Every football fan across the country will be relieved to hear that the Premier League returns this weekend after the international break.
A mouth-watering clash takes place at the Etihad with City hosting a confident Liverpool after their 4-0 win over Arsenal.
Leicester welcome back a few of their former star players as they host Antonio Conte’s Chelsea – the champions looking to make it three wins in a row.
Everton face off against Tottenham, while Mourinho’s Man Utd look to carry on their fine form with a trip to Stoke.
There are simply must win games for Arsenal, Crystal Palace and West Ham, with all three sides having terrible starts to the season. Wenger, De Boer and Bilic all need a win to ease the pressure.
We look ahead to each game at the weekend, and predict as to who will come out on top in what should be a fascinating weekend of Premier League football.
Man City v Liverpool
The weekends most exciting game by far. Both sides are currently undefeated on 7 points, which sets the game up to be a hugely entertaining match. Liverpool have looked impressive in attack – following the 4-0 win over Arsenal. While Man City have looked a bit shaky, with a late goal against Bournemouth preventing what would have been a frustrating draw for Pep Guardiola’s side. Man City do have a good home record, losing just one of their last twenty-three games, and are actually unbeaten in eight games. However Liverpool are unbeaten against Man City under manager Jurgen Klopp. The Manchester club have also failed to beat Liverpool in three years – meaning Reds fans will be confident they can go to the Etihad and win. The Ox could make his debut this weekend, while we could also see the return of Phillipe Coutinho. City meanwhile, will be without former Liverpool man Raheem Sterling, after his red card, but will have right back Kyle Walker back from his suspension. Form would suggest an away win, but I feel City will finally click come Saturday lunch-time, and will continue their unbeaten run.
Prediction: Manchester City 2-1 Liverpool
Everton v Tottenham
Both sides have had a mixed start to the season with both sides recording one draw, one win, and one loss. Everton have been in the headlines were the wrong reasons this week, after the Wayne Rooney fiasco, and with Dutch manager Ronald Koeman saying he is very ‘disappointed’ in the retired England international, it seems very unlikely Rooney will play. Record signing Gylfi Sigurdsson could start against his old club, with the Toffees hopeful they can recover from their 2-0 loss to Chelsea. Tottenham meanwhile will also want to return to winning ways after failing to win both their home games at Wembley. Spurs fans will hope Harry Kane can score his first goal this season, while new signings Serge Aurier and Fernando Llorente could feature. A tough game to call, with little separating the two sides.
Prediction: Everton 1 – 1 Tottenham
Leicester v Chelsea
The two recent Champions of England clash at the King Power stadium on Saturday. Leicester have faced a difficult start to the season, after previous losses to Arsenal and Man Utd. Chelsea meanwhile look to make it three wins in a row, after their 3-2 shock at home to Burnley. Blues fans will hope Alvaro Morata continues his promising start to the season, while Eden Hazard could make his first appearance of the season. N’golo Kante will face his old club, while deadline day signing Danny Drinkwater could also feature against his old club, but could expect a fiery reception from his old fans. Chelsea look to have recovered from the horror show on the opening day, and will be convident they can claim a win. Meanwhile Leicester will be eager to beat their old team mates Kante and Drinkwater, but you feel Chelsea should just have enough to win.
Prediction: Leicester 1-2 Chelsea
Stoke v Manchester United
League leaders Man Utd will look to maintain their perfect start to the season with a tricky trip to Mark Hughes’s Stoke. The Britannia stadium has been recognised as a challenging ground to play at, with Stoke having a good home form – proven with their 1-0 win over Arsenal already this season. Mourinho’s side have enjoyed a relatively easy start to the season, but will be tested this weekend. The likes of Lukaku, Pogba, Matic and Rashford will be hoping to continue their promising form, while Darren Fletcher of Stoke could face his old side. Man Utd have a lot of confidence at the moment, and although they will likely slip up at some point, they should have just too much attack for Stoke’s defense to handle.
Prediction: Stoke 0-1 Man Utd
Arsenal v Bournemouth
A must win game for both sides. Arsenal are dominating the Premier league headlines at the minute, whether it’s their poor form, the on going saga of Alexis Sanchez, or the heated words exchanged between the players and pundits – nothing is going well for the Gunners right now. Bournemouth too need to win. They will be hugely disappointed to have conceded that late goal to City, but having failed to win a point, they will want to take something away from the Emirates. Sanchez is likely to start on Saturday, while Jack Wilshire could find himself also starting for Wenger’s side against the club he was loaned to last season. Eddie Howe’s side will challenge Arsenal, but with all the pressure on them, Wenger’s side should comfortably get the three points.
Prediction: Arsenal 3-0 Bournemouth
Burnley v Crystal Palace
Frank De Boer is the manager under the biggest pressure. After failing to manage a point, or even a goal, in the first three games, reports say anything but a win and the Dutch manager will get the sack already. The Eagles therefore definitely need to win, but face a tough challenge away to in form Burnley. The Clarets have made a promising start to their campaign, beating Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, and then drawing to Tottenham at Wembley. Sean Dyche’s side also have a strong home record, with many PL teams struggling to take three points away from Turf Moor. New Palace signing Mamadou Sakho is unlikely to feature, while Eagles fans will hope Belgian striker Christian Benteke can get his first goal this season. With all the added pressure, I feel the players will perform for their manager, and give De Boer a win, despite Burnley’s good record at home.
Prediction: Burnley 1-2 Crystal Palace
Southampton v Watford
Saturday’s game at St Mary’s sees two new managers pit against each other. Mauricio Pellogrino and Marco Silva have both had decent starts to their new clubs, with both sides on four points. Watford made some good signings on deadline day, and will expect these players to feature. Saints fans meanwhile will be hoping Dutch Captain Virgil Van Dijk will make his first appearance of the season after returning to training this week. These two clubs played out one of the best games of the season last year – a 4-3 win at Vicarage Road for the saints, who haven’t lost to their opponents since 2009. Home advantage tips the favour Southampton’s way, so we should expect them to win.
Prediction: Southampton 3-1 Watford
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Swansea v Newcastle
Swansea pulled off perhaps the best deal of the transfer window – securing the services of Bayern Munich midfielder Renato Sanches on loan. The Portugese young player of the year in 2016 will be a huge boost to Paul Clermont’s side, having been tipped for possible relegation, to now a strong mid table finish. The resigning of striker Wilfried Bony is also a good addition for the Welsh side, who will be looking to use both players to beat Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle. If the Swans had a good transfer window, the Magpies didn’t, with Benitez admitting he didn’t get the players he wanted. Both sides recorded hugely important wins in their last games, but this time there should only be one winner, at that should be the hosts. Playing at the Liberty, along with their new additions, should be enough to beat newly promoted Newcastle.
Prediction: Swansea 2-0 Newcastle
Brighton v West Brom
Tony Pulis’s West Brom head into this fixture in great form. They haven’t lost so far this season, and made some good signings on deadline day, while keeping hold of key players. Adding Arsenal left-back Kieran Gibbs and PSG midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak were brilliant signings for the Baggies, while keeping hold of Nacer Chadli and Jonny Evans means Pulis has a strong squad to get a top half finish this season. Brighton have found life in the Premier League difficult so far. Despite losing, Chris Hughton’s side showed promise against City, before losing to Leicester and drawing to Watford, but will be eager to get a first win this season. West Brom though look good so far, and you feel they’ll look to attack against the Seagulls. I expect a draw here though, West Brom should look the brighter, but a draw would be a decent result for Chris Hughton’s side.
Prediction: Brighton 1-1 West Brom
West Ham v Huddersfield
No other teams facing each other this weekend have had such contrasting starts to the season than these two. West Ham have looked really bad, while promoted Huddersfield have been hugely impressive currently third, having not lost so far. Slaven Bilic needs a result, they’ve conceded 10 goals so far in three games, while Huddersfield haven’t conceded one. Bilic will not be pleased with the Hammers injury problems, nor record signing Marco Arnautovic’s three match suspension. Andy Carroll though is rumoured to be on the bench in their first home game this season, which will be a boost for the Croatian manager. David Wagner though will be confident his Terriers will continue their dream start to the season, they haven’t cracked at all under the pressure of being in the big league. The Hammers though must win, and you feel they will respond well to criticism on Monday night, so I believe they will record a first win of the season.
Prediction: West Ham 2-0 Huddersfield
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