Last weekend went as planned, sake for Liverpool that couldn’t beat Arsenal and Watford that couldn’t score at Newcastle, we’re poised to take it a gear higher with our Premier League predictions.
Most title contenders won’t play until Sunday as we head into the last installments of the International break after this round. Danny Welbeck was wheeled out as Arsenal were held to a stalemate by Sporting to advance to the next round of the Europa league, Olivier Giroud netted to end his drought as Chelsea ran out 1:0 winners to maintain a 100% record in the competition but the big story has to be that of Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United who triumphed in Turin against highly rated Juventus, what a performance late on, now they can take on Manchester City with confidence on Sunday.
Chelsea are home to Everton, so is Arsenal to Wolves and Liverpool to Fulham, all winnable for the top guns as they all hope to head into the break with a bang. Predictions? Yes please!
Saturday 10th November
Cardiff vs Brighton
Cardiff City Stadium
Cardiff gave everything they had against Leicester, but on the day, they played a team that had personal vendetta on the game, the win was expected, they had to win for their late Chairman.
In the game, the Welsh side were narrow, they didn’t make good use of Josh Murphy on the flank and Bobby Reid didn’t offer anything on the other side, they were limited to shooting from distance and were eventually hurt by Demarai Gray who fired in from close range after a Ben Chilwell cut back.
Brighton couldn’t build on their three wins on the bounce as they were well handled by Marco Silva’s Everton, they thought they had a chance when Shane Duffy equalized but Seamus Coleman scored again and Brazilian wonder kid Richarlison added another to complete his brace, there was little the Seagulls could do and they now have it all to do to make sure they don’t slide down the ladder as teams below hustle to pick points ahead of the break.
The relationship between these two has long history, full of stalemates as evident in their last five, three draws and a win to either side, this is very much likely to be more of the same.
Player to watch: Victor Camarasa
Verdict: Full time draw
Newcastle vs Bournemouth
St James’s Park
The first of our simultaneous fixtures takes us to the ground of Newcastle who are enjoying fresh breath after last week’s win over Watford; the Toon Armies had lost all their previous home games without remorse until Watford came to town and Ayoze Perez got on the end of a cross to hand them a much needed 3 points, now they can relax, off pressure and ready to fire and maybe make the ground a fortress again like they’ve done in the past.
Elsewhere on the same day, Bournemouth were grossly unlucky to be on the losing end after playing so well against a rejuvenated Manchester United side; The Cherries had gone in front after a very early cracker of attacking football as Callum Wilson, freshly called up to the England National squad for the first time poked hope from close range after a Junior Stanislas layoff, they had lots of chances that they couldn’t convert and they were punished in the end by a stoppage time winner by Marcus Rashford.
Both side have it all to do, one wants to swim away from the drop zone, the other wants to win to keep up with the top guns, who wants it more?
These two have met four times in the league, Bournemouth won twice, including on this ground about a year ago and Newcastle won once, as it stands, Newcastle will have to do more than they did against Watford to stand a chance here…
Player to watch: Ryan Fraser
Verdict: Bournemouth to win or draw
Leicester vs Burnley
King Power Stadium
It’s the first home game since the tragic loss of their Chairman, Leicester City will look to build on last weekend’s win at Cardiff with yet another victory here. Demarai Gray took his chance very well as Leicester ran away with a win at Cardiff City stadium and questions will continue to pop in as to if Gray should have been shown a yellow card after taking off his shirt in celebration of his goal which was obviously dedicated to their departed owner…
Burnley were hammered by Westham last weekend, they did give a good fight at some points, coming back twice from each of the first goals they conceded but Felipe Anderson was just too strong for them and they couldn’t find an answer to the impressive Brazilian; zonal marking failed the Clarets, they were losing on second balls and couldn’t just keep up, on the day, the Hammers wanted it more.
Leicester will show how much they miss their chairman with this fixture, they have a point to prove, the loss to Sean Dyche’s men at the end of last season must be avenged, there was no single stalemate between the two in the last five, slim margins but there must be a winner, and Leicester edged the last five with three wins.
Player to watch: Jamie Vardy
Verdict: Leicester to win
Southampton vs Watford
St Mary’s Stadium
Southampton are in trouble, big big trouble and they have to start doing something about it. No one expected them to beat Manchester City on current form and size but they were so poor that the penalty that Ederson gifted them was the only meaningful thing they offered in the game, defensively they were poor, they couldn’t string two passes together, fear was evident in their showing and they have to do better if they ever want to swim out of the drop zone.
Watford handed Newcastle their first win of the season, not for the lack of effort but the Magpies wanted it more, the Hornets labored in vain, asked questions of the Newcastle defense which they answered expertly, going forward, they have to learn to employ plan B; crosses from fullbacks weren’t working, what happened to trying from the middle? They had Rafael Benitez’s team on the back foot for long but kept crossing into the box which Newcastle dealt with well.
Southampton must win here, seven points from eleven games will never help anyone, that’s Championship league form; Watford will cause the Saints a lot of problems and if Southampton turn out the way they have been on late, they will leave everyone wondering if Mark Hughes will return at the helm at the end of the break.
Southampton won the last meeting which was in the FA Cup earlier this year, it’s been evenly contested and this would be too.
Player to watch: Danny Ings
Verdict: Both teams to score
Huddersfield vs Westham
John Smith Stadium
Huddersfield felt what it meant to win for the first time last Monday, what a game it was. Fulham didn’t really come to the party but David Wagner wouldn’t mind, it was even an own goal that settled it as it was credited to Timothy Fosu Mensah after replay, even Schindler won’t mind, a goal is a goal and a win is a win, though they’re still in the drop zone but not at the basement.
Westham had Felipe Anderson to thank for an inspired performance to hand all three points to Manuel Pellegrini’s side against Burnley. The Clarets had leveled twice but Felipe Anderson showed up and settled it before Javier Hernandez scored late on to end the contest.
Westham have been struggling to get results, they have been playing well but injuries and suspensions keep hampering them, with Huddersfield uncertain going forward, the Hammers can hit them hard here to get valuable points on the road.
Westham won the two legs in the league last season, the only recorded meetings between the two and they look set to continue with the trend, Marko Arnautovic and Felipe Anderson again will be in hand to test the resolve of the hosts, this game will be Hammers’ to lose.
Player to watch: Marko Arnautovic
Verdict: Westham to win
Crystal Palace vs Tottenham
The last game of the day is at Selhurst, where Crystal Palace continue with their horrible fixtures against the big boys, they managed a point against Arsenal, they lost to Chelsea after a good fight and now have to negotiate Tottenham at home, it’s a game they can get something from if they turn up.
In the loss to Chelsea, Palace were too afraid, their talisman, Wilfred Zaha didn’t come to the party and was limited by Chelsea’s strong defenders, they have to do more than they have done all season to get anything from here.
Tottenham were stretched late on by Wolves, they were three up before Foyth, the energetic youngster gave two penalties away, the effect of that was the late struggle to hold on which they will look to avoid here, and one good thing for Spurs is the fact that Harry Kane is back to his best with a goal over the weekend and two in midweek to hand them a win over PSV in Europe, what a comeback it was too.
It’s a game of like for like, Moussa Dembele has been ruled out for a while having undergone surgery and that gives room to Mousa Sissoko and Erik Dier to combine, should Mauricio Pochettino be brave enough to hand Harry Winks a start, he will come good.
Tottenham has beaten Palace in each of their last five fixtures and interestingly, all by same scoreline, 1:0.
Player to watch: Harry Kane
Verdict: Tottenham to win
Sunday 11th November
Liverpool vs Fulham
First match on Sunday should be a bonus to Liverpool fans, on paper, they will beat the Lilywhites without hassles. Last weekend, Liverpool were dealt a big reality blow as Arsenal gave a showing that confounded even the fans of the Gunners, it was a game the neutrals will not forget in a longwhile and so far this season, it’s the match to talk about. Liverpool thought they would run away with the win but Alexander Lacazette had other ideas; the hangover told drastically on the Kops as they went to Belgrade and slump to defeat in the hands of Red Star, their second loss this season in the competition.
Fulham are the worst of all in the league, five straight defeats and no hope of help in sight, apart from not turning up at all, the Lilywhites look like a team that turns up every match day prepared to lose, they don’t act like they want to have a point and they rightly end with none game in game out.
This match is as straightforward as it looks, Liverpool will win here, the question is by how many goals? Apart from the May 1st 2012 fixture, Liverpool have won every of their encounter against Fulham since then.
Player to watch: Mo Salah
Verdict: Liverpool to win
Chelsea vs Everton
Chelsea are in the world of their own and this fixture which shouldn’t bother them too much if they really want to be called a title contender will attest to that.
One question however won’t stop coming the way of the Blues, Will the team be the same without Eden Hazard? The answer is no as seen in the game against Crystal Palace, the Blues puffed and huffed until Hazard came on and changed the game immediately, what can they do without him?
Everton will be a good opposition on the day, the Toffees got back to winning ways and are now a value for their worth. Everton beat Brighton last weekend, while it can be rightly said that the Seagulls were their own enemies, nothing can be taken away from the strength of the Toffees as they came too good for Brighton, Gylfi Siggurdson and Richarlison are combining quite well and the team is buzzing, this will be a huge test for them.
In terms of style of play, these two teams are similar, Chelsea will see more of the ball but Everton will create lots of chances that the entire Chelsea backline will have to come together to deal with, the pace of the Brazilian winger and Theo Walcott will be something to worry about, but at the other end, Pickford has lots of shouting to do.
Everton hardly enjoy going to London, they have lost four times in the last five meetings with Chelsea, they will hope to end that run.
Player to watch: Eden Hazard
Verdict: Straight win Chelsea
Arsenal vs Wolves
Arsenal gave a good account of themselves in the 1:1 draw with Liverpool last weekend, from start to finish, the Gunners competed and could have won it had Hector Bellerin kept his shot down at the tail end, what a game it was; despite having men coming back from injury and some not ready enough to get a call, it would go down as a contender for the game of the season.
Wolves know what to do, remain disciplined and they just might get a result, for they need one after lots of good efforts with nothing to show for it in recent time; three losses on the bounce, the last at home to Tottenham, having to come back from three goals wasn’t easy, they would feel if they had more time they’d have gotten a point.
Man for man, Arsenal is better, form wise it’s Arsenal still, but football has a way of teaching us new things every now and then. Nuno Espirit Santo changed his line up recently for once and he may have to again on Sunday, Arsenal hardly turn up in the first half, he may have to set up to hit them in the first half, and come out to repel everything the Gunners bring forward in the second half.
Apart from the 1:1 in 2011, Arsenal have won the rest of the last five between the two, and the rich form against Wolves look set to continue, though Arsenal have to do what they have to do without Danny Wlebeck who twisted his ankle in the stalemate against Sporting On Thursday.
Player to watch: Pierre Emerick Aubameyang
Verdict: Arsenal to win
Manchester City vs Manchester United
At about the time Arsenal would be negotiating Wolves for three points, we’d be seeing one game of huge significance at the Etihad, the champions have huge scores to settle with their neighbors, Manchester United.
Last time out, City rammed six past Southampton, in Europe in midweek, they heaped same margins on Shakter, now you have to be worried for Manchester United, the fact that anyone can score, and they don’t stop when they start… be very afraid.
Manchester United did what no one thought they could do, what a result that was at Turin, if they can beat Juventus away, and they can remember the Paul Pogba show in April on the same ground, they can do it again, they are the new comeback kings, but they shouldn’t fall behind too far before trying to return.
Manchester United edge head to head overall and even in the last five, although City have been the toast of everyone, but class is permanent and it stays with the red half of the city. Will Jose Mourinho come out to attack? Will he follow his usual template of sit back and hit on the break? Will he play for a draw?
Player to watch: David Silva
Verdict: Straight win Manchester City
Strictly the writer’s opinion