If you would have read through my Blog so far you wouldn’t have thought that Football is my favourite sport, but it is. I am probably the most unconventional fan in the world a Fulham Fan from Manchester I know it’s ridiculous isn’t it? Anyway here are my highlighted games for this weekends action, my previews and predictions.
Arsenal Vs Middlesborough
This patch of form is the best I have seen Arsenal play in 4 years since Feb- March 2012. They seem to have finally gotten past all the things that football fans call “Typical Arsenal” and have managed to pick up results where they previously may not have done. As much as I hate this cliche they are showing a lot more character and backbone picking up points against big and small sides for example a couple of years ago I would have put my house on Arsenal blowing a 3-2 lead with 10 men against Swansea with 20 minutes to go.
Boro on the other hand are having a hard time having lost 3 home games on the bounce for the first time since 2009 and have almost equalled the number of goals they conceded at home all of last season in only 8 games. New arrivals haven’t been anywhere near up to standard most notably Alvaro Negredo scoring only 1 goal since he came to the Riverside over the summer.
My prediction: Arsenal 3-0 Middlesbrough
Bournemouth vs Tottenham Hotspur
Could be a tricky one for Spurs in my opinion especially if Danny Rose isn’t fit in time as Toby Aldeweireld will not be available for selection as well. After a frustrating game against West Brom last week and Bournemouth riding a high after Hammering Hull 6-1 there could be an upset waiting to happen.
My Prediction Spurs 1-1 Bournemouth
Burnley vs Everton
Similarly to Arsenal, Everton seem to have shaken off their inability to grind out results as they have been very impressive so far this season picking up a point at the Etihad last weekend with ex-Fulham man Maarten Stekelenburg taking all the plaudits in that one however with no wins in their last 3 has this good start started to fade? I don’t think so and I think Everton will walk away from Turf Moor with all 3 points. However don’t write off Burnley. Ask Evertons Merseyside neighbours and they will tell you Turf Moor is a tough ground to go to as Liverpool were beaten 2-0 earlier this season. Burnley unfortunately are not good enough to get results like that consistently therefore I predict they will lose this one
My prediction Burnley 0-2 Everton
Hull Vs Stoke.
Is there 2 teams in the league that have had seasons that have started more differently? Stoke started poorly and Mark Hughes looked set to lose his job however a recent resurrection led by the so called “Welsh Jesus” Joe Allen has led to them being unbeated in 3 including an impressive point at Old Trafford. Hull on the other hand started out as everyones prediction to finish bottom of the league however they started brilliantly beating the Champions on the opening day and following that up with a win against Swansea and a good performance in a loss against Manchester United. However that has all changed at Hull having shipped in 17 goals in their last 4 Premier League games more goals could be on the menu this weekend.
My prediction Hull 1-3 Stoke
Leicester vs Crystal Palace
Astonishingly after their midweek in against Copenhagen Leicester now have more points in the Champions League than they do in the Premier League. Leicester come into this game with no wins in their last 3 games and the champions are looking back to their old selves after being thumped by United and Chelsea.
Palace are doing much better than I expected at the start of the season sitting in 9th place however they have had quite an easy run so far so I still expect them to falter later on in the season. This game will hopefully see Leicester come good and return to the results they were picking up last season as every football fan in the country wants to see them do well.
My prediction Leicester 2-0 Crystal Palace
Swansea vs Watford
The Swans come into their second game under Bob Bradley looking to pick up their first win since the opening day. I think Swansea could do a job on Watford today as they looked impressive in Bradleys first game even though they lost to Arsenal. To be honest Swansea have one of the weakest squads in the league and Bob Bradley will have a huge job on his hands if he wants to get them to mid table however I’m predicting them to win today against Watford as a new manager often bring a change in form.
Watford got there first clean sheet in 13 games last week against Middlesbrough and that stat could be very telling as the season progresses. With goals coming in different places than you would expect so far for Watford this season with Ettiene Capoue surprisingly leading the charts with 4 goals, you have to question how long can this continue? Ighalo and Deeney scored 28 goals between them last season but have only gotten 4 as a partnership this season with one of those being a penalty. Capoue and Holebas surely will stop scoring soon and if Deeney, Ighalo and new boy Isaac Success don’t find their shooting boots Watford could be in trouble with a very shaky defence that was highlighted in their 2-0 loss to Burnley earlier this season.
West Ham vs Sunderland
Two teams that have been terrible this season with lack of a better word. West Ham were tipped by many as top 4 contenders after Dimitri Payet was one of the best players in the league last year and carried his form on into the Euros. However life at the London Stadium hasn’t started well at all for the Hammers finding themselves in 15th after 8 games with an abysmal -8 goal difference and embarrassingly being knocked out of the Europa League by FC Astra for the second year in a row. Injuries to Ayew and Carroll early on in the season hasn’t helped but that is no excuse for conceding 4 goals to both Watford and West Brom. The return of Aaron Cresswell may improve their defence but Angelo Ogbonna looks like more of a liability every time I watch him.
The good news for West Ham fans is that they are coming up against Sunderland. Their start is one of the worst in football history not just Premier League history picking up 2 points from 8 games. Relying on players who are past it or players who never even had it Sunderland’s squad is weak to say the least with minimal movement in the transfer market in the summer The Black Cats look destined for relegation. But how many times have we all said that in the past 5 years? Sunderland always seem to dig themselves out of these holes but for me this year may be the year they finally go down.
My Prediction West Ham 3-2 Sunderland
Liverpool Vs West Brom
1 year after Jurgen Klopp took charge at Liverpool and their fans are the most optimistic I have seen them in a long time. People questioned the signing of Sadio Mane for £34 million however he has been one of the players of the season so far. Players proving doubters wrong is going on throughout the Liverpool squad, with Henderson, Milner and Mane all being very impressive so far it has everyone asking how far can they go this season? Personally I reckon they will be battling with Spurs, Manchester United and Chelsea for the 3rd and 4th place spots. But you never know If Sturridge can hit top form the sky is the limit for this side and with no European obligations Klopp could lead them to some silverware this season.
West Brom are never going to make waves in the League especially under Tony Pulis they will happily be a team that finishes 10-15th every year with the occasional 1-0 win against a big club to keep the fans happy. To be fair to West Brom they do have some good players such as Nacer Chadli and Matt Phillips as well as having quite a strong defence for a lower mid table side. As every Premier League fan knows whenever you come up against a Tony Pulis team it always has the potential to be “One of those days.” Averaging 40% posession so far this season is very telling they don’t need a lot of the ball to cause you problems. As shown by them drawing 1-1 with Spurs last week, if they get a 1-0 lead you are going to struggle to win the game from that point.
My Prediction Liverpool 2-0 West Brom