Reason being a Chelsea fan: ‘it started with when I had my first chance to watch football. Then I wanted a club that was wearing blue and had a Nigerian. That was when Celestine Babayaro got to Chelsea and I started supporting them. It would have been Arsenal because of Kanu, but I didn’t like red. The club has a “never say never” spirit and are not afraid to take drastic decisions for success. They always rise above critics’.
Crystal Palace vs Arsenal
These two teams had great pre-season performances and Arsenal looked more convincing considering the opponents they played and how they scored goals and kept clean sheets. This makes it a tricky start for Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace as they feature in the opening game of the season at Selhurst Park. Usually, the Eagles always give their opponents a good fight at home but Arsenal’s forward men are on fire at the moment and are a force to reckon with. I think Arsenal will get the victory here and it is going to be a good game and a close one.
Tip: CRY 1-2 ARS
Michael Koffi: The Gunners had an amazing summer getting Gabriel Jesus, Zinchenko, and Fabio Viera to strengthen the team. With an impressive pre-season, the spirit looks high to start the league with. Crystal Palace still carry their young energetic side to destabilize teams and will continue from where they stopped last season. Patrick Vieira seems to have given the Eagles an identity but I see Arsenal getting over this one with more attacking threat.
Tip: CRY 1-3 ARS
RESULT: CRY 0-2 ARS
Fulham vs Liverpool
Fulham are back in the Premier League and they’ve been up and running in the transfer window signing players like João Palhinha, Andreas Pereira, Kevin Mbabu, and Manor Solomon on loan. I will be eager to see how many goals their striker, Mitrovic will score this season after a sensational performance last season in the Championship where he scored 43 league goals in 44 games, meanwhile the highest he has scored in the #PL is 11. I’m only worried about their weak defense and I think their manager is aware of that. You can’t face Liverpool with a weak backline without being wiped blue-black. Liverpool have got very strong and fast players who can cause damage to all the teams in the league and they’re unforgiving. Although they’ve lost Sadio Mané to Bayern Munich, they still retain their standard as deadly as they have been with the addition of Darwin Núñez with Luis Diaz who has been integrated into the team since last season. All I see here is a Liverpool win.
Tip: FUL 0-3 LIV
Michael Koffi: Getting promoted to the premier league as champions again, hopefully Fulham can make sure they extend their stay in the EPL than the previous occasions. They can make a sound statement by beating a good number of teams to snatch points. Liverpool, on the other hand, would want to maintain dominance and give Fulham a welcome party which the Cottagers will find hard to forget so fast.
Tip: FUL 0-3 LIV
RESULT: FUL 2-2 LIV
Bournemouth vs Aston Villa
Aston Villa look like they have a good shape under Steven Gerrard and they have potential goal scorers in their team – Coutinho, Danny Ings, and Watkins especially. They are not on the same level as Bournemouth anymore because their aim now is to secure a European place while Bournemouth aim to survive relegation. Bournemouth are not good at seeing a game out or keeping their opponents out especially in the last 15 minutes of the game. I see a victory for Aston Villa at the Vitality stadium.
Tip: BOU 0-2 ASV
Michael Koffi: Bournemouth have returned to the EPL after a couple of seasons out but this time without Eddie Howe. They would want to make an early affirmation and gather as many points as they can before fatigue sets in. Starting the EPL against Gerrard’s Aston Villa isn’t a bad way to pick vital points but Aston Villa won’t be easy to drag down. The Lions would try to aim higher than last season and beating Bournemouth would be a good way to start though I see a tough match for both to run through.
Tip: BOU 1-2 ASV
RESULT: BOU 2-0 ASV
Leeds Utd vs Wolves
Leeds Utd managed to escape relegation on the last day of the last campaign and I’m sure Jesse Marsch will try to avoid that this season while Wolves, on the other hand, have not had so many changes during the summer transfer window – I expect Wolves to remain compact under Bruno Lage. They both have injury concerns so they might not get to play their starting XI in this one. Both of them have scored against each other in their last six meetings which makes me believe this fixture will produce at least two goals and probably no clean sheet for both sides.
PREDICTION: Over 1.5
Tip: LEE 1-1 WOL
Michael Koffi: Leeds were saved from relegation towards the tail end of last season while Wolves had a below par season compared to previous performance. Both would want to make a statement with early wins and gain points. They could share the points and go home with a draw or I think Leeds should take advantage of the first leg at home.
Tip: LEE 2-1 WOL
RESULT: LEE 2-1 WOL
Newcastle United vs Nottingham Forest
Nottingham Forest are back in the premier league after a long time and they’ve been so busy in the transfer window having bought 13 players; the highest so far. This sends a message saying “we have come to stay”. Steve Cooper’s Forest can’t be overlooked at this point unless you play well and I’m optimistic the Magpies would play well here. Newcastle have been convincing since the end of last season and they’ve added about three players to their defense which makes me think they won’t concede anyhow and will keep a couple of clean sheets this season. I think this is one of the games they will keep a clean sheet and tipping them to start their campaign with a win.
Tip: NEW 3-0 NFO
Michael Koffi: The new EPL moneybags had a nice pre-season against some top European clubs and are busy in the summer transfer to strengthen the squad likewise Nottingham Forest. Newcastle should have a better campaign this season and a win against the newcomers is definitely on the table.
Tip: NEW 2-1 NFO
RESULT: NEW 2-0 NFO
Tottenham vs Southampton
Southampton are one of the teams I expect to struggle because they haven’t done well enough in the transfer window but they are a team who can suddenly flip their performances – obviously not against this current Spurs team.Tottenham are one of the busiest #PL teams in the transfer market, having bought about 6-8 players and they’ve got a very good manager, Antonio Conte whom I expect to make the top 4 by any means. By quality, Tottenham are the better team and I expect them to start their campaign with a win.
Tip: TOT 2-0 SOU
Michael Koffi: Antonio Conte arguably won the transfer window in the #PL this summer bringing household names to the north London club. To start the season against Southampton shouldn’t be an issue for them. Antonio Conte’s boys should have this done and dusted to boost the team’s morale early.
Tip: TOT 3-1 SOU
RESULT: TOT 4-1 SOU
Everton vs Chelsea
Everton barely survived relegation last season with Frank Lampard in charge and haven’t done well enough in the summer transfer window. They also have injury concerns whereby it is possible Dele Alli could lead the forward line. I can’t see enough quality in their team to make a case for them. Chelsea have got several outgoing players and their transfer market action has been heartbreaking. Nevertheless, you can’t swallow nor belittle them and I still believe they will not finish outside the top 4. I expect a win for the Blues at the start of their campaign which will bring more belief for Thomas Tuchel that they can stand against all odds.
Tip: EVE 0-2 CHE
Michael Koffi: Frank Lampard had a poor pre-season losing hard to a mid-table MLS team. He has to get all hands on deck to survive the season. Having his major strikers out seems to compound his woes as Chelsea would want to flip the setback they had last time they met. A comfortable win for the Blues should send a clear message to the EPL that they can’t be judged nor overlooked by their weary summer transfer heartbreaks.
Tip: EVE 0-2 CHE
RESULT: EVE 0-1 CHE
Koffi’s opinion on Chelsea’s Premier League Campaign: ‘To be honest, I haven’t been impressed really from the summer transfer window. Vital players are in but I think we need more to actually compete and win decisive matches. We need to make more quality signings, if not, I don’t see us doing any better than trophy-less last season’.
Leicester vs Brentford
Leicester remain the only team that hasn’t purchased a player in the #PL but they have had players leaving the club. Recently I’ve been hearing people saying they are going to be relegated but I think otherwise because I believe the signings they’ve made in the past years should still be sufficient to keep alive in the top division. They’ve done well to keep their key players- the likes of Maddison, Barnes, Vardy, Ndidi, Fofana, and some other potentials at the club despite all the transfer links and rumors they’ve had. I don’t expect them to be as good as they were but you can’t overlook Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester team. Brentford, on the other hand, have made a few signings to strengthen their squad and they are telling us that they are not returning to their old sleeves. I feel they have what it takes to get something out of this game which is why I’ll be sitting on the fence here.
PREDICTION: Over 1.5
Tip: LEI 1-1 BRE
Michael Koffi: Leicester are not much different from last season and are on the verge of losing some key players like Fofana, Tielemans, and Maddison. Brentford, on the other hand, seems to be bent on not returning to the Championship side. A tough match for both sides, possibly a draw or Leicester manage to cross the line here.
Tip: LEI 1-0 BRE
RESULT: LEI 2-2 BRE
Man Utd vs Brighton
I feel Man Utd should have fire in their belly because it is Brighton. The last time they met last season, the Seagulls beat Man Utd 4-0 so I feel the Red Devils should be on a revenge mission. Erik ten Hag has been busy impacting discipline and hard work into his team and we saw some differences in their pre-season games although it wasn’t much of a great performance in terms of result. I think the air at Brighton isn’t good enough due to the way the club has held down some players who are willing to leave. Man Utd should get the win here but I will only put one leg in for them.
Tip: MNU 2-1 BHA
Michael Koffi: The Red Devils now under new management would definitely want to avenge last season’s humiliation against Brighton and give a positive vibe in the Theater of Nightmare as fondly called last season. Brighton without midfielder Bissouma and a possible Cucurella’s exit might succumb to the stern hands of Erik ten Hag. Man United should give their fans something to cheer for on Sunday with a win.
Tip: MNU 3-2 BHA
RESULT: MNU 1-2 BHA
West Ham vs Man City
These two teams have purchased a striker each and they will be eager to play them and see them score a lot of goals. West Ham haven’t had as many players departure as Man City has which makes me think that the Hammers would easily click together than Man City would. We saw how it affected Man City in the Community Shield they played against Liverpool. I’m expecting them to be improved here, play together as a definite team, and get the job done.
Tip: WHU 1-2 MCI
Michael Koffi: Both teams got their striker and would want to go all in to give us beautiful football. A possible high scoring affair as both teams would attack, it’d now be down to who can keep it tight to the 90′. Man City can comfortably come out on top with their squad depth and a good match for Haaland to begin his golden boot ambition.
Tip: WHU 1-4 MCI
RESULT: WHU 0-2 MCI