A pair of promoted teams face off in the first fixture, followed by a collision between last season’s top two Premier League sides. It sure seems like we should get a couple of tense, tight games, but given last weekend’s happenings, everything is up in the air.
Huddersfield Town v. Newcastle United
Newcastle was supposed to be the strongest team of the newcomers. After all, the Magpies finished first in the Championship last season, strut out several players with Premier League experience, and boast an impressive historical pedigree. So what happened in their opening game at St. James’ Park? Jonjo Shelvey went Jonjo Shelvey, making a stupid, dirty stomp on Dele Alli that left visiting Tottenham a clear path to a comfortable 2-0 victory.
Meanwhile, Huddersfield came into its first Premier League match ever as the overwhelming relegation favorite, finishing last season as the worst team promoted from the Championship in recent memory, and seemingly failing to make much in the way of impact signings. So what happened in their away opener? A comprehensive 3-0 triumph at Crystal Palace, naturally, led by a brace from Ligue 1 import Steve Mounier and good service from last season’s star Aaron Mooy. This being Huddersfield Town’s first home Premier League game ever, it’s an understatement to say that Kirklees Stadium will be rocking.
The Blues and Spurs both had favorable match-ups last week on paper. Even though talisman Harry Kane was kept off the score sheet, second-half goals from Alli and Ben Davies, both assisted by the magnificent Christian Eriksen, secured comfort for Tottenham at Newcastle. By contrast, the title holders were unable to withstand a surprise explosion from Burnley, which now, after only one game, has amazingly already matched its away win total from all of last season. Just as the Magpies assisted Spurs’ fortunes with the aforementioned Shelvey red, it was Chelsea’s pair of dismissals (Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas) that doomed their own fate.
Tottenham would seem to have the advantage playing at home, but of course Spurs will now be playing at Wembley rather than White Hart Lane, throwing a wrench into things (as if “London Derby” weren’t wrenching enough!). Surely you recall how West Ham’s home fortunes took a dive after moving from longtime fortress Upton Park to expansive London Stadium last season.
The Blues will bring a desperate focus (and a Tube-full of their own supporters). Spurs know that if they want to be in the title hunt, they need to take care of business against top teams at “home”... no matter how unfamiliar the locale.
How do you think things will play out today? Do you have big fantasy investment in the glamor boys from Chelsea and Spurs? Or are you instead trying to take advantage of the lower-priced players from the promoted sides facing easier opposition? Tell us in the chat below!