This article is late, I know.
But trust me, I’ve missed you.
I’ve missed you like Kenwyne Jones misses somersaults.
Like Wilshere misses cigarettes.
Like United misses Sir Alex. I’ve missed you like. . . dare I say it. . . Tottenham misses Bale.
Low blow, Spurs fans. My bad on that one. Feeling a bit frisky after 13 days off.
Praise Buddha the Premier League is back. Let’s get to the picks.
Newcastle United v. Liverpool (Sat 7:45am ET on NBCSN; St James’ Park)
I’m taking Newcastle, you should just know that up front. It’s not that I don’t think Liverpool are good. I think Liverpool are awesome.
It’s because one of these days, Newcastle is going to snap out of its slumber and recognize the ridonkulous talent it has and start playing like a club possessed.
Papiss Cisse, Hatem Ben Arfa, Loic Remy, Yohan Cabaye, Moussa Sissoko, Cheik Tiote, Mathieu Debuchy, Tim Krul? These guys are incredible. So how are they soooo bad?
The sharps love to pin it on the two donkeys running the club, Mike Ashley and Joe Kinnear. And I’m down with that. They don’t seem to have a clue.
But I also have little to no faith in Alan Pardew. He seems an awful motivator.
And that’s all his squad needs – a good speech. A little bit of love. Some laughs. Maybe a good headlock and a nuggie or two. I don’t know, mix it up a bit.
But show some love for your players, for crying out loud.
Anyway, I’m taking Newcastle to win this match because I’m hoping (I don’t actually think it will happen) that tomorrow is the day Pardew wakes up and finds the words to get these players to do the business.
Who knows – maybe he can put a smile on the faces of the 50,000 supporters who show up at St. James’ Park every two weeks and sing their lungs out for 90 minutes.
Prediction: Newcastle 3 Liverpool 2
Manchester United v. Southampton (Sat 10:00am ET on NBCSN; Old Trafford)
Match of the day, this one.
If you haven’t sat down and really watched Southampton, you need to. Young kids, developed in the academy, with pace, skill and desire. They may not beat United tomorrow but you’ll be impressed by the character they all display. It starts with the owner (Nicola Cortese), trickles down to the manager (Mauricio Pochetino), the players and the fans.
A remarkable story, this club.
Prediction: Manchester United 1 Southampton 1
Aston Villa v. Tottenham Hotspur (Sun 11:00am ET on NBCSN;Villa Park)
Supposedly, Christian Benteke could play in this match. If he does, I’m all about ‘Tekkers imparting that ‘lost child‘ look on the face of Andre Villas-Boas.
Prediction: Aston Villa 1 Tottenham 0
Crystal Palace v. Fulham (Mon 3:00pm ET on NBCSN; Selhurst Park)
Love this matchup. Looks like such a clunker but I bet it’ll tickle your fancy.
Crystal Palace stink on the road. They’re so bad I’m thinking they may not win an away fixture all year. But at home it’s a different story. Eagles fans are crazy loud and the squad clearly responds to their noise.
Martin Jol, you’ve been warned.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 2 Fulham 1
Arsenal v. Norwich City (Sat 10:00am ET on Extra Time; Emirates Stadium)
Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey are both healthy after picking up knocks in international play. Santi Cazorla and Theo Walcott are both back after prolonged injury absences.
Shield your eyes, Canary fans.
Prediction: Arsenal 5 Norwich 1
Chelsea v. Cardiff City (Sat 10:00am ET on Extra Time; Stamford Bridge)
So, Jose Mourinho wants to develop Chelsea players. How nice!
Now I’d like to see his squad duplicate the first 45 minutes they played against Hull City in the opening match of the season. Since then it’s been disappointing.
Prediction: Chelsea 3 Cardiff 0
Everton v. Hull City (Sat 10:00am ET on Extra Time; Goodison Park)
When Romelu Lukaku wins the scoring title, you’ll thank me for telling you to put a cheeky 10er down on the Belgian at 12-1 (the current odds). Tomorrow he’ll score his first hat-trick of the season and guess what all the pundits will be talking about?
You heard you.
Prediction: Everton 4 Hull City 0
West Ham United v. Manchester City (Sat 12:30pm ET on NBC; Upton Park)
I imagine East London has been drunk for the last two weeks after that incredible 3-0 win at White Hart Lane. Here comes the inevitable ‘crash back to earth‘ match.
Prediction: West Ham United 0 Manchester City 2
SQUEAKY BUM TIME
Stoke City v. West Bromwich Albion (Sat 10:00am ET on Extra Time; Britannia Stadium)
Are the Baggies for real? I’m not so sure. Yes, they’ve looked quite strong over the last four weeks but now let’s see if they can deal with something different: Stoke at the Britannia.
Something tells me they can.
Prediciton: Stoke City 0 West Bromwich Albion 1
Swansea City v. Sunderland (Sat 10:00am ET on Extra Time; Liberty Stadium)
Welcome to the league, Gus Poyet! Love the fact that we now have a coach called “Gus”.
The man who literally sounds like a more intelligent version of Paulo Di Canio has arrived on Wearside to save the Black Cats from relegation. Can he do it? I think he can. Loved him from his Chelsea days.
But will he get it done tomorrow? Patience, child. Patience.
Prediction: Swansea City 2 Sunderland 1