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Premier League Matchday 2 Preview: Will Man Utd romp past Swansea?; Can Chelsea bounce back against Tottenham?; Can Everton upset Man City?;

With Matchday 2 of the Premier League upon us, can we expect some rust in teams to begin to dissipate, or will it reveal chinks in certain team's armour?

Manchester United travel to Swansea riding high on the back of their opening day statement, a vulnerable Chelsea return to the venue in which they lost the FA Community Shield just two weeks ago, while Manchester City have their first opportunity at home to right the wrongs of last season and turn the Etihad into the fortress it once was under Pep Guardiola's two predecessors.

Here are Tribalfootball's picks for Matchday 2 of the 2017/18 Premier League season:


Swansea v Man United

A supremely confident Manchester United outfit travels to Wales this weekend on the back of an opening match-day statement and in their path, a Gylfi Sigurdsson-less Swansea who somehow salvaged a point from St Mary's in their opening fixture of 2017/18.

The Swans' rap-sheet against Southampton: four shots v 29 against, just two on target and 40% possession. Whether you're a numbers person or not, that adds up to trouble against brute attacking relentlessness of United.

Last Time They Played:

Manchester United 1 Swansea 1 (Old Trafford - April 30)

Team News:

While there are no fresh injury or suspension concerns for either side, both managers would be unlikely to sit on their hands at the selection table, for different reasons.

Paul Clement may decide to draft in £11 million summer signing Roque Mesa (Las Palmas), who didn't make it off the bench against Southampton, while Fernando Llorente (broken arm) remains unlikely to feature as he continues his recovery.

On the other hand, the most obvious change for Jose Mourinho is the shape of his midfield, with the more-attacking minded Juan Mata likely to be replaced by Ander Herrera, bolstering the middle of the park particularly given it is an away fixture. Mourinho has also hinted that new defender Victor Lindelof will have to wait for his Premier League debut.

Player to Watch: Nemanja Matic

The former Blue was fantastic in his United debut and while a small-sample size at that (4-0 win over West Ham), he could very well be the linchpin in midfield that allows Paul Pogba to flourish. We saw glimpses of this happen against the Hammers and tricky away trips like this will only continue to highlight the importance of someone like Matic in your squad. Rumour has it Antonio Conte was furious with his board for offloading the Serbian and it's easy to see why early on in his United career. Super player.

Prediction: Swansea 0 Manchester United 4

Swansea barely held on last week against an average to very good attack in Southampton. You'd expect United to pose far more problems in every position on the field and should come away with another untroubled victory.



Tottenham v Chelsea

Ahead of the Spurs' first (league) foray at Wembley, what Chelsea side can we expect to turn up?

Only 14 fit senior members featured in their squad last week in the club's embarrassing and costly 3-2 loss to Burnley, with Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas picking up red cards and suspensions.

A reported £50m pursuit of Danny Rose by Chelsea is sure to add some spice to this London Derby and it will be interesting to see how the Spurs fare at a venue they disappointed at so frequently in last season's Champions League.

Last Time They Played:

Chelsea 4 Tottenham 2 (Wembley - FA Cup semi-final - April 22)

Team News:

With both Cahill and Fabregas out suspended, it's expected David Luiz will be drafted into midfield. Eden Hazard, Pedro and new signing Tiemoue Bakayoko are also ruled out due to injury while Diego Costa remains in his mystery absence.

Conte will again be forced to turn to the younger members of his squad and continue to direct frustration towards his board at a lack of transfer activity. £58million summer signing Alvaro Morata will almost certainly make his starting debut, while Andreas Christensen will be given a chance to shine in defence.

Kieran Trippier is the only fresh injury concern for Tottenham (minor ligament damage) who is expected to return in three weeks. Victor Wanyama and Heung-min Son were both relegated to the bench against Newcastle and could return to the starting XI, while Mauricio Pochettino must make a call on his system.

Does he remain with the 4-2-3-1 or revert back to the 3-4-3 which served him so well last campaign?

Player to Watch:

Andreas Christensen / Antonio Rüdiger - The young centre-half pairing have three matches to showcase their wares to the Chelsea squad, with Gary Cahill to miss with suspension. Christensen (21) and Rüdiger (24) are both highly-rated youngsters, albeit the latter a product of far more experience in the Series A with Roma. They'll like complete the baulk of the Chelsea central defending duties, perhaps joined by César Azpilicueta in a back three with Luiz to spend more time in midfield in Fabregas' absence. Their task, to stop the ferocity and flair that are Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen and co.

Prediction: Tottenham 1 Chelsea 1

You can't help but feel we've been treated to such a huge fixture too early in the season. Both sides remain a way off hitting anything near top gear and so expect cautious proceedings, particularly at a not-so-friendly 'home' venue for the Spurs. What we can expect is a response from Chelsea, pending personnel.



Man City v Everton

Riding high after a win on opening day, a confident Ronald Koeman has declared Gylfi Sigurðsson a chance to make his Everton debut fresh after joining the club this week, while for City, a chance to atone the embarrassment of the two side's last clash.

Last Time They Played:

Everton 4 Man City 0 (Goodison Park - January 15)

Team News:

Benjamin Mendy (thigh) remains in doubt for the home side but there could be some good news with the return of Ilkay Gundogan to the squad, who made his first appearance in eight months for City against Girona in Spain on Tuesday. Only central defender John Stones and full-back Danilo featured from the team that defeated Brighton on opening day.

For the Toffees, Seamus Coleman (broken leg), Yannick Bolasie (knee) and Ramiro Funes Mori (knee) all remain long-term concerns while the aforementioned Sigurðsson will likely make his debut. Whether that is from the bench or drafted straight into the starting XI, it depends on how much Koeman would like to rotate his squad given Thursday's tie against HNK Hajduk Split and a trip to come in Croatia following the City clash.

Player to Watch: Wayne Rooney

The 31-year-old made the fairytale return to Goodison Park, scoring the solitary goal in Everton's 1-0 opening win over Stoke City. He'll return to a venue he knows so well, having caused City some horrors during his time with Manchester United, especially in Derbies. Whether Rooney will be type of signing to back up week in, week out remains the doubt, but the veteran has only promised to improve in Blue. A classy assist midweek in Europa League Qualifying certainly won't harm his cause early on.

Prediction: Man City 2 Everton 1

You feel City will have too much class for an Everton side who while are plucky, remain a work in progress with such a turnover of players in the starting XI.

About the author

Domenic Favata

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