Mauricio Pochettino

Weekend Preview and Predictions

@0riginalfooty takes a look at the four FA Cup quarter-final matches as well as the one Premier League fixture. Last time out we got nine out of ten predictions right and two correct scores. Will we do better this week?

Saturday

Bradford vs Reading (12:45)
The Bantams are entering this match as favourites given their recent cup history in both the FA Cup and the League Cup and particularly considering their home form in cup competitions. Reading may be a division above them but pundits have largely written them off, however, I’m not sure that they will roll over so easily. The Royals will be fully aware of the dangers that Bradford will pose in this tie so they shouldn’t underestimate them. In addition to this, there are question marks over whether the Bantams will be able to be motivate themselves to perform at the levels they have in previous rounds because Reading aren’t such a big name. For those reasons, I think the tie might go back to the Madjeski Stadium.
Prediction: Bradford 1-1 Reading

QPR vs Spurs (15:00)
The weekend’s only Premier League fixture features two sides facing very different battles. The R’s are back in the relegation zone following their defeat to Arsenal in midweek, whereas Spurs put themselves firmly in contention for a top-four spot with their 3-2 victory over Swansea. Mauricio Pochettino will be expecting his side to use their game in hand wisely and put real pressure on the sides above them and they should do that.
Prediction: QPR 1-2 Spurs

Aston Villa vs West Brom (17:30)
This is a very interesting cup-tie. It’s a local derby and the same fixture was played on Tuesday night where Villa came out on top 2-1 through a late Christian Benteke penalty. The atmosphere should be electric and both sets of players will be up for it, especially because a trip to Wembley awaits the winner. The Villans were the stronger side when the sides last met but Baggies’ boss Tony Pulis will get a reaction out of his players. It could go either way and neither side will want a replay but I’ll sit on the fence and say that’s what they’ll get.
Prediction: Aston Villa 1-1 West Brom

Sunday

Liverpool vs Blackburn (16:00)
Brendan Rodgers’ side are the form team of 2015 and Rovers couldn’t have picked a worse time to play them. Having said that, Liverpool must guard against complacency as Blackburn have knocked out Premier League opposition in the form of Stoke and Swansea already this competition but this is a real opportunity for The Reds to lift a trophy and it’s hard to see Rovers stopping them.
Prediction: Liverpool 3-0 Blackburn

Man United vs Arsenal (20:00)
This should be a fascinating tie. Louis van Gaal’s team are yet to convince anyone of their powers but United always seem to have a hold over The Gunners. Arsenal, meanwhile, have been in good league form but are still susceptible to conceding silly goals and gifting opportunities to the opposition. United have the firepower to capitalise on those sort of chances and I think this will end up as a high-scoring draw.
Prediction: Man United 2-2 Arsenal

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Midweek Preview and Predictions

@0riginalfooty takes a look at the midweek fixtures for the 25th round of Premier League football. Last time out we got five out of ten predictions right and one correct score. Will we do better this week?

Tuesday

Arsenal vs Leicester (19:45)
The Gunners suffered a disappointing derby defeat to bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur having been ahead and, in truth, looked the weaker side. Leicester suffered another defeat and their mini-renaissance has come to a halt. There were further problems after the match after Nigel Pearson was reportedly sacked only for those rumours to be proved as false later on. In short, Leicesterface a very uncertain future. Arsene Wenger will be looking for a response from his side to keep them in the hunt for a top-four spot and they shouldn’t have too much trouble beating The Foxes.
Prediction: Arsenal 3-0 Leicester

Hull vs Aston Villa (19:45)
This is a huge match between two sides struggling at the bottom of the table but both will enter it with renewed optimism. Hull were moments away from leaving the Etihad with all three points and their performance has reduced the pressure on Steve Bruce, which will further decrease if they beat Villa. The Villans, meanwhile, produced a spirited display against Chelsea and if they can start performing like that against the sides around them, then they are more than capable of escaping the drop. It’s hard to predict which side will be boosted the most from their weekend endeavours but both teams will be desperate to not lose and a draw could be on the cards.
Prediction: Hull 1-1 Aston Villa

Sunderland vs QPR (19:45)
The Black Cats have started to pull clear of relegation trouble and the signing of Jermain Defoe has given the whole club a lift. On the other hand, QPR seem to be in big trouble. They conceded a late goal to lose to Southampton and could really do with a morale-boosting victory away from home. It’s hard to see that happening, though.
Prediction: Sunderland 2-0 QPR

Liverpool vs Spurs (20:00)
Liverpool missed a big opportunity to close the gap on a few of their top-four rivals with a goalless draw against Everton. Spurs had no such problem and Harry Kane emphatically fired them to victory over Arsenal to guide them into fifth. Liverpool thumped Spurs 3-0 in the reverse fixture but Mauricio Pochettino’s men have had success in their most recent matches against their rivals and you wouldn’t bet against them getting at least a draw at Anfield.
Prediction: Liverpool 2-2 Spurs

Wednesday

Chelsea vs Everton (19:45)
Jose Mourinho’s men may not have been at their best at Villa Park on Saturday but they did what every great side does and ground out a victory. Everton have improved greatly in the last few weeks but are still not playing at the level that Roberto Martinez would expect of them. Chelsea should earn a comfortable home victory.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-0 Everton

Man United vs Burnley (19:45)
Daley Blind scored a late equaliser to earn United a point at Upton Park while Burnley let another two goal lead slip against West Brom. Burnley’s run of fixtures looks daunting and it’s hard to make a strong case for their survival given their tendency to drop points from winning positions. United have been very up and down all season and have rarely looked like the attacking force that most people were expecting to see. Having said that, they have enough to beat The Clarets.
Prediction: Man United 2-1 Burnley

Southampton vs West Ham (19:45)
The Saints recorded an impressive away win at Loftus Road to move into third in the table and Ronald Koeman’s side continue to battle for a top-four place. The Hammers dominated Man United but just came up short to land all three points. Both these sides have demonstrated throughout the season that they are no pushovers and this should be a tight game but I fancy Southampton to nick it.
Prediction: Southampton 2-1 West Ham

Stoke vs Man City (19:45)
Both these sides scored late on to earn a point this weekend. Peter Crouch nodded home to level for The Potters against Newcastle while James Milner’s free-kick salvaged a point against Hull. It’s very difficult to predict against Stoke when they’re at home but the fact that City will be desperate to bounce back after their weekend result coupled with their wanting to avenge their defeat to Stoke in the reverse fixture should mean that they come out on top.
Prediction: Stoke 1-2 Man City

Crystal Palace vs Newcastle (20:00)
This game will mean an awful lot to Alan Pardew, who will be desperate to record a win over his former side. Pardew’s short reign at Palace has been an unqualified success and they recorded another victory against Leicester to fire themselves into 13th and six points clear of the relegation zone. John Carver, on the other hand, has done ok in his brief time in charge of The Magpies but his spell at the helm has been largely unspectacular. The atmosphere should be intense inside Selhurst Park and I’m tipping Pardew to get the win.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 2-1 Newcastle

West Brom vs Swansea (20:00)
Both sides recovered from losing positions to earn a point at the weekend and Tony Pulis is yet to produce the airtight defence that many people were expecting of him. Swansea have enjoyed a very good season but I can’t see them finishing any higher than their current position in 9th but a mid-table finish would represent a success. A draw seems inevitable in this one.
Prediction: West Brom 1-1 Swansea

Weekend Preview and Predictions

@Originalfooty takes a look at the fixtures for the fifth weekend of Premier League football. Last weekend we got five out of ten predictions correct and one correct score. Will we do better this week? 

Saturday

QPR vs Stoke (12:45)
Both these sides have made very poor starts to the campaign. QPR have the worst goal difference in the league and have lost three of their opening four matches. Stoke, on the other hand, have had what on paper looked like a relatively easy start and only a shock win over Manchester City has saved them from being glued to the bottom of the table. They will be desperate to get a win against one of the sides around them but a draw seems more likely here.
Prediction: QPR 1-1 Stoke

Aston Villa vs Arsenal (15:00)
Villa have been one of the best sides in the league to date and put in a magnificently gritty performance to earn a victory at Anfield last weekend. Arsenal, meanwhile, have made an indifferent start to the campaign and were battered by Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League on Tuesday. However, they still remain undefeated in the league. There are serious concerns over Arsenal’s defence but they are always a threat going forward and should bounce back against Paul Lambert’s side.
Prediction: Villa 1-2 Arsenal

Burnley vs Sunderland (15:00)
Burnley were agonisingly close to sealing their first league victory of the season against Crystal Palace and saw a late penalty wonderfully saved by Julian Speroni. They are proving to be no pushovers though and can take heart from their start. Sunderland have started decently enough and have earned draws against Spurs and Manchester United but they look a little toothless in attack. A low scoring draw seems the most likely outcome in this one.
Prediction: Burnley 1-1 Sunderland

Newcastle vs Hull (15:00)
Newcastle have won the award for worst performance of the season so far with their dismal showing against Southampton and Alan Pardew is under huge pressure to get a result here. Hull have made an okay start to the season and will fancy their chances of picking up at least a point here. Pardew will probably need a win to keep his job but it’s hard to see them getting it.
Prediction: Newcastle 1-1 Hull

Swansea vs Southampton (15:00)
This could be one of the games of the weekend as two sides who have played some excellent football go head to head. Swansea’s winning streak was brought to an end by Chelsea last weekend whilst Southampton mauled Alan Pardew’s hapless Newcastle side. Both these sides were tipped to struggle this season due to their manager’s lack of experience in the league and, in Southampton’s case, a mass exodus of their playing staff. However, both sides and managers deserve immense praise for their start and this is a tough game to call. It should be a game full of goals and a great one for the neutral.
Prediction: Swansea 2-2 Southampton

West Ham vs Liverpool (17:30)
West Ham have had a decent start to the season and fought back well to draw against Hull on Monday night. Liverpool, on the other hand, dropped points against Villa at the weekend when trying to rotate their squad. They were very easy to defend against in the absence of Sterling and Sturridge. Fortunately for Liverpool, West Ham aren’t as solid as Villa are at the moment and an away win is on the cards.
Prediction: West Ham 1-3 Liverpool

Sunday

Leicester vs Manchester United (13:30)
What a start to the season Leicester have made. They have been a brilliant addition to the league and have secured some fantastic results. Leonardo Ulloa is proving to be a superb buy and will cause this weak Manchester United defence a lot of problems. United, however, managed a good result and performance themselves last weekend, albeit against a very poor QPR side, but there are still questions to be answered at the back. Leicester won’t be afraid here and can continue their brilliant campaign.
Prediction: Leicester 2-2 Manchester United

Spurs vs West Brom (13:30)
Spurs threw away three points against Sunderland last weekend and were guilty of not taking several great chances in the second half. They did play well though and Pochettino can be encouraged, on the whole, by his sides performances. At the other end of the scale, The Baggies look like a very average side and they will struggle to score against this Spurs team. Don’t be surprised to see Alan Irvine’s team rooted to the bottom of the league after this weekend.
Prediction: Spurs 3-0 West Brom

Everton vs Crystal Palace (16:00)
The Toffees finally got off the mark with an away win at West Brom and that should kick start Roberto Martinez and his side’s season. Palace are still finding their feet under Neil Warnock and were very grateful to Julian Speroni and his penalty save to avoid defeat last weekend. This should be a fairly routine win for Everton.
Prediction: Everton 2-0 Crystal Palace

Man City vs Chelsea (16:00)
This is a clash between the two sides most people believe will win the league this season. City have made a fairly poor start by their lofty standards and are without a win in their last three matches after defeat in Munich. Chelsea, on the other hand, have been magnificent in the league but a midweek home draw with Schalke demonstrated their reliance on Diego Costa. Mourinho ended City’s fantastic run at home last season but he would be happy with a draw to maintain the early five-point gap.
Prediction: Man City 1-1 Chelsea

Top Signing Per Club: M-W

The transfer window has now closed and the Premier League sides will have to make do with what they have until January. Here @0riginalfooty takes a look at the top signing made by each club whose name begins between M and W.

Manchester City
Fernando (FC Porto, undisclosed). Fernando was signed to bolster City’s options in midfield and has slotted seamlessly into the side thus far. He is a strong and powerful midfielder who will do the dirty work in midfield to allow Manuel Pellegrini’s attacking options more freedom so they can maximise the damage they inflict on the opposition.
Other notable signings: Willy Caballero (Malaga, undisclosed), Eliaquim Mangala (FC Porto, £32m), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal, free).

Manchester United
Angel di Maria (Real Madrid, £59.7m). Louis van Gaal has smashed the British transfer record by acquiring the services of Argentine winger di Maria. Di Maria was influential in Real Madrid’s Champions League victory last season and was a key member of the Argentina side that reached the World Cup final. United have signed a world class player and one that has the ability to turn their fortunes around.
Other notable signings: Daley Blind (Ajax, £14m), Radamel Falcao (AS Monaco, loan), Ander Herrera (Athletic Bilbao, £29m), Marcos Rojo (Sporting Lisbon, £16m), Luke Shaw (Southampton, £27m).

Newcastle United
Jack Colback (Sunderland, free). Sunderland fans were furious that Jack Colback was allowed to move to their bitter rivals for no fee. Sunderland’s loss is Newcastle’s gain and Colback should play a big role at the heart of their midfield. He was recently called up to the England squad and, although he had to leave the squad with an injury, has a bright future in front of him.
Other notable signings: Remy Cabella (Montpellier, undisclosed), Karl Darlow (Nottingham Forest, undisclosed), Facundo Ferreyra (Shakhtar Donetsk, loan), Daryl Janmaat (Feyenoord, undisclosed), Siem de Jong (Ajax, undisclosed), Jamaal Lascelles (Nottingham Forest, undisclosed), Ayoze Perez (Tenerife, undisclosed), Emmanuel Riviere (AS Monaco, undisclosed).

QPR
Steven Caulker (Cardiff, £8m). QPR manager Harry Redknapp has been keen to add solidity to his back line this summer and highly rated English centre-back Steven Caulker fits the bill perfectly. QPR kept their first clean sheet of the season in their last match against Sunderland and there were encouraging signs that the Caulker-Ferdinand partnership is ready to blossom.
Other notable signings: Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United, free), Leroy Fer (Norwich City, £8m), Mauricio Isla (Juventus, loan), Alex McCarthy (Reading, undisclosed), Jordan Mutch (Cardiff City, £6m), Jack Robinson (Liverpool, undisclosed).

Southampton
Fraser Forster (Celtic, £10m). A lot of the focus of Southampton’s summer spending has been on replacing the key players who left for pastures new. There are question marks over how successful their recruitment drive has been, however, one position they have certainly strengthened is in goal. Forster is a top young goalkeeper who has the potential to challenge Joe Hart for the England goalkeeping jersey and represents a major coup for The Saints.
Other notable signings: Toby Alderweireld (Atletico Madrid, loan) Ryan Bertrand (Chelsea, loan), Florin Gardos (FC Steaua Bucharest, £6m), Shane Long (Hull City, £12m), Sadio Mane (Red Bull Salzburg, £10m), Graziano Pelle (Feyenoord, undisclosed), Dusan Tadic (FC Twente, £10.9m).

Stoke City
Victor Moses (Chelsea, loan). Mark Hughes has largely spent the summer bolstering his attacking options and Victor Moses represents a good piece of business for The Potters. After an uninspiring loan move at Liverpool, he will be keen to get back on track with Stoke and rediscover the form that made him heralded as a highly rated prospect.
Other notable signings: Oussama Assaidi (Liverpool, loan), Phil Bardsley (Sunderland, free), Bojan (Barcelona, £3m), Mame Biram Diouf (Hannover 96, free), Steve Sidwell (Fulham, free).

Sunderland
Jack Rodwell (Manchester City, free). Rodwell’s career may have stalled at Manchester City but The Black Cats have pulled off a major coup in landing him. He is a tall combative midfielder but has rediscovered the attacking side to his game that was evident in his goal against Manchester United. Sunderland fans can expect Rodwell to really kick on and become a key player for them.
Other notable signings: Patrick van Aanholt (Chelsea, undisclosed), Ricardo Alvarez (Inter Milan, loan), Will Buckley (Brighton and Hove Albion, £2.5m), Sebastian Coates (Liverpool, loan), Jordi Gomez (Wigan Athletic, free), Billy Jones (West Bromwich Albion, free), Costel Pantilimon (Manchester City, free), Santiago Vergini (Estudiantes, loan).

Swansea
Gylfi Sigurdsson (Spurs, undisclosed). Sigurdsson has been one of the stars of the Premier League season so far and has played a large part in guiding Swansea towards the top of the table. Swansea fans will expect more of the same from a man who looks to be enjoying his football again after an indifferent spell at Spurs.
Other notable signings: Tom Carroll (Spurs, loan), Marvin Emnes (Middlesbrough, undisclosed), Lukasz Fabianski, Federico Fernandez (Napoli, undisclosed), Bafetimbi Gomis (Lyon, free), Raheem Hanley (Blackburn Rovers, undisclosed), Stephen Kingsley (Falkirk, undisclosed), Jefferson Montero (Morelia, undisclosed).

Tottenham Hotspur
Eric Dier (Sporting Lisbon, £4m). Spurs haven’t splashed too much cash this window as Mauricio Pochettino has been briefed to bring the best out of the players already at the club. However, the signing of Eric Dier looks to be an excellent piece of business. Not only is he solid at the back, he is also a threat going forward and already has two league goals this season. He is still a young prospect and will be a major asset to Spurs in the future.
Other notable signings: Ben Davies (Swansea, £10m), Federico Fazio (Sevilla, undisclosed), Benjamin Stambouli (Montpellier, £4.7m), Michel Vorm (Swansea, £5m), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC, undisclosed).

West Bromwich Albion
Joleon Lescott (Manchester City, free). It’s been a summer of change for West Brom. The Baggies have brought in more new faces than any other side in the Premier League as they hope to draw a line under last season. Their most impressive signing is that of Joleon Lescott. Lescott has vast amounts of Premier League experience as well as playing international football and in the Champions League. Once fully fit, he will be a vital part of West Brom’s plans to stay in the division.
Other notable signings: Chris Baird (Burnley, free), Sebastian Blanco (Metalist Kharkiv, undisclosed), Jason Davidson (Heracles Almelo, undisclosed), Cristian Gamboa (Rosenborg, undisclosed), Craig Gardner (Sunderland, free), Brown Ideye (Dynamo Kiev, £10m), Sebastien Pocognoli (Hannover 96, undisclosed), Georgios Samaras (Celtic, free), Andre Wisdom (Liverpool, loan)

West Ham United
Alex Song (Barcelona, loan). Sam Allardyce has been told he must bring style rather than just substance to Upton Park and he has brought in some exciting attacking prospects to do just that. However, The Hammers’ most high profile signing is Alex Song who has joined on loan from Catalan giants Barcelona. The former Arsenal man is a quality defensive midfielder who has an excellent range of passing and will drastically improve the quality of the London club’s midfield.
Other notable signings: Aaron Cresswell (Ipswich Town, undisclosed), Carl Jenkinson (Arsenal, loan), Cheikhou Kouyate (Anderlecht, undisclosed), Diego Poyet (Charlton Athletic, free), Diafra Sakho (Metz, undisclosed), Enner Valencia (Pachuca, £12m), Mauro Zarate (Velez Sarsfield, undisclosed).

Weekend Preview and Predictions

@0riginalfooty takes a look at the fixtures for the third weekend of Premier League football. Last week we got six out of ten correct with two correct scores, will we do better this time around?

Saturday

Burnley vs Man Utd (12:45)
Neither side has recorded a Premier League win this season and The Clarets are yet to register a point. In fairness to Burnley, they produced a good second half display against Swansea and they will be encouraged that they won’t be pointless for too long. United, on the other hand, have made a terrible start to the season and, worryingly, are showing no attacking creativity or incisiveness to strike fear into any opposition. Their midweek hammering by the MK Dons has made things even worse and confidence will be at an all time low. On the plus side, United have brought in a world class player in Angel Di Maria, one of the stars of Real Madrid’s Champions League victory last season. Playing away from home should take some pressure off the players and they will hope that the signing of Di Maria will give them enough of a lift to record their first three points. Judging by their current form, however, don’t be surprised to see them slip up once more.
Prediction: Burnley 0-1 Man Utd

Man City vs Stoke (15:00)
Manchester City may not have hit their best form so far but they have still recorded two relatively comfortable victories over decent opposition. In contrast, Stoke have made a stuttering start to the season by losing at home to an unfancied Villa side and only managing a draw against ten-man Hull. On the plus side, they did record a comfortable victory against Portsmouth in the Capital One Cup, although they will face a much sterner test here. Stevan Jovetic appears to have put his previous injury concerns behind him and looks a real threat going forward, which will really please Manuel Pellegrini. Provided City aren’t overconfident, this should be a straightforward home victory.
Prediction: Man City 3-0 Stoke

Newcastle vs Crystal Palace (15:00)
Newcastle, whilst only having one point on the board, have made a solid start and look set for a good season. Meanwhile, Crystal Palace have had a nightmare start to the campaign, although they avoided an upset against Walsall in the cup with a confident three goal victory. They have appointed Neil Warnock as their new manager, so they will have some stability on that front, and are set to re-sign Wilfried Zaha on loan so there should be a slightly more positive buzz around Selhurst Park. Having said that, Warnock’s record at this level is fairly poor and fans may question the appointment. Newcastle will feel confident going into this one and should have enough to earn their first three points of the season.
Prediction: Newcastle 2-0 Crystal Palace

QPR vs Sunderland (15:00)
Harry Redknapp and his side have made a really disappointing start to the campaign and there is already talk of him facing the axe. Sunderland, in comparison, have drawn both their matches and performed very well against a struggling Man Utd last weekend. Redknapp’s players will be shot of confidence after their thumping at the hands of Spurs and the fans will be expecting a big performance this weekend. Sunderland look like a tough side to beat and they should come away with another point here.
Prediction: QPR 1-1 Sunderland

Swansea vs West Brom (15:00)
Swansea have made a truly magnificent start to the season and Garry Monk will be delighted with the performances of all his players thus far. West Brom may not have made such a glamorous start but they have a couple of points on the board and Alan Irvine will be pleased with the battling qualities his side have demonstrated to date. Irvine’s side seem well organised and won’t roll over easily so Swansea’s 100% record may come under threat here. A draw seems the most likely outcome in this one.
Prediction: Swansea 2-2 West Brom

West Ham vs Southampton (15:00)
The Hammers bounced back from opening day disappointment to easily dispense of Crystal Palace with the free-flowing football that Allardyce has promised. Ronald Koeman won’t be too disheartened by his side’s performances so far, although they appear less dangerous in attack this season. This is yet another game that’s very difficult to call but West Ham seem to be on a high and should just about manage a victory, although with less ease than last weeks encounter.
Prediction: West Ham 2-1 Southampton

Everton vs Chelsea (17:30)
Everton have thrown away leads late on in their first matches of the season and will be bitterly disappointed to only have two points when they could easily have had six. Chelsea have waltzed to two comfortable victories against the promoted sides but this is their first real test. Jose Mourinho won’t underestimate his opposition and will be likely to keep it fairly tight, making sure they don’t lose the game, and try to nick the three points. Roberto Martinez won’t change his attacking philosophy and will go all out to try and win this one but Chelsea have the quality to pick them off. This should be an entertaining fixture and one Chelsea will just nick.
Prediction: Everton 1-2 Chelsea

Sunday

Aston Villa vs Hull (13:30)
The Villans had made an excellent start to the season until their midweek home loss to League One side Leyton Orient. Goals seem to be the biggest issue for Paul Lambert’s side but they will be happy enough defensively (https://originalfooty.wordpress.com/2014/08/24/villa-solidity-gives-great-reason-for-optimism/). Lambert will also be aware of their terrible run of fixtures following this match that combines trips to Anfield, Stamford Bridge and Goodison Park with hosting Arsenal and Manchester City. They will want to leave this match with all three points so they don’t slip too far down the table in a period where they are unlikely to pick up many points. Hull, like Villa, have also made a good start to the season and will be feeling buoyant about their chances of finishing well in the league. They will be disappointed to have crashed out of the Europa League on away goals but it could prove to be a blessing in disguise. Hull were, realistically, unlikely to win the competition and it would have added a large number of fixtures to their season that may have effected their league form. Villa could do with the win but a low scoring draw seems the more likely scenario.
Prediction: Aston Villa 1-1 Hull

Spurs vs Liverpool (13:30)
This should be a very interesting encounter and will give us more of an indication of how far Spurs have come since Mauricio Pochettino’s arrival. They have been very good so far this season and have won all their matches. Liverpool haven’t made the start they might have hoped for and, once again, defensive errors cost them against Manchester City. On current form there doesn’t seem to be too much between the two sides so we can expect an entertaining draw.
Prediction: Spurs 2-2 Liverpool

Leicester vs Arsenal (16:00)
Leicester have had a terrible run of fixtures to start the season but have performed admirably. Earning a point against Everton was a good result and there is no shame in defeat at Stamford Bridge. Arsenal have made a slower start than many people expected but showed good fight to score late goals in both their matches to earn four points as opposed to one. Arsene Wenger has been rocked by the news that Olivier Giroud has been ruled out until late December with an ankle injury and it remains to be seen if he drafts in a replacement for him. Leicester, on the other hand, have added experienced midfielder Esteban Cambiasso to their ranks and they will hope that he can provide some additional quality and bite to their midfield. Regardless of whether he plays or not, Arsenal should still have too much for them.
Prediction: Leicester 0-2 Arsenal

Weekend Preview and Predictions

The long-anticipated first weekend of the new Premier League season is set to begin. Here @0riginalfooty takes a look at the opening round of fixtures and offers predictions as to who will emerge victorious.

Saturday

Man Utd vs Swansea (12:45)
This is the first competitive fixture of Louis van Gaal’s reign and the Dutchman will be keen to get off to a flying start. Wayne Rooney has been announced as the new club captain, so don’t be surprised to see him get off the mark this weekend. This is a tough start for Garry Monk in his first full season as a manager and it’s hard to see them picking up anything from this one.
Prediction: Man Utd 3-1 Swansea

Leicester vs Everton (15:00)
Nigel Pearson will hope that his newly promoted side can carry their title-winning form forward to this season and establish themselves as a Premier League side. The Foxes have been disappointing in the transfer market, despite having money to spend, and face a tough encounter in their first match of the new campaign. Roberto Martinez, in comparison, has splashed £28 million alone on Romelu Lukaku and the Toffees will be hoping to challenge for a Champions League place. This won’t be an easy match for Everton but they should return to Merseyside with a hard fought three points.
Prediction: Leicester 0-1 Everton

QPR vs Hull (15:00)
Harry Redknapp’s team are the favourites of the newly promoted sides to survive in the division and will be hopeful of securing a mid-table finish. Their new signings, such as centre-backs Rio Ferdinand and Steven Caulker, signal their intentions of doing just that. Hull’s ambitions will be similar to their opponents and they should steer well clear of trouble this season, although a venture into Europe could test the depth of their squad. The sale of Shane Long to Southampton was a surprise, given that he only arrived in January, and Steve Bruce will have to replace him sooner rather than later. This match has draw written all over it.
Prediction: QPR 1-1 Hull

Stoke vs Aston Villa (15:00)
Mark Hughes is building a decent side at the Brittania Stadium and has instilled a much more exciting style of play than Tony Pulis ever did. The Potters have added some stimulating signings this summer, such as Bojan Krkic and Mame Biram Diouf, and should finish in the top half once more. Aston Villa have opted to add experienced players to their youthful squad throughout the transfer window and are desperate to avoid yet another relegation battle. Stoke are notoriously strong at home and should edge Villa in this one.
Prediction: Stoke 2-1 Aston Villa

West Brom vs Sunderland (15:00)
These are nervous times for Alan Irvine’s team. There are question marks over whether Brown Ideye can provide the goal-scoring touch that was so desperately missing last season. If he fails to hit the ground running then this could be a very difficult season for The Baggies. Sunderland, on the other hand, will feel relatively optimistic after an encouraging run of form at the end of last season. The Black Cats have added some decent quality to their squad, with the likes of Jack Rodwell and Costel Pantilimon arriving, and the mood around the Stadium of Light is generally positive. This one could go either way so we’ll sit on the fence and go for a draw.
Prediction: West Brom 1-1 Sunderland

West Ham vs Tottenham (15:00)
The Hammers have been proactive in the transfer market as Sam Allardyce attempts to develop a more expansive style of play. Players such as Mauro Zarate and Enner Valencia will bolster their attacking options in the absence of target man Andy Carroll. Mauricio Pochettino believes that his Spurs side is strong enough to secure a top four finish and if they are to achieve that then they will have to win matches like this one. Pochettino will be confident of bringing the best out of Tottenham’s misfiring stars and they should emerge victorious here.
Prediction: West Ham 1-2 Tottenham

Arsenal vs Crystal Palace (17.30)
The Gunners have enjoyed a terrific pre-season and there is a real buzz surrounding Arsene Wenger’s side. The transfer of Alexis Sanchez has been widely proclaimed as the best signing of the window and Arsenal fans genuinely believe that their team can be successful on all fronts this season. Conversely, Palace have been rocked by the news that manager Tony Pulis has left the club by mutual consent. Palace have suddenly emerged as possible relegation candidates, such was Pulis’ effect on their fortunes. The air of uncertainty around The Eagles should work in Arsenal’s favour and they should run out comfortable winners.
Prediction: Arsenal 4-0 Crystal Palace

Sunday

Liverpool vs Southampton (13:30)
This is arguably the tastiest fixture of this round of matches due to Liverpool’s continuous raid of The Saints this summer. Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren have all moved from St Marys to Anfield, which should add an element of spice to this match. Southampton fans have been extremely disappointed by the mass exodus this summer and will hope that Ronald Koeman and his new signings can adapt to the demands of the Premier League. Liverpool should emerge victorious in this one.
Liverpool 3-1 Southampton

Newcastle vs Man City (16:00)
The Magpies ended last season in appalling form and will hope that the new season brings a halt to their dreadful run. Alan Pardew has been very active in the transfer market and players such as Remy Cabella and Siem de Jong will be expected to stop their slide. City have been relatively quiet in the transfer market, only adding quality to specific areas. In truth, their squad is already strong enough to compete on all fronts and they should enjoy another good season. It won’t be straightforward but City will have enough about them to see off Newcastle.
Prediction: Newcastle 1-2 Man City

Monday

Burnley vs Chelsea (20:00)
Burnley mark their return to the Premier League by hosting Chelsea, a side widely tipped to win the league. Sean Dyche’s team finished second in the Championship last season and are expected to struggle to maintain their Premier League status beyond this campaign. If they are to survive they will have to make Turf Moor a fortress and ensure that sides do not leave there with all three points. Chelsea have strengthened extremely well this summer and have added balance, as well as quality, to their squad. This could be a tough opener for the Blues as Burnley are likely to be tough to break down but Mourinho’s side should find a way through.
Burnley 0-1 Chelsea

A First Time Footballer

As the Original Footy know-it-alls near the end of their Premier League previews, I still feel completely and utterly lost. I have been reading the posts, but there is mountains upon mountains of information about the teams involved – names I can’t spell or even begin to pronounce, movements of players from foreign and exciting lands, absurd sums of money in the fight for the best footballers – all of which I find baffling. For those of you who, like me, want to learn a bit more about the game but can’t hope to retain all the information in the Original Footy previews, the key is to go at it in bite-size chunks. So, we will begin today with the managers of the Premier League teams. I’m going to ask one of the guys at @0riginalFooty to test me on this at some point next week, so it’s time to start learning!
Arsenal – Arsene Wenger
Aston Villa – Paul Lambert
Burnley – Sean Dyche
Chelsea – Jose Mourinho
Crystal Palace – Tony Pulis
Everton – Roberto Martinez
Hull – Steve Bruce
Leicester – Nigel Pearson
Liverpool – Brendan Rodgers
Manchester City – Manuel Pellegrini
Manchester United – Louis van Gaal
Newcastle – Alan Pardew
QPR – Harry Redknapp
Southampton – Ronald Koeman
Stoke – Mark Hughes
Sunderland – Gus Poyet
Swansea – Garry Monk
Tottenham – Mauricio Pochettino
West Brom – Alan Irvine
West Ham – Sam Allardyce

At present I would say that I know 3 of these for sure. A measly 3 managers. Arsene Wenger is one of them and is an easy one to remember because his name is so similar to the name of his team. I actually know Paul Lambert and Aston Villa, but only because a good friend of mine speaks of very little else other than his favourite team. Finally, Manuel Pellegrini is where my knowledge of Premier League managers ends. I was on a flight back from Malaga last summer and he happened to be on the same plane as me. When collecting our luggage, he was stood with all the “normal” people and I noticed lots of passengers going up to him and asking for his autograph. Needless to say, I had no idea who he was so I sneaked a photo of him and sent it to a few of my football-savvy friends who confirmed that it was Manchester City’s new manager. So, I currently stand at a meagre 3 out of 20. I have a lot of work to do. Look out for A First Time Footballer’s post next week to find out how well (or not as the case may be) I fare in my Football Manager test…

Premier League Preview: Tottenham Hotspur

There are only 2 weeks to wait ‘til the start of the Premier League. Over the next few weeks @0riginalfooty will preview the new season, take a look at each team and offer our predictions as to where each side will finish. Here we take a look at Tottenham Hotspur.

Last season was bitterly disappointing for Spurs fans. Their star man Gareth Bale joined Real Madrid for a world record transfer fee and the money was splashed on players who seriously underperformed. Andre Villas Boas was sacked halfway through the season and Tim Sherwood took the reins before guiding Tottenham to a sixth place finish. He was subsequently fired and now Pochettino has been tasked with the job to lead Spurs back to Champions League football.

The Manager
Mauricio Pochettino is quickly becoming one of the hottest properties in football management after an extremely successful spell at Southampton. If he can mastermind a return to the Champions League places for Spurs this season then he will be heralded as a hero. Southampton played attractive possession-based football under Pochettino and he will be expected to bring such a style with him to White Hart Lane.

Pochettino is a very highly rated manager

Pochettino is a very highly rated manager

Biggest Signing
Spurs haven’t been very busy in the window so far and have only brought in two players. Goalkeeper Michel Vorm has signed from Swansea and will provide backup to Hugo Lloris. Tottenham’s more eye-catching signing was that of Vorm’s Swansea teammate Ben Davies. Davies is a talented young fullback, a far superior option to Danny Rose and Kyle Naughton, and the move will allow Pochettino to move Jan Vertonghen to his favoured centre-back position.

Ben Davies is a smart addition to White Hart Lane

Ben Davies is a smart addition to White Hart Lane

Who is tipped to join them?
Pochettino is reported to be keen to raid his former club, Southampton, and bring in Morgan Schneiderlin and Jay Rodriguez. Schneiderlin has handed in a transfer request, although Southampton’s board insist that the duo will not be sold. It is believed that Pochettino’s brief is to bring the best out of the players he has already got rather than completely overhaul the squad and, therefore, he may not make too many more signings this summer.

Schneiderlin is desperate to move on

Schneiderlin is desperate to move on

Who should they sign?
Pochettino will have analysed his squad and realised that he is in need of one more forward. Emmanuel Adebayor is notoriously temperamental and if he doesn’t get off on the right foot with Pochettino then he may cause problems. It remains to be seen whether Roberto Soldado will settle and rediscover the form he is capable of and Harry Kane is inexperienced at the top level. Spurs could continue their raid of Swansea and bring in Wilfried Bony who has attracted plenty of interest this summer. Bony may prove an expensive option so if Spurs can conclude a deal for Jay Rodriguez then that could bring an end to their summer spending.

Powerful forward Wilfried Bony would be a good, but expensive, addition to their front line

Powerful forward Wilfried Bony would be a good, but expensive, addition to their front line

Key Player
Christian Eriksen was possibly the only player drafted in last summer that provided the level of performance that a top club requires. The attacking midfielder is a wonderful passer of the ball and has terrific vision and creativity. He will be key to Tottenham’s hopes to reach the Champions League this season.

Eriksen will be a key part of Pochettino's plans

Eriksen will be a key part of Pochettino’s plans

Prediction
Tottenham have got a squad capable of challenging for Champions League places and Pochettino could unlock the potential of their misfiring stars. I think we will see an improved side this season but, unfortunately, all the teams who finished ahead of them them are stronger than they were last season and it seems unlikely that Spurs can climb above them. What is, perhaps, more worrying is Manchester United’s new look and approach under van Gaal and I would be surprised if they didn’t finish above Tottenham too. Expect Spurs to finish 7th.

Premier League Preview: Southampton

There are only 3 weeks to wait ‘til the start of the Premier League. Over the next few weeks @0riginalfooty will preview the new season, take a look at each team and offer our predictions as to where each side will finish. Here we take a look at Southampton.

Southampton enjoyed a very successful last season under manager Mauricio Pochettino and finished 8th in the Premier League. All looked well at St Mary’s until this summer when a mass exodus took place. Pochettino has departed, joining Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur, and key players Lallana, Shaw, Lovren and Lambert followed him out of the door with Rodriguez and Schneiderlin set to leave the club too. Bright prospect Calum Chambers has also left for Arsenal. Suddenly, Southampton look like a side in free-fall and will be battling for relegation rather than pushing for a place in Europe.

The Manager
Ronald Koeman enjoyed a glittering playing career for the likes of Barcelona and Ajax, scoring over 200 goals which is remarkable for a defender. He has since turned his attention to management and has had spells with Ajax, Benfica and Valencia, to name but a few. He has been relatively successful in his time as a manager, winning the Eredivisie on several occasions and the Copa Del Rey. The Premier League represents a new challenge for the Dutchman.

Koeman enjoyed a stunning playing career

Koeman enjoyed a stunning playing career

Biggest Signing
This summer, Southampton have brought in two new faces; Graziano Pelle from Feyenoord and Dusan Tadic from FC Twente in deals worth a combined £20 million. Pelle will arguably be viewed as the bigger signing by Saints fans as he played under Koeman at Feyenoord for the past two seasons and scored 50 goals. They will hope that he can at least match the goal-scoring contributions of Rickie Lambert.

Can Pelle be an instant hit in the Premier League?

Can Pelle be an instant hit in the Premier League?

Who is tipped to join them?
Koeman has declared his interest in Villa captain Ron Vlaar as a potential replacement for the departing Dejan Lovren. Southampton are also rumoured to hold an interest in Danny Ings, Fraser Forster and Argentine full-back Marcos Rojo.

Koeman has expressed his desire to bring Vlaar to Southampton

Koeman has expressed his desire to bring Vlaar to Southampton

Who should they sign?
With so many key players departing, Koeman is in desperate need of several quality recruits. Vlaar would be a good replacement for Lovren and it may be possible to prise him away from the West Midlands club as he is entering the final year of his contract. If he is unavailable, however, then a move for Younes Kaboul or Michael Dawson could be an option as a makeweight in the Schneiderlin deal. Schneiderlin is tougher to replace. A move for Cardiff’s Gary Medel would be smart, although they would have to fend off interest from the likes of Inter Milan.

Medel would be a great capture for the Saints

Medel would be a great capture for the Saints

Key Player
James Ward-Prowse. Remarkably, the Southampton academy product has already made around 50 appearances for the Saints despite being only 19. He is a player with a very bright future ahead of him and this could be the season for him to step up to the plate, especially with so many of their key players departing.

This could be a big season for Southampton's academy product

This could be a big season for Southampton’s academy product

Prediction
Southampton have lost so many players that it’s hard to see them enjoying a season similar to the last campaign. Koeman has no Premier League experience and will undoubtedly take time to adjust to the rigorous demands. So too will his signings so far and the quicker they adapt to life in English football the better. I see this being a season of struggle for the Saints but believe they are able to survive, although it will be close. Expect Southampton to finish 17th.