Premier League Weekend Preview: Can Magic Monk Outsmart Mourinho?

Arsenal vs Manchester City

Louis van Gaal doesn’t rate him, but Arsenal fans are ready to open their arms and bring Danny Welbeck into an enormous group hug. If he scores on his debut against Manchester City, it might not stop at a hug. 

The Gunners are in good spirits ahead of this one, better spirits than perhaps their performances warrant. An unconvincing opening day win over Crystal Palace was followed by two fortunate points away at Everton and Leicester, and a traumatic progression to the Champions League group stages. Ordinarily, you’d rush to back City, but their hapless home defeat to Stoke raises a number of questions, primarily, what the hell was Joe Hart doing? 

Arsenal and City are 3.45 to draw


Chelsea vs Swansea

The pick of the 3pm games is the top of the table clash between high flying superpower Swansea and Jose Mourinho’s plucky little horses.Garry Monk’s face was featured on the front page of an Italian newspaper this week, photoshopped onto Harry Potter’s body.

Is Monk the chosen one, earmarked to destroy He Who Shall Not Be Named, or is he just an irritatingly precocious upstart whose failure to acknowledge his feelings for Hermoine condemns the pair of them to a lifetime of misery, their only outlet the capture of illicit kisses in the kitchen at dinner parties, their guilt doused in alcohol, their will to live ebbing away with every sorrowful break of dawn as they lie alone in the grey morning light, torturing themselves with thoughts of what might have been.

Chelsea 2-0 Swansea is 6.25


West Brom vs Everton

Roberto Martinez had high hopes for this season and he won’t be happy with a return of just two points from three games. Respite will surely come in the form of West Bromwich Albion, won’t it?

The Baggies used to be one of the most well run clubs in the league, but the last year has been a disaster. The sacking of Steve Clarke brought only confusion and discord under Pepe Mel, while the appointment of Alan Irvine has been as popular as Glasgow ticket sales for ‘An Evening With David Cameron.’

Albion haven’t scored in either of their last two games and there’s a growing sense that they might be deep in the sticky stuff. Romelu Lukaku recently spent a very happy year at the Hawthorns and you know what that means. Muted goal celebrations ahoy. Classy. Nice touch.

Back Everton at 2.12


Liverpool vs Aston Villa

What kind of Liverpool will we se this season? More to the point, what kind of Aston Villa? Brendan Rodgers’ side gave a mixed display against Southampton, were outwitted by Manchester City and crushed Tottenham Hotspur in a ruthless display of strength and cruelty. Essentially, they’re adjusting to a host of new players like a championship golfer with a new set of clubs.

Villa, by this stage of the season, were supposed to bending their cubs around tree trunks and throwing their bag in the pond. Instead, they’ve just been weird, beating Stoke and Hull and holding Newcastle to a draw. They’ve got a good record at Anfield, they haven’t been beaten there since 2010. Will their run continue?

Back Villa to win or draw at 3.85


Manchester United vs QPR

But the most intriguing game is on Sunday at Old Trafford. Surely this won’t be another shock result. They’ve spent enough money to fund a modest space programme, steadily assembling a squad of famous names, albeit with apparently little thought for balance. But United have spent heavily too, so QPR shouldn’t expect to have it all their own way here.

Van Gaal will have most of his new toys available to him here and his mood will undoubtedly improve now that he knows he doesn’t have to put up with the spanner that is Tom Cleverley grinding his works to a halt with an unnecessary sideways pass. He’s still got Anderson on the books though, so it’s not all sunshine and strawberries. They won’t lose this will they? Will they? No.

Manchester United 2-1 QPR is 8.50

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