Niall: The start of the season has been a struggle for Bournemouth, and they come into this match against Man City as underdogs on Saturday. City will look to bounce back from Monday’s draw against Everton, which they managed to earn despite being down to ten men. Despite looking go going forward, the Citizens still look vulnerable defensively so a Bournemouth goal might not be unlikely.
But it is also unlikely that they outscore the awesome attack of City, so expect the Manchester club to run out the victors.
Prediction: Bournemouth 1-3 Man City
Neil: Bournemouth have struggled to put any kind of form together in the opening two games of the season, let alone score a goal. Ahead of the first international break of the summer, the Cherries will want to put points on the board.
That task however is far from an easy one as Manchester City roll into town. Many were surprised as the Citizens were held to a point at home to Everton on Monday night – despite Kyle Walker’s first-half dismissal. Eddie Howe will be desperate not to be propping up to the league table going into September, but I can’t see how his side will get anything this Saturday lunchtime.
Niall: Both sides have made winless and scoreless starts to the new season so Swansea’s trip to Crystal Palace could be a crucial one for both sides.
Neither side has looked inspiring, but Swansea have been the more solid of the two. They held out for a draw against Southampton and largely kept Man United quiet until the end. Palace hardly threatened against Huddersfield and Liverpool too, so I think it will be a low scoring affair.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 0-0 Swansea
Neil: The hosts got their first win of the season against high-flying Ipswich Town in the Carabao Cup midweek, but against a hugely weakened side, the visiting Swans will be a different kettle of fish.
Like Bournemouth, neither side are yet to register a point or score a goal and this fixture already has the makings of a relegation six-pointer. As such, I am backing a score draw.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-1 Swansea
Huddersfield Town vs. Southampton (Saturday, 15.00)
Niall: Huddersfield have made a dream start to the season with two wins and no conceded goals in the opening two matches. However, Southampton present their biggest challenge to date.
The Saints grabbed a 3-2 win over West Ham in last week’s most entertaining fixture to get off the mark, but their defence looked shaky.
It is likely both teams will score in this fixture, but can the Terriers score another win? Southampton are a better side than either Newcastle or Crystal Palace, so I think they will end Huddersfield’s perfect start.
Prediction: Huddersfield 1-1 Southampton
Neil: The Terriers’ dream start to the life in the Premier League continued last Sunday, as Aaron Mooy’s goal was enough to beat follow promotees Newcastle. The Australian has impressed in the top flight and makes one wonder why he was never afforded a chance at the Etihad.
Southampton earned Mauricio Pellegrino his first league win as Saints boss last time out, but their defence was far from water-tight and struggled versus 10-man West Ham. As David Wagner’s defence continues to be well-drilled – in almost polar fashion – I fancy Huddersfield to make it three out of three at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Prediction: Huddersfield 2-1 Southampton
Newcastle United vs. West Ham United (Saturday, 15.00)
Niall: Newcastle and West Ham have both made winless starts to the season, so this is a key match for both sides to get the ball rolling. The Magpies have hardly inspired any enthusiasm in their opening two games and still look like a Championship side. West Ham on the other-hand have underachieved and are a better side than they have shown.
It will be a close contest, but I think the Hammers will edge Newcastle with a little help from a Mexican striker.
Prediction; Newcastle 0-1 West Ham
Neil: The Toon Army are beginning to again show signs of restlessness, after two successive defeats on their return to the top flight. The Magpies’ attack looks blunted for the most part, with striker Dwight Gayle not looking himself.
The Hammers showed spirit at St Mary’s last weekend, but like the hosts are still bereft of points. The clinical prowess of Javier Hernandez however will give Slaven Bilic cause for optimism.
The Mexican notched a brace as he took both of his chances against Southampton and despite the absence of Marko Arnautovic this Saturday, I am backing Chicharito to get West Ham their first win of the campaign.
Niall: Watford have made a confident start to the season whilst Brighton still look like they belong in the Championship. It is still early days for the Seagulls, but right now Watford look like a classier side and I think they should get a routine three points to continue their solid start.
Prediction: Watford 2-0 Brighton
Neil: The Hornets have taken four points from their opening two games as the Marco Silva’s men host Brighton on Saturday. Watford outclassed Bournemouth last time out and ahead of their meeting with Brighton, will be confident of adding to their points tally.
The Seagulls look short of confidence up front – yet to score a goal in their debut in the league. For the hosts, Richarlison looks an inspired piece of business for the Hertfordshire club and the Brazilian should inflict more misery on Chris Hughton’s men.
Prediction: Watford 3-1 Brighton
Manchester United vs. Leicester City (Saturday, 17.30)
Niall: Manchester United have started in superb form by winning both their opening two matches 4-0 to sit top after two games. But Leicester will provide a much more dangerous attacking threat, so we will see how their defence holds up. Zlatan Ibrahimovic signing a new contract will be a boost for the Red Devils, as will the form of Romelu Lukaku who has bagged three goals in his first two appearances.
Leicester look more like their old selves with Jamie Vardy bringing back the hunger that made him one of the most feared strikers in the division. His pace will undoubtedly cause United’s defence problems. But it is likely that United will be a little too much for Leicester and will come out with their 100% record still in tact.
Prediction: Man United 2-1 Leicester
Neil: The Red Devils have made an impressive start on their quest to regain the Premier League crown. Eight goals and six points make for pleasant reading for their fans, but United are yet to be tested thus far. That should change this weekend.
Despite conceding four at the Emirates on the opening day, a similar display is unlikely and the Foxes were defensively solid versus Brighton last time out. Vardy’s pace will cause problems for Jose Mourinho’s men, however with Paul Pogba, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Lukaku on hot early form, United look set to be top going into the international recess.
Niall: Chelsea bounced back from their loss to Burnley on the opening weekend with a 2-1 away win at Spurs, looking like their title winning selves. Everton have spent a lot of money to close the gap between themselves and the top six, and on evidence of the first two games, they look fairly successful. They almost defeated Man City on Monday, and they will look to cause Chelsea similar problems on Sunday.
The Blues put in one of the best performances in Premier League history against the Toffees last year, and whilst I do not expect a repeat of that, I do expect Chelsea to run out victors.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-0 Everton
Neil: Antonio Conte’s men responded in resolute fashion at Wembley versus Spurs, as Marcos Alonso’s brace proved the Spaniard is indispensable for the Blues, despite stories linking Juventus wing-back Alex Sandro to the club.
The Toffees looked assured at the back versus Manchester City on Monday, as Ronald Koeman will look for a similar showing at Stamford Bridge, with Gylfi Sigurdsson set for his full debut. Despite an at times backs-to-the-wall display for Chelsea on Sunday, the team looked unified and I am backing the hosts for successive wins.
Niall: West Brom vs Stoke is hardly the most exciting game on Sunday, but it one that will no doubt be tightly contested. The Baggies have started the season well, looking solid under the guidance of Tony Pulis. Stoke on the other-hand will confident after their 1-0 win over Arsenal last weekend.
Do not expect many goals in this match as West Brom will look to remain solid at the back and catch Stoke on the counter or on a set piece. The Baggies look like a solid hand again this season and I think they will edge this one
Prediction: West Brom 1-0 Stoke
Neil: West Brom’s season has begun in sterling fashion with a goal and clean sheet in both opening games. Both Baggies’ signings Jay Rodriguez and particularly Ahmed Hegazy, have played their part in the side’s early lofty third position.
Stoke were fortunate to beat Arsenal last weekend, with a handful of dubious refereeing decisions going the way of Mark Hughes’ men. Jese Rodriguez’s debut however will have delighted Hughes and the forward looked sharp on the counter for his goal versus the Gunners, before the pace of English football told. The Spaniard will unlikely be afforded the same space this Sunday however and I have the Baggies shading it in a predictably tight affair.
Niall: This game has the makings of a goal-fest with two sides who are known more for their attacking strength than their defending. It is also a big game in the context of the season as both will be looking to secure a Champions League spot come May. Liverpool have a good record against top six sides, it is the lower sides that have often cause them problems.
Arsenal play expansive football which will leave room for Liverpool to play to their strengths, but the Red’s defensive issues also play into Arsenal’s hands. Expect goals in this one for sure, but I think Liverpool will run out winners.
Prediction: Liverpool 4-2 Arsenal
Neil: Liverpool huffed and puffed towards a first win versus Crystal Palace last weekend, as Jurgen Klopp began a season of likely rotation with the Champions League to juggle. With the qualification for the group stages now complete, Sunday looks to be a similar proposition for the Reds to manage.
Arsenal can count themselves unfortunate to have lost at the Bet 365 Stadium last Saturday night and will be looking for greater fortune this time around on their trip to Anfield – a ground which in recent years has been a burial ground for title hopes of the North Londoners.
Quite frankly, this game has the makings of typically manic game. Neither side can defend, whilst both possess potent offensive lines. As it is, I am going to sit on the fence, but foresee a high-scoring draw on the cards.
Niall: Burnley will look to complete another away upset of a big team when they travel to Wembley to face Tottenham Hotspur. The Clarets scored a huge win against Chelsea on the opening day of the season but they will be disappointed with their loss to West Brom last week.
Tottenham have not got the best record at the new Wembley, and their debut at the home of the national team this season ended in defeat. However, I think Spurs will have too much for a stubborn Burnley side and will get back on track with a narrow victory.
Prediction: Tottenham 2-1 Burnley
Neil: Tottenham’s aspirations of third time lucky for their league title chances suffered a blow versus Chelsea and as the Clarets roll into Wembley, for Spurs’ second game in their temporary home, Mauricio Pochettino’s men will be wary.
The Lily Whites grew into the game versus the Blues, but the hosts’ recent record of own goals as one of their most prolific scorers under the Wembley arches, remains a concern.
As Sean Dyche’s men return to London after their shock defeat of Chelsea on the opening day, the Lancashire side will be unperturbed by their task. Accordingly, with Harry Kane’s August hoodoo continuing, I am tipping the Clarets to take a point back to Turf Moor.
Prediction: Tottenham 1-1 Burnley
The Premier League continues Saturday 26 August
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