This weekend, the curtain will be raised on the 2022/23 Premier League campaign amid talk of new eras, fresh starts and clean slates. Fast starts are desired by all, though some look better equipped to start on a positive footing than others. With new season optimism abound, the weekend’s fixture schedule promises to produce fireworks and below, we’ve assembled some of our favourite Premier League predictions for the weekend.
Everton vs Chelsea
Chelsea to Win 4/6 (1.67)
Kick off time: 17:30
New season enthusiasm is expected to be in short supply at Goodison Park for Saturday’s dinner time fixture, where an Everton side in turmoil could be chewed up and spat out by a Chelsea outfit aiming to put down an early marker.
The Toffees beat relegation by an inch last term under former Chelsea boss Frank Lampard, though the club’s inactivity during the transfer window has frustrated the masses and protests are planned against owner Farhad Moshiri before kick-off.
Against that backdrop of unrest, Everton’s task against the Blues becomes an even tougher one and a repeat of their memorable victory over the Blues on Merseyside in May seems fanciful this weekend.
Everton were powered by a desperation to avoid the drop that day and they needed an inspired performance from keeper Jordan Pickford, some help from the woodwork and a winning goal from the since departed Richarlison to carve out their win.
That desperation will probably be replaced by trepidation as a weakened Toffees outfit take the field on Saturday. Chelsea, who have won three of their last four opening Premier League assignments, are generally fast starters and they won’t be knocked off kilter by the prospect of facing an Everton side wielding new faces like ex-Burnley pair James Tarkowski and Dwight McNeil – despite the latter’s impressive double against Dynamo Kiev in a friendly encounter. To heighten the despair, Dominic Calvert-Lewin picked up another injury in midweek and won’t be able to feature. For Chelsea, Raheem Sterling – who scored five career goals against Everton for ex-employers Manchester City – is in line to make his debut on Saturday, as is imposing centre-half Kalidou Koulibaly, and though Thomas Tuchel would like to have made further additions to his squad, the Blues should be able to field a formidable XI at Goodison Park.
It won’t take much to sour the atmosphere in the Gwladys Street End and a strong start from Chelsea should set the trend for a positive first step to their campaign.
Fulham vs Liverpool
Liverpool to Score in Both Halves 4/5 (1.8)
Kick off time: 12:30
Much to pro-Scouse conspiracy theorists’ ire, Liverpool kick off a new Premier League campaign with a fixture against a newly-promoted opponent for the fourth year running when they face Fulham on Saturday.
Somewhat unsurprisingly, Jurgen Klopp’s Reds made light work of the first three of those weak antagonists, claiming maximum points and plundering 11 goals in wins over Leeds and Norwich (twice), and a similar outcome looks probable this weekend.
Fulham won just five of their 38 games when they last graced the Premier League and with only slight changes made to the staff that performed so miserably in 2020/21, another season laden with defeats and heartache awaits, starting on Saturday.
Liverpool lost Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich in the summer, but with Mohamed Salah tied to a new long-term deal, Luis Diaz now unopposed on the left flank and the costly Darwin Nunez already up and running, they aren’t short on firepower.
The Reds bared their teeth in the Community Shield against Manchester City last week, netting three times to remind everyone just how fearsome they can be. Interestingly, Liverpool found the net in both halves against the Cityzens – a feat they replicated in a whopping 63% of their total Premier League fixtures last term.
They showed a particularly ruthless streak in tussles with the campaign’s promoted teams, rattling the net 19 times in six games against Norwich, Brentford and Watford, with goals registered in both halves in all but one of the same contests.
Liverpool should be able to wrestle control early again against Marco Silva’s Championship-standard collective and with most markets priced unfavourably, a stake on the Merseysiders to make their mark in both halves appeals at close to even money.
Tottenham Hotspur vs Southampton
Both Teams to Score 20/23 (1.87)
Kick off time: 15:00
After a major spike in performances and a points haul bettered only by Man City and Liverpool after January 1st , Tottenham didn’t want the 2021/22 season to end, though an aggressive recruitment drive in the summer means they are well-equipped to maintain their upward trajectory under Antonio Conte in the fresh campaign.
On opening day date with Ralph Hasenhüttl’s temperamental Southampton looks like a gimme on paper, though the Saints have rarely made life easy for Spurs and they were awkward customers for the Londoners again last term when they pocketed four points in the clubs’ brace of encounters. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Southampton’s decent record against Tottenham is in the goal-scoring department however. Insanely, Spurs haven’t managed to keep the Saints off the scoresheet in any game since December 2015. That adds up to a full 15 contests in all competitions without a clean sheet.
Hasenhüttl’s 4-2-2-2 set-up looked like the perfect formation to break Conte’s favoured 3-5-2 when Southampton beat Tottenham 3-2 on their last visit to the white-clad realms of North London in February.
That afternoon, Southampton mustered an eye-watering 23 attempts to Spurs’ eight and armed with the same personnel and structure this weekend, The Saints could tear more holes in the host’s defence.
Still, backing Southampton in the result markets feels like a step too far, especially with the triumvirate of Son Heung-min, Dejan Kulusevksi and Harry Kane primed to pick up where they left off in May. Big-money addition Richarlison is suspended, though that doesn’t blunt Spurs attacking edge by much.
Instead, a bet on both teams to score is a much more palatable option this weekend. Since Ralph Hasenhüttl’s appointment in December 2018, nine of the ten meetings between the Saints and Spurs have produced goals at both ends. There are traditions to honour here, so expect more of the same in North London.