The 2022-23 edition of the Premier League kicked off with its first set of matches last week and produced its fair share of intriguing results. The league's big names experienced mixed fortunes, and the newly-promoted teams announced themselves in the top flight.
I've always thought that a promoted team would be the worst opponent to face at the start of a Premier League season. Bournemouth and Fulham gave a good account of themselves last week and will want to stay out of the relegation zone this season.
Erling Haaland impressed me last week and did well to bounce back from the Community Shield and bag a brace on his Premier League debut. Manchester United and Liverpool dropped points in their first games of the season and will need to make amends this weekend.
Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur registered victories last week and will lock horns in what should be a massive fixture. Without further ado, here are my predictions for this weekend's games.
Aston Villa vs Everton
This is a huge game, isn't it? Aston Villa have just lost to Bournemouth (2-0), and Steven Gerrard would've gotten into his team after the game. They were very poor against Bournemouth. You fall behind in the first three minutes and all of a sudden, you're up against a newly-promoted team with plenty of air in their lungs.
Aston Villa left Tyrone Mings out last week and people have had a lot to say. Nobody would've said a word if Villa had won that game. They've lost plenty of games with Mings in the team, and I think they're making a mountain out of a molehill.
Everton also suffered defeat in their first game, but it's no big disgrace losing to Chelsea. They have suffered a couple of injuries, however, and Villa's home advantage gives them an edge this weekend.
Prediction: Aston Villa 2-0 Everton
Southampton vs Leeds United
The jury's still out on Leeds. They managed a great result the other day (2-1 vs. Wolves), and we'll have to see if that was a fluke. If they don't want to be in another relegation battle, they'll need to get a result against Southampton.
I'm surprised that James Ward-Prowse is still at Southampton. He's a great footballer and he can make things happen in the Premier League. With him in the team, they'll be just about all right.
Going by their first game, Southampton are in for a long, long season. They started well against Spurs, and they'll look to make the most of their home advantage this weekend.
Prediction: Southampton 2-1 Leeds United
Arsenal vs Leicester City
I'm worried for Leicester this season. There's too much going on at the club. James Maddison and Wesley Fofana have their heads turned at the moment, and Kasper Schmeichel's departure is a massive loss for the team.
They blew a 2-0 lead against Brentford and might lose quite a few players in the transfer market this month. I don't see how they can keep a clean sheet this weekend.
The front four look lively for Arsenal. They've got everything between them and if they stay fit, Arsenal are going to have a good Premier League season. If one of them gets injured, however, they're in trouble.
I thought Arsenal were outstanding in their first 20 minutes against Crystal Palace. I was very impressed by them at times last week, and I think they should be able to win this game easily.
Prediction: Arsenal 3-0 Leicester City
Brighton & Hove Albion vs Newcastle United
Both these teams got very good results in the Premier League last week. Newcastle achieved an impressive victory and were dominant against Nottingham Forest. They took a lot of shots and there was plenty of action. They just need to be more ruthless and put their chances away.
Brighton will count on Danny Welbeck this season - he's a very good footballer who's played for England. If Welbeck stays fit, he's a good player. If he plays all 38 Premier League games for Brighton, you know they'll be all right. But who's to say he'll stay fit?
I think these two teams are on a level footing and there's not a lot between them. Newcastle and Brighton are evenly matched at the moment and could play out a draw this weekend.
Prediction: Brighton & Hove Albion 1-1 Newcastle United
Manchester City vs Bournemouth
What score do you want? Bournemouth got a great result against Villa, and I think they'll have to write this game off, if you know what I mean. If you'd told Bournemouth at the start of the season that they'd have three points from their first two games, they'd have been pretty happy.
Haaland was brilliant against West Ham and I'm sure he'll score again in the Premier League this weekend. Manchester City are on a different planet at the moment, and Bournemouth will have to understand that. They'll get beat, and they'll have to move on and go on from there again.
Prediction: Manchester City 4-0 Bournemouth
Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Fulham
Fulham were impressive the other day but if they end up losing here, they have only one point from two games and the next one becomes a must-win.
Wolves have got the better players, in my opinion. They don't score a lot of goals, however, and that's their Achilles' heel. They scored early against Leeds and then didn't score another one for the rest of the game.
This is a big Premier League game for Wolves. The pressure is on for them, and you could see it in their manager last week. Fulham did well last week, but Wolves will be on their game and should be able to win this match.
Prediction: Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 Fulham
Brentford vs Manchester United
One's a team, and the other one isn't. Man United are exactly the same as they were last season. They don't have an identity. You see Premier League teams go out with a plan, move the ball, and work through the lines. With Manchester United, if it happens, it'll happen - it hasn't been worked on.
I'm not sure if Cristiano Ronaldo will start this game. If he's not staying, why would you start him? It depends on what's going on behind the scenes. They need to move on sooner rather than later. A week and a half ago, he walked out of the ground because he wasn't playing. To say that his behavior is unacceptable and then to have him play in the first Premier League game of the season is no big statement by the manager.
Manchester United are all over the place at the moment, and I'd be shocked if they pulled off a victory here. I don't see Brentford losing this match, and a draw is a fairly likely outcome.
Prediction: Brentford 1-1 Manchester United
Nottingham Forest vs West Ham United
These are two teams that lost their first matches of the season. I thought Nottingham Forest were well beaten. I've mentioned before that Jesse Lingard will have to get used to situations where he won't have the ball. They've bought him for matches like this, and he'll need to step up this week.
It's going to be a tough Premier League season for Nottingham Forest. Bournemouth won their first game and Fulham got a result against Liverpool, but Forest were outplayed by Newcastle. They're a good club with a good manager and I hope it works out for them in the Premier League.
This is Nottingham Forest's first home game in the Premier League in a lorryload of years, and they'll need to put on a show. They might get caught up in the emotion of it all, and I think West Ham will catch them on the counter.
I think West Ham will do well in parts here. They need to forget about last week's defeat - when Man City are hot, they'll win against everybody. West Ham are among the top six or seven teams in the Premier League and should be able to win this game.
Prediction: Nottingham Forest 1-2 West Ham United
Chelsea vs Tottenham Hotspur
This match is massive, and not just because of the rivalry between the two teams. Chelsea beat Tottenham four times last season. They did the double over Spurs in the Premier League and that produced a huge 12-point swing in their favor.
I'm worried for Chelsea this weekend. They were a bit United-ish against Everton, if I'm being honest. Their game wasn't fluid and pretty stop-start, and they couldn't put four passes together against an Everton team that wasn't great to begin with. If Spurs come to Stamford Bridge and win, you'd be worried about Chelsea and their top-four credentials.
Tottenham will want to make a statement here. A victory against Chelsea would turn heads, even if it's only the second game of the season. If they lose after buying all those players, however, you'll hear talk of how they still haven't caught up with the Premier League's big boys.
If either team loses this match, it's a massive step in the wrong direction. Neither Chelsea nor Tottenham Hotspur can afford to suffer defeat this weekend, and I think this game will end in a draw.
Prediction: Chelsea 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Liverpool vs Crystal Palace
Liverpool need to turn up this weekend. They've had a bad start, and they need to pick up the pace. I know Crystal Palace weren't great last week, but Liverpool's style of play could allow them to be effective on the counter.
I think it'll be hard for Liverpool to do what they did last season. Jurgen Klopp is one of the best managers in the world - he'll know what needs to be done, and he'll remain patient in the transfer market. They've bought young players this year, and I think they should give them a go.
The longer this game drags on, the more worried Liverpool will become. They need to score early here. Before the game starts, Manchester City could have six points to their name in the Premier League table.
If Liverpool draw this game, they could be four points behind City. If Man City got a head start of four points on Liverpool at the start of the season, who would your favorite be to win the title? Every Liverpool fan would admit it'd be Manchester City. Points at the start win you the Premier League, and this is a massive game for Liverpool.
Darwin Nunez should've played from the start last week - he proved his mettle when he came on. Liverpool aren't playing against a dominant team in Crystal Palace - midfield isn't the biggest part of their game, but they can hurt you on the counter. I think Liverpool will win this game, but it'll be a hard-fought match.
Prediction: Liverpool 2-0 Crystal Palace