LIVERPOOL VS MANCHESTER UNITED
The fiercest rivalry in the Premier League go to battle on the early kick-off on Saturday. The two most decorated franchises in the league will lock horns for the battle of supremacy and bragging rights until the next meeting.
Manchester United have started the season in blistering form. They currently sit on 19 points after seven games and seem a completely different outfit than what we were accustomed to seeing last season. Romelu Lukaku has shouldered the burden of scoring that was left behind by Zlatan Ibrahimovic and he has taken the responsibility of being a United striker squarely on his shoulders. The signing of Nemanja Matic has done wonders for United as they have been released from their shackles and are playing the type of football that their squad warrants.
Liverpool on the other hand seem to be in free fall and are displaying remarkable levels of ignorance. The same problems that plagued them though the whole of last season have somehow reared their ugly head again. Multiple times already this season, Liverpool’s defence has been brought into question as they continue to give away cheap goals from corners and ridiculous defending has lead to the loss of points this early in the season.
However, when this fixture comes around, the formbook flies straight out of the window. The raw emotion this fixture provokes entices each player to play the game of their lives and write their name in the history of this great fixture.
Liverpool, currently on a run of one win in seven games will be desperate to use this game as a catalyst for the rest of the season. On the other hand, Manchester United will want to make a statement to the rest of the league of their expected dominance in the league and also put a dent in Liverpool’s hope for the rest of the season.
SCORE PREDICTION: Liverpool 2-2 Manchester United – Salah to score first
CRYSTAL PALACE VS CHELSEA
This London derby has connotations for both teams. Chelsea are currently 4th in the table, six points behind the two Manchester clubs and victory in this game is imperative to keep within touching distance. Palace on the other hand, are having a disastrous season. They are rooted to the bottom of the table without scoring a goal or registering a single point. Roy Hodgson has the task of overseeing this rebuild and so far, his team isn’t playing up to its capacity.
Chelsea should have Eden Hazard back to full fitness after he featured and scored twice against Cyprus. The Belgian is the key to the success of the Chelsea team, especially now that Alvaro Morata may face a long spell on the sidelines. Against Manchester City, Chelsea looked absolutely hapless without Morata as their focal point and couldn’t hold the ball up to build any sort of meaningful attack.
Palace, as if their season wasn’t already in shambles, got the news that Christian Benteke faces a long spell on the sidelines. The Eagles were already struggling for goals and now they have lost their two best chances of scoring with Wilfried Zaha being a long-term absentee. Roy Hodgson is going to earn his keep here and find a way to get this team functioning on all cylinders others another embarrassing defeat could be on the cards.
SCORE PREDICTION: CRYSTAL PALACE 0-3 CHELSEA – Willian to score first
MANCHESTER CITY VS STOKE CITY
Manchester City have, just like their neighbours, made a flying start to the season. Guardiola made it his mission during summer to revamp this City squad and add youth to his arsenal of world class talent and it has yielded magical results. Top of the table with 19 points and 22 goals scored after the first seven games, Manchester City are flying high. Stoke, have made a modest start to the season. Currently sitting in 13th place in the table with eight points, Stoke need to start picking up points to avoid an early scrap at the bottom of the table.
Manchester City will be without their main striker Sergio Aguero for this game. The Argentine striker injured his ribs after being the victim of a car accident while he was attending a concert in the Netherlands. However, his absence shouldn’t be felt too much as young Brazilian Gabriel Jesus is more than capable of finding the net in his absence. David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne have played magnificently throughout the season and no doubt they will be looking to produce the goods again.
To give credit to Mark Hughes, he has revamped the image of Stoke in the last few years. Long gone are the days of the long throw in from Rory Delap, and in have come world class talent like Xherdan Shaquiri. This Stoke team needs to come together and start producing the goods for their manager. Seven goals in as many goals isn’t going to be enough to start moving up the table.
SCORE PREDICTION: MAN CITY 3-0 STOKE CITY – Sterling to score first
TOTTENHAM VS BOURNEMOUTH
Tottenham come back to their not so happy hunting ground of Wembley for their clash against Bournemouth. Tottenham have already dropped more points at home this season than they did the whole of last season and their Wembley woes have continued thus far. Bournemouth have made a very poor start to the season as it seems that the league has caught up with Eddie Howe and the way he sets up his team to play and have applied the counter measures to render it useless.
Recently Ballon d’Or nominated Harry Kane will be looking to continue his fine start to the season. Fresh off two match winning goals for England, Harry Kane will be looking to continue his assault on the rest of the Premier League. Putting aside his disastrous August, Kane has been nothing short of phenomenal for Tottenham and is the main reason why they are currently in the top four. 21 goals in the last 10 away games reveals the kind of form of Englishman is in and he will be looking to put Bournemouth to the sword.
Bournemouth on the other hand, need to find ways to get the ball in the back of the net. They have only managed four goals in the campaign so far and have shipped 11. That formula is a recipe for relegation so Eddie Howe must find a way to rectify this, and quickly. Jermain Defoe was brought in from Sunderland to try and solve this problem but the fairytale reunion hasn’t brought about the adequate results.
SCORE PREDICTION - TOTTENHAM 3-1 BOURNEMOUTH
WATFORD VS ARSENAL
Watford welcome an inform Arsenal team to Vicarage Road for the late kick off on Saturday. After their pathetic display against Liverpool, Arsenal have fallen into a nice purple patch of form racking up four consecutive clean sheets since then and managing to move up to fifth in the table. Watford have made an equally impressive start to the season and are sitting nicely in eight position with 12 points from the opening seven games.
Arsenal have quietly moved up the table despite being in a ‘crisis’ to start the season. They suffered embarrassing defeats at the hands of Stoke and Liverpool but have made adequate adjustments since that time and have had impressive performances since. The back 3 looks more familiar with Koscielny, Mustafi and Monreal but Arsenal will be without the two former as they have picked achilles and thigh injuries respectively. Arsenal fans will be hoping Ozil, Sanchez and Lacazette can start together and put on the scintillating performances they have been hoping for.
Watford have made an impressive start to the campaign under manager Marco Silva. Picking up points early in the season will prove vital come the end of the season. In the latter stages, teams will most likely be scrapping for points that they need to retain their Premier League status. However, with Watford stealing the early march, the impetus for them now shifts to remaining consistently hard to beat and picking up the necessary points needed to stay around mid-table.
SCORE PREDICTION: Watford 1-2 Arsenal – Sanchez to score first