Hi folks, we’re back to the predictions table after the indifferent international break, same difference if you ask me, trophies or not, the tournament feel wasn’t in the European Nations League and it will definitely have it toll on the players. Back to why we dream weekends, the Premier League is back and it’s good news to bookies, who’s hot and who’s not?
Tottenham are without Hugo “Drunken Master” Lloris and Dele Alli, big miss to be honest, huge opportunity for Harry Winks in the CM role if you asked me. Arsenal have Newcastle to visit, they lost there the last time Wenger took the lads to St James’s Park; Chelsea host Cardiff, should be straightforward right? The champions host Fulham, banana peel of some sort with the form of Aleksandr Mitrovic and Jean Michel Seri, but the big news for some will be Watford’s hungry men against a team not so United from Manchester.
Let’s do it, premier league predictions from our lenses, shall we?
Saturday 15th September
Tottenham vs Liverpool
This has been close in recent encounters, the 4:1 annihilation of Liverpool on a day Dejan Lovren forgot his defensive lessons at home last season comes to mind, but the last five has been pretty much close with Liverpool winning twice and two stalemates. Talking form, Liverpool have conceded just once this season and that was even a moment of sheer madness from the dependable Alisson Becker; Kelechi Iheanacho of Leicester dispossessed the shot stopper while he was at his dribbling game and the rest is history, Liverpool have beaten all comers, albeit narrowly but no margin for errors when Tottenham square up against them on Saturday. It’s the lunch time kickoff, Tottenham thought they would be hosting this game at their new ground, fans will have to wait and this must be a tough time for the board.
The fact they didn’t have money to sign anyone in the summer could be positive until someone strong gets injured like we have now, there are questions surrounding Harry Kane, does he need a break? Can Son Heung-Min and Lucas Moura step up while he’s down on form? Liverpool will attack, they will see more of the ball in this frenetic encounter but at the end, it will be up to who wants it more.
Verdict: Liverpool to win
Player to watch: Sadio Mane
Newcastle vs Arsenal
St James’s Park
Arsenal went to St James’s Park just in Arsene Wenger’s twilight days, given that Arsenal’s away record was shambolic at the time, but they were also putting priorities right and it was not much fun on the day as Matt Richie cancelled out Alexandre Lacazette’s opener before the Magpies found a winner late on. The Toons are in the bottom three as usual but they should be fine over the marathon. Arsenal have won their last two games, not pretty at Cardiff, it was one result they will look at and see positives in, they played badly and won again, in the days of Wenger they would have lost their last two, now they can hold on even when they’re struggling.
Arsenal likes playing Newcastle, apart from the last fixture last April, Arsenal had won the previous five at every ground; it’s going to be fun on Saturday. Form wise, Newcastle have been a bit unlucky, they have played Spurs, lost narrowly, Played Chelsea, lost to a late own goal, played Manchester City and only lost by a goal margin, they aren’t a pushover and if you remember they were inches away from beating Cardiff before Kennedy fluffed his late penalty; Arsenal will rely on Mesut Ozil who is fresh, he is retired from internationals, Arsenal fans want to see Lucas Torreira start, they will need him should Jonjo Shelvey be back for the Magpies. Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang started together at Cardiff and both scored, signs of what to come?
Player to watch: Martin Dúbravka
Verdict: Arsenal to win
Chelsea vs Cardiff
Chelsea fans will love this, no disrespect to the Welsh side but this could be one of the most one sided affairs ever witnessed with ball playing Chelsea hoarding the ball to wear out Cardiff, it would be a very long afternoon in West London. Let’s talk Cardiff shall we? They gave a great fight at home against Arsenal, twice they went behind twice they leveled before Lacazette fired in a belter that would take only the crossbar to stop, they do have two points from two shutouts with many thanks to Etheridge in goal. Statistically, Cardiff doesn’t enjoy going to London, they have never beaten Chelsea in modern era and it’s highly unlikely to start now.
Neil Warnock, the second oldest manager in the league will look to sit back and use his wide men for counter attacks, but can he stop Eden Hazard from creating chances? Will the team be disciplined enough to contain the nuisances of Marcus Alonso? Alvaro Morata can forgive your blushes but Pedro won’t… Are they ready for this?
Player to watch: Pedro
Verdict: Chelsea to destroy the visitors
Huddersfield vs Crystal Palace
John Smith Stadium
By Ramsey Bimbola Gold’s predictions, these two teams are going down, and it’s not looking like changing. You can’t win games when you can’t score, you can’t score when you can’t shoot and even worse for the Selhurst Park Landlords, you’ll do better with a striker on wheelchairs than a certain Belgian they have upfront, Christian Benteke will relegate Crystal Palace except they find an alternative.
It’s been even between the two, two wins apiece, and a draw in the last five meetings, the last time they did this on this ground, it was at a time Palace needed to stay up, they won 2:0 but they have the opportunity to do it again here and now.
Man for man, Huddersfield don’t even trust themselves, it was strange to see the Terriers standing up to Everton and coming out with a draw, Palace on their parts will have questions for Christian Benteke as to why they lost to Southampton before the break without at least scoring a single goal despite having open goals more than once in the game, Wilfried Zaha was absent in the game and no cutting edge or bite of any sort, and when they had chances, their clueless Belgian fluffed them. Good luck guys.
Player to watch: Both managers
Verdict: Huddersfield to win or draw
Manchester City vs Fulham
The champions won’t want to slip up again, but they have to be wary of teams like Fulham, Wolves showed them anyone can want the points and they won’t want that to happen again. Fulham were quite unlucky at Brighton, two goals up and they even shut out Pascal Gross’s penalty but Glenn Murray had other ideas, one from open play and another from the spot and it ended all square, they live to fight another day, but they can take pride in their Serbian forward, Aleksandr Mitrovic who will definitely fire them to greater things this season.
Statistically, Fulham don’t want to do history, they have lost every game against the champions in the last five meetings and if you take it further back, they will need long scrolls to remember when they last beat City anywhere. It’s the tenth anniversary of the big money take over at Manchester City, the Cottagers for the celebration.
Player to watch: Sergio Aguero
Verdict: City to win
Bournemouth vs Leicester
The Cherries have started well, they need to stay consistent and they can do a Burnley, if not a Leicester, it should be a happy season for the South Coast side. Chelsea was the last side to play Bournemouth and despite edging Eddie Howe’s team late on, the Blues must agree it wasn’t a very easy afternoon a fortnight ago. Leicester woke up too late against Liverpool, they did get one back but it was too late as Liverpool held on for the win, now the Foxes have to do the Cherries for lunch or go hungry.
The last five times these guys met, they drew four whooping times, huh did you read that well? Four straight draws! Claude Puel was rumoured to be close to a sack earlier but he has steadied the ship, they’re eighth on the log with six points, interestingly, they know how to bounce back from a loss, but they play a team that doesn’t know when they’re losing, Bournemouth have won more points from losing positions than anyone else this term, what a game this would be.
Expect the likes of Jamie Vardy and James Maddison to try to storm Bournemouth, they must be wary of the pace of Wilson and King… What a game we have on our hands on Saturday.
Player to watch: Demarai Gray
Verdict: Straight Draw
Watford vs Manchester United
Whatever it is that is going wrongly between Jose Mourinho and Paul Pogba needs to be urgently addressed, while they can get results even when they don’t agree, they both must realize that Manchester United is bigger than both of them. Mourinho may need some assistance from Sir Alex Ferguson’s autobiography on how he handled the Roy Keane saga, oh there was a situation with Ruud Van Nistelrooy too. Watford are on a roll, their best ever start to a league season with four straight wins including the scalps of Tottenham in the process, everything is ticking for the Hornets, can the Red Devils stop them?
Manchester United did hold off Burnley brilliantly, the sending off of Marcus Rashford didn’t affect them, they were solid defensively and compact in the middle, Paul Pogba could even afford the luxury of missing a penalty, in the end, they can look forward to greater things here.
Troy Deeney and Andre Gray are buzzing for the Hornets, they have reasons to, Roberto Pereyra is having a moment of his career and Jose Holebas is wrecking havocs with monstrous assists, they will fancy their chances against United even though the stats think otherwise, United have won four of the last five with Watford coming out tops just once with the 2016 famous win.
Player to watch: Romelu Lukaku
Verdict: Manchester United to win
Sunday, 16th September
Wolves vs Burnley
So on Sunday, Wolves must continue their fearsome start with the visit of uncertain Burnley. This time last season, Burnley were busy building reputation as a famous banana peel, but right here, this season, they are struggling to make sense, the Europa league engagement played a part and they didn’t even turn up in Europe with a first round crash which would afford them the opportunity to concentrate on what matters and what not. The loss to United was expected, Manchester United could be in turmoil but not too weak to deal with Burnley even with ten men at some point, two Lukaku goals and the Clarets were gone. Now they face Wolves, a team buzzing highly on confidence, 11th on the log with a win and a two draws, one of them against the mighty champions, winning on the road a fortnight ago must mean something to them and they will look to shine on.
Nuno Espirit Santo has downplayed the hype, but he sure has the men to do the job, don’t underrate Sean Dyche however, he knows how to build bogey teams, defensively he has a job to do, a lot of hard work. The last five has produced two draws and two wins for the Clarets, Wolves have the momentum however, and it will take more than statistics to help Burnley on Sunday.
Player to watch: Raul Jimenez
Verdict: Wolves to win
Everton vs Westham
Everton will have their flying Brazilian back after sitting out three games for his stupidity against Bournemouth, Everton didn’t win a single game in his absence, they had Huddersfield at their mercies and couldn’t take their chances, their talisman is back and that’s a whole lot of bad news to Westham. The Hammers have played four times in the league this season, four losses they have recorded and you must wonder what happened to all the money they spent in the summer, Manuel Pellegrini must be really worried but we won’t ask him, we don’t want him to remind us that he has won more Premier League titles than almost all the other managers…
A look at the last five fixtures between the two, very even, two wins each and a draw at the London Stadium last year April; Man for man, it’s quite even on paper but Westham have refused to click, gelling takes time but they’re not making efforts, Marko Arnautović and Felipe Anderson should be good answers to Theo Walcott and Richarlison but the Hammers won’t defend well or even score enough to win. Eyebrows will be raised if Westham lose here again, Palace lost seven on the bounce last season and survived, nobody likes to tell such stories.
Player to watch: Richarlison
Both teams to score
Monday 17th September
Southampton vs Brighton
St. Mary’s Stadium
The final fixture of the round takes us to St. Mary’s where the slayers of Crystal Palace host Chris Houghton’s Brighton. Brighton are a joy to watch sometimes, they fought hard against Liverpool and could have gotten a point if not for the heroics of Allison Becker, they did beat Manchester United and managed a point from two goals down before the break, give it to them, they are a team with lots of potential.
Whatever it was that Mark Hughes fed the Saints before they went to Selhurst must be on the menu on Monday, they were clinical, precise and defensively disciplined; they have roses to send to Benteke though as the Belgian let them off the hook at the time they erred. This fixture is coming at a time everyone would be looking forward to champions league football, they have their 90mins of fame to enjoy or endure as it would be seen on Monday, they both have points to prove as the points would come handy at some later points.
Danny Ings missed a penalty against Palace, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg saved his blushes with the goal that sealed the win, Murray scored twice to earn a point at home to Fulham. Who will come out tops?
Player to watch: Glenn Murray
Verdict: Straight draw
Strictly the writer’s opinion