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Premier League Upset Watch – Match Week 1

Aug 15, 2013, 11:12 PM EDT


With opening day of the Barclays Premier League under 35 hours away, let’s take a moment and look at three potential upsets that could transpire.

Arsenal v. Aston Villa (Emirates Stadium)

The Goonahs will be furious at my identifying this match as a potential upset but what can I say? When the stars align the stars align.

This one all comes down to injuries plaguing the North London side.

Just today Arsenal released word that midfielder Mikel Arteta will be out four to six weeks with a torn quadricep.

The loss of the Spaniard adds to Arsenal’s injury woes as Thomas Vermaelen and Nacho Monreal are both out with back injuries, Bacary Sagna tweaked his ankle on international duty with France and Aaron Ramsey did not play for Wales this week due to an ankle injury suffered in last week’s 3-1 win over Manchester City.

Even assuming those players are out, Arsenal are still overwhelming favorites to win this game. But opponents would do well to tread lightly against Paul Lambert’s young, hungry squad led by the impressive Christian Benteke and his slick partner in crime, Andreas Weimann.

Norwich City v. Everton (Carrow Road)

Proof positive, in addition to my choosing Everton to finish 7th in the table this season, that I stay objective as possible when it comes to the Toffees.

There are a few reasons why the Canaries can upset the odds here.

First, it’s never easy for an incoming manager to win his first match with his new club. Especially one who employs a new style of play like Roberto Martinez is doing at Everton.

Second, history. Norwich are unbeaten in their last four matches against Everton, Martinez has yet to win a Premier League match at Carrow Road and Everton have lost four of their last five opening league fixtures.

Third, the Norwich City attack has the potential to be downright vicious. Manager Chris Hughton knew exactly what he was doing when he discarded the aging Grant Holt for the hard-working, blustering style of Gary Hooper and paired him with the slick skills of the man with the best name in world football, Ricky van Wolfsfinkel (pictured). Mark it down – these two will be sneaky good this season.

Swansea City v. Manchester United (Liberty Stadium)

How dare I???

Yes, I dare.

C’mon fellas, even the staunchest United fans have to admit that they’re just a biiiit worried about this fixture. And with good reason.

The main reason?

David Moyes. Or the lack of Sir Alex Ferguson. Same difference at this point.

The bottom line is that after 26+ years, there’s a new sheriff in town and right now, he cuts a jaded figure. Sub-par pre-season results, Wayne Rooney, and the inability to sign a new center midfielder have all weighed heavily on Moyes, as is obvious from his press conference soundbites.

On the other hand, the Swans have nothing to lose. They’ve increased their talent by bringing in guys like Jordi Amat, Wilfried Bony, Jose Canas and Jonjo Shelvey and they’ve kept all the players that made them successful last year.

Factor in that Swansea are notoriously difficult to beat at home and that they can play just about anybody off the pitch with their free-flowing passing, and this game is easily the leading upset candidate heading into this weekend.

  1. navyeoddavee9 - Aug 15, 2013 at 11:46 PM

    Norwich vs Everton has draw written all over it!

    • 77cjh77 - Aug 16, 2013 at 1:55 PM

      and not a very exciting one at that in my mind

  2. newmanggrrr - Aug 15, 2013 at 11:49 PM

    Palace vs. Spurs – you heard it here first. The Bale circus has caused massive distraction for Spurs’ preparations and their defence looks dodgy without Vertonghen. Also the worst time to be playing a newly promoted club and Palace will feel they have nothing to lose since they’re relegation favorites (and they will come bottom). And this is coming from a Spurs fan.

  3. korules - Aug 16, 2013 at 3:06 AM

    “Ricky von Wolfsfinkel”? REALLY?
    He’s no Austrian, yo.

  4. dhab1972 - Aug 16, 2013 at 4:04 AM

    “Third, the Norwich City attack has the potential to be downright vicious.” Was that a joke? Norwich came to the US just recently and put their “downright vicious” attack against the to MLS teams. The Portland Timbers played their reserve players and Timbers won 1-0. Then they went down to I believe Houston or Kansas City, but I remember reading that they lost that one too, and also scored 0. After reading that, I remembered thinking how odd it was that an EPL side came to play two games against MLS, with atleast one team fielding reserve players, and not putting the ball in the net.
    End of the season, Norwich City will be fighting fiercely to avoid relegation.
    Swansea City, with the new additions are going to be the suprise team of the EPL (not saying they will finish in top 5).
    Manchester United will be fighting hard just to stay in the top 5.
    Manchester City will regain the EPL title, fighting off Chelsea barely for the year end title.
    Norwich City vicious attack…funniest thing I have read all month.

    • milkeebar - Aug 16, 2013 at 7:07 AM

      Wow, guess you haven’t learnt that pre-season games are training matches and never a good indicator.
      Teams play youth players, change virtually the whole team after half time, build match fitness, try different formations/ tactics etc.
      If you’ve ever been to one of these games you’ll know there is no intensity, players want to avoid injuries etc & the pace if often slow.
      All the EPL teams have a mixed bag of pre-season results. But if you insist reading too much into things you’ll find that Norwich strikers Becchio, Hooper & Van Wolfswinkel all scored during pre-season.
      Best to wait & see what happens when the proper games start.

      • 77cjh77 - Aug 16, 2013 at 1:57 PM

        burn. very well said as well. i’m interested to see hooper and RVW

    • 77cjh77 - Aug 16, 2013 at 1:57 PM

      “Manchester United will be fighting hard just to stay in the top 5”

      meanwhile, back in the real world….

  5. mikeevergreen - Aug 16, 2013 at 10:41 PM

    Meanwhile, at Etihad, the Magpies do the “Newc and puke.”

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