After a short break for international fixtures the EPL returns for week 9. A lot has happened since we last met for week 8 – Brendan Rogers was shown the door by Liverpool, who in turn welcomed in new coach Jurgen Klopp. Dik Advocate decided he had enough of life at Sunderland and quit, and no one seemed like they wanted the job, before ‘Big Sam’ Allardyce decided he might as well fill the role while he waits for Real Madrid to finally call him up to replace Rafael Benitez.
Anyway, this week has a whole host of juicy fixtures for EPL fans to sink their teeth into, with Tottenham v Liverpool and Everton v Manchester United being the pick of the bunch. So sit yourself down, grab you knife and forks as we take you through this weeks predictions and previews.
Last Week’s Predictions
|Crystal Palace v West Brom||2-0||2-1||2-0||2-0||2-1|
|Aston Villa v Stoke||0-1||1-1||2-1||2-1||1-2|
|Bournemouth v Watford||1-1||2-0||0-0||2-1||2-1|
|Man City v Newcastle||6-1||3-0||3-1||4-0||2-0|
|Norwich v Leicester||1-2||1-2||3-2||1-1||1-1|
|Sunderland v West Ham||2-2||0-2||0-1||1-3||0-1|
|Chelsea v Southampton||1-3||2-1||2-1||3-1||2-0|
|Everton v Liverpool||1-1||3-2||2-2||3-1||2-2|
|Arsenal v Man Utd||3-0||2-2||0-1||1-1||2-2|
|Swansea v Tottenham||2-2||1-0||1-1||0-3||1-2|
A correct result (picking a win, draw or defeat) is worth ONE point. Getting the exact score correct earns THREE points.
Last week I got THREE correct results, including ONE perfect score to give me a total score of FIVE-Points. However, it wasn’t enough to beat challenger Luke who also earned FIVE-Points by correctly predicting five correct results.
|Tottenham v Liverpool||2-1|
|Chelsea v Aston Villa||3-0|
|Crystal Palace v West Ham||1-0|
|Everton v Man Utd||2-1|
|Man City v Bournemouth||3-0|
|Southampton v Leicester||2-2|
|West Brom v Sunderland||2-0|
|Watford v Arsenal||0-2|
|Newcastle v Norwich||0-0|
|Swansea v Stoke||2-0|
Tottenham v Liverpool
Tottenham earned a good 2-2 draw away to Swansea in their last outing to continue their fine form. The north Londoners are the only side in the EPL that are unbeaten since the opening weekend (W3, D4), but could easily have lost if not for two great free kicks from midfielder Christian Erikson – The Danish international has scored six direct free-kicks in the Premier League since his debut in September 2013 – more than any other player.
Liverpool drew 1-1 away to Everton in the Merseyside derby. The result was a decent one considering Everton’s good form, but it was not good enough for the Liverpool board, who sacked manager Brendan Rogers just an hour after the final whistle. The Reds have now appointed German coach Jurgen Klopp, and it will be interesting to see if he adopts the same high intensity and high pressing game he employed at Dortmund.
Liverpool have done tremendously well again Tottenham in recent years – The Reds have scored a total of 18 goals and conceded just four in the last five meetings – and a victory on Saturday would see Liverpool record six consecutive league wins against Tottenham for the first time in their history.
However, the Reds have been rocked with two serious injuries over the international break and are playing a Tottenham side brimming with confidence after thrashing Manchester City 4-1 in their last home outing.
A lot of people are predicting Klopp will be a success at Liverpool, but I think it will take him a while to implement his style and I’d be surprised if he leaves London with point tomorrow.
Chelsea v Aston Villa
Chelsea’s terrible start to the season continued with a 3-1 home defeat to Southampton. The Blues actually took an early lead in the game, but then conceded three times as their defensive troubles continue – the Blues currently have the joint worst defensive record in the EPL (17 goals conceded) and have conceded at least twice in seven of their eight league games.
Aston Villa suffered a 1-0 home defeat to Stoke City to make their joint-worst start ever after eight matches of a top-flight season. The pressure is really building on manager Tim Sherwood and I wouldn’t be surprised if he is the next manager to get the chop.
Chelsea are currently in their worst spell of form in years and have their lowest points total after eight games in a top-flight season since 1978, when they lost six of their first nine fixtures. However, they have a great record against Villa – The last time the Blues failed to score against the Villains at Stamford bride was in 1998, they have since scored 30 times in eight subsequent times Villa have visited.
Everton v Manchester United
Everton’s good start to the season continued with a 1-1 draw at home to Liverpool. The Toffees bossed the game for long periods and could easily have won. The key to Everton’s good results this season has been the return form of forward Romelu Lukaku, who has already scored five goals in eight EPL games this season.
Manchester United suffered their second defeat of the season with a 3-0 defeat away to Arsenal. The Red Devils were blown away in the first ten minutes of the game and in the end were happy they only conceded three goals. The team’s central midfield looked labored and I will be surprised if we see Michael Carrick and Bastian Schweinsteiger start an important game together again.
Everton have won three successive home meetings in the league with Manchester United, and were the last side to win four consecutive home league matches against United, when they did so between 1984 and 1987.
The Red Devils have often bounced back from defeat under Van Gaal, but I think Everton will get in their faces and ruffle their feathers and that’s why I expect them to edge this one.
Manchester City v Bournemouth
Manchester City bounced back from their 4-1 defeat away to Tottenham by thrashing Newcastle 6-1 on their home turf. Sergio Aguero got five of the goals with De Bruyne also getting in on the act. The win moved City back to the summit of the EPL, and also the division’s top scorers with 19 goals in their eight games.
Bournemouth’s bad luck continued after a goal keeping error and missed penalty once again denied them victory. The Cherries have been rocked by injuries, with four key players out with long-term injuries. However, it has not effected their work ethic – According to Opta, Bournemouth players have covered 944km on the pitch this season, 18km more than any other side.
This is the first top-flight meeting between the clubs, though Bournemouth have never beaten Manchester City in six previous meetings (D2, L4). City have been rocked by injuries too, with the Sergio Aguero the latest player to join the list. However, they still possess an array of talented players and despite Bournemouth’s hard work ethic I think this will be a stroll in the park for City.
Watford v Arsenal
Watford’s continued their solid start to the season with a 1-1 draw away to Bournemouth. The Wasps have built their season on solid defensive foundations and teams in the EPL will have to work hard to break them down. But Watford also possess a threat upfront in Odion Ighalo – the Nigerian international has scored Watford’s last five Premier League goals, and now has 21 goals in 26 league games in 2015, more than any other player in the top four divisions.
Arsenal moved in to second place in the EPL with a 3-0 victory over Manchester United. The Gunners had the game won inside the first 10-minutes and probably played their best 45-minutes of soccer of the last few years. Alexis Sanchez was once again the star man scoring twice, though Theo Walcott was also key to their victory providing two assists.
Arsenal have won all four Premier League meetings – most recently a 2-1 win at Watford on Boxing Day in 2006. But this current Watford side boast one of the meanest defenses in the EPL this season, so may fancy their chances of getting something from this game.
However, the Hornets have the strange record of never having won an EPL game in October (D4, L5), and with Arsenal in the form they are in, I think they will comfortably win this one.