Players, managers and fans just hate going into the international break on the back of a bad result. So read on to find out which of your mates are going to be glum for a while…our Premier League soothsayer surely won't let you down this time.
Saturday 30th September 2017
Huddersfield vs Tottenham (Away win)
The Terriers will be pleased with their nine points collected so far and haven’t lost at home for four games. However, Spurs arrive full of confidence after another comfortable Champions League win, a Hat-trick Harry on fire, and the rested legs of Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen and Jan Vertonghen. A point would be a massive result for the hosts, but I can’t see it.
Bournemouth vs Leicester City (Away win)
Only Palace are keeping the Cherries off the bottom of the table and losing to a struggling Everton team last week was an opportunity missed, which now sees pressure growing on Eddie Howe to pick up points. The Foxes also lost against a Merseyside club last time out but showed enough, once again, to suggest they could still be among the best of the rest this season despite their lowly points total in the opening six games. Craig Shakespeare has seen the back of Arsenal, United, Chelsea and Liverpool, and now has a run of very winnable games till the middle of November. Watch them climb.
Man Utd vs Crystal Palace (Home win)
I said last week that anyone considering laying down the mortgage at the bookmakers should back Man City to beat Palace. Well, new manager Roy Hodgson won’t be surprised to hear that the tune is similar this weekend. United are getting lots of deserved praise in the early part of the season – with many calling them serious title challengers – however it would be naïve to ignore that at home and abroad they are yet to play a team of note. Week 7 provides them with the last game when we can say this. The only potential spanner is that Hodgson will have had more time to get his players organised and without Benteke we may see the Sakho to Sako outlet used as they aim to stifle and frustrate the Red Devils. Hats will be off if he achieves it.
If you feel confident enough to have a bet, you'll get all the odds here.
Stoke vs Southampton (Draw)
Two sides expected to be jostling for a similar position in the top half of the table meet and the Potters need some confidence after being soundly beaten at home to Chelsea, which followed a cup exit at the hands of Bristol City. The Saints haven’t had a great start to the season either but showed signs in the narrow loss to Mourinho’s United that they are finding their feet again. Expect them to cancel each other out. Don’t expect a goal fest.
West Brom vs Watford (Draw)
Tony Pulis will see this home game as a chance to get things going after taking just two points from their last four. He has concerns over Nacer Chadli and Oliver Burke but other than that has a clean bill of health. Take away the thumping by Man City in week four and Marco Silva’s Watford have had an excellent start to the campaign with 11 points already in the bag. Ahead of this game it’s worth noting that three wins out of three on the road, with two goals scored in each, means they arrive fearing little. A growing injury list for the Hornets may stop their winning run.
West Ham vs Swansea (Draw)
These two sides have almost mirrored each other’s results over the start of the season including good cup wins followed by single-goal defeats in their last couple. Manuel Lanzini is the player Hammers’ fans are keen to see back on the pitch and he may get a chance off the bench on Saturday. There’s a single point separating them in the table at this early stage and I expect Paul Clement to set up his Swans to try to boss the middle of the park and set Abraham and Ayew free more often than they have of late. A big performance from Sanches will be needed.
Chelsea vs Man City (Draw)
This mouth-watering fixture between the two sides I expected to be fighting it out for the title next May has been set up perfectly with both winning impressively in the Champions League. Morata is proving his doubters wrong (with some Madrid fans now scratching their head) and the return of a dazzling Eden Hazard has every defence concerned. Bakayoko is an upgrade to Matic and Conte will have no fears in matching up against Guardiola’s free-scoring City. The biggest team news for the Manchester side concerns Benjamin Mendy (out with knee injury) and top striker Sergio Agüero, who was involved in a car accident in Amsterdam. Gabriel Jesus has shown he has aspirations to fill the Argentine’s boots and he’ll need to show that at the Bridge. It could go either way, so I’ll sit on the fence.
Sunday 1st October 2017
Arsenal vs Brighton (Home win)
It seems that battering at Anfield in August helped the Gunners pull up their collective socks, going unbeaten since. They’ve still not been at their fluid best but the goalless draw at Stamford Bridge was a good marker of a return to form and that has been surrounded by good wins in league, cup and Europe with the wider squad getting pitch time as Wenger looks for the right combinations. Brighton did well to pick up the three points against Newcastle last time out but it’s a stretch to see them preventing a ninth consecutive home league win for the hosts.
Everton vs Burnley (Home win)
Things seem to be getting a bit sticky for Ronald Koeman as the Toffees look to find some form, and importantly points, in what would have been seen at the start of the season as an expected three points. But the late, late equaliser for the Cypriots, Apollon, on Thursday just epitomised a season that is failing to ignite, despite huge investment in the summer. Burnley will play the way Sean Dyche has drilled them to play and will see a wounded animal lying ahead of them. They'll hope it stumbles and falls once again as it looks to find its feet. I can see it finding some bite.
Newcastle vs Liverpool (Away win)
These two clubs have had some ding-dong matches in the past – with the 1996 4-3 victory for Liverpool still talked about as one of the greatest ever – and so expectations are high for another classic. Ex-Reds manager Rafa Benitez faces his old club, the potential for Mane, Salah, Coutinho and Firmino to be given another chance to live up to the Fab Four billing, and all with the backdrop of the ardent Toon Army. Newcastle will have to hope, like most teams, that the visitors continue to miss the myriad chances they’re creating allowing them to capitalise on the spaces Klopp’s side will leave behind. Pérez gets a chance to show his class in midfield again, but I have a feeling that this could be the biggest away win of the weekend with a true striker maybe getting a run out in place of Firmino. Mitrovic could be thrown in to save Newcastle if things are not going to the Rafa plan.