Jurgen Klopp will be looking to build on his first win as Liverpool manager with a home assignment against Alan Pardew’s Palace. Klopp has been quick to offset exaggerated excitement following their win over Chelsea while Pardew is just looking to get some momentum back following some flat performances. With an international break approaching, teams will recognise the importance of positioning themselves well in the event of crucial injuries that could disrupt the cohesion of the side.
For the first 45 minutes against Southampton, Bournemouth looked positively outclassed and very much a Championship side. They are struggling to deal with the injury crisis that has plagued them, with Glenn Murray cutting an alienated figure up front by himself. Despite Eddie Howe’s massive issues, it is probably Steve McClaren who is feeling the pressure more acutely at this stage. The awful Tyne-Wear derby result was followed by an anaemic 0-0 draw with Stoke, all but dissipating the memories of Wijnaldum’s four goal assassination of Norwich. Prediction: A somewhat surprising away win. Perez and Sissokho should benefit from Bournemouth’s tendency to get carried away in front of their home support.
West Ham United 29/20
West Ham are the proverbial Jekyll and Hyde of this year’s Premier League, with neither form nor home ground advantage necessarily holding any sway in predicting their matches. Everton are similarly difficult to gauge, with Martinez tinkering with variations of formations. The relationship between Kone and Lukaku is one that he should foster at all costs, especially considering the creative influence of Deulofeau and Barkley who operate behind them. Funes Mori and Jon Stones will only improve as a centre-half combination as time goes on, but don’t think that Slaven Bilic won’t sense the opportunity to test the relatively new centre-half combination with the combustible presence of Andy Carroll. Prediction: Total Goals over 3.5- This one should be a high scoring affair, one that is rather difficult to accurately pin down.
Sam Allardyce was scathing of his players following a quite frankly amateurish outing against Everton last weekend. O’Shea and Kaboul were nowhere while Van Aanholt was caught out hopelessly marauding down the left hand side like a knock-off Roberto Carlos. Defoe and Fletcher have given some encouragement going forward, but they can’t afford to ship so many cheap goals. Southampton are in free-flowing form, with Graziano Pelle spearheading the attack brilliantly. Tadic and Mane have been excellent while Fonte and Van Djikk have formed a quick kinship in defence. Prediction: Southampton to win- Southampton’s organized attack should be far too good for a shaky Sunderland side.
Norwich City 29/20
Swansea City 18/10
Swansea’s 3-0 defeat to Arsenal was a somewhat exaggerated score-line that flattered the Gunners. However, there are some concerning elements to Swansea of late, not least of which is the manner in which Gomis’ goal scoring has deserted him. At least it has saved the viewing public from the questionable spectacle that is the Gomis goal celebration. Aside from Gomis, there is no real obvious goal-scoring threat. Sigurdsson, Shelvey and Montero will chip in, but they need the Frenchman to regain his touch. Norwich were plucky against Man City and Alex Neil will obviously be using that performance to motivate his players. Prediction: Both teams to score- Yes- Norwich are not shy of scoring or shipping in goals and I thus expect both sides to find the score-sheet. Montero will be a constant threat down the left hand side while Hoolahan will keep Shelvey honest.
Manchester United 3/10
West Bromwich Albion 92/10
Rooney-Gate was eased somewhat this week with the embattled England captain securing all three points against CSKA. The combination of Carrick and Schweinsteiger also seemed to flow fairly well, while Jesse Lingaard is improving every week. I still feel that Rooney will be best served in the number ten role, with Martial the focal point of attack. I couldn’t believe it when I heard that United have created fewer chances than any other side in the league thus far! West Brom have been uncharacteristically unpredictable this season. They have been solid on the road whilst losing two games 2-3 at home. Pulis clearly prefers to play on the counter, absorbing pressure for large tracts of the game. This will be a good test of United’s ability to break down a side intent on suffocating the game. Prediction: Halftime-Fulltime Double- Draw at halftime, United to win. I feel that this may be another frustrating first half followed by a second half winner.
Leicester City 8/10
Watford have taking a leaf out of Leicester’s outrageous start to the season and managed to produce a few surprising results in recent weeks. Ighalo and Deeney have formed a formidable strike partnership, with club captain Deeney prepared to play the supporting role to Ighalo. What more can be said about Leicester and Jamie Vardy? The Foxes just simply don’t know when they are beaten. Ranieri has taking Nigel Pearson’s never say die attitude and just added that bit of gloss to it. Mahrez and Vardy will trouble Watford with their pace and ingenuity, but I don’t expect them to perhaps be afforded the space that superior sides afford them. Prediction: I’m going for the dreaded draw option, with Watford denying Leicester the space that other sides allow them.
Stoke City 27/10
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Aston Villa 57/10
Manchester City 9/20
You can’t help but feel for Villa’s new Gallic boss Remi Garde. Waking into a situation that sees them languishing at the foot of the table, his first assignment sees the visit of an ebullient City side desperate on solidifying their hold on top spot in the table. Garde would probably do well to utilize Rudi Gestede as the focal point for the attack, attempting to cause some disunity in the City ranks. Grealish and Ayew will have to be more defensively astute with City’s vast array of stars. Kevin De Bruyne was rested for the majority of the Champions League tie, which will see him rearing to go this weekend. Prediction: Halftime-Fulltime Double- City to win both halves- City are looking amazing playing on the counterattack, with the likes of De Brunye, Navas and Sterling able to spring forward swiftly with purpose. They will have far too much for Villa.
Crystal Palace 4/1
This fixture recalls one of the darkest moments in Liverpool football history, where Brendon Rodgers’ side surrendered a 3-0 lead and effectively the title three years ago. Palace are arguably a more balanced side now, with Zaha and Bolasie acting as effective outlets for the creative Cabaye. Liverpool were flattered somewhat last weekend by a Chelsea performance of utter stagnation. They will likely start with Benteke in the striking role ahead of Firmino this weekend, which will keep Delaney and company honest in defence. Prediction: Palace will prove dangerous on the counterattack but ultimately Liverpool should just about win.
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