EPL Week 2 – Top Picks and Predictions
EPL Week 2 – Top Picks and Predictions avatar

De Gea ‘not eager to play’

Manchester United keeper David De Gea has told the club he does not wish to play in their upcoming EPL fixture according to manager Louis van Gaal.

De Gea was dropped for United’s opening day win over Tottenham after van Gaal claimed he was not ‘mentally ready’ to play.

David De Gea has expressed his confusion at his omission from the Utd squad. (Getty Images)

David De Gea has expressed his confusion at his omission from the Utd squad. (Getty Images)

The 24-year-old Spanish international has been linked with a move to Spanish giants Real Madrid. However, United are adamant De Gea will not move unless a world record fee for a goal keeper is offered.

“I’m not doing everything alone,” said Van Gaal. “I have two assistant coaches and a goalkeeping coach, Frans Hoek.

“Frans had a meeting with David De Gea. He fully agreed with our decision.”

Van Gaal told a reporter that De Gea had answered ‘No’ when asked if he wished to play against Aston Villa.

The club later moved to clarify those comments, issuing a statement which read: “The manager wants to clarify that the direct answer from David was not ‘no’, David was not eager to play because of the situation and because he was not 100% focused due to all the rumors surrounding him.”

However, sources close to De Gea expressed their shock at comments, stating the keeper never expressed a desire not to play.

De Gea has been United’s player of the year for the last two seasons and currently has one-year left on his contract.

 

Mourinho stands by criticism

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has stood by his criticism of his medical staff.

Mourinho labeled Dr Eva Carneiro and physio Jon Fearn ‘impulsive and naïve’ and claimed they did not ‘understand the game’ after the pair ran onto the field to treat Eden Hazard.

Chelsea, who were a man down following a red card to keeper Thibaut Courtois, were reduced to nine men when the medical team ran on to the pitch to treat Hazard, as a player must leave the field If they receive treatment.

Mourinho stands by his decision.  (Getty Images

Mourinho stands by his decision. (Getty Images

Carneiro and Fearn will not be on the bench for Sunday’s match at Manchester City, but Mourinho has not ruled out their return.

Speaking at a news conference on Friday, Mourinho said: “Jon Fearn and Dr Carneiro will not be on the bench. But that doesn’t mean they cannot be in the future. It is my decision.”

Mourinho has been criticized for the outburst with Eamonn Salmon, chief executive of the Football Medical Association – which represents professional medical staff in the sport – claiming he should apologize publically for his outburst.

However, when asked if he regretted his outburst, Mourinho said he had an “open relationship” with his medical staff that was “open to disagreement”.

Mourinho added: “Every week I face a decision about the bench. I have to choose. With the medical department, only two can go on the bench and we have more than a dozen.

“The bench is important for some. For others it is about what they do behind the scenes and for the good of the team.”

Mourinho refused to answer any other questions about the incident, telling journalists: “Speak with me about football. Speak about other issues and I am not here.”

 

Predictions

SATURDAY Results My Predictions Luke Neil
Man Utd v Tottenham 1-0 3-1 2-2
Bournemouth v Aston Villa 0-1 2-1 2-1 2-1
Everton v Watford 2-2 2-0 1-0 3-0
Leicester v Sunderland 4-2 2-1 1-2 0-0
Norwich v Crystal Palace 1-3 2-2 0-2 1-1
Chelsea v Swansea 2-2 2-0 3-1 2-0
SUNDAY
Arsenal v West Ham 0-2 3-0 3-0 2-0
Newcastle v Southampton 2-2 1-1 0-2 1-2
Stoke v Liverpool 0-1 2-2 1-3 1-1
MONDAY
West Brom v Man City 0-3 1-2 1-2 1-3
TOTAL 4-Points 3-Points 1-Point

A correct result (picking a win, draw or defeat) is worth ONE point. Getting the exact score correct earns THREE points.

Last week, I got FOUR correct results and Zero perfect scores to earn a total of FOUR-POINTS, which was enough to see off challengers Luke and Neil.

It was not a particularly good week anyone with the predictions, but I expect a lot better this week from everyone. So if you think you know the EPL feel free to leave your predictions below. 

Week 2 Predictions
FRIDAY  
Aston Villa v Man Utd 1-2
SATURDAY
Southampton v Everton 2-0
Sunderland v Norwich 2-0
Swansea v Newcastle 1-0
Tottenham v Stoke 1-1
Watford v West Brom 1-2
West Ham v Leicester 2-1
SUNDAY
Crystal Palace v Arsenal 1-2
Man City v Chelsea 2-1
MONDAY
Liverpool v Bournemouth 3-0

Previews

FRIDAY

Aston Villa v Manchester United

These two sides won 1-0 last week and will want to build on those results with a good performance in Week 2.

Aston Villa rode their luck against Bournemouth last week, but managed to come away with all three-points thanks to a headed goal by new signing Rudy Gestede – the Dutman has scored 20 league goals with his head since August 2013, more than anyone else in the top four divisions.

Rooney didn't see a lot of the ball against Tottenham. (Getty Images)

Rooney didn’t see a lot of the ball against Tottenham. (Getty Images)

Manchester United also won their opening game with a 1-0 victory over Tottenham. However, the Red Devils looked far from convincing and only scored thanks to an own goal.

United seem almost certain to add a couple of new faces before the transfer window is over, but they will have to improve in the meantime.

Jack Grealish and Carles Gil are back in training but not fit enough to play for Villa. While last week’s goal scoring hero Rudy Gestede looks likely to be on the bench.

Manchester United will be without midfielder Marouane Fellaini who is suspended, while Phil Jones is out with mild thrombosis. However, new signing Bastian Schweinsteiger is pushing for his first start.

Manchester United are unbeaten in their last 19 league matches at Villa Park since a 3-1 defeat on the opening day of the 1995-96 season (W12, D7), but they looked poor last week, so Villa might fancy their chances of finally getting a victory.

However, I don’t think the Villains have enough quality going forward to test United and that is why I’ll go for the Red Devils to edge this one.

Predictions: 1-2

 

SUNDAY

Crystal Palace v Arsenal

Palace got a terrific 3-1 away to Norwich last week to continue their great form under new manager Alan Pardew – Pardew equaled the most number of wins by a Crystal Palace boss in the EPL (11) even though he has only been in charge for 19 games.

The Eagles were perhaps a tad fortunate as their opponents Norwich had a goal harshly disallowed, which would have made the game 2-2, but they managed to get another goal and now look like a settled mid table EPL team.

Wenger chose not to start Sanchez and was punished for his complacency. (Getty Images)

Wenger chose not to start Sanchez and was punished for his complacency. (Getty Images)

Arsenal were stunned last week, losing 2-0 at home to neighbors West Ham. The Gunners dominated possession, but lacked cutting edge and were sloppy in defense. New signing Petr Cech had a debut to forget, but I’m sure he and Arsenal will only improve as the season progresses.

Palace have no injury concerns and could name the same side that won at Norwich.

Arsenal look likely to recall Alexis Sanchez, who was on the bench last week after being given an extended break following the Copa America. Left-back Hector Bellerin has overcome a thigh strain and could feature, but Tomas Rosicky, Jack Wilshere and Danny Welbeck remain out.

Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 12 visits to Selhurst Park in all competitions—Their only defeat at the ground came in the old Division One in November 1979 when David Swindlehurst scored the only goal of the match (P18, W10, D7, L1). However, Palace have improved a lot over the past season and will give anyone a game on their home patch.

Nevertheless, I think Arsenal will be hurting from last week and will desperate to get a result and that’s why I’ll go for them to edge this one.

Prediction: 1-2

 

Man City v Chelsea

It’s the runners-up against the champions, as Man City host Chelsea in Week 2 of the EPL.

City put a marker down last week with a 3-0 win away to West Brom. Yaya Toure scored a brace and City will be hoping he hits the form of a couple of seasons ago, after his poor performances last season.

Sterling made a good start for City. (Getty Images)

Sterling made a good start for City. (Getty Images)

New Signing Raheem Sterling looks like he will occupy the left wing for City this season, and the winger had a good debut for the Sky Blues. It has been suggested Sterling could also feature up top for City, but he missed some gilt-edged chances against West Brom and I feel City will have to bring in another striker if they want to challenge for top honors this season.

Chelsea drew 2-2 at home to Swansea last week and could quite easily have lost the game. The Blues started well enough and were leading 2-1, but keeper Thibaut Courtois was sent off for a rash challenge and in the end Chelsea were happy to earn a point.

The lack of cutting edge up top will worry Chelsea fans and I would be surprised if the Blues do not try to bring in one more attacking player before the transfer window closes on September 1.

Manchester City are boosted by the news that Yaya Toure is fit to play, after the Ivorian was substituted with a groin problem last week. Gael Clichy may return following an ankle injury, but Fabian Delph and Fernando are both ruled out.

Chelsea are without keeper Thibaut Courtois, who is suspended, meaning new signing Asmir Begovic will make his first start for Chelsea in the EPL.

Brazilian midfielder Oscar is Chelsea’s only injury doubt after suffering a minor injury in training.

Chelsea are unbeaten in their last four EPL games against Manchester City (W2, D2). But they seem to have a bit of a hangover from last season and actually have won just one of their previous seven games at the Etihad Stadium in all competitions (W1, D1, L5).

I think Chelsea will try to frustrate City and play on the counter, however, City will definitely be up for this encounter and I expect them to win.

Prediction: 2-1

 

MONDAY

Liverpool v Bournmouth

Liverpool regained some pride by beating Stoke 1-0 away last week. The Reds were thrashed 6-1 by the Potters on the final day of last season, but there was never going to be a repeat of that score line on the opening day.

Courtinho's wonder goal saved Liverpool blushes. (Getty Images)

Courtinho’s wonder goal saved Liverpool blushes. (Getty Images)

The game was quite a drab affair with both sides looking toothless and short of ideas in the final third. However, a moment of magic by Philippe Coutinho broke the deadlock and I expect the Brazilian to be Liverpool’s most influential player this season.

Bournemouth found out the harsh nature of the EPL with an opening day loss to Aston Villa. Cherries boss Eddie Howe likes his side to play some dynamic and expansive stuff, but they will need to be clinical if they are going to play that style of soccer as they are going to give a lot of chances away to the opposition.

I think this will an entertaining game and I expect both sides to go for it. However, Bournemouth quit have enough quality to hurt Liverpool and that’s why I’ll go for an comfortable win for the Reds.

Predictions: 3-0

 

 

 

 

About Anthony Ta

Anthony Ta is a writer for the GotSoccer Magazine, specializing in Premier League, Champions League and the Euros.
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