Harry’s Picks: Week Four7 min read
United to pile on Palace misery
Only champions Manchester City let us down last week so we will look to go one better this weekend. Neighbours Manchester United have started their season reasonably well and will be happy with four points from two difficult fixtures. Wolves made life difficult for the Red Devils on Monday at Molineux and only a missed penalty from Paul Pogba prevented maximum points heading back up the M6.
United are back on home soil at Old Trafford this Saturday when they host Crystal Palace. Chelsea were put to the sword 4-0 there on opening day and it’s hard to see the Eagles troubling United.
Palace look short of firepower and have yet to score in their opening fixtures. A first day goalless draw with Everton was followed by a narrow 1-0 loss at promoted Sheffield United but they have looked very shot-shy and it’s hard to see them improving in Manchester.
United appear to have spent wisely in the summer with Aaron Wan Bissaka and Harry Maguire strengthening last year’s shaky rearguard. Daniel James looks an astute and cheap purchase from Swansea in midfield whilst without recruiting a new strike force, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford look to be forging a promising partnership upfront.
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Foxes to start firing
Leicester have opened up with consecutive draws from two tough fixtures and after a blank goalless affair with Wolves, looked fairly strong when forcing a 1-1 stalemate at Chelsea last Sunday. They purchased exciting attacking men in Youri Tielemans and Ayoze Perez in the summer and, with star forward Jamie Vardy still at the club, look to have a squad capable of challenging for a top eight berth. They make the short trip up to South Yorkshire to face Sheffield United and after the Blades’ decent start, we are getting a better price than we would have hoped on the Foxes.
Like many promoted teams, Sheffield are certainly playing with a fight and passion but having the quality to sustain a full season often counts against clubs like them. There is no disputing their first two games were excellent performances resulting in them accumulating four points. However, Leicester present a step up in class and I feel with an obligation to attack at Bramhall Lane, this will play right into City’s hands and they can be clinical on the break and run out winners.
Anfield agony awaits Arsenal again
Liverpool entertain Arsenal in the late tea time game and this is a clash between the top two teams who are on maximum points so something will have to give at Anfield. Pool were rampant in dispatching Norwich 4-1 on opening night and followed up with a narrow 2-1 win on the south coast at Southampton.
The Gunners have beaten Newcastle and Burnley, who are both expected to be involved in relegation battles, so a trip to Merseyside represents a much tougher assignment. Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang still give the North London outfit plenty of firepower but I am not convinced they can match up with the reds elsewhere and it will take a huge effect to stop a third straight Liverpool success which I confidently expect.
Bottom vs top in the Championship
Leeds United were unlucky to miss out on promotion last season and once manager Marcelo Bielsa committed himself to the club again the money began to pour in for the Whites to lift the Championship title.
Leeds have made a useful start and currently sit at the summit and even shorter favourites for the crown. They are unbeaten and after a comfortable 2-0 away win at Wigan last Saturday, a big Elland Road crowd saw them defeat Brentford 1-0 on Wednesday evening with new loan signing from Arsenal Edward Nketiah bagging the winner after coming off the bench.
United visit crisis club Stoke next who are bottom of the section with manager Nathan Jones under severe pressure. I fully expect that to intensify after another defeat with free-flowing Leeds having far too much class and firepower for an underachieving Potteries outfit.
Rangers can add to Wigan woes
QPR host Wigan in a battle of two clubs who find themselves towards the foot of the table, but it’s the Londoners who have the stronger squad and potential to move away from the relegation zone. They suffered a setback when early pace setters Swansea ran out 3-1 winners at Loftus Road in midweek but in Jordan Hugill, who netted the consolation against the Swans, have a forward who should have a successful season back at this level and he can enjoy himself against this visiting backline.
Wigan have lost four on the bounce in all competitions and arrive low on confidence. The Hoops, therefore, have an ideal opportunity to bounce back and start climbing the table.
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