World Cup qualification is over, meaning the Premier League returns this weekend with some exciting match ups.
Liverpool and Man Utd face off Saturday lunchtime in the weekend’s biggest fixture. The Red Devils have had a great start to the season, but a trip to Anfield will be their toughest challenge yet.
Crystal Palace’s struggles only get harder as they take on the champions Chelsea at Selhurst Park, while Man City look to remain unbeaten taking on Stoke at home.
Struggling Everton face a huge trip to Brighton – who have been impressive at home, while Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth too face an important challenge at Wembley against Tottenham who will be desperate to get their first Premier League win at their new home stadium.
Liverpool vs Manchester United
Jose Mourinho will know that this trip to Anfield is United’s toughest game yet. Liverpool have not had the best of starts, so this game is hugely important if Liverpool want top four ambitions. Attack has not been their problem, once again it’s their shady defence that’ll worry Klopp against the attack of Man Utd, who are consistently scoring four goals a game it seems. Normally you would back Liverpool at home – but the way United are playing, and with the Reds without their most threatening talent in Sadio Mane, Mourinho’s men seem to be the favourites. The form of Lukaku should also give United an advantage, another reason why I back the visitors.
Prediction: Liverpool 1 – 2 Man Utd
Crystal Palace vs Chelsea
Antonio Conte will be extremely disappointed with their last outing in the league – losing at home to leaders Man City. Blues fans will likely see this fixture as a perfect chance to bounce back and catch up with the Manchester clubs, as the Eagles still haven’t managed to score a goal so far. Seven games in and to have not scored a goal is far from ideal for Roy Hodgson, whose injury concerns will not make it easy for the hosts. Chelsea too have injury problems with their top scorer this season Alvaro Morata out injured – even so you still can’t look past an away win for the champions at Selhurst Park.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 0 – 3 Chelsea
Manchester City vs Stoke
City fans must be thrilled with the way things are going for their side right now. In attack, their scoring goals for fun – while in defence they look a lot stronger this season. The injuries of Aguero and Mendy are huge blows, but with the form of Silva, Sane, Jesus and De Bruyne, you always back City to win. Stoke have not had the best start to the season – while they’ve not been bad at home this season, they’re yet to win away from home yet. An away win seems very unlikely this weekend for Stoke though. Mark Hughes will want to attack against the club he once managed, but with the form of City, and Stoke’s away form, you expect a comfortable home win for Pep Guardiola.
Prediction: Man City 3 – 1 Stoke
Tottenham vs Bournemouth
Mauricio Pochettino will be so desperate for a win at Wembley. They still haven’t managed it so far, but against the Cherries, Spurs fans will be confident they can bag their first three points at Wembley. Harry Kane is in unstoppable form right now – you just expect him to score every game, which will worry Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth. The Cherries have been poor so far, but fans will hope Jermain Defoe can score against his old side. Spurs’ Wembley curse is psychological – they need the confidence to win at home, as away sides will continue to see Tottenham away as a huge opportunity to gain three points. Despite this, the form of Kane and Alli massively makes Spurs the favourites.
Prediction: Tottenham 2 – Bournemouth 1
Watford vs Arsenal
Despite losing 6-0 at home to City, Watford have had a promising start to their campaign. At home, they cause visiting sides real problems, and will cause Arsene Wenger’s side some problems too. Wenger this week revealed that it is possible that both Ozil and Sanchez could be sold in the January transfer window – which doesn’t exactly strike confidence into Gunners fans. This mentally will surely effect the team if the players know that two of their main players are not happy at the club. Regardless of this, the Gunners have showed much more promise lately, but away to the Hornets will be tricky, so I expect a tight game ending in a draw.
Prediction: Watford 1 – 1 Arsenal
Brighton vs Everton
Nobody would have predicted the terrible start to the season Ronald Koeman’s Everton have had. After spending so much – and buying a considerable amount of talent, the Toffees really have been dreadful. Failing to sign a replacement for Lukaku has really affected them – with a lack of goals being the main issue. Koeman is under serious pressure at the moment, meaning it’s a must win game against Brighton on Sunday. At home, the Seagulls have looked really strong, losing just one home game so far, which means it certainly won’t be easy for Everton. Many would probably predict a home win, but with the pressure the Everton players are facing, I expect them to work hard and pick up a had earned draw.
Prediction: Brighton 1 – 1 Everton
Burnley vs West Ham
Burnley have been outstanding so far, picking up unlikely wins at both Stanford Bridge and Goodison Park, whilst earning a draws at Anfield and Wembley. At Turf Moor, Sean Dyche’s side have lost just one game so far, meaning they currently lay a surprising 6th in the league, just one point behind Arsenal and Chelsea. Slaven Bilic’s West Ham on the other hand, have not had a great start to this campaign. Bilic still faces a bit of pressure after winning just two games so far – away to Burnley won’t help either. West Ham’s form is likely to pick up soon, but I don’t think away at Turf Moor will see the Hammers return to London with anything given the form the Clarets are in.
Prediction: Burnley 2 – 1 West Ham
Southampton vs Newcastle
The Saints have been really poor at St Mary’s this season. They just can’t seem to score any goals right now, having only scored five goals in seven matches. They’ve only won two of their games, meaning Sunday’s clash against Newcastle is a hugely important game. Many have been surprised with the form of Rafa Benitez’s team. The Magpies have been playing freely and won three games in a row, along with a well earned draw at home to Liverpool. Away though has not been so good for Newcastle, with their last away game ending in defeat at Brighton. This game is therefore tricky to call, with the Saints poor at home, and the Magpies poor away, meaning a draw is likely.
Prediction: Southampton 1 – 1 Newcastle
Leicester vs West Brom
Leicester have had a really tough start to this season. Despite facing all of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and United, they would be hoping for more than just one win. Their fixture list should start to get a bit easier from now, but a home win here is vitally important. The Foxes haven’t exactly played badly, they’ve just not quite been good enough against the top teams, but Craig Shakespeare will view this game as a good chance for three points. West Brom had a promising start after the first couple of games – but things have gone slightly downhill since then, which means this too is a hugely significant game for the Baggies and Tony Pulis. I expect Leicester to bounce back from their tricky start, but this will be a close encounter.
Prediction: Leicester 1 – 0 West Brom
Swansea vs Huddersfield
When Huddersfield gained promotion to the Premier League, not many would have thought they would have had this start. In their last outing, they were completely outclassed by Harry Kane and Tottenham – but that doesn’t overshadow how they’ve been for their other games. They’ve coped with life in the top league well, currently in 11th. They haven’t won in their last five games though, so a trip to the liberty is a chance for a big three points. The Welsh side right now are in poor form – currently in the relegation zone, picking up just one point in their last four games. Paul Clermont’s Swans will see this game too as a great opportunity to pick up a win. Both sides will be desperate for a win, but I just get the feeling that Huddersfield will sneak this one
Prediction: Swansea 0 – 1 Huddersfield