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PL Review: Matchday One

Welcome to the PL Review! Each week I shall be going back over the games in the PL and…well…reviewing them, I guess. It’s a simple enough concept and one that can only be heightened by the fact that before each PL Matchday, I’ll be previewing them as well. This means that you all get to have a good laugh at me for not knowing anything about football. Or praise me for being an all-encompassing God of football knowledge. Let’s see, shall we?

The PL weekend started with Palace vs. Arsenal

Crystal Palace 0 Arsenal 2

My Prediction: Crystal Palace 0 Arsenal 2

BOOM! ‘AVE IT! GET IN MY SON!

Straight off the bat, I not only got the winner of this match right, but I was bang on about the score. The PL 2022/23 campaign started on Friday with Palace vs. Arsenal—or #CRYARS on Twitter, which caused no end of mirth—and The Gooners picked up a good, solid three points against a team who they’d only beaten once in the previous eight meetings. It was a decent enough performance by Arsenal—though why Jamie Carragher felt the need to try and convince everyone watching that it was an end-to-end, Thrilla in Manilla was beyond me—though Palace also played their part. A first-half head-in goal by Gabriel Martinelli and an 85th-minute own-goal by Marc Guéhi was enough to get Arsenal off to a winning start. The only real concern here seems to be that Palace doesn’t have anyone who could hit a cow’s arse with a banjo, and as you need all the goals you can get in the PL, I think they need to buy a striker before the transfer window shuts.

Fulham 2 Liverpool 2

My Prediction: Fulham 1 Liverpool 4

I hate football. Have I mentioned that? What I had down as being an easy opening PL weekend for my beloved Redmen, turned into a nightmare as Fulham and the much-maligned he-can’t-do-it-in-the-PL Aleksandar Mitrović ran The Reds ragged. Hand on heart, Liverpool didn’t deserve anything from this game. They were terrible and Fulham were excellent. If King Mo hadn’t dug us out of a hole again, we could’ve had zero complaints. I still think Fulham are destined for relegation, however, and as The Khan’s own them I can no longer watch AEW and am obliged to spend the rest of my days watching the WWE instead. So, yeah, thanks for that.

Bournemouth 2 Aston Villa 0

My Prediction: Bournemouth 1 Aston Villa 2

Three games in, two wrong results on my behalf. Shaping up to be a good week, huh? This was a far more entertaining match than I thought it was going to be and the biggest difference maker was that when Bournemouth were given chances, they took them. It looks to me as if Villa are—like Crystal Palace—short of a decent striker. Danny Ings looked out of shape and off the pace, possibly because the teams have had hardly any downtime between last season and this one, but in the PL there are no excuses. Either Ings needs to shape up or Steven Gerrard needs to go shopping again.

Newcastle 2 Nottingham Forest 0

My Prediction: Newcastle 1 Nottingham Forest 1

Oh, for the love of…

It’s starting to look like I couldn’t predict my way out of a room with only one door, and I was so far away here that I should have my journalistic license taken away from me before I hurt myself. Forest were off the pace in their first match back in the PL in 19 years, and if it hadn’t been for Dean Henderson and some sloppy finishing, Newcastle could’ve racked up a cricket score. As for the Magpies themselves, they were very impressive, playing with a fluidity and style that hasn’t been seen on Tyneside since the Kevin Keegan days. if this opening day performance is anything to go by, we might see Newcastle finally pick up their first domestic trophy since 1955.

Tottenham 4 Southampton 1

My Prediction: Tottenham 4 Southampton 0

SO. DAMN. CLOSE.

If James Ward Prowse hadn’t opened the scoring on the day, I’d be looking at my second correct weekend prediction, both results-wise and score-wise. Instead, Spurs had to start all Spursy, before settling down into a team full of killer instinct and cutting edge. Now, unlike some of us here at SPOBS, I’m not buying into the whole Spurs are going to win the PL hype, but I will say that the ruthlessness with which they played and the utter dominance they held over the Saints was light-years away from the team that almost saw Conte quit last year. As for Southampton, well, you’re screwed. Enjoy this PL season as it will be your last and on the evidence of this performance, your last one for quite a while.

Leeds 2 Wolves 1

My Prediction: Leeds 1 Wolves 1

Again, so close but yet so far.

Another surprisingly good match, that saw Leeds pick up the win. I stick by my belief that both these teams are mid-table at best, but if they both put in these kinds of showings each week, it’ll at least make the PL more entertaining.

Everton 0 Chelsea 1

My Prediction: Everton 1 Chelsea 3

Well, at least I chose the correct winner here. This match, however, was as dull as dishwater. Which in itself is an insult to dishwater. Having said that though, I doubt very much that Chelsea fans will care. Trust me, if you’d offered me this kind of performance for Liverpool earlier in the day with the same result, in hindsight I’d have bitten your hand off. The only goal of the game came from a Jorginho penalty, after Abdoulaye Doucouré all but rugby tackled Ben Chilwell to the ground and then swore blue he’d done nothing wrong. Dude, you f*cked up, we all saw it. Own that s*it and move on.

Leicester 2 Brentford 2

My Prediction: Leicester 0 Brentford 2

Boy, was I off on this one. Well, perhaps half-off. I said that losing Kasper Schmeichel to Nice would prove to be The Foxes undoing this season and even though they raced into a two-goal lead and could’ve won the game, I think I’m at least partially correct. I saw nothing from Danny Ward to convince me that he’s the heir to the Schmeichel throne and unless they go out and buy a replacement, then this is going to be a very long PL season for Leicester.

Man Utd 1 Brighton 2

My Prediction: Man Utd 3 Brighton 1

Alright, I got this one very wrong as well, but…

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Utd aren’t going to be challenging for anything on this display. Ten Hag has a bigger job on his hands than Klopp did when he took over. 75% of that squad needs selling. Brighton should’ve won by more and had a clear-cut penalty turned down.

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

West Ham 0 Man City 2

My Prediction: West Ham 0 Man City 4

It should’ve been 4-0 to City. Hell, it could’ve been more. City had 14 shots in total, but only managed to get two on target, both converted by Haaland, who is now up and running so the rest of the PL should be looking forward to having to face him. Seriously, if City had been firing on all cylinders, this would’ve been a massacre.

Final Thoughts

So, how did I do on the opening weekend of the PL season? 4 out of 10 results predicted correctly. 40%? I’ll take that. As for how the teams are shaping up, it’s always hard to call after just one round of matches, but needless to say, City will be very strong again this season, Liverpool need to up their goddamn game, Spurs and Newcastle both look set for an exciting year, and Man Utd are further off the pace than a three-legged horse in The Grand National.

As for me, I’ll be back on Thursday with a brand new preview of this weekend’s PL games, and hoping that I can improve on this week’s outing. Or at least get the bloody Liverpool result right.

Written by Neil Gray

SPOBS very own Mouth Of The South (West).

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