EPL Previews: Manchester City vs Liverpool, Manchester United vs Fulham
Manchester United vs Fulham, 22 Aug 12:30 am IST
After the first week of the Premier League, things will start to settle now as every game will be a test of preparedness and mental strength. The second week awaits some tight contests as Manchester United play Fulham and Liverpool take on Manchester City.
Both the clashes will be tight and significant for the fortunes of all four teams. Both Liverpool and Manchester City are coming off draws against their rivals (Arsenal and Tottenham respectively). Though Liverpool will be slightly high on confidence after an encouraging show against Arsenal at Anfield, both sides will start level numerically. Manchester City need to show some team spirit after another series of spendings at big players. Meanwhile, Robert Mancini has signed James Milner and Balotelli for Manchester City.
Liverpool have also tried and convinced Javier Mascherano to stay for the remaining two years of his contract, after which Roy Hodgson plans to make him a free agent. That promise/commitment might or might not be fulfilled but that is for further in the future but the key is that Masherano might stay at Liverpool for now. Liverpool will have a much stronger squad in that case.
However, Liverpool do have their fair share of headaches. Liverpool will play the next couple of matches without the services of Joe Cole who was red carded in his opener against Arsenal “for what we shall say was a forceful challenge”. Liverpool will miss their star signing.
Liverpool will go into the game against Manchester City as favorites but they will have to do a fair bit of hard work to justify this tag. Liverpool fans will be delighted at the prospect of a fit Fernando Torres and a firing Ngog. Steven Gerrard will have take the mantle once again for Liverpool in the midfield, which is never a problem.
Manchester City on the other hand are under great pressure to perform, their star signings as well as their star exits such as Steven Ireland, Robinho* and Craig Bellamy have piled up the pressure on Mancini.
Manchester City has faced criticism for their heavyweight signing which Sir Alex Ferguson termed as “kamikaze”, but Manchester City have faced criticism for the high profile exits. Steven “Superman” Ireland is now at Aston Villa whereas Craig Bellamy failed to make the cut for the 25 man squad at Manchester City.
Harry Redknapp says that Bellamy is a top class premier league player and deserves to be with a top team such as his (Tottenham).
Prediction: Liverpool 2 – 1 Manchester City
Manchester United vs Fulham
Meanwhile Manchester United will travel to Craven Cottage after having overcome the Newcastle Test with flying colours. Fulham are a much depleted side after their successful season last year. The most prominent void in Fulham is that of Roy Hodgson who is now at Liverpool. Mark Hughes has taken his place at Fulham but he is having problems keeping his players as Mark Shwarzer looks set to join Arsenal soon.
Fulham have not had the greatest of starts to the season after playing a goalless draw against Bolton. Fulham will look to get a draw against Mancheter United at the maximum and do not undermine their chance of doing it at Craven Cottage.
Manchester United had a fitting start to the season as they stormed Newcastle with three goals. Sir Alex Ferguson went on record saying that Berbatov could have scored four more goals, and that is how hungry the Red Devils are.
Meanwhile the only problem with Manchester United seems to be Wayne Rooney‘s inability to score consistently. His last goal for Manchester United came in the semi finals of the Chamions League against Bayern Munich!
Rooney has to throw away his failure for England and step into the goal scoring shoes he had put on for Mancheter United last season.
Prediction: Manchester United 3 – 1 Fulham