Martin King returns with week three of his Premier League predictions and will be hoping that he can get a few more correct.
With just 40% of Premier League results so far correctly predicted on this platform, it’s fair to say that the 2017/18 season has made a very unpredictable start.
That hasn’t taken away the drama and entertainment, though, with seven red cards being issued and the back of the net being found over 50 times in the opening two weeks.
Boasting the most of that figure has been Manchester United and the early table-toppers opened last weekend up with a 4-0 victory over Swansea City.
Liverpool recorded a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace, while Southampton won a thrilling match against West Ham by 3-2. Watford and Leicester City enjoyed respective 2-0 victories over Bournemouth and Brighton, West Bromwich Albion beat Burnley 1-0 before Stoke City stunned Arsenal by the same scoreline.
Huddersfield Town also recorded a 1-0 win to continue their dream start to life in the top flight, Chelsea earned a big 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur, before Manchester City and Everton ended the weekend with a 1-1 draw.
Following this weekend’s action will be the season’s first international break which, as ever, means winning this weekend will be vital if teams are to avoid an anxiously busy two weeks, which includes the closing of the summer transfer window.
That said, let’s look ahead to all the weekend’s action and what it could mean for the weeks to come with a third round of predictions.
Liverpool vs. Arsenal
I’m going to try my best not to sound biased here but I see Liverpool giving Arsenal a good old hiding in this match.
The Reds are coming off a successful attempt to make it to the UEFA Champions League group stages and with the manner they went about doing that in mind – and Arsenal’s continuing woes – I think they will win their third match in a week at Anfield.
Prediction: Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal
AFC Bournemouth vs. Manchester City
If you’re so easily swayed by a single outcome, then Manchester City’s Monday night draw at home to Everton would’ve had you questioning the Sky Blues’ title credentials.
However, Everton on their day are a tough side for anyone to beat, therefore harsh judgments on Guardiola’s side for struggling to grab a win over them can be considered premature. The Spaniard will rightly focus his attention on his side’s next fixture, which is a winnable trip to Bournemouth.
The arrival of Man City doesn’t mean good news for Eddie Howe’s men, who are without a win and a goal in either of their two matches so far.
The Cherries have never beaten the Citizens in league football, with their four Premier League encounters seeing them concede a total of 15 goals to their one.
A win over Birmingham City in the League Cup on Tuesday night may have been a welcomed boost, however, I don’t see their Premier League situation improving against Man City.
I’m going to predict a win for Guardiola’s men.
Prediction: Bournemouth 0-2 Manchester City
Huddersfield Town vs. Southampton
It’s been a dream start for David Wagner’s Huddersfield.
Two wins out of two puts the newly promoted side in a very good position, both mentally and physically, therefore presenting Southampton with a very tricky task.
The Saints earned their first league win of the season against West Ham, however, if all wins have to come like that for them then they’re going to be in for a tough time – making the signing of Dutch defender Wesley Hoedt all the more important.
I fancy Huddersfield in this one, though. They’ve already made themselves a tough prospect for opposition teams and I’m going to back them to just edge a result.
Prediction: Huddersfield Town 2-1 Southampton
Watford vs. Brighton & Hove Albion
I said before their game against Bournemouth last week that winning a game such as that would’ve been vital for Watford, as they get used to life under new boss Marco Silva.
The Hornets indeed won that game and it’s fair to say that they’re buzzing ahead of another home game.
Brighton look doomed, as things stand.
It has been far from an easy start for Chris Hughton’s men and I can’t say I hold the best confidence in them getting a result from this match.
Prediction: Watford 3-0 Brighton & Hove Albion
Chelsea vs. Everton
Perhaps I jumped the gun a bit last week when I predicted a 3-0 thrashing for Chelsea against Tottenham Hotspur.
The Blues blew all doubters away with a strong-willed 2-1 victory over their London rivals and the result should certainly act as a springboard for more success this season, starting with Everton.
The Toffees are in a good mood, after sealing a place in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday night, however, given that game arrived just three days following a difficult assignment at Manchester City, I wonder if fatigue could play a vital deciding factor on the result of this match.
I always expect a thrilling attacking encounter whenever these two sides meet but with Everton seeming to have found a bit of defensive nous, I think it will be a close, tactical clash on Sunday afternoon.
I’m going to back Antonio Conte’s men to win it.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-1 Everton
Newcastle United vs. West Ham United
This is arguably the most must-win game of the weekend.
Both teams are without a single point from this season’s opening two games and things could spiral drastically for whoever loses this match.
I’d back Newcastle to win it thanks to home advantage but they, along with their opponents, have looked very unreliable so far, so I see a draw with a slight chance of a West Ham win.
Prediction: Newcastle United 1-1 West Ham United
Manchester United vs. Leicester City
Just when you thought Manchester United were in with a chance to win the Premier League title, they all but seal it with the re-signing of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The Swede arguably joins a better line-up of players, who have so far, shown their attacking capabilities with a current league-high eight goals and defensive strength with two clean-sheets.
It may not get any easier for them against a difficult Leicester City side, who won their first match of the season last week and have overall looked impressive under Craig Shakespeare.
They should pose a few questions to Jose Mourinho’s side but it’s questions I can’t see them struggling to answer.
That said, I’m predicting a third win of the season for the Old Trafford side.
Prediction: Manchester United 2-0 Leicester City
West Bromwich Albion vs. Stoke City
Not that they don’t already know it but Stoke City have found a real gem in latest summer acquisition Jese Rodriguez.
The Spaniard enjoyed an impressive debut match against Arsenal last week, scoring the winning goal to earn his first Premier League goal of the season – I think he’s the spark Mark Hughes’ men have needed all this time.
Coming up for him is a real English lesson, though, as a trip to a very physical West Bromwich Albion side presents Stoke with their next match.
The Baggies are one of the three sides to hold a 100% record so far this season and will no doubt be keen to keep hold of it.
I fancy them to repeat the trick with a third successive 1-0 victory.
Prediction: West Bromwich Albion 1-0 Stoke City
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Burnley
I think, following a frustrating end to end match against Chelsea, this probably has ‘win’ written all over it for Tottenham Hotspur.
Obviously, claims that they’ve got a ‘Wembley curse’ to get off their back won’t just go away and manager Mauricio Pochettino will reiterate that it’s up to them to silence such talks.
Burnley will offer a good physical challenge but I trust Spurs’ defence to live up to it, as I back the Lily Whites to a win.
Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Burnley
Crystal Palace vs. Swansea City
New Palace boss Frank de Boer takes a third swing at winning his and the team’s first Premier League match at Selhurst Park this weekend.
The South London faithful would’ve been heavily frustrated by their side’s results and if opponents Swansea can look to frustrate them even more, it could help their cause as the crowd’s anxiousness could play on the minds of their players.
Either way, I’m just going to predict a close win for the Eagles, largely because they know they have to win, in order to avoid yet more hard times.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-0 Swansea City