England’s elite slow to embrace game’s future
This summer’s World Cup has rightly been lauded as a huge success and a key component was the introduction of the video assistant referee.
With goalline technology introduced and disputes over offside decisions effectively made redundant, the only noticeable difference was a spike in the number of penalties.
There were 29 spot kicks awarded across 64 matches in Russia this year, compared with 13 in the same number of games at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
However, the Premier League has not embraced football’s future, with the majority of clubs voting against the introduction of VAR, while the technology has been approved for use in almost all of Europe’s major leagues this season, including La Liga, Serie A and the Bundesliga.
While it did not affect the result, Sadio Mané’s second goal for Liverpool against West Ham last week should have been ruled out for offside, and similar can be expected for the remainder of the season.
It is time for the Premier League to move with the times.
11am kick-offs unless stated
Cardiff City v Newcastle United (8.30am)
The home crowd will be in fine voice ahead of their team’s first game at the highest level in four years. Neil Warnock’s side are set for a season of struggle and will need to win games such as this if they are to have a chance of survival. Newcastle were unlucky to come away with nothing from their season-opener against Spurs but could sneak victory here. Prediction: 0-1
Everton v Southampton
New manager Marco Silva will be on the touchline at Goodison Park for the first time. He will have been pleased that star signing Richarlison is already off the mark with two goals on his debut and his side should deliver three points against a team who will have no ambition other than survival this season. Prediction: 2-0
Leicester City v
Youngsters on either side will make watching this game worthwhile. Leicester’s James Maddison and Ben Chilwell were the star performers in their team’s unlucky defeat at Old Trafford on opening day, while Portuguese midfielder Ruben Neves showed touches of class and scored a stunning free-kick in Wolves’s draw against Everton. Prediction: 1-1
Tottenham Hotspur v
Spurs’ new stadium opening has been delayed, so this match will be played at Wembley.
Fulham looked good going forward but weak defensively in their loss to Crystal Palace last week, so this should be the game in which Harry Kane ends his August goal drought. Prediction: 2-0
West Ham United v
West Ham will be looking to bounce back after a heavy 4-0 defeat to Liverpool in their first match and this game will provide a better chance to judge Manuel Pellegrini’s men after the club went on a summer spending spree. Marko Arnautovic faces a late fitness test, but even without him, West Ham should still have enough to land their first win of the season. Prediction: 2-0
Chelsea v Arsenal (1.30pm)
Both these sides are still works in progress under new managers. Arsenal’s young midfielder Matteo Guendouzi caught the eye with his all-action display in the defeat against Manchester City last week, and he may face another tough task against Eden Hazard, who will make his return to the starting line-up. Prediction: 1-1
Burnley v Watford (9.30am)
The games come thick and fast for Burnley, who were in European action last night. Their squad is not the biggest and may struggle with the quick turnaround, so Watford could spring a surprise after looking impressive when beating Brighton last week. Prediction: 0-1
Manchester City v
Huddersfield Town (9,30am)
A significant knee injury to Kevin de Bruyne should not matter in this match but could have long-term implications for the title race.
Huddersfield will do well to avoid a thrashing. Prediction: 3-0
Brighton & Hove Albion v Manchester United (12pm)
World Cup winner Paul Pogba finally stepped up to the plate against Leicester last week, dragging his team to victory. He might need to do that again here against a Brighton side who were good at home last season. Prediction: 0-1
Crystal Palace v Liverpool (4pm)
Roy Hodgson’s side have the ability to cause the Liverpool defence problems, but Jürgen Klopp’s attackers can always get them out of trouble. Liverpool’s new signing Naby Keita looked superb in their thrashing of West Ham last week and looks set to become one of the stars of the season. Prediction: 1-2