The season couldn’t have started off on a more gentle note for Superbru players, with the average return being six out of 10, writes GARY LEMKE.

Wins for the two Manchester clubs, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham were widely predicted, while Bournemouth were at odds-on with the bookies to open with a victory and most players went with them too. The biggest ‘upset’ was the 2-2 draw between Wolves and Everton – I called this as a 1-1 – although there are still 37 rounds of matches for the rollercoaster to travel.

As I explained before the opening round, I normally base my season on what I expect in the long run and one needs to be mindful that this is a marathon and not a sprint. But, the three points for an exact score is a healthy addition to the competition and players are going to be rewarded for boldness. I did throw a 0-0 in there last week, but got the result wrong, although there was a 0-0 and that came between Southampton and Burnley.

The most popular result in the first round (three times) was 2-0, followed by 2-1 (twice), with 0-0, 2-2, 3-0 and 4-0 all featuring once and the manner in which Manchester City and Liverpool, in particular, have set themselves up, they are the two teams where players will be looking to put in higher predictions, while the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal will probably be viewed more conservatively when it comes to their score predictions.

Last week there were six teams that the bookies had at odds-on to win – and five of them obliged, with the only ‘upset’ being Southampton’s draw with Burnley. For this weekend’s round of fixtures, the bookies have again installed six teams as odds-on, which suggests the expectations are for another successful round for players.

In setting up my season, I said last week that it was based on my view that Man City would win the league, followed by Liverpool, Arsenal and then a fight for fourth between Chelsea, Man United and Tottenham, in that order. Man City this week are at home to Huddersfield and the only question here seems to be ‘how many goals’.

I’ve gone for 3-0 based mainly on the fact that Kevin de Bruyne seems to have picked up a knee injury and could be ‘kept’ for more demanding games, while City seemed to coast once they went 2-0 up against Arsenal last week. Although Huddersfield lost 3-0 to Chelsea, the scoreline flattered the London club, so City might want to get the win first and then ring the changes from the bench, which disrupts the flow of the game.

Liverpool are away to Crystal Palace, in a Monday night match that might be trickier than it first looks, while Arsenal travel to Chelsea in the big one of the round.

Having beaten Arsenal away, Man City now have the three promoted sides from the 2017-18 season and the three from the 2018-19 season next. That means they could be on a maximum 21 points from their first seven games and the danger for the rest is that this league could be over by Christmas.

My predictions for the drop were Cardiff City, Watford and Newcastle, and while Cardiff and Newcastle both lost their opening matches – Watford won handily at home – Newcastle showed plenty of spirit against Tottenham. This week sees Newcastle travel to Cardiff and for me, this is already a six-pointer. Newcastle are the bookies’ favourites to win on Saturday, which would see Cardiff in heaps of trouble after two matches, but I’ll swim against the flow and go with a draw for this one.

Based on what we saw in the opening round, I have added Brighton to my list of relegation candidates. They were poor at Watford and this week they host Manchester United, where Jose Mourinho continues to feel the heat, and as we said last week, they will be counting down the days until the end of August, fearful of a big move to Barcelona for Paul Pogba. Even if that doesn’t materialise this window, indications are that Pogba has his heart set on leaving Old Trafford and despite giving him the captaincy armband, this might not be enough to keep the Frenchman from wishing he was elsewhere. And that can have a hugely damaging effect on the dressing room in the medium-to-long term.

Still, the fixtures were extremely kind to the two Manchester clubs and United’s home opener against Leicester is followed by what should be three points at Brighton.

As a Superbru player, the trick is not to panic. There’s plenty of time to see trends develop and don’t be shy to go against popular opinion. I didn’t have a particularly good opening round, getting six out of 10 results correct (60%), although that was the competition average for week one, but last year I averaged 59% and won Superbru, so I’ll take the six out of 10, knowing that there will be better (and worse) weeks to come.

Here are our SportsClub team’s predictions for the second round:
Cardiff City vs Newcastle
Gary Lemke (6/10): 1-1
Wade Pretorius (5/10): 1-1
Dylan Appolis (8/10): 0-2
Juandre Joubert (5/10): 0-1
Dean Workman (5/10): 1-1

Tottenham vs Fulham
Gary Lemke: 2-0
Wade Pretorius: 2-0
Dylan Appolis: 2-0
Juandre Joubert: 3-1
Dean Workman: 3-1

Everton vs Southampton
Gary Lemke: 1-0
Wade Pretorius: 2-0
Dylan Appolis: 2-1
Juandre Joubert: 2-1
Dean Workman: 2-0

West Ham vs Bournemouth
Gary Lemke: 1-1
Wade Pretorius: 1-1
Dylan Appolis: 1-1
Juandre Joubert: 1-1
Dean Workman: 2-1

Leicester City vs Wolves
Gary Lemke: 1-1
Wade Pretorius: 2-0
Dylan Appolis: 1-0
Juandre Joubert: 1-0
Dean Workman: 2-1

Chelsea vs Arsenal
Gary Lemke: 2-1
Wade Pretorius: 2-1
Dylan Appolis: 2-0
Juandre Joubert: 1-0
Dean Workman: 3-2

Man City vs Huddersfield
Gary Lemke: 3-0
Wade Pretorius: 4-0
Dylan Appolis: 3-1
Juandre Joubert: 3-0
Dean Workman: 5-0

Burnley vs Watford
Gary Lemke: 1-0
Wade Pretorius: 1-0
Dylan Appolis: 1-1
Juandre Joubert: 1-1
Dean Workman: 1-0

Brighton vs Man United
Gary Lemke: 0-2
Wade Pretorius: 1-2
Dylan Appolis: 0-2
Juandre Joubert: 1-2
Dean Workman: 1-2

Crystal Palace vs Liverpool
Gary Lemke: 1-2
Wade Pretorius: 1-2
Dylan Appolis: 1-3
Juandre Joubert: 1-2
Dean Workman: 1-3

Lemke is the 2017/2018 English Premier League Superbru Global champion

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