Ready to get ahead in your Premier Predictor private leagues and all but guarantee a sweet free bevvy? Read on for this week's key analysis and stats.
Aston Villa vs Everton
Ah, a battle between two clubs who love to remember their now distant past. There’s not been a great deal to get excited about for either side over the last decade bar the odd disappointing day at Wembley in the cups.
Mind you, looking to the past might be relevant for those Everton fans who just assumed having a decent transfer budget would equal Champions League qualification a few years ago.
Everton have scored two or more goals in each of their last eight outings against the Villa - though, granted, they didn’t have Dominic Calvert-Lewin up top in those matches.
Villa have won just two of the last fifteen, and my clever analytical head tells me that means that they’ve not scored two or more goals in their last eight outings against Everton.
Getting slapped around the chops by a healthy dose of Déjà vu? You bloody well should be - this is actually the most played fixture in English top-flight history.
In terms of Friday evening action, it turns out Villa far prefer a night on the tiles. They’ve won just one Friday night Premier League fixture (their first-ever one against Spurs for anyone who cares) whilst Everton have won five. Five! I’m amazed Everton fans are not harking back to the Friday night glory days of Ball, Harvey and Kendall more often.
The Toffees are looking to keep their third consecutive clean sheet at the start of a new season for the first time ever - whereas the Villa are struggling to remember what a Premier League clean sheet looks like. Their last one in the topflight was so long ago Joleon Lescott helped deliver it.
That said, Marco Silva’s side were a fairly cautious beast on the road last term and may struggle if Villa sit deep and use their 4-5-1 to deny them the space to break on the counter.
Finally, Yerry Mina vs Wesley? You know where Yerry’s money would be going on that one.
Call me miserable but I’m predicting this won’t be the most entertaining way to start your weekend of football I am afraid. I’m going for a low-quality, low action 0-0 which both teams will leave Villa Park with quite happily.
Norwich City vs Chelsea
Hey, Chelsea. Yes, you. In the shirts that look like coach seats! You do know football matches have two halves, eh?
So far, Frank Lampard’s Chelsea have shown an interesting trend of being half-decent in the first half only to be pretty damn terrible in the second - the absolute opposite to the classic Sunday League tactic of “being a second-half team”. The problem is they’re not quite piling on the goals in these early assaults.
In the yellow corner, people have got a little misty-eyed over Norwich’s return to the Premier League, predominantly because Teemu Pukki has scored four-in-two and didn’t cost them a bean.
Can the faultless Fin keep this hot streak going?
But, romance and nice stories mean nothing to the Analyst. I’m only interested in the coldest of facts and the chilly truth is Norwich haven’t won in their last ten Premier League matches against Chelsea. 1994 is where you have to return to see Norwich run out 3-0 winners at Carrow Road.
On top of that, Chelsea have only slipped up twice in the last 22 matches against newly-promoted sides - winning 15 of them.
Norwich fans can cling to this for some hope – the Pensioners have failed to win their last four away league matches and have only scored in one of those games. Unfortunately, that hope gets snatched straight back when you are reminded of the fact that Norwich have won just one of the last 15 against the supposed ‘big six’ Premier League sides. Ouch.
Still, Pukki might become just the tenth player to score in his first three Premier League matches - so there’s that.
Over in the dugout Frank The Tank desperately trying to dodge becoming the first manager in over 30 years to not win any of his first four games in charge of the Blues.
We need Frank Lampard to do well if English youngsters are to stand any chance of playing actual football in the coming years, so I am going for a 3-1 win to Chelsea with Olivier Giroud to outshine Teemu by two goals to one.
Liverpool vs Arsenal
Some people are saying this is the biggest game of the weekend. And those eagle-eyed footy fiends deserve a raise, they’re bang on.
Who remembers last year when Liverpool blew Arsenal away with a tidal wave of heavy metal football? 5-1 it finished to King Kloppo’s minions and it was the first time we’d really seen what a totally vexed Unai Emery looked like – a vampire who’s just missed out on his quarterly bonus at the BMW dealership.
Liverpool are actually unbeaten in the last eight matches against Arsenal, which isn’t that surprising when you think about the respective trajectories of the two clubs in recent seasons.
Goal fiends should pay particular attention here – this is the highest-scoring Premier League fixture in history. This match has also seen the most hat-tricks in Premier League history with Robbie Fowler (2), Thierry Henry, Peter Crouch, Andrey Arshavin and Bobby Firmino all getting trebles along the way - yes, Andriy Voronin is a surprise omission from that list.
Liverpool have won 11 on the spin now and in Firmino have a man looking to notch his 50th Premier League goal against a team he adores dining out against. The Brazilian has eight in eight against the Gunners and will be licking his lips at the prospect of the somewhat glacial levels of pace at the heart of Arsenal’s defence.
His opposing frontman, Yo-Pierre is a bit of a flat-track bully all be told. Auba only has three in 13 against top six sides whereas he has 31 in 38 against teams outside of that elite group. The odds are against him improving that here are slim with Van Dijk and co in imperious form.
Klopp's Liverpool has never lost to Arsenal, Bobby loves scoring against them. Arsenal don’t beat top six teams and definitely don’t win at Anfield. As much as 1989 is ingrained in my memory as one of ‘those’ moments it is not happening again this weekend - Liverpool to trot out 3-0 winners (even with Adrian in goal) with the snazziest teeth in the business to pocket a brace.
Adrian's howler last weekend as seen on Comedy Central.
Bournemouth vs Man City
I think this game falls into the “well, they are the Champions so we need to have them on TV” bracket this week.
The Analyst leaves no stone unturned in terms of his prep for this column and I was actually at this fixture last season to give me the inside track for my following comments.
Bournemouth nearly escaped with the first-ever Premier League 0-0 where a team didn’t actually touch the ball. It was a brave approach by Eddie Howe’s side and one I expect them to try and repeat this weekend.
It will all be in vain…
· The Cherries have lost their last eight against City.
· They’ve lost 13 of the last 15 against the big six.
· Callum Wilson has forgotten how to score at home (none in the last five).
· City have won their last eight away matches in a row.
This tidal wave of optimism for the Cherries is shared by Pint Predictor players – 84% of players this week think City will put at least 3 past Bournemouth.
To guess the right outcome is probably easier than guessing what players Peppy G might pick. I’m going for Raheem to get a rest this time, Aguero to miss 8 penalties and City to still coast home 0-4.
The weekend action ends in London and we all know what happens to Newcastle when they make the schlep down to the capital (yes, I am conveniently ignoring their 4-0 win against Fulham last season because, you know, Fulham).
Spurs have won the last four against Newcastle whilst none of the last 21 home matches against Steve Bruce's (I know, right?) team have ended in a draw.
The early signs aren’t great for Bruce’s tenure with the defensive resolve instilled by Rafa looking to have evaporated the second the rotund Iberian butler slung his hook to the orient.
Crumbs of comfort? Erm, Harry Kane has only got two goals from his eight matches against Newcastle and it’s still just about August, if you choose to ignore the emphatically taken brace on the opening weekend.
Steve Bruce is just aiming not to live up to expectation and avoid being the first Newcastle boss to lose all three of his first Premier League matches - aim high Steve, aim high!
All this considered, it can only be one outcome at the new Tottenham ground. I’m calling Spurs to pick things up a gear from last weekend and get a marginally better return - three points in a 3-1 win with Ndombele to get another goal from midfield as Jonjo Shelvey refuses to track his run.
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