Are you ready for Premier League Gameweek two tips? The first round of matches of the Premier League yielded some big surprises including Brentford beating Arsenal, Watford beating Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur (minus Harry Kane) beating Manchester City.
Like last week, we’ve broken our preview of Premier League Gameweek two into two halves, and in this the first half we look at the early Saturday games to help you find the best game analysis, match predictions and betting tips.
Liverpool vs Burnley
The early game on Saturday sees Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side host Burnley at Anfield. The reds opened their Premier League account this season with an easy win at Carrow Road against Norwich City while Burnley lost to Brighton and Hove Albion having taken an early lead.
Liverpool have been boosted by the potential return of three players from injury. Jordon Henderson, Thiago and Curtis Jones could all be fit for this game but full back Andrew Robertson will miss out again with an ankle ligament injury. That means Greek left-back Kostas Tsimikas should keep his place, but the Reds could freshen up their normal three man midfield.
Burnley have no new injury concerns ahead of this game. Young centre-back Nathan Collins only made the bench for the opening game following his £12million move to Turf Moor but he faces a tough fight to get a spot ahead of skipper Ben Mee and England centre-back James Tarkowski in Burnley’s back four.
Burnley have lost eight of the last ten Premier League games including the last four in a row. They’ve never lost five on the bounce in the Premier League – they won’t want to on Saturday.
Aston Villa vs Newcastle
Aston Villa had a poor opening match against Watford and Dean Smith will demand better from his team in front of their home fans. Newcastle twice took the lead at home to West Ham United last weekend but were undone by three second half goals to succumb to a 4-2 defeat thanks to some sloppy defending from the Magpies.
Villa could welcome Douglas Luiz back to the fold with the Brazillian missing the first game after a busy summer with his country at Copa America and the Olympics, while Ollie Watkins is a doubt to come into the squad. With Leon Bailey also potentially coming into the first eleven, Smith could switch from the 4-2-3-1 he deployed against Watford to give his team more options up front.
Newcastle are a team of contrasts. Up front, Joe Willock could become just the fourth player to score in eight consecutive Premier League games. The former Arsenal man scored in the opening game of the season following his £25M permanent move from the Emirates Stadium to the North East. At the back the Magpies look frail and once again boss Steve Bruce has to look to rookie keeper Freddie Woodman with Martin Dubravka and Karl Darlow both ruled out for a month at least.
Villa haven’t lost in any of their last six Premier League meetings with Newcastle United with the Magpies not scoring on their last four visits to Villa Park in the Premier League.
Crystal Palace vs Brentford
Patrick Vieira started his reign as Crystal Palace boss with a heavy 3-0 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last weekend while Brentford started their Premier League career with an outstanding 2-0 win over Arsenal in West London.
Last weekend showed just how much work Vieira has to do with the Eagles, as they were convincingly beaten by a strong Chelsea side. Palace haven’t won in their last nine Premier League London derby matches, losing the last four in a row and conceding at least three goals in each game. They’re still without new signing Michael Olise along with Eberechi Eze which isn’t helpful for Palace’s attacking options.
Brentford boss Thomas Frank has spoken of how as good as the performance last weekend was, he will expect his players not to rest on their laurels and to go again against Palace. The game might come too soon for new left winger Yoane Wissa to start and the Congolese man will probably have to be content with being on the bench again.
Brentford’s Sergio Canos made the most combined tackles an interceptions of any player in the opening round of fixtures and Frank will be hopeful the Spanish winger can have another successful game in the wing-back role.
Leeds United vs Everton
The opening match of the season was a painful one for Leeds as they went down 5-1 to a Manchester United side powered by Paul Pogba in his absolute prime. They face an Everton side who came back from a goal down to win 3-1 in Rafa Benitez’ first match in the blue half of Liverpool.
England midfielder Kalvin Phillips was an unused sub in the first game of the season for Leeds and he may not start this one as he regains his fitness after a shortened pre-season. Bielsa has also confirmed that defender Diego Llorente will miss out with his knee injury while Adam Forshaw needs careful management to be back up to full speed. Junior Firpo could make his first start having come on at half time at Old Trafford.
Richarlison was a surprise starter last weekend after a hectic summer playing in the Copa America and the Olympics, but clearly fitness isn’t a problem with the Brazilian contributing a goal and an assist in his 89 minutes. He played in a three including Andros Townsend and Demarai Gray behind England striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin and those could play again with Colombian playmaker James Rodriguez a doubt.
Last season both meetings in the Premier League between these two teams were won by the away side with Everton winning 2-1 at Elland Road in the last encounter.
Manchester City vs Norwich City
All the focus last weekend was on the absence of Harry Kane as Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side went down 1-0 away to Spurs. Norwich on the other hand had a tough home match against a rampant Liverpool side and will be worried that they could be on the other end of another thrashing.
Guardiola started with a front three of Riyad Mahrez, Ferran Torres and Raheem Sterling last weekend but struggled to put much pressure on Spurs after a strong opening spell. Jack Grealish had a quiet first Premier League start after his £100M move from Aston Villa and he will need to contribute more if Man City are to defend their title. Ilkay Gundogan is a doubt in midfield but Kevin de Bruyne could start.
Norwich gave a spirited start against Liverpool but despite Finnish striker Teemo Pukki forcing a good early save from Alisson couldn’t build on that pressure and lost their rhythm when Liverpool went ahead. It will be interesting to see if manager Daniel Farke again goes with a 4-3-3 formation, or if he asks widemen Todd Cantwell and Milot Rashica to drop back a little and help out in midfield.
The last time these two teams met was back in July 2020 during the so-called “Project Restart” matches following Covid lockdown. In that game Guardiola’s team crushed Norwich 5-0 in their final home game of the season; Farke will be hopeful that this game won’t be so one-sided.