Thats right folks 11 long weeks are all but over, and after the highly entertaining entree of the Community Shield its time to get down to the serious nitty gritty. Stamford Bridge on a Saturday lunchtime is the venue for this years opening game and others will follow over the weekend where every single fan hopes for glory and entertainment for the coming season.......and Just for Men as a Christmas Present!!
For my part i'm going to play a couple of roles this year. As some of you may know I'm a fully paid up Season Ticket holder at Old Trafford and will be giving you the talking points from our home games from my point of view in the stands, who played well and who didn't, why did the ref miss that foul etc etc
However before the majority of weekend fixtures I'm also going to have a go at putting my footballing "knowledge" to the test to see how many games and scores I can get right, i'm hoping you'll add you own in the comments section and we can see who gets the best every weekend.....i'm afraid I can offer no prize money, have you seen the price of a season ticket these days!?!?
Anyway as is tradition we shall begin at the beginning, week one of the new Barclays Premier League campaign!
Aston Villa vs Wigan
Villa have lost thier leader in Martin Laursen, but Wigan have lost their flair and pace with Valencia now gone. The Latics defence will not be able to cope with the power and pace of Villa's attack.....
Prediction: Aston Villa 3 - 1 Wigan Athletic
Blackburn vs Man City
Worst possible game to start for City, even a big 4 team would have been better as they'd have been out to prove themselves. As it is City face their two biggest achilles heels, away games and mid-table teams......Blackburn will be up for giving the Nouvea Riche a bit of good ol Lancastrian 'Umble Pie!
Prediction: Blackburn Rovers 2 - 2 Manchester City
Bolton vs Sunderland
A lot of heightened enthusiasm at the Stadium of Light this season, some good young players hungry to show what they can do, up against a team of strong willed veterans. Won't be a classic by any means but it'll be tense and nervy and hard to call, I expect a late winner either way
Prediction: Bolton Wanderers 0 - 1 Sunderland
Chelsea vs Hull
After last seasons second half collapse Hull would've been hoping for an easier opening gambit than this doozy! No real quality added by Hull, going up against a Chelsea side who looked strong against the Champions at Wembley.....sorry Tigers fans this is a no brainer!
Prediction: Chelsea 4 - 0 Hull City
Everton vs Arsenal
Game of the day without a shadow of a doubt! Arsene Wenger will be cursing the fixture computer for this one, they've lost a physical presence in Toure and Adebayor and will be going against the best aerial team in the Premiership. Not to say Everton don't play football, they do!
Vermaelen will be in for a baptism of fire, and with some strikers back I expect Everton to make a positive statement here.
Prediction: Everton 2 - 1 Arsenal
Portsmouth vs Fulham
Wow Portsmouth are really pushing hard for the "yo-yo" tag that West Brom have been given. It seems to be as soon as something good starts going for them, something else gets in the way and drags them back down. They've lost Defoe and Crouch, I don't see Distin staying or Sol Campbell and Niko Kranjcar will be on his way by Januray!
Fulham MUST keep hold of Brede Hangeland so they can continue their good progress under Roy Hodgson, they are a good solid team with people capable of nicking goals for them and I don't see any trouble in this game for them.
Prediction: Portsmouth 0 - 1 Fulham
Stoke vs Burnley
This is an odd one as almost every year a newly promoted side turns over one of the mid-tablers from the previous season. Burnley are well equipped to deal with Stokes aerial threat and this is really just a Championship game for them in style at least. It may all come down to who can finish a half chance or produce a moment of Magic
Prediction: Stoke City 0 - 0 Burnley
Wolves vs West Ham
Another of the more intriguing games of the weekend, a Wolves side who have added some quality and have a lot of youthful skill and pace about them versus a Hammers team who will be expecting a progressive season under the watchful eye of Gianfranco Zola.
However as I said before there is always a promoted team that picks up a win on opening day, and to me this fixture looks the most probable source
Prediction: Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 - 1 West Ham United
Man Utd vs Birmingham
The team talk from McLeish is going to go something along the lines of "there's no better time to hit them than today, and they've not got Ronaldo anymore!" Its going to be a matter of go out and enjoy yourselves and we might pick up a point, and given Uniteds last 2 opening day fixtures (o-o against Reading, 1-1 vs Newcastle) he might have a point. However those two sides went down, so maybe McLeish will settle for a defeat?
Birmingham are an unknown quantity and with a new strikeforce taking on a United backline which is Brown, Neville, Van der Sar and Vidic-less....you just never know
Prediction: Manchester United 3 - 0 Birmingham City
Spurs vs Liverpool
This is going to be a matter of who is fit and who's not for Liverpool. Gerrard has just this minute pulled out of the England squad with a Groin "tweak". Carragher and Torres have both picked up ankle knocks. Combine this with Skrtel, Agger, Mascherano and Babel, it leaves Liverpool looking vulnerable.
Spurs however are starting to settle, under Redknapp they will not be caught cold and if Liverpool are without either Gerrard or Torres then it'll give them a big pre-match boost. Spurs defending will be the key, and again thats a matter of who they have fit!
In a battle of the treatment table, its going to be a tight and entertaining affair
Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 1 - 1 Liverpool
The one thing I love about opening day is that you just don't know who is playing well, who has kept fit or who has lost a yard of pace. Its a bit like a blindfolded Bungee Jump where the guy who measures out your rope has lost his ruler!!
They are MY predictions anyway, if you think you can do better or just want to laugh at me when I get it wronger than Michael Fish in a stiff breeze.....then step up and add your own!
See you Monday!