfers. I have enjoyed some great soccer last weekend and Matchday 2 should offer us more of the same.

All Big 6 clubs have scored victories in the Matchday 1, except for Arsenal who caught the bad end of the early schedule and had to face the reigning champions Manchester City. There were little to no surprises last weekend and it will be a blast to see how clubs will adjust for Matchday 2.

and I have prepared a short preview for all of the Matchday 2 games this weekend, along with some key info and storylines for each game. So, let’s get started!

Cardiff City vs Newcastle United

Time: Saturday, August 18th 2018, 13:30 CET (07:30 EST)

Venue: Cardiff City Stadium

Cardiff City Provisional Starting XI

GK – Etheridge, Defense – Bennet, Manga, Morrison, Peltier, Midfield – Bamba, Patterson, Ralls, Murphy, Hoilett, Attack – Reid

Newcastle United Provisional Starting XI

GK – Dubravka, Defense – Dummet, Yeldin, Clark, Lascelles, Midfield –Richie, Kennedy, Shelvey, Diame, Attack – Perez, Rondon

Both Cardiff City and Newcastle United are coming off tough losses on the opening weekend. Cardiff City were soundly defeated by Bournemouth 2-0 in an away game, while Newcastle failed to score any points vs Tottenham at home in a 1-2 loss.

Cardiff City will be missing midfielder Aron Gunnarsson, while Newcastle United will not have the defender Florian Lejeune in their starting lineup due to a knee injury. Both teams are mostly healthy and well rested from their last week’s matches.

Cardiff City vs Newcastle United games have been high scoring affairs in recent history, with 6 out of the last 7 matches with 3 or more goals scored. Also, Newcastle have enjoyed a better share of the spoils winning 4 out of the last 5 games played between the two clubs.

Everton vs Southampton

Time: Saturday, August 18th 2018, 16:00 CET (10:00 EST)

Venue: Goodison Park

Everton Provisional Starting XI

GK – Pickford, Defense – Baines, Zouma, Coleman, Keane, Midfield – Schneiderlin, Sigurdsson, Gueye, Attack – Walcott, Richarlison, Tosun

Southampton Provisional Starting XI

GK – McCarthy, Defense – Stephens, Soares, Bertrand, Hoedt, Vestergaard, Midfield –Armstrong, Lemina, Redmond, Romeu, Attack – Austin

Everton opened their English Premier League campaign with a disappointing 2-2 draw at the newly promoted Wolverhampton. Southampton didn’t fare much better, as they secured a hard-fought 0-0 draw at home vs Burnley on the opening weekend.

The two sides play with opposing soccer philosophies, as Everton favor a more opening attacking soccer, while Southampton are built on tough defensive formations and gameplans. Recent history has seen some unremarkable matches between the two side, with 4 out of the last matches ending with 2 or less scored between the two teams.

Everton are the favorite here and they will be looking to get all 3 points at their home opener of the season. The Blues will be without the services of captain Phil Jagielka who received a red card on the opening weekend, as well as Andre Gomes and James McCarthy who are struggling with fitness.

Leicester City vs Wolverhampton Wanderers

Time: Saturday, August 18th 2018, 16:00 CET (10:00 EST)

Venue: King Power Stadium

Leicester City Provisional Starting XI

GK – Schmeichel, Defense – Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell, Midfield Pereira, Silva, Gray, Ndidi, Attack – Maddison, Iheanacho, Vardy

Wolverhampton Wanderers Provisional Starting XI

GK – Rui Patricio, Defense – Bennet, Boly, Jonny, Doherty, Midfield – Coady, Neves, Moutinho, Attack – Jota, Costa, Jimenez

Leicester City are coming off an away loss 2-1 to Manchester United on the opening weekend, while Wolverhampton Wanderers have managed to surprise Everton and score a point in a 2-2 draw on their home field.

The Foxes will be missing the services of their reliable midfielder Matthew James, who has an ankle injury. The Wolves will field a starting lineup without the Portuguese defender Ivan Cavalleiro who is experiencing back pain.

It has been more than 5 years since both sides have met in an official match. Both Leicester City and Wolverhampton favor fast-paced attacking soccer, so we should expect an eventful game at King Power Stadium, where the Foxes are favorites over the newly promoted Wolves.

Tottenham Hotspurs vs Fulham

Time: Saturday, August 18th 2018, 16:00 CET (10:00 EST)

Venue: Wembley Stadium

Tottenham Hotspurs Provisional Starting XI

GK – Lloris, Defense – Vertongen, Sanchez, Dier, Davies, Midfield – Aurier, Eriksen, Sissoko, Attack – Alli, Moura, Kane

Fulham Provisional Starting XI

GK – Fabri, Defense – Le Marchand, Christie, Bryan, Chambers, Midfield – McDonald, Cairney, Seri, Sessegnon, Schurrle, Attack – Mitrovic

On the opening weekend, Tottenham earned a hard-fought away 1-2 win at Newcastle United, while Fulham had a rough welcome to the English Premier League at their home ground, as they were run ragged by Crystal Palace in a 0-2 defeat.

The Spurs are entering the match as heavy favorites at home, while Fulham will be looking for a chance to at least score a point and avoid a bad start with 2 consecutive losses. Tottenham will be missing Victor Wanayama who has a knee injury, as well as forward Son Heung-Min who is away on national team duty.

Fulham will not be complete either, as their defender Dennis Odoi has received a red card in the previous match and will miss this game, as well as defender Alfie Mawson who has a knee injury.

West Ham United vs Bournemouth

Time: Saturday, August 18th 2018, 16:00 CET (10:00 EST)

Venue: Olympic Stadium

West Ham United Provisional Starting XI

GK – Fabianski, Defense – Ogbonna, Fredericks, Balbuena, Masuaku, Midfield – Anderson, Wilshere, Noble, Snodgrass, Antonio, Attack – Arnautovic

Bournemouth Provisional Starting XI

GK – Begic, Defense – Ake, Cook, Daniels, Smith, Midfield – Gosling, Fraser, Surman, Brooks, Attack – King, Wilson

West Ham United are coming off a terrible performance at Liverpool, where they were demolished in a 4-0 loss to the Reds. They are hoping to make a better impression at home when they host Bournemouth. The Hammers will be without the services of Carroll, Lanzini and Reid who are all still nursing injuries.

On the other hand, Bournemouth have enjoyed an excellent start of the season as they have defeated Cardiff City 2-0 in their home opener. They have also been hit by the injury bug and they will miss Jefferson Lerma and Junior Stanislas when they face West Ham United.

The Hammers are home favorites to win this one but it will be a tough match, as Bournemouth are one of the better defensive sides in the English Premier League. The clubs have played 6 matches since Bournemouth have joined the English Premier League in 2015, and the matchup has been pretty even with the Hammers winning 2, Bournemouth winning 2 and 2 draws.

Chelsea vs Arsenal

Time: Saturday, August 18th 2018, 18:30 CET (12:30 EST)

Venue: Stamford Bridge

Chelsea Provisional Starting XI

GK – Kepa, Defense – Rudiger, Luiz, Alonso, Azpilicueta, Midfield – Kante, Jorginho, Barkley, Attack – Hazard, Willian, Morata

Arsenal Provisional Starting XI

GK – Cech, Defense – Sokratis, Monreal, Bellerin, Mustafi, Midfield – Ozil, Xhaka, Ramsey, Guendouzi, Attack – Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang

Chelsea are looking to continue a good start under new manager Maurizio Sarri. They have handled Huddersfield Town in their away opener by winning the game 0-3. An impressive performance the Blues will try to build on in the future.

Arsenal’s early schedule is definitely brutal, as they now have to face Chelsea, coming off a home opener loss to Manchester City 0-2. This one won’t be any easier as they will be missing the services of Carl Jenkinson, Sead Kolasinac and Laurent Koscielny versus Chelsea.

Chelsea are the favorite to win this one at home and snap their bad streak versus the Gunners. The Gunners have won the last 2 matches between the two sides, to go along with further 4 matches which ended in a draw.

Burnley vs Watford

Time: Sunday, August 19th 2018, 14:30 CET (08:30 EST)

Venue: Turf Moor Stadium

Burnley Provisional Starting XI

GK – Hart, Defense – Ward, Lowton, Mee, Tarkovski, Midfield – Westwood, Lennon, Cork, Gudmundsson, Hendrick, Attack – Wood

Watford Provisional Starting XI

GK – Foster, Defense – Cathcart, Janmaat, Kabasele, Holebas, Midfield – Hughes, Capuoe, Pereyra, Doucoure, Attack – Gray, Deeney

Burnley are coming off a 3-day rest, since this season they are participating in UEFA Europa League competition and had another match to play during the week. Their opening match in the English Premier League at Southampton ended in a 0-0 draw.

Watford came out firing in their home opener as they took care of Brighton and won 2-0. They are eager to continue their good form at Turf Moor, where Burnley have been quite vulnerable last season. They are the lone team in the top half of the table to have a better away than home record.

Burnley have won 3 out of the last 5 games between the two teams, but a close match is still expected. Both teams prefer to play tough defensive soccer and rely on counter-attacks. The team which makes fewer defensive mistakes has a better chance at securing the points.

Manchester City vs Huddersfield Town

Time: Sunday, August 19th 2018, 14:30 CET (08:30 EST)

Venue: City of Manchester Stadium

Manchester City Provisional Starting XI

GK – Ederson, Defense – Mendy, Stones, Laporte, Walker, Midfield – Fernandinho, Gundogan, Mahrez, Attack – Silva, Sterling, Aguero

Huddersfield Town Provisional Starting XI

GK – Hamer, Defense – Kongolo, Hadergjonaj, Lowe, Schindler, Midfield – Mooye, van La Parra, Diakhaby, Billing, Pritchard, Attack – Mounie

The reigning champions Manchester City have kicked off the new English Premier League season with an away 0-2 win at Arsenal in a commanding performance. The early favorites for the title are living up to their billing and will be looking to continue that by smashing Huddersfield Town to pieces.

On the other hand, Huddersfield Town really struggled in their home opener as they were demolished 0-3 by Chelsea. Their unfortunate early schedule has put them in a tough spot and one can only hope that they will be able to regroup and start playing better as more manageable matches roll around.

Anything but a sound Manchester City victory at the City of Manchester Stadium should be considered a surprise here.

Brighton & Hove Albion vs Manchester United

Time: Saturday, August 19th 2018, 17:00 CET (11:00 EST)

Venue: Amex Stadium

Brighton & Hove Albion Provisional Starting XI

GK – Ryan, Defense – Bong, Dunk, Duffy, Bernardo, Midfield – Stephens, March, Gross, Propper, Knockaert, Attack – Murray

Manchester United Provisional Starting XI

GK – De Gea, Defense – Darmian, Shaw, Lindelof, Bailly, Midfield – Fred, Pogba, Pereira, Attack – Sanchez, Lukaku, Rashford

Brighton had a tough away season opener at Watford, which they ended up losing 2-0. They looked anemic and far from the side that has ambitions to place in the middle of the table aspirations. At least, they are expected to be fully healthy as they host Manchester United in their home opener of the season.

Manchester United played well enough to win 2-1 versus Newcastle United at home but overall left an unimpressive performance on the field and furthered the doubts surrounding Jose Mourinho. In addition to that, the Red Devils have been hit by an injury bug and will be missing Nemanja Matic, Antonio Valencia, Marcus Rojo and Sergio Romero as they travel to Brighton.

Manchester United are the heavy favorites to take all the points from this one. Brighton & Hove Albion will rely on a defensive gameplan and counter-attacks as they try to secure at least a point at home. Still, the overall quality of Red Devils should come to light.

Crystal Palace vs Liverpool

Time: Monday, August 20th 2018, 21:00 CET (15:00 EST)

Venue: Selhurst Park

Crystal Palace Provisional Starting XI

GK – Hennessey, Defense – Tomkins, Van Aanholt, Sakho, Schlupp, Wan-Bissaka, Midfield – Milivojevic, McArthur, Townsend, Attack – Zaha, Benteke

Liverpool Provisional Starting XI

GK – Allison, Defense – Van Dijk, Gomez, Roberston, Alexander-Arnold, Midfield – Milner, Wijnaldum, Keita, Attack – Salah, Firmino, Mane

Crystal Palace had a fantastic opening weekend as they managed to soundly beat Fulham at Craven Cottage by a 0-2 result. They have high ambitions this season, as they will try to sneak into the top half of the table. Their job is not going to be easy, especially this weekend as they host Liverpool.

Liverpool have opened the season at home, where they smashed West Ham United 4-0 in a beautiful performance. The Reds are optimistic about their title chances this year and will be looking to continue with good performances in that quest.

It will not be an easy away game for the Reds but they have enough quality to overcome a solid Crystal Palace side in this one.