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Prediction Panel 2007/8: Premier League 12.08.2007 - previews and predictions

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Antony Melvin


Antony Melvin is the squarefootball.net editor and spends his spare time sifting through needlessly abusive emails....
[full biography]
10/08/2007 15:30:00.
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Three of last season's top four have been held back by TV companies desperate for early season ratings. Arsenal and Chelsea have simple enough tasks facing Fulham and Birmingham; but Manchester United face a tricky opener against a Reading side that scored six goals against the champions in four encounters last season.

Arsenal (4) vs Fulham (16), KO 12:00


The post-Thierry Henry era starts here and the fixture computer couldn't have been much kinder in encouraging a youthful Arsenal team to get off to a flyer. Fulham won just once on their travels last season and finished a point clear of the drop and some bits-and-pieces recruits don't seem to have pushed them very much further forward. If Arsenal can't win games like this then they will be struggling to keep pace with the other members of the 'cosy cartel' straight from the off.

Paul Grech: Home Banker
Colin Illingworth: Home Banker
Hugh Larkin; Home banker
Kieran McHugh: Home
Antony Melvin: Home Banker
Bill Urban; Home banker
Magic Hat; Home
Stephen Orford: Home

Chelsea (2) vs Birmingham City (C2), KO 13:30


The ninth game of the weekend sees a weakened Chelsea take on a Birmingham side that has failed to recruit the kind of players that would give it a cast-iron case for survival. Like Arsenal, Chelsea will be delighted to welcome their opponents and will be expecting to beat them with some ease almost regardless of the side they put out - but Steve Bruce will try to keep the score down and hope for a goal on the break. This might not be a classic for the neutral.

Paul Grech: Home Banker
Colin Illingworth: Home Banker
Hugh Larkin; Draw
Kieran McHugh: Home
Antony Melvin: Home Banker
Bill Urban; Home banker
Magic Hat; Home
Stephen Orford: Home banker

Manchester United (1) vs Reading (8), KO 16:00


The champions kick off the final game of the weekend against last season's surprise package - Reading. Reading have lost Sidwell to Chelsea and Nicky Shorey may be unsettled but Steve Coppell will have them organised and strong. Reading scored in all four games again United last season and the results 2-3, 1-1, 2-3, 1-1 showed that they can mix it up with anyone. Everyone will be expecting United to win easily - but this could be tight.

Paul Grech: Home Banker
Colin Illingworth: Home Banker
Hugh Larkin; Home banker
Kieran McHugh: Home
Antony Melvin: Home
Bill Urban; Home banker
Magic Hat; Home
Stephen Orford: Home banker

(The 'Banker' games are the ones that our panelists are most sure of. Last season's finish in brackets.)


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