After the International break, Michael Owen is back with his Premier League preview.
Crystal Palace v Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur to win 1-0
It’s nine points from nine for Tottenham Hotspur as the Londoners sit pretty at the top of the Premier League. After such a turbulent transfer window, as well as the lengthy process in finding a new manager, who would have guessed they would hit the ground running like this?
Palace are also under new management, although fortunes haven’t been as kind for Patrick Viera. Their 2-2 draw away to West Ham was a decent enough point to take, but they’ll have to start getting more on the board to calm some nerves.
This could be tight. I can see Spurs being patient and possibly playing in their counter-attack style which usually brings out the best in Messrs Kane and Son.
With that in mind, I am going for Spurs to notch yet another 1-0 win.
Arsenal v Norwich City
Arsenal to win 3-0
Rock-bottom Arsenal welcome Norwich to the Emirates in a must win match. Anything other than that could be fatal for Mikel Arteta. Both these sides have had tricky opening fixtures, however, neither manager will be happy with zero points registered.
For Arsenal, the international break may have helped their players get over the thrashing they endured at the Etihad. It simply wasn’t good enough. That said, the Arsenal should be taking care of business here, and if Arteta can galvanise his troops, I think they’ll win.
It’s 3-0 to the Gunners for me.
Brentford v Brighton
Game to finish 1-1
I’m really looking forward to this. Two bright sides that like to play football go head-to-head here and I think both will go into this believing they can get all three points.
It’s been a great start for the Bees. Undefeated thus far, they look like they could have a decent season. Ivan Toney got his first Premier League goal against Villa two weeks ago. He’ll be a huge player for Brentford this season as a natural goalscorer is priceless in today’s game.
I had many a good word to say about Brighton last year and although they played well over the course, they just couldn’t put the ball in the net. This time round they’ve started well, but I’m still surprised they haven’t brought in a striker.
I’m expecting a tight one here. Generally, Brighton don’t give too much away, however, on this occasion, I think there’s too much of a feel-good factor around Brentford for the Seagulls to go there and win.
I’m going for the points to be shared in a 1-1 draw.
Leicester City v Manchester City
Manchester City to win 3-1
Traditionally, this has been a tricky fixture for Manchester City. The Foxes came out on top in the Charity Shield at Wembley last month, so I think Brendan Rodgers will be quietly confident his side can take something.
City on the other hand have dished out two severe beatings to Norwich, and most recently, Arsenal. Their opening day defeat to Spurs feels like a distant memory now, with any concerns about lack of goals in the team squashed in those matches.
Whilst I think Leicester will score here, I reckon City have the bit between their teeth. Jack Grealish is really growing into his new role, and I think he could make things happen in a City win.
Manchester United v Newcastle United
Manchester United to win 2-0
The Cristiano Ronaldo show rolls into Manchester once again as the prodigal son looks set to make his second debut for United. Will he start? Well, that remains to be seen.
United scraped a win away to Wolves two weeks ago as they continued to break records on the road. Back at Old Trafford, they’ll want to make it a fortress this season. They’ll have to if they’re serious about challenging for the title.
For Newcastle, I expect the Magpies to finish around mid-table. Unfortunately, going to places like this and getting a result is probably just out of reach for them at the minute, and with such a buzz about Old Trafford just now, I can only see one winner.
Southampton v West Ham United
West Ham United to win 2-1
West Ham have picked up where they left off last season, earning two wins and a draw from their first three matches. Michail Antonio’s start to the season has been electric. On that form, he’ll be a handful for any defence this season.
Winless Southampton took a point from their first home match this season, against Manchester United, a decent result in anyone’s book.
However, the departure of Danny Ings means they could struggle for goals this campaign, and I think they may just come up short against a West Ham side that have proven time-and-time again they are more than capable of winning these types of matches.
Watford v Wolves
Wolves to win 1-0
Wolves’ fans must’ve been scratching their heads after their 1-0 home defeat to Manchester United two weeks ago. They created loads of chances, only to be caught out with a sucker punch late in the game.
They travel to Vicarage Road to play Premier League new boys Watford who, despite a great opening day result, need a win after back-to-back defeats.
This could be tight. Neither side seem to be in goalscoring form, although if Wolves continue to create chances, I think taking one would be enough here.
Chelsea v Aston Villa
Chelsea to win 3-1
Despite playing much of the match at Anfield with 10-men, Chelsea came away with an admirable point. On reflection, it wasn’t a massive surprise as Thomas Tuchel has his side magnificently organised. It’s
hard to see them not winning here, Lukaku seems to be the final piece of the jigsaw, giving them a machine-like presence on the pitch.
Villa will need to be ruthless on the counter and play a perfect game defensively if they are to get anything. Honestly, I think a result’s just out of their reach here, so it’s a home win for me.
Leeds United v Liverpool
Liverpool to win 2-1
Last season’s great entertainers, Leeds, welcome Liverpool to Elland Road in what looks like a cracking contest on paper.
Bielsa’s men will no doubt be full of energy, meaning Liverpool may have to be patient early on. It’s great to watch Leeds, and when their gameplan comes off, it must be applauded. That said, they could play into Liverpool’s hands here. Come at the Reds and they have all the tools to take you apart. This is one game where I can definitely see goals, and I think it’ll be the Reds that take the points back to Merseyside.
Everton v Burnley
Everton to win 2-0
It’s been a decent start to life under Rafa Benitez for Everton. Seven points from their first three games is more than satisfactory, and up against Burnley at home, Toffees fans will be confident of adding another three points to their tally.
Burnley, much like last season, have been rather shot-shy, once again reliant on being well organised and hard to break down.
These are the types of matches where the Clarets are usually more than capable of picking something up, however, Everton look to have stepped it up a notch under Benitez and with Dominic Calvert-Lewin in good goalscoring form, I’m expecting the points to stay at home.