Premier League Preview: Week 88 min read
The Premier League returns this weekend with Liverpool entertaining Manchester United in one of the most eagerly anticipated games of the season.
Liverpool v Manchester United
The Reds are without a win in their last six in the Premier League against United although they did knock them out of the Europa League back in the 2015-16 season. Jose Mourinho’s side “parked the bus” in the corresponding game last season, have only conceded in one league game so far this term and I don’t expect they will play an expansive game on Saturday.
Liverpool will play the only way they know at Anfield and that is to attack and it promises to be a fascinating game. Romelu Lukaku has scored seven times in his first seven PL games for United and no player has scored eight times in their first eight PL games for the club. The Belgium striker never scored at Anfield when playing in Merseyside derbies for Everton but, with the greatest of respect to the Blues, this will be the best side he has taken the field with against the Reds.
United will be without both Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini through injury although likely replacement Ander Herrera is an able deputy. The game will be played in a white-hot Anfield atmosphere and I cannot split the sides.
Tip: Game to finish in a draw
Burnley v West Ham
Burnley remain unbeaten on the road this season and they played very well, albeit against a disappointing Everton, at Goodison ahead of the international break. The Hammers continue to struggle for goals but did gain a valuable and much-needed home win against Swansea last time.
A game I think that could go either way – although I don’t expect to see many goals at Turf Moor.
Tip: Under 2.5 goals
Crystal Palace v Chelsea
Palace will become the first side to lose nine successive games without scoring a goal in the history of the Premier League if they lose and fail to find the back of the net against Chelsea. The champions have actually failed to score in two of their last three PL games, themselves, and they were well beaten by leaders and title favourites Manchester City at Stamford Bridge last time.
It is hard to see where the goals will come from for the Eagles with Christian Benteke on the sidelines although Roy Hodgson will be hoping that the talented Wilfried Zaha might play some part. Zaha has been out injured since the opening day of the season and has been badly missed by Palace, but this might be another barren afternoon for Hodgson’s side.
Tip: Chelsea to win to nil
Manchester City v Stoke City
City were excellent at Stamford Bridge last time and I can’t see past another emphatic home win for Pep Guardiola’s side who have won their last two home league games 5-0. City might not stick another five past the Potters’, but I expect them to be far too good for Mark Hughes’s side.
Tip: City -2 on the handicap
Swansea v Huddersfield
Huddersfield have failed to score in their last three games and Swansea have only had 11 shots on target so far this season. Those stats suggest we are unlikely to see a classic at what is likely to be a nervous Liberty Stadium. There is every chance that if we do see a goal it might be enough to take all three points.
Tip: Under 1.5 goals
Tottenham v Bournemouth
Spurs have yet to win at home in the league so far this season but they must surely break their Wembley duck sooner rather than later. Incredibly, Harry Kane’s last 13 PL goals have all come away from home, but he and Spurs are too good to maintain those unenviable records for long.
Tip: Spurs to win and both team to score
Watford v Arsenal
Arsenal haven’t scored on the road in their three PL games so far this term and, whilst I think they will find the back of the Watford net, I think they might have to settle for a point at Vicarage Road against a progressive Hornets’ side.
Watford are another side with a better record away from home so far this season, but Marco Silva is a manager I have a lot of time for and I expect the hosts to get at least a point against the Gunners.
Tip: Watford Double chance – draw or win
Brighton v Everton
Everton have only scored six times in their last 12 PL games and they looked devoid of confidence in front of their own supporters against Burnley last time. It is possible that they will play with more freedom on the south coast, but the Seagulls were good value for their home win against Newcastle in their last game at the Amex and I think they will get a draw against Ronald Koeman’s side.
Tip: Game to finish 1-1
Southampton v Newcastle
Southampton have failed to score in eight of their last nine PL games at St Mary’s and I am surprised they are such short-priced favourites against a Newcastle side who looked well organised and disciplined when getting a point at home to Liverpool last time.
Tip: Newcastle Double Chance – draw or win
Leicester City v West Brom
Jamie Vardy was left out of the England squad for their recent World Cup qualifiers, but he has scored five times in his six PL games so far this season and he might be the difference between the sides at the King Power.
Tip: Jamie Vardy to score anytime
Hot Tip of the PL Weekend:
Manchester City, Spurs and Chelsea all to win
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