In Gary Mabbutt Blog

The new season has started with the usual razmataaz of the Premier League and with the usual shock results, could we have another season like last year, where the whole of the Premiership was turned upside down by Leicester.

It would be great to imagine a similar season of intrigue and surprise, but I think that what was achieved by Leicester last term will never be seen again.

All of the big guns have spent big on managers and players and they will make sure that they will not have another season of such under achievement from the leading Premiership teams.

I am away in the Kruger Park at the moment and have had to follow the new seasons start from a small television at the lodge where we are staying. Wi fi is always dependent on the wind blowing in the right direction, but I thank some of the web sites for the info on the games.



Diego Costa’s late strike gave Antonio Conte a dramatic winning start as Chelsea manager as his side secured a season-opening victory over local rivals West Ham.

The Spain striker found the net from 20 yards in the 89th minute to send the Chelsea fans going home with a smile on their faces, more than they did last season !! Conte joined in the fans celebrations as the ball hit the back of the net..

Eden Hazard had put the Blues in front from the spot after Michail Antonio fouled Cesar Azpilicueta.

James Collins levelled for the Hammers, but Costa’s finish settled it.

A nice three points to start the season with, but things will get much tougher than this West Ham side.



Jose Mourinho made a winning Premier League start as Manchester United manager with a comprehensive opening victory at Bournemouth.

Juan Mata, who was substituted after coming on in last week’s Community Shield, opened the scoring with a tap-in after Simon Francis’ error.

Wayne Rooney headed the second before Zlatan Ibrahimovic marked his United league debut with a goal from 25 yards. Ibrahomovic hasnow scored for five different clubs on his debut.

Adam Smith scored a consolation goal, but it was too little too late for the Cherries.

United were without world-record £89m signing Paul Pogba through suspension, while midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan started on the bench, with Mata preferred, in my opinion a great choice, I believe that Mata and Hazard at Chelsea are the best two midfielders in the Premier League.



Liverpool held on to beat Arsenal in a stunning Premier League opening-weekend encounter at Emirates Stadium.

Theo Walcott fired in the first goal for the Gunners in the 31st minute, moments after missing a penalty.

Philippe Coutinho equalised with a brilliant free-kick before Adam Lallana fired in after the break.

Coutinho poked in his second and Sadio Mane slammed home, before Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored a great solo goal and Calum Chambers headed in.

The Arsenal faithful must have been driving home bemused at how they let a 1-0 lead disintegrate into a 4-1 deficit within 30 minutes.



The shock of the games came at Hull where Leicester’s defence of their Premier League title began with a shock defeat at newly promoted Hull, who are managerless and relegation favourites.

Under caretaker boss Mike Phelan, Hull took the lead when Adama Diomande and Abel Hernandez combined acrobatically, with Diomande awarded the goal.

Riyad Mahrez replied from the penalty spot at the start of the second half after Demarai Gray had been fouled.

But Robert Snodgrass earned the Tigers victory after a cross was not cleared.

Danny Simpson’s clearance from Ahmed Elmohamady’s ball into the area only found Snodgrass on the edge of the box, and he drilled home.

It is the first time the reigning English champions have started the season with a defeat since 1989, when Arsenal lost at Manchester United.



Newly promoted Burnley who had a record breaking run last season without being defeated, found out the big differences in the Premier Laegue, where Leroy Fer’s late goal earned Swansea victory at Burnley on the opening day of the Premier League season.

Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton could not hold Fernando Llorente’s header and Fer tapped home from close range.

Llorente and Federico Fernandez had each missed chances from inside the six yard box earlier in the game for the Swans.

Lukasz Fabianski denied newly promoted Burnley’s Dean Marney with a fine late save as the Welsh side held on.



Salomon Rondon’s header was enough to give West Brom a narrow win over Crystal Palace in a dreary Premier League opener at Selhurst Park.

Both of these sides struggled for wins at the back end of last season and it showed in a game low on chances.

Crystal Palace debutant Andros Townsend failed to inspire the home side following his move from Newcastle.

Rondon flicked in James McClean’s free-kick on 74 minutes for the only goal to hand Tony Pulis’ side three points.



Erik Lamela’s second-half header salvaged a point for Tottenham against an Everton side who impressed in their first league game under Ronald Koeman.

The Toffees’ high pressing unsettled Spurs during the first half and they took the lead when Ross Barkley’s free-kick sneaked past Hugo Lloris.

The Spurs keeper then came off in the 35th minute with a hamstring injury.

The visitors equalised when Argentina winger Lamela stooped to meet Kyle Walker’s delivery from the right.



Xherdan Shaqiri’s free-kick earned Stoke City a point as Middlesbrough were denied a deserved victory on their return to the Premier League.

Boro went ahead when two of 10 signings made since winning promotion combined – Alvaro Negredo bundling in Gaston Ramirez’s headed cut-back.

Ramirez hit the post with a low shot and struck the bar directly from a corner as Boro continued strongly.

But Shaqiri’s effort went in off the upright to level with 25 minutes left.

The Switzerland international’s left-footed strike had too much curl and power for Boro’s debutant keeper Victor Valdes – formerly of Barcelona and Manchester United – who could only palm on to the post and in



Nathan Redmond scored on his first Premier League appearance for Southampton to rescue a point against Watford at St Mary’s Stadium.

Etienne Capoue rifled the Hornets into the lead after a header by Troy Deeney created space for the midfielder.

Southampton’s Shane Long headed Dusan Tadic’s cross wide before Redmond, who joined from Norwich in the summer, volleyed Tadic’s corner home.

Watford substitute Ben Watson was sent off for a foul on Long on 76 minutes



Pep Guardiola needed a late Paddy McNair own goal to make a winning start at Manchester City as David Moyes lost his first game as Sunderland manager.

Sergio Aguero’s penalty, after Raheem Sterling was fouled by Patrick van Aanholt, gave City an early lead.

But Guardiola, who left England keeper Joe Hart out of his starting XI, saw his new side concede to Jermain Defoe.

City made few chances, but snatched an 87th-minute winner when debutant McNair headed into his own net.

An average start for my predictions this week, but I am hoping that I can get over new season nerves and do better in my next performance!!!


Here are my predictions for this week’s games.

Friday 19th August 2016

Man Utd  3 v 1  Southampton


Saturday 20th August 2016

Stoke 1 v 2 Man City

Burnley 1 v 2 Liverpool

Swansea 2 v 1 Hull

Tottenham 3 v 1 Crystal Palace

Watford 1 v 2 Chelsea

West Brom 2 v 1 Everton

Leicester 1 v 2 Arsenal


Sunday 21st August 2016

Sunderland 2 v 1 Middlesbrough

West Ham 2 v 1 Bournemouth


Have a good week


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