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United must avoid being stung by the Bees following opening day catastrophe

Manchester United don’t want to be left reeling from another season plagued by the very same issues that have restricted their success for the last five seasons. Something has to change at Old Trafford and Erik ten Hag cannot be blindsided by issues that have been anything but missable throughout the club’s recent history.

It must be said that Brighton were tremendous and rightfully earned their convincing 2-1 victory during this weekend’s curtain-raiser at Old Trafford; Graham Potter continues to do a fine job with a club who are one of the smallest in the division in terms of resources available and look as though they will be pushing for another top-half finish in the Premier League this term. 

Nevertheless, United didn’t exactly make it difficult for the Seagulls and supporters would have left their stadium furious at the problems which light up a well-trodden path for a team who now need to rapidly bounce back. One bad performance and one poor result can – and will – be forgiven, but only if an immediate upturn in form is produced. 

Next up is a tough-looking trip to Brentford on Saturday in a match which is littered with banana skins for ten Hag and his side. The Bees impressed last season, finishing 13th in their debut Premier League campaign, and participated in a four-goal thriller against Leicester on Sunday – fighting back from two goals behind to rescue a point in the East Midlands. 

United will travel to west London as heavy favourites but have expectations weighing heavily on their shoulders; anything other than a win will, rightly, be deemed unacceptable and immediately place them on the backfoot in the race for the top-four. 

Elsewhere, Liverpool will need to brush themselves off and go again following a surprise 2-2 draw away at Fulham in their curtain-raiser on Saturday. The Reds fell behind twice against Marco Silva’s side and in truth were lucky to leave London with a point for their efforts following a tepid performance where the hosts were impressive throughout. Up next for Jurgen Klopp’s side is the visit of Crystal Palace next Monday where three points and a convincing performance is required if they are to maintain early pressure on Manchester City towards the top of the pile. 

City themselves welcome Bournemouth to the Etihad for their second match following a comfortable 2-0 victory away at West Ham – where new boy Erling Haaland found the net twice. Pep’s side look the real deal yet again, with Haaland wasting no time in getting his oversized feet under the table, and you have to feel confident in their chances of overcoming the Cherries on home turf.

Tottenham lead the way after thumping Southampton 4-1 on Saturday and face Chelsea – who beat Everton 1-0 at Goodison Park – in the weekend’s standout fixture on Sunday, while Arsenal welcome Leicester to the Emirates looking to make it two wins from two following their 2-0 win over Palace on Friday.

Premier League fixtures in full – GW2

Saturday 13 August

  • 12:30 Aston Villa v Everton
  • Arsenal v Leicester
  • Brighton v Newcastle
  • Man City v AFC Bournemouth
  • Southampton v Leeds
  • Wolves v Fulham
  • 17:30 Brentford v Man Utd

Sunday 14 August

  • 14:00 Nottingham Forest v West Ham
  • 16:30 Chelsea v Spurs

Monday 15 August

  • 20:00 Liverpool v Crystal Palace

Rezzil’s Fantasy Football Pick for GW2

Okay, so we didn’t get off to a flyer with Matty Cash in Gameweek 1. Let’s just blame teething problems for that one. This weekend, I’m plucking for Alexandar Mitrovic to continue his fine form against Wolves. 

The Serbian was on the scoresheet twice against Liverpool and will be brimming with confidence heading into the Cottagers’ clash with a Wolves side who looked really shaky against Leeds in their opener on Saturday. 

If he can retain this level of form then he looks to be a great bargain at £6.6m. Let’s hope he doesn’t let us down like a certain someone.