Big games coming up this weekend as the table begins to take shape. With Manchester City in fine form, will there be a gap at the top of the table, or will the others be catching up? As for the bottom of the League, this weekend will be one step closer to seeing who will be struggling for the drop.
West Ham v Brighton
Brighton and Hove Albion have been playing extremely well, considering how many thought they would be bottom dwellers this season. With a point at Goodison Park in the last game, they now sit in 14th and this game against West Ham will really show which club will come out on top. Star man Anthony Knockaert has just started to hit form too and he will be key in this game.
This is going to be equally as important for the Hammers as they try and make their home ground a fortress. All three home games have ended in victory for Slaven Bilic’s side and this looks like the same story.
West Ham to win: 2:0
Chelsea v Watford
It’s a tale of two clubs who went through complete opposite emotions last weekend. While Chelsea slumped to a shock defeat away to Crystal Palace, it was Watford who experienced elation as they snatched a last-gasp victory over Arsenal. Now at Stamford Bridge, can they cause another upset?
I actually think Watford got lucky against the Gunners, with a penalty that really shouldn’t have stood and now going up against the Champions at Stamford Bridge is surely going to be too tough a task. Antonio Conte is a man under pressure at the minute so will ensure he definitely picks up three points.
Chelsea to win: 3-1
Swansea v Leicester
If there ever was a time for Leicester to win three points, it has to be now. After one win in eight Premier League games, the sacking of Craig Shakespeare came as no surprise, especially when once again Leicester began the season very poorly. If the players want to remain in the Premier League, they will have to step it up.
For Swansea, this fixture has come at the right time. After a dismal start of their own, Paul Clement must be relieved that he is taking on another relegation rival in Leicester. After struggling to beat the teams at the top-end of the table, they’ve found solace in beating those around them with Crystal Palace and Huddersfield. I think they will do well at home here but I wouldn’t count against Leicester scoring.
Swansea to win: 2-1
Newcastle v Crystal Palace
Never before has a team looked so incapable of performing in the Premier League than Crystal Palace did in the opening seven games of the season. Not only did they fail to win, they also failed to score a single goal in that period. So to then go up against the reigning Champions and beat them 2-1 is absolutely incredible. It’s a great testament to Roy Hodgson too who pulled off the most unlikely of victories.
For Newcastle, they have been quietly going about their business and have done well with just one defeat in their last five games. At home too, Rafael Benitez has got them playing great football and I don’t see why they won’t be able to produce again at St James’ Park.
Newcastle to win 2:0
Southampton v West Brom
Southampton have pretty much done what they usually do and play well at mid-table but not threaten enough to get into Europe. I think they’re a very good side but they need to be winning games like this more often to prove how good they can be.
For West Brom, they haven’t won a league game in their last four and don’t look to be changing that anytime soon. I think this will be quite a dull game to watch and as a result, will end in a draw.
Manchester City v Burnley
A recent article of mine, entitled “Who will stop Man City from scoring?” shows how good Pep Guardiola’s side is at the moment but also reflects upon Burnley’s chances to get something out of the game.
Whilst City are on a scoring high, I think they’ll continue to win here, but not get as many as they have done in previous games against a resilient Burnley side.
Man City to win 2:0
Huddersfield v Manchester United
For Jose Mourinho’s men, getting three points should be the minimum aim as they look to stay within touching distance of their rivals, Manchester City. However, their recent performances have been quite poor, despite not losing. They will need to play a better than they did against Liverpool if they want all three points here.
Huddersfield are on a bit of a poor run at home. After winning their first game against Newcastle, they have drawn two and lost 4-0 vs. Tottenham. In order to survive in the league, you’ve got to be able to nick points in games like these but I just don’t think they will.
Man United to win 3:0
Stoke City v Bournemouth
Stoke have a bit of a reputation at home when playing against any side, coining the “Can xx do it on a cold night at the Britannia Stadium?” Even though they are just coming off the back of a 7-2 defeat to Man City, Mark Hughes has got to remember that he’s managed to beat Arsenal at home and take a point off Manchester United. On their day, they are unplayable.
For Bournemouth, they are in real trouble. Their form has been really poor and they are looking destined for a relegation fight, no matter what. I predict another poor performance.
Stoke City to win 2:0
Everton v Arsenal
Both sides are struggling at the moment and can do with a precious three points to try and kick-start their seasons. They have dropped too many points for either side to warrant a title challenge but the season is still young so the optimists can hope their side can pull off an unlikely challenge. For Arsenal, they have suffered shock defeats already this season and will struggle at a ground they haven’t enjoyed coming to.
Ronald Koeman knows he has to win to keep the fans happy and anything less will feel like the noose is getting tighter around his neck. It’ll be a game which will see if either of the clubs can pick up three points when the pressure is really on.
Tottenham v Liverpool
Another fixture for Jurgen Klopp to show what his side are capable of when facing the very best. Spurs are in serious form and even though they struggle to show that at Wembley, Mauricio Pochettino must be glad about the start they have shown.
Liverpool put in a heroic display against Manchester United and if they can repeat that, against a side who most likely won’t play with all their men behind the ball, they can be good for three points here. It’ll be a tough game for both but whoever wins must surely be up for the title race.
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