Niall: This is an interesting way to kick off the Premier league weekend as West Ham host Leicester City, both with fairly new managers.
West ham are in desperate need of a win, not just because they are in the bottom three, but also to get David Moyes up and running. Leicester are winless in two and will see this as a good opportunity to get three points on the board.
Moyes’ teams tend to make things tight and difficult for the opposition, and I think this match will have that feel to it. However, the Hammers are short of confidence, and Leicester’s counter attack may be the deciding factor in this match.
Prediction: West Ham 1-2 Leicester
Neil: Just four days after Brighton and Stoke shared four goals at the AMEX on Monday night, a new Matchweek is upon us as West Ham host Leicester on Friday night. This will be Moyes’ first taste of the London Stadium crowd as Hammers boss and after a loss to Watford last weekend, it is imperative West Ham get a performance under their belts.
There were seeds of hope planted at Vicarage Road however and on another day, the Irons could have taken away something from their travels. The visit of Leicester will test the hosts’ new set-up however, and after home defeat to the unassailable Manchester City, Claude Puel will be looking for a response from the Foxes. Friday night games are yet to disappoint this term, and whilst West Ham will be wary of the last time they were in front of the cameras, I do believe they will get a point here.
Niall: Palace still remain bottom despite recent improvements, but a home game against Stoke may be seen as a chance to get a valuable three points on the board.
The Potters have only won one match in their last five and sit fairly close to the drop zone themselves, but they have shown they are capable of putting in good performances.
Palace have only won one game this season, so it is a bold choice to back them here. But I feel they are improving under Roy Hodgson despite the results not really showing it. It is time to get a win under their belt, and I think they will get it here.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 2-1 Stoke
Neil: Palace how shown they know where the goal is under Hodgson, but thus far their defensive issues have not subsided as evidenced in the 2-2 draw with Everton. The hosts will be looking to start Christian Benteke after he came off the bench versus the Toffees for his first game time in 10 months, but the Belgian looked rusty in front of goal.
Like the Eagles, Stoke were also involved in a four-goal deadlock last time out. The Potters have been a more creative force in the past weeks, driven by Xherdan Shaqiri and Mark Hughes will need the Swiss at his knife-sharpest for the trip to Selhurst Park. The visitors are unbeaten in their last three and while I still can’t see where Palace will pick up their next win, I am tipping Stoke to take the spoils.
Niall: This is one of the biggest games every for Brighton & Hove Albion as they travel to Old Trafford to face Manchester United.
United face an uphill task if they are to catch Man City at the top of the Premier League, but the return of Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be a huge boost for Jose Mourinho’s side. They were back to full form last week against Newcastle, but defeat at Basel in midweek may be a confident knocker.
Brighton have overachieved in many people’s eyes so far, but that is mainly down to their home form. United will look at this as another chance to bag four goals, and whilst I think they will not quite get that much, they will be comfortable none the less.
Prediction: Man United 3-0 Brighton
Neil: The surprise early return of Pogba versus Newcastle, as expected, revitalised Manchester United from their two-month league slumber. In just his first game back, the Frenchman made a huge difference for the attacking side of the Red Devils’ play and created and scored on his return to the fold. Romelu Lukaku will also be eyeing a return to scoring ways after ending his seven-game drought
The Seagulls are really starting to look at home in the top-flight and after taking nine points from their last five outings, are unbeaten in as many games. That is set to severely tested at Old Trafford, with boss Chris Hughton looking to his creator-in-chief Pascal Gross to purge United’s backline. For it is simple; Pogba plays, United win. The case is no different on Saturday.
Niall: After a good run of form that took them to the top ten, Newcastle are now coming into match-week 13 off the back of three straight defeats. Can they overturn it against Watford?
Marco Silva’s side ended their own losing skid by defeating West Ham 2-0 last weekend. Other than that three match run, Watford have been more than solid this season and been one of the more entertaining sides in the league too.
Newcastle have lost their way a little in recent weeks, and Watford are not a side you want to face when low on confidence. Being at home may help them get a result, but I do not see them winning this match.
Prediction: Newcastle 2-2 Watford
Neil: After taking the lead versus United last weekend, Newcastle were soundly taken apart. Dwight Gayle has forced his way back into boss Rafa Benitez’s plans however and after netting his second of the season, gives the Magpies a boost of energy at the business end of the field. In the absence of Christian Atsu, Jacob Murphy had a sterling league debut on the right wing and could again be given the chance to showcase his talents.
Watford’s away form this term is becoming common knowledge. After a return to winning ways versus West Ham, Silva be eyeing another run of form on the road, after the Hornets relinquished their record at struggling Everton. Like Murphy, Will Hughes picked up the top-flight baton with aplomb last time out, and will look for a similar showing at St. James Park this Saturday. Both Hughes and Murphy could provide the X-factor in this one, but I am just shading the visitors in this one.
Prediction: Newcastle 1-2 Watford
Swansea City vs. AFC Bournemouth (Saturday, 15:00)
Niall: Many teams are in need of a win in these Saturday kick offs, and Swansea are one of the most desperate. Four straight defeats leave them in the relegation zone, and pressure is beginning to mount on Paul Clement.
Bournemouth have recovered from a bad start to the season and have won their last two games to take them up to 13th. The Cherries look a lot more confident at the moment, and with Swansea struggling for form, I think Bournemouth will get the win.
Prediction: Swansea 0-2 Bournemouth
Neil: Having lost their last four league games, Swansea need to steer the ship from murky waters and fast. The Swans last win came over a month ago but with a return to South Wales, the hosts will be seeking a similar showing to that that toppled Huddersfield in mid-October.
The Cherries have finally found their feet this campaign after a rocky start to the season. Eddie Howe’s men were in previous years renowned for either their efficacy in goals from the back or with a rock-solid defence. After back-to-back clean sheets, Bournemouth may have rediscovered their defensive edge. Callum Wilson’s hat-trick gave notice to the league of the oft-absent forwards’ prowess and with a leaky host defence to contend with, I can see Wilson adding to his tally here.
Niall: Tottenham look to recover from their disappointing derby performance last weekend when they welcome manager-less West Brom to Wembley.
After being thrashed 4-0 at home to Chelsea last weekend, the Baggies let go of their manager Tony Pulis. Their last four matches have ended in defeat and with attendance dropping, drastic action needs to be taken at the Hawthorns.
Tottenham got a win at Dortmund in mid-week to get their spirits up after the Arsenal defeat, and will be heavily favourited in this match and for good reason.
Prediction: Tottenham 4-0 West Brom
Spurs’ loss in the North London Derby sent the Lilywhites crashing back down to earth last weekend, having now lost two from three. Putting aside talk of any potential shift of power in the north of the capital, Spurs return to their temporary home of Wembley looking to put things right, despite both Dele Alli and Harry Kane not appearing to be at full-fitness.
West Brom now look to have settled into a relegation scrap having sacked Pulis. The fans had seen enough of a side showing no desire to attack and having lost their bite at the back also, enough was enough with a heavy loss to Chelsea the final straw. Whether the Baggies want to admit it or not, without Pulis their task could now be all the steeper to stay up. Gary Megson is set to take charge this weekend, and despite the absence of Toby Alderweireld and fitness concerns of a number of key players, Spurs should run out comfortable winners.
Niall: If you are looking for Saturday evening entertainment, turn your eyes to this tasty looking clash at Anfield where Liverpool welcome Chelsea.
This clash has had a lot of history, from deciding a top four spot to nan infamous Steven Gerrard slip, and this meeting has a lot of promise too. Chelsea are back in form after a shaky start to the season, and Liverpool matches always seem to deliver.
In mid-week they let a three goal lead slip against Sevilla, and defending like that will come at an even bigger price against Chelsea. Eden Hazard vs Mohamed Salah may be the key battle that decides the match, both wingers are in great form.
There will be goals, it is a Liverpool match after all, but I think Chelsea’s defence will be the stronger of the two and be the difference in the end.
Prediction: Liverpool 1-2 Chelsea
Neil: Saturday evening sees one of the marquee clashes of the season as Liverpool host Chelsea at Anfield. Salah is in unstoppable form right now, and after breaking Robbie Fowler’s Reds record from most goals to the start of a players career on Merseyside, the Egyptian will be looking to give another side the run-around, only this time his former West London employers.
The Blues predictably dismantled West Brom at the Hawthorns, with Hazard putting on his first real show this season of total domination on the field. This weekend represents a rather different test however. On paper, rather ironically, this is one of the only games on the calendar where I cannot foresee a hatful of goals. In reality however, and with two of Europe’s most in-form players on show, I simply can’t see how there won’t be with both sides taking a point.
Niall: Still manager-less Everton travel to the south coast on Sunday in a match where both sides can not afford to lose.
The Saints and the Toffees sit close to the relegation zone with both sets of fans unhappy with their teams performances so far this campaign. With defeat being a disaster for both sides, I expect a close and cagey game with neither taking the initiative.
Prediction: Southampton 0-0 Everton
Neil: The Saints return to the south coast this weekend, with the hosts looking to avoid a third successive league defeat against Everton. Predictably, Mauricio Pellegrino’s men struggled to create chances at Anfield last Saturday and were picked off with ease by Liverpool’s attacking line. Rumours of discontent are beginning to surface once more as after Puel’s dismissal, the intent was to return the Saints back to their attacking best. It has been quite the opposite.
Everton have picked up four points from their last two games, keeping the potential of a relegation battle at bay, for now. Whilst keeping goals at bay has alas been a problem for the Toffees, David Unsworth has seen his side find their eye for goal at the other end also, with Wayne Rooney having been sacrificed last time out. I think another points share is on the cards here again.
Niall: Burnley and Arsenal go into this match level on 22 points, can they be separated when they meet at Turf Moor on Sunday.
The Clarets have made an excellent start to the season, bringing their home form from last year into away games in the Premier League. Sean Dyche’s men have won three on the spin and have only lost one of their last five games.
Arsenal have picked up a bit of form lately with three wins in their last five. The victory over Tottenham was one of their best performances this season.
But Burnley away is a tough proposition for anybody. They know how to grind out results, and even though I do not think they will best Arsenal, a draw is possible.
Prediction: Burnley 1-1 Arsenal
Neil: The Clarets win versus Swansea last weekend marked the first time Burnley have recorded three successive top-flight victories since 1975, as Sean Dyche’s men sit in seventh spot. Despite the fitness struggles of striker Chris Wood, Burnley continue to find goal-scoring touch but may find chances in shorter supply this Sunday.
Arsenal’s derby win gave Arsene Wenger’s men a much-needed shot in the arm, as they approach a game that saw them sneak home via a contentious Laurent Koscileny stoppage-time goal at Turf Moor two seasons ago. Alexis Sanchez returned to his best against Spurs and in game were space is likely to be at a premium in Lancashire, the Chilean could well be a decisive factor. It will be a tight game, but with Burnley’s home form rather patchy, I can see the visitors sneaking a narrow win.
Niall: Table toppers Manchester city make the trip to Yorkshire to face Huddersfield Town in the last Premier League game of the weekend.
The Terriers come into a match against the rampant Citizens off the back of a 4-0 defeat against Bournemouth, not the best result to go into this fixture with. City on the other-hand have scored only three goals in their last two games, which is disappointing by their very high standards.
Huddersfield have had a mixed bag when welcoming the Premier League’s elite to the John Smith’s Stadium. They defeated Manchester United but lost to Spurs 4-0. I think this fixture will look more like the Tottenham match than the United one.
Prediction: Huddersfield 0-4 Man City
Neil: We wrap up the weekend’s games in West Yorkshire, as Huddersfield host the seemingly unstoppable league leaders Manchester City at the John Smiths. The Terriers fell to another heavy defeat to Bournemouth a week ago, but still sit comfortably away from the perils of the drop zone.
That may chance this weekend however as the Citizens roll into town, intent on a further glut of goals. If Pep Guardiola’s men exhort perhaps the most fearsome offensive line, their defence still remains to be got at. Losing John Stones for six weeks will be a blow for City, but the returning Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi can still lead the back line capably. It feels like a broken record repeating when a City win is forecast, and despite the hosts having beaten Manchester United at home, anything other than a City win seems implausible.
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