We’ve reached another weekend of Premier League football and that can only mean I’m back again to preview the upcoming fixtures in our weekly prediction game!
We head into this latest weekend following another round of European fixtures, where Manchester City stood head and shoulders above the rest of the English contingent with a victory over Barcelona in the Champions League. Arsenal and Leicester City each took steps closer to progression with a win and a draw respectively, whilst Tottenham Hotspur disappointed with defeat in front of a sold-out Wembley crowd.
In the Europa League, Southampton celebrated a 2-1 win over Inter while Manchester United’s winless run continued with a defeat away to Fenerbahce by the same scoreline.
The Red Devils drew their last league match against Burnley (0-0) at Old Trafford after rivals Arsenal cruised past Sunderland with a 4-1 scoreline. Liverpool were yet again on free-scoring form as Crystal Palace were beaten 4-2 at Selhurst Park and Manchester City also put four goals past West Bromwich Albion.
Tottenham Hotspur shared the spoils with champions Leicester (1-1) and Chelsea won 2-0 away at Southampton whilst there were also home wins for Middlesbrough, Everton, Watford and Stoke City.
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The league’s top three remain tied on 23 points each but as another international break nears, each of Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool will have the opportunity to collect another three points that could be vital come the close of business on Sunday night.
Looming just behind the trio are Chelsea and Tottenham, who will be looking to take advantage of any slip-ups. That said, let’s see if there could be any at all in gameweek 11 of the prediction game!
Liverpool vs Watford
With each match won in every week, Liverpool fans can comfortably sit back and enjoy the complimenting views of rival players, former players and the English media.
The current group of players, though, have certainly been doing anything but. Manager Jürgen Klopp has rightly kept his squad busy and focused on nothing but the next match which sees the Reds face Watford. The Hornets’ 1-0 win over Hull City last week meant that they are unbeaten in four league matches but they will find out, like anybody else, that Anfield offers a different and very difficult challenge.
Liverpool have made it their fortress under Klopp and haven’t lost at home in the league since January. The Reds are on a hot run of form and have scored 13 goals in their last five games and with the confidence of being involved in a very early title race, Klopp’s men won’t be keen to give away any points.
Watford’s last match against Liverpool was a 2-0 defeat at Anfield. I think the Reds will win this clash again, only this time I see them scoring more goals.
Prediction: Liverpool 3-1 Watford
Arsenal vs Tottenham Hotspur
From a global point of view, the North London derby has never been a more must-see clash than it is today.
For a long time, Arsenal have dominated the fixture, keeping Tottenham Hotspur in their shadow and perhaps making the outcome of this match predictable but in recent times Spurs have risen to the fore, challenging the Gunners for the all-important title of being London’s number one club and adding extra flavour to the derby.
It is said that form goes out the window on occasions like these but it is worth mentioning that whilst Arsenal come into this match on something of a winning streak, Tottenham have gone six games in all competitions without a single win. Mauricio Pochettino’s men sit fifth on the table and looked downtrodden in their 1-0 defeat to Bayer Leverkusen in midweek so getting a result at the Emirates would be the perfect way to bounce back.
As for Arsenal, a win in this match would only serve to buoy their title challenge and I think it’s one they will earn on Sunday afternoon as I’m predicting a 2-1 victory for the Gunners.
Prediction: Arsenal 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur
AFC Bournemouth vs Sunderland
Sunderland’s defeat at the hands of Arsenal last week confirmed that they have made the worst ever start to a Premier League season – only two points collected after ten games.
In the eyes of many, even their own fans, they’re gone and rumour has it that another loss will see David Moyes sacked. That won’t come as a surprise to anyone but the question is, just who do Sunderland think will even consider taking on, what is notoriously, a difficult job without any future guarantees? I can’t think of anyone at the moment.
Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth suffered their first defeat in four matches last week as they lost 2-0 to Middlesbrough. Unless you’re a Boro fan, none of us really saw that result coming but a return to Dean Court against Sunderland offers an almost guaranteed three points.
I’m going to back them to win this one. Three weeks ago they absolutely wiped the floor with Hull City and their level of performance was fantastic. I can’t imagine Cherries fans will expect any different in this game.
Prediction: Bournemouth 3-1 Sunderland
Swansea City vs Manchester United
It’s bleak moments at Manchester United.
The Old Trafford side are coming off a defeat in the Europa League, a result that has confirmed that in six matches in all competitions they’ve only won once. That win, though, did not come in the Premier League, where their form and goal-scoring has declined (United have scored just once in their last three fixtures).
Next up is a trip to Swansea. The Welsh club have had their own problems of late but this clash has proved a bit of a banana-skin for Man United in recent times. In each of the last two seasons, José Mourinho’s men have lost their last two matches at the Liberty Stadium. Add to that a sole Old Trafford victory and the Swans have every reason to feel confident about getting a result in this fixture.
As much as I’d love to be proven wrong, I think that with their backs against the wall, Man United have to and will react on Sunday afternoon. That said, I’m going to predict that they just edge this one.
Prediction: Swansea City 1-2 Manchester United
Burnley vs Crystal Palace
For Burnley fans, the thought of taking four points from fixtures against Everton and Manchester United will surely be one to savour.
The Clarets sit 14th on the table, four points clear of the relegation zone and will view a return to Turf Moor against Crystal Palace as an opportunity to broaden that gap and remain in contention to achieve survival.
Alan Pardew’s side were involved in the Premier League’s match of the week against Liverpool last week, losing 4-2. The Eagles were surprisingly susceptible to the Reds’ set-pieces (and yet we get all the stick for set-piece misery) and their opponents on Saturday may not be one of the league’s taller sides but they will surely look to capitalise on that.
I’m expecting a very dogged, physical display from both sides and I think that Burnley will grab a win here.
I’ve alluded to the importance of Sean Dyche’s men making the most of their home fixtures this season and they’re aware of that so I think that will motivate them.
Prediction: Burnley 2-1 Crystal Palace
Manchester City vs Middlesbrough
Expect a buzzing Manchester City side to take to the pitch against Middlesbrough this Saturday – anybody would be after beating Barcelona!
The past week has brought a lot of positives for Pep Guardiola and I’ll pick on a couple in Ilkay Gündogan’s good form and Sergio Aguero’s return to the first team.
A top class signing from Borussia Dortmund, Gündogan may have taken a while to settle into English football – due, in large part, to injury – but he’s beginning to display the sort of form that linked him with moves to some of the world’s biggest clubs, with four goals in only two games (no wonder Yaya Touré can’t even get a look in!).
Aguero, on the other hand, was rumoured to have had a falling out with his manager following two substitute appearances in two big games against Barcelona and Man United, however, he has since netted twice against West Bromwich Albion and Guardiola has rightly put speculation of a rift between the two to bed.
I think both players will be on top form to help City to a win against Boro, who are fresh off a home win against Bournemouth. A lot of people are backing them to put in a tough, defensive display but I don’t think that will be enough against a City side with such a wealth of attacking talent.
Prediction: Manchester City 3-0 Middlesbrough
Hull City vs Southampton
When you’re going through a barren run of form as a team in the Premier League, victory in any match and against any team will always do you the world of good.
That’s the case for Hull City, who have come off another defeat, this time at the hands of Watford but a home fixture against a confident and determined Southampton side doesn’t particularly make things easier.
A win for the Saints against Serie A giants Inter on Thursday would’ve been the perfect way for them to bounce back from a defeat against Chelsea and they’ve proven already that they can handle the difficulty of playing in both domestic and continental competitions.
I think they will carry that form onto this Sunday afternoon clash at the KCOM Stadium, where I think they will earn a win.
Prediction: Hull City 0-3 Southampton
Chelsea vs Everton
It’s no surprise that Chelsea’s recent return to form has come as a big result of a formation change that has contributed a good lot to their defensive side of things.
With an attack of their quality, I’d imagine that was all Antonio Conté really needed to do and I don’t mean to sound silly (or anger Jürgen Klopp) but Liverpool could look at that and the manner in which Chelsea managed their game at Southampton last week and think, “We should take a page out of that book”.
Everton recorded victory over West Ham United last week and it was a bit of an ‘in your face’ win for the Toffees as I had initially backed the Hammers to grab a point at Goodison Park. I don’t think they’ll win at Stamford Bridge, though, I do expect a very entertaining match as they as well as Chelsea are two, very good attacking sides.
Either way, I’m going to predict a win for the London Blues, who will be confident of continuing their winning run at home.
Prediction: Chelsea 3-1 Everton
West Ham United vs Stoke City
Just when you thought West Ham were returning to form, they lose at Everton and it’s all back to square one for Slaven Bilič’s men.
They host Stoke City at the London Stadium today, with the Potters coming off a 3-1 win over Swansea City on Monday. That made it successive wins for Mark Hughes’ men and I said, earlier in the season, that the Welsh manager would turn their bad run of form around, didn’t I?
Like their opponents, the core of West Ham’s problems has been their defensive weakness so I think this match will be won and lost in that area, given the fact that both sides have attacking players who can easily win a game by scoring a goal or two – step forward the likes of Manuel Lanzini, Dimitri Payet, Joe Allen and Xherdan Shaqiri.
As for who will actually win this match, I’m going to back an in-form Stoke to just edge it.
Prediction: West Ham United 1-2 Stoke City
Leicester City vs West Bromwich Albion
Leicester City became the first team to keep four straight clean sheets in their debut Champions League campaign.
That’s a good achievement for the Foxes and they’re on course to qualify for the next round. Back in the Premier League, however, the defending champions sit in the bottom-half of the table following a draw at Tottenham Hotspur and will surely be looking to make a push into the top half.
Standing in their way are West Brom, who are coming off two straight defeats at the hands of Liverpool and Manchester City. The Baggies will be keen to bounce back and what better way to do that than to get a result at the home of the champions?
The loss of goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel for Leicester – due to a hand injury – is obviously a setback, but I think Claudio Ranieri has a very good back-up ‘keeper in Ron-Robert Zieler. I’ve seen him perform in the German Bundesliga on a few occasions and based on that, I think he will do well in place of Schmeichel.
I’m going to back the champions to grab a win against West Brom here. For all their struggles away from home, the Foxes’ form at the King Power Stadium has been excellent and I think they will keep it up in this fixture.
Prediction: Leicester City 2-1 West Bromwich Albion