This is the second part of a five-part series, to start from the beginning click here.
Disclaimer: This series is examining the games days prior to matchday, there is always the possibility for injuries, coach selections, etc. They may be updated to reflect most accurate starting lineup.
Saturday, 11 August 2018
Bournemouth  Cardiff
Location:  Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth

Bournemouth is a pretty sizable heavy favorite in what’s being billed as a low-scoring game, with likely two goals or less to be on display.
As big a favorite as Bournemouth is in this game, it’s solely down to who they are playing. I don’t see Bournemouth pulling up any trees this year, their transfer activity has been minimal. The should win this game easily, i think by a two goal margin. Cardiff is just lacking in quality for the Premier League season, and I don’t see Bournemouth having much trouble dispatching them. (Update: Bournemouth had made some good additions prior to the last week of the window, and I think their capture of Lerma signals their continued intentions to stake a claim on the Premier League. You can check out their full slate of transfers here)
Cardiff City looks set for a rough season, Smithies is a good keeper, but I just can’t see Cardiff keeping pace with this quality. I imagine that Cardiff will be looking to put everything behind the ball and venture forward carefully. I think they are exceptionally vulnerable to the counterattack and probably long ball. (Update: They’ve made marked improvements in their midfield through this transfer window, but I am concerned about their defensive abilities when compared to the rest of the league.)
Bold Predictions (tally will be kept on players identified and teams at the bottom of this running series):

  • Winner: Bournemouth
  • Final Score: 2-0
  • Goalscorer(s):
    • Bournemouth: King/Brooks
    • Cardiff: N/A

Watford v. Brighton Hove Albion
Location: Vicarage Road, Watford
This game is expected to go the home team’s way, although the confidence level is not overly high. This game is expected to involve 2-3 goals. (Update: recent line movement suggests that expectations for goal output is increasing beyond the initial estimate)
Watford has help from a keeper who benefited from spells of wonderful form in Heurelho Gomes and they’ve brought in some quality for the wings. I also think the loss of Richarlison will hit Watford hard, they didn’t really bring in a replacement. I think they will manage to score a goal, but I think their movement will be a little off losing him, and I’m interested to see what shape they bring out. I’m a little concerned that the team will buy into the hype of being big favorites and give up some goals on the counter.
I think this Brighton side is vastly underrated, but I’m going to keep it short in this piece (but you can read more here). I think they did well by managing to avoid relegation last season, but I think they’ve brought in some nice pieces. Their biggest problem last season was scoring goals — I think that Jahanbakhsh will help with that, a lot. I think that BHA will be able to exploit the weaknesses of this Watford side by playing through their newly-retooled midfield and playing straight down the middle. Watford gave up a ton of goals last season, and they’ve done work to provide depths to the left/right side, but I’m not sure their centerbacks are going to be able to stop the quality BHA has brought in.
Bold Predictions (tally will be kept on players identified and teams at the bottom of this running series):

  • Winner: Brighton Hove Albion
    • Final Score: 2-1
    • Goalscorer(s):
      • Team 1: Jahanbakhsh/Murray/Groß (Update: with Jahanbaksh not in the starting line up, I’m moving to Pascal Groß
      • Team 2: Deeney

The series continues… here!
Last Updated: August 10, 2018

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