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Premier League preview: What will and won’t happen this weekend 2

The big talking point: Bournemouth’s spending. Asmir Begovic has arrived to push Artur Boruc slightly closer to retirement, while Nathan Ake and Jermain Defoe were signed for a pair of new transfer records. It may have come at a cost, but Eddie Howe has had a good summer.

What will happen: On the pitch, it’s hard to say, but – like a few other grounds – The Hawthorns could be left chuntering with frustration if they don’t see a positive performance. Tony Pulis (complete with new contract) has been quiet in the market, adding only Jay Rodriguez (who should, to be fair, prove a smart signing) and centre-back (obviously) Ahmed Hagazi. West Brom’s style makes them a tough sell to any player with flair, but they should coax someone of that profile through the door before the window closes.

What won’t happen: A Salomon Rondon goal seems unlikely: since his hat-trick (three headers) against Swansea last December, he has managed one Premier League net-rippler.

FFT Predicts: 0-2

The big talking point: Twenty years ago, Brighton were flirting with relegation to the (then) Vauxhall Conference. Given what their fans have endured, there can’t be too many neutrals who – remembering the Goldstone Ground and Withdean Stadium – will begrudge them their moment in front of the television cameras against Pep Guardiola and his army of full-backs.

What will happen: Wag television presenters will, multiple times, tell you that Kyle Walker, Danilo and Benjamin Mendy cost more to sign than the Amex Stadium did to build. Keep that TV on a hard mute until kick-off time; the cliches are going to come thick and fast.

What won’t happen: Sadly, there’ll be no Anthony Knockaert – at least not from the start. The Frenchman is a glorious player to watch, all light feet and fluidity, but his pre-season has been truncated and won’t quite be ready for a few more weeks.

FFT Predicts: 1-3

The big talking point: Danny Rose. After an already-difficult summer for Mauricio Pochettino, his (currently injured) full-back has decided that now would be the best time to lob a grenade into his office. Good for you, Danny: there is a “me” in team, after all.

What will happen: Continuity. From a previewing perspective, that both sides will line up almost exactly as they were is pretty handy. Tottenham sat on their hands over the summer, and while Newcastle have made some signings (most notably Jacob Murphy and Florian Lejeune), they are not nearly as improved as Rafael Benitez would have hoped. That’s a storyline to watch, too: Benitez is not one to make empty threats and, without proper backing, his resignation is not out of the question.

What won’t happen: Kieran Trippier won’t play. Important, because – following the sale of Kyle Walker – he is Pochettino’s only senior right-back. The Argentine revealed last weekend that he doesn’t believe Kyle Walker-Peters is quite ready for the Premier League, so Tottenham will begin the year looking decidedly patchwork.

FFT predicts: 2-0

 

The big talking point: United’s new boys. Home debuts are expected for Romelu Lukaku and Victor Lindelof, so expect the analysis to be forensic. Historically, Lukaku has feasted on West Ham, scoring in seven of his last eight appearances against them – and he’ll be keen for a competitive goal after that horrendous miss in the Super Cup. A soft landing for him, then, but perhaps not for Lindelof: Javier Hernandez is a superb mover off the ball and will need to be lassoed early and bound up tightly throughout.

What will happen: An easy start for Jose Mourinho. West Ham traditionally begin slowly; in fact no Premier League team has lost more opening day games than they have (10). Add their many new components into the equation and they look likely to be outmatched here.

What won’t happen: Any history. Mourinho has contested 86 home games on a Sunday during his managerial career and is yet to lose. Make that 87 by 6pm on Sunday.

FFT predicts: 3-0

 

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