Goodie gumdrops. It's that time of year again - the Premier League is starting. Well, for everyone except for Tottenham Hotspur and Everton fans, that is. On Saturday we have Liverpool and Arsenal in action against Sunderland and Newcastle respectively. There are murmurings that FC Barcelona plan to disrupt the game at St. James Park to steal Cesc Fabregas mid-match, but I wouldn't spread that around too much otherwise Dani Alves might kill you with his death stare.
On Sunday and Monday we have Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City all in action, although, alas, not against one another. Maybe they should have a weird three-way game to decide the title now? That way when Sir Alex Ferguson and Andre Villas-Boas gang up on poor City Roberto Mancini's tactics and shape will look absolutely brilliant.
Saturday August 13th
Blackburn Rovers vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers
3:00 PM GMT (10:00 AM EST); Ewood Park
What better way to get the Premier League started than a match between these two teams? Ok, I guess there are other games kicking off as well, but they don't count because they're not first on the BBC's fixture list. So, anyway, we've got the best possible advertisement possible for English football: Lots of blood, lots of thunder, minimal actual football required. It's absolute perfection.
Pick: 1-0 Blackburn.
Fulham vs. Aston Villa
3:00 PM GMT (10:00 AM EST); Craven Cottage
With Brad Friedel replaced at Villa Park by Shay Given, we've lost the American Civil War mentality of this match. Don't worry, American Villa fans. Eric Lichaj's going to be fantastic. In the meantime, Fulham will clearly win, because they have an American and Villa kind of don't. Sorry, that's just the way it works as long as Bob Bradley isn't involved. When they put a statue of Clint Dempsey next to Michael Jackson, I hope it dances if you put a 50p in it.
Pick: 2-0 Fulham.
Liverpool vs. Sunderland
3:00 PM GMT (10:00 AM EST); Anfield
Liverpool will hit Sunderland with a savage 1-8-1 formation that will absolutely dominate the centre of the park, ensuring that the hosts have 80% possession and yet concede three goals. It'll be alright for Kenny Dalglish's merry band of midfielders and Luis Suarezes, though, since they'll score plenty as well. Call it the Charlie Adam effect.
Pick: 3-3 Draw
Queens Park Rangers vs. Bolton Wanderers
3:00 PM GMT (10:00 AM EST); Loftus Road
QPR have made it back to the Premier League! Hurray. Bolton will probably make them wish they hadn't, though. No, that's not because the Trotters are particularly dangerous - it's because nobody wants to see Gary Cahill play football. Yaaaawn.
Pick: 2-1 Bolton
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Everton
The rioting in London saved me approximately 40 words. Thank you, oh pestilence upon civilised society.
Wigan Athletic vs. Norwich City
3:00 PM GMT (10:00 AM EST); DW Stadium
Roberto Martinez's nearly-relegated men probably don't have an easy year ahead of them. They do, however, have an easy start to the season, facing a newly promoted side at home. What could possibly go wrong with this scenario?
Pick: 3-1 Wigan
Last time these two sides met in St. James' Park, the match ended up drawn. How boring. Nobody wants to see a game where two sides play for 90 minutes and nothing happens at the end of it. No such worry this time though - Newcastle will wallop a sulky Arsenal side.
Pick: 2-0 Newcastle
Sunday August 14th
Stoke City vs. Chelsea
1:30 PM GMT (8:30 AM EST); Britannia Stadium
New Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas is supposed to be a tactical genius, which is why many suspect that instead of using Chelsea's normal centre back pairing of John Terry and David Luiz, he'll instead deploy a battery of surface to air missiles in front of Petr Cech. Rory Delap, you're on notice.
Pick: 2-0 Chelsea
West Bromwich Albion vs. Manchester United
4:00 PM GMT (11:00 AM EST); The Hawthornes
Well this doesn't seem fair at all.
Pick: 3-0 United
Monday August 15th
Manchester City vs. Swansea City
5:30 PM GMT (12:30 PM EST); Etihad Stadium
I think the entire world is hoping that the rumours that Roberto Mancini will field a 4-6-0 with Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero as holding midfielders are false, but you can't really rule then out, can you?
Pick: 4-1 Manchester City