After the international break that just passed, EPL returns and so much excitement therein as we kick off our preview at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea hosts Champions Leicester.
CHELSEA VS LEICESTER CITY
Antonio Conte’s side lost back to back in Match day 5 and 6 to Liverpool at home and Arsenal away. But before the international break chelsea bounced back in a good fashion beating Hull city 0-2 at the KC Stadium. Goals from their Last season best player, Willian and Star Striker, Diego Costa gave them important three points.
Antonio Conte wouldn’t want the momentum to drop, as they would not want to drop vital points at this moment and lag behind their title rivals. They might be seventh on the log, but the fact that they are title contenders cant be overlooked, they are just 5 points behind leaders Man city with 13 points from 7 games.
A win would spur them further off the table to third place before any other team plays, because this game is an early kick off. That would be a very good one. Conte can bank on the likes of Costa and Hazard to do the needful upfront providing goals and fretting the Leicester defense. Costa and Hazard both scored in their last games for Spain and Belgium respectively. Such momentum from the chelsea forwards would please Conte.
Leicester have failed to replicate their form of last season dropping points on the road. Their last two games was only able to provide 1 point for Claudio Ranieri’s team, which was disappointing going into the international break, though they have been impressive in their UEFA champions league debut, with them top of their group. Ranieri might be worried with his forwards international break outing. Algeria’s Mahrez and Slimani were not impressive when they played a 1-1 affair in their world Cup qualifier against Cameroon.
Musa also was dropped from the starting line ups of his country Nigeria, though they won, but he could only come in right in the second half of the game. Same as Vardy also. Ranieri would just hope their international outing would not be deposited into this game against the blues as this game is so crucial for them.
The game looks to provide goals at both ends.
PREDICTION:CHELSEA 3-1 LEICESTER CITY
ARSENAL VS SWANSEA CITY
Third place Arsenal host Swansea at the emirates this weekend after the international break. The last time these 2 sides met was in March and the Swans beat Arsene Wenger’s men 2-1 at the Emirates. Swansea are not the same team thus far, as they are 17th just one place above the relegation zone and only recently sacked their head coach Francesco Guidolin. They replaced Guidolin with American Bob Bradley, who led USA to 2007 CONCACAF triumph and led them to the round of 16 stage at the 2010 World Cup.
Arsene Wenger and his team can be so sure of getting the maximum three points, due to their current form, dropping point against Swansea would be so shocking to many fans. A win for the gunners looks certain. Results could go other way round as this is a Swansea team under a new Tutelage.
PREDICTION:ARSENAL 2-0 SWANSEA
BOURNEMOUTH VS HULL CITY
Mercurial team AFC Bournemouth (2-3-2, 8 points) is set to face newly-promoted side Hull City AFC (2-4-1, 7 points) in a round 8 encounter in the 2016-2017 Premier League season. The match will be held on Oct. 15, Saturday at the Vitality Stadium.
Bournemouth is currently at the 13th spot of the English top flight table with 8 points, tied with Watford and defending champions Leicester City but has a lower goal difference than the two teams. The Cherries had been winless in four of their last six outings with two losses and two draws, confirming their inconsistent play this season.
Head coach Eddie Howe’s squad is coming off a 2-2 draw with Watford at the Vicarage Road on Oct. 1 for their second drawn match of the season.
Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson netted the opening goal in the 31st minute to give the visitors a one-point advantage at the half.
Watford forward Troy Deeney leveled the count five minutes after the restart before substitute winger Joshua King gave the lead back to the Cherries with a great individual move against Hornets goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes.
Nigerian forward Isaac Success found the equalizer three minutes later to salvage the draw for the home team.
Meanwhile, Hull City dropped their third straight game with a 0-2 loss to powerhouse team Chelsea at their home field of KC Stadium also on Oct. 1.
The Tigers were able to hold off the visitors to a 0-0 stalemate at the end of the first half to give themselves a chance to win it after the restart.
However, forwards Willian and Diego Costa provided one goal each in the 61st and 67th minutes for the Blues as caretaker manager Mike Phelan’s squad was not able to respond with anything throughout the match.
It was the fifth consecutive winless game for Hull City as they dropped to 15th place in the current overall standings.
The game looks to provide goals at both ends.
PREDICTION:BOURNEMOUTH 2-1 HULL CITY
MANCHESTER CITY VS EVERTON FC
Everton’s visit to the Etihad will see City boss Pep Guardiola reunited with a former mentor in Toffees counterpart Ronald Koeman. The Dutchman played for Barcelona when Guardiola emerged from the Blaugrana’s academy, La Masia, and then-manager Johan Cruyff asked Koeman to take the youngster under his wing. Per the Mirror’s Simon Mullock, Koeman said:
“I then spent several years with Pep in hotel rooms before every game, every trip in pre-season, in Europe, you name it. Johan was like that. He said it was important that young players learned from older players.
Pep was a fantastic guy. He was eager to learn,he wanted to know everything. Pep wanted to know about the Dutch school of football. More than any other player he wanted to know about one-touch football, about positional play, one touch in small spaces. He loved the way Cruyff wanted to play with Barcelona.”
Last time out, Spurs gave Everton a template with which to beat City, as they overwhelmed Guardiola’s side with intensity, pressing and endless running.
The Toffees have been much improved this season under Koeman, particularly at the back, shipping just five goals bettered only by Spurs’ three. Idrissa Gueye’s arrival in the summer has played a significant part in this shoring up. The tireless midfielder’s work rate and ball-winning in the centre has been second to none this year, according to OptaJoe Stats Everton’s Idrissa Gueye has made eight more tackles than any other player in the Premier League so far this season (34).
However, as noted,not all of his team-mates are quite so committed at this stage.
Everton need to turn a good half into a full match. Koeman wants players to press but too many still don’t work hard enough or long enough.
Against City, it will take a concerted effort from the entire team if Everton are to gain three points. The Sky Blues will be at home and eager to bounce back from their first defeat of the season it could well be a difficult game, but they’ll likely come away with a victory.
PREDICTION:MANCHESTER CITY 2-1 EVERTON FC
STOKE CITY VS SUNDERLAND
The clash of the bottom two. A potential 6 pointer, between two teams who desperately needs to get out of the relegation zone.
Stoke City were able to get a draw at Old Trafford in week 7, they could have lost, but the red devils failed to utilise their chances and Mark Hughes would be pleased with that. They haven’t been the stoke of last season with them currently in 19th place. Hughes is under pressure of facing sack and knows this game is vital.
Sunderland drew 1-1 to a frustrating side to face before the international break in West Brom. They came from behind to salvage a draw. David Moyes wants his lad to stop conceding cheap goals, as the defense has been the problem so far for the black cats.
A draw seems the result here at the Brittania.
PREDICTION:STOKE CITY 1-1 SUNDERLAND
WEST BROM VS TOTTENHAM HOTSPURS
Tottenham travel to West Brom this weekend searching for their first victory over Tony Pulis’s side in four attempts.
The Baggies proved to be a bogey team for Spurs last season as Mauricio Pochettino’s men squandered four crucial points in the title race against Salomon Rondon and Co. The latest encounter produced a fiery affair at White Hart Lane in April, the aftermath of which saw Dele Alli receive a retrospective ban for striking Claudio Yacob. Spurs will need to keep their cool this time out with West Brom expected to be set up to frustrate their opponents rather than take on Pochettino’s in-form side, who could go top with a victory.
Pochettino faces a couple of selection dilemmas, having seen his side sweep Manchester City aside prior to the international break. The back four is expected to be unchanged but Eric Dier could come back into midfield, which would be likely to see Spurs revert away from the 4-1-4-1 formation that has worked well in recent weeks. Victor Wanyama is likely to keep his place either way as Mousa Dembele is struggling with a knock and is unlikely to be risked while Erik Lamela could be rested given that he has clocked up plenty of air miles over the international break.
Heung-min Son is expected to lead the line ahead of Vincent Janssen, despite the Dutch striker finding his shooting foots while on international duty, with Dele Alli operating at number 10.
Spurs striker Janssen nets stunning strike for Netherlands
Former Spurs midfielder Nacer Chadli has made an immediate impact at West Brom and will be looking to prove a point against his former employers after being deemed surplus to requirements in the summer.
Matt Phillips and James McClean will give the hosts plenty of legs in wide areas while Rondon is always a threat up top on his own with the potential sub plot of Saido Berahino set to start on the bench.
PREDICTION:WEST BROM 0-3 TOTTENHAM HOTSPURS
CRYSTAL PALACE VS WEST HAM
West Ham travel to Crystal Palace on Saturday needing a win at Selhurst Park to kick-start their Premier League season.
Slaven Bilic’s Hammers had high hopes for the 2016/17 campaign after moving from the Boleyn Ground to London Stadium, but troubles at their new home and poor form have seen the east London club exit the Europa League and collect just four points from their opening seven games.
Palace on the other hand are flying high in eighth after a strong summer transfer window, and look strong with former Hammers defender James Tomkins arriving to help solidify a defence short on confidence following a difficult 2015/16 season.
With former West Ham target Christian Benteke in red-hot form for Belgium in midweek, Bilic will be hoping that the £30million Palace forward does not strike to show exactly the Hammers what they missed out on this summer.
Palace are hoping that captain Scott Dann will be back from a hamstring injury to partner Tomkins in central defence.
Pape Souare is expected to be out until next April after breaking his leg in a horrific car crash last month, while Christian Benteke’s brother Jonathan is unavailable until January with a knee injury.
Sam Byram is out for up to two months after his hamstring injury against Middlesbrough, meaning Alvaro Arbeloa will likely step in at right-back unless Bilic decides to switch Michail Antonio back to the flank after using him as a striker against Boro.
Gokhan Tore is set to miss the next five weeks after picking up a thigh injury, although left-back Aaron Cresswell could be in line for a surprise return after a speedy recovery from a pre-season knee injury. West Ham also hope that strikers Andy Carroll (knee) and Diafra Sakho (back) will be back soon.
PREDICTION:CRYSTAL PALACE 2-1 WEST HAM
MIDDLESBROUGH VS WATFORD
Newly promoted Boro team have been quite impressive so far. They were away to West Ham utd in week 7 at the Olympic stadium and drew 1-1, a game,which they could have won, if not for Dimitri Payet’s late equalizer. Coach Karanka would want his team to build with such momentum playing against a good Watford side.
Watford had a tough encounter in week 7 before the international break. They had to come back into the game twice, to salvage a 2-2 draw. Walter Materrazi knows his team can get all three points this weekend, though it could be difficult. Goals from both teams looks certain.
PREDICTION:MIDDLESBROUGH 1-1 WATFORD
SOUTHAMPTON VS BURNLEY
It all started poorly for the South Coast side, picking up just two
points from their opening four games. However, there’s been an upturn in form and fortunes for the Saints as they’re unbeaten in their last four PL games, and seven games in all competitions. What’s more interesting about this run, is that they’re yet to concede in these seven games. Virgil Van Dijk and Jose Fonte have been superb in the centre of defence while Ryan Bertrand and Cedric Soares have also contributed their own quota in the full back area, as well as Cuco Martina when called upon to deputise in place of Cedric Soares.
Charlie Austin is a man on form, having scored five goals during this run. He’s expected to continue in attack alongside Nathan Redmond while Shane Long should find himself back on the bench despite scoring and breaking his 15 match rot in front of goal for club and country, in Republic of Ireland’s 3-1 win over Moldova in the World Cup qualifiers on Monday. Dusan Tadic is expected to start behind both fowards, with Jordy Clasie, Steven Davies and James Ward-Prowse all starting in central midfield.
Their visitors this weekend, Burnley, come into this game on the back of a last gasp 1-0 defeat to Arsenal at Turf Moor. They had defended well and contained the Gunners till a questionable goal in stoppage time denied them a point. They’re one of the division’s lowest scorers this season with a paltry five goals in seven matches. Andre Gray serves the third of his four match ban as a result of his homophobic comments in 2012. The vistors are unlikely to find any joy in this match considering their miserly attack that has struggled to get goals. A foward line of Johan-Berg Gudmunsson, Sam Voakes and George Boyd is unlikely to pose too much of a threat to a Saints backline, while the Saints should have too much in attack for the Clarets centre back pairing of Ben Mee and Michael Keane.
Expect an easy win, plus a clean sheet for the home side.
PREDICTION: SOUTHAMPTON 3-0 BURNLEY
LIVERPOOL VS MANCHESTER UNITED
Liverpool and United head into their clash in different form, with the former having won each of their last four matches and the latter winning just one of their last four.
The Red Devils need to rediscover their momentum quickly or they could find themselves lagging behind their title rivals even further. They could hardly have picked a worse opponent against whom to do that. Aside from the pressures brought on by the two clubs’ bitter rivalry and by playing at Anfield, the Reds have been simply excellent this season. Sky Sports revealed the impact manager Jurgen Klopp has had on the side.
It’s been a whole year since Jurgen Klopp became Liverpool manger. The Anfield side is steadily being moulded in his image, and Liverpool now outrun and out-tackle their opponents before attacking in swarms and overwhelming the opposition. Even their creative players are buying into their pressing approach, per Bleacher Report UK’s Philippe Coutinho made more successful tackles (5) and key passes (4) than any other Liverpool player against Swansea.
Liverpool have scored 18 goals this term, the joint-highest total in the league, while United have had mixed fortunes they bagged four against Leicester in a thrilling display before wasting countless opportunities against Stoke as they drew 1-1.
Football writer Liam Canning noted as much:
Man Utd should’ve scored 4 goals in the first 30 minutes and been out of sight. Nothing Mourinho could’ve done – abysmal in front of goal.
The Red Devils haven’t kept a clean sheet in their last four matches, and Liverpool haven’t at all this season, so goals from both sides seems likely especially if United can take their chances this time.
PREDICTION:LIVERPOOL 2-2 MANCHESTER UNITED
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