LIVERPOOL vs LEEDS
Predicted score: 2-0
AN opening day meeting between last season’s respective champions and both sides managed by charismatic personalities. Liverpool have not been overly active in the transfer market, with Juergen Klopp preferring to rely on the same squad which ended a 30-year title wait.
The Reds are unbeaten at Anfield in the league for the past three seasons and it is difficult to see the run being ended by a Leeds side featuring in their first top flight match in 16 years. The best way to nullify Liverpool’s threat will be to pack the numbers in the middle and deny the space for their speedy attacking threats.
However, Marcelo Bielsa’s distaste for a defensive strategy or playing on the counter is well-documented. If as expected, Leeds were to take on the home side head-on, it will be suicidal.
The Whites’ Kalvin Phillips needs to be at his best to keep the marauding Reds at arms’ length and their Spanish international striker Rodrigo couldn’t have asked for a more difficult first match in England. With skipper Jordan Henderson expected to return after injury, Liverpool should be strong enough for full points.
BRENDAN GAN (Malaysia and Selangor midfielder)
ARSENAL vs FULHAM
Predicted score: 3-1
I BELIEVE the Gunners will come off as winners against the promoted club as they are still on a high from their Community Shield and FA Cup victories. Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang, who was splendid last season, and his teammates will be too much for Fulham to handle. I am not taking anything away from the Cottagers, who fought hard in the promotion playoffs.
They will again rely heavily on Aleksandar Mitrovic who scored 26 goals in the Championship last season. It will be interesting to see a Mitro and Auba face-off. However, it is going to be Arsenal that will get the first win of their campaign.
RAZMAN ROSLAN (Melaka and ex-Malaysia defender)
TOTTENHAM vs EVERTON
Predicted score: 2-1
TWO of the most successful managers in European football will be looking for a flying start to the season. But Jose Mourinho’s magic should be enough for Tottenham to prevail over Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton.
Although Everton have made some new signings including Real Madrid’s James Rodriguez, it is interesting to see if Ancelotti’s new-look squad can hit the ground running against their settled hosts.
Spurs have not been too adventurous in the transfer market and have held on to most of their stars. Mourinho has done well since he took over from Mauricio Pochettino midway through the season as he steered them from 14th to a top-six finish.
Everton, who finished 12th last season, often fail to reach the level they should be at.
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