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Barclays Premier League: Week 1 Preview

With the start to the Barclays Premier season only days away, here is our guide to opening weekend.

Liverpool v Stoke

Kick off: Saturday, August 17th at 12:45pm

Venue: Anfield

2013 has the potential to be a very tough season for Brendan Rodgers. Liverpool face the realisation that they are drifting further and further away from the possibility of European football. Although last season did provide encouraging signs, with Suarez on the brink of leaving and an aging Gerrard marshalling the midfield. Stoke City will fancy their chances at Anfield, with Mark Hughes sure to set up his side solidly and huge away support guaranteed due to the club’s offer of free coach travel.

Prediction: Liverpool to win 3-0

Arsenal v Aston Villa

Kick off: Saturday, August 17th at 3pm

Venue: Emirates stadium

After having a £40m bid for Luis Suarez rejected, it seems Arsenal have reverted to type and kept their hands firmly in their pockets for the duration of the transfer window. The only signing being 20-year-old striker Yaya Sanogo on a free transfer. Meanwhile, Aston Villa have secured the services of Christian Benteke for another year and will be looking improve on last year’s 15th position

Prediction: Arsenal to win 2-0

Norwich v Everton

Kick off: Saturday, August 17th at 3pm

Venue: Carrow Road

Everton had a great season under David Moyes and with Roberto Martinez at the helm and stars Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellani both still at Goodison, the Toffees will be hoping to keep this up. Their opponents Norwich have established themselves as the perennial mid-table side which makes them a tricky team to face on the opening day of the 2013/2014 Barclays Premier League season.

Prediction: 1-1 draw

Sunderland v Fulham

Kick off: Saturday, August 17th at 3pm

Venue: The Stadium of Light

Sunderland went back to the drawing board this summer and face the Cottagers with almost 10 new signings. Fulham start the season with new owners after Mohammed Al Fayed sold the club to Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan.

Prediction: 0-0 draw

West Brom v Southampton

Kick off: Saturday, August 17th at 3pm

Venue: The Hawthorns

The Baggies have landed a world class striker in Nicolas Anelka, if the Frenchman finds his feet in the West Midlands, he could have a real impact. Saints have spent carefully losing 11 players and signing only two, Victor Wanyama from Celtic and Lyon’s Dejan Lovren for a combined total of  £20m which should be enough to keep them safe.

Prediction: Southampton to win 1-0

West Ham v Cardiff

Kick off: Saturday, August 17th at 3pm

Venue: Upton Park

The Hammers have raided Anfield bargain box and come up trumps this summer, securing the services of Andy Caroll and Stewart Downing for a combined £35 million less than Liverpool paid for the duo. New boys Cardiff  are now debt free and have acquired the services of Tottenham’s Steven Caulker and Gary Medel of Sevilla.

Prediction: West Ham to win 2-1

Swansea v Manchester United

Kick off: Saturday, August 17th at 5:30pm

Venue: The Liberty Stadium

The Champions started the season with a trophy, beating Wigan 2-0 in the Community Shield at Wembley last Sunday, despite not making any major additions to the squad.. Swansea take their first foray into Europe for 20 years this season and have bolstered their squad with the signing of Ivorian Wilfried Bony.

Prediction: Manchester United to win 2-0

Crystal Palace v Spurs

Kick off: Sunday, August 18th at 1:30pm

Venue: Loftus Road

Tottenham Hotspur have been seldom out of the news this summer and they will be doing everything possible not to lose Gareth Bale. AVB will be confident of a Champions League place this year. Crystal Palace have signed veteran Kevin Phillips, as well as signing Marouane Chamakh from Arsenal.

Prediction: Spurs to win 3-1

Chelsea v Hull City

Kick off: Sunday, August 17th at 4pm

Venue: Stamford Bridge

Chelsea have the Special One back in the driving seat for the 2013/2014 Barclays Premier League season. Steve Bruce has been busy in the transfer market this summer with 17 players on their way out of the KC Stadium and Curtis Davies , Danny Graham and Steve Harper among those going the other way. Despite what looks to be some strong signings, The Tigers will be fighting to avoid the drop right from the beginning.

Prediction: Chelsea to win 4-0

 Manchester City v Newcastle United

Kick off: Monday, August 19th at 8pm

Venue: The Etihad Stadium

Manuel Pellegrini has continued where Roberto Mancini left off, spending close to £85 million in his first months as City boss, missing out on Edison Cavani, surprisingly because of cost.  The Magpies have bought forward Loic Remy on loan from QPR, if he can combine with Papiss Cisse, then Newcastle may have an easier ride than last season.

Prediction: Manchester City to win 2-1

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