Premier League Preview Week 59 min read
This weekend’s Premier League action begins at the Vitality Stadium Bournemouth on Friday evening. This weeks fixtures includes the return of Manchester United’s all-time record goalscorer Wayne Rooney to Old Trafford.
Bournemouth v Brighton
Bournemouth have lost their first four PL games of the season but they were, arguably, unlucky not to get a point against Manchester City at the Vitality Stadium in their last home game and I think they can edge past a Brighton side who were good value for their win against West Brom last weekend.
Whilst this is still very early in the season, it is perhaps worth pointing out – and hardly surprising – that the last two sides who lost their first five games of the campaign (Pompey 2009/10 and Sunderland 2005/06) were relegated.
I take Eddie Howe’s side to pick up a much-needed three points.
Michael’s recommendation: Bournemouth to win
Crystal Palace v Southampton
I must admit I was surprised with the timing of the sacking of Frank de Boer earlier in the week after the former Ajax boss was replaced after just four games in charge at Selhurst Park.
I might be mistaken but I don’t think Sam Allardyce pulled up many trees at the beginning of his tenure with the Eagles, but he successfully guided them to safety last season. I thought the appointment of the former Ajax boss might herald the beginning of a new dawn and a different style of play at Selhurst Park this season – but it would appear not.
It is a bold decision to replace him with the former England manager Roy Hodgson who has had his share of successful managerial spells in club football in England.
Palace haven’t scored a PL goal so far this season and Hodgson will want to get off to a flying start against the Saints given his next three PL games are against United, City and Chelsea!
Welcome back Roy.
Michael’s recommendation: Both Teams To Score at
Roy Hodgson has been appointed as the new manager of Crystal Palace FC
— Crystal Palace F.C. (H) (@CPFC) September 12, 2017
Huddersfield v Leicester City
Newly-promoted Huddersfield have yet to concede a goal in the PL in their two home games so far this season but that may be about to change.
Leicester have lost to Arsenal, United and Chelsea so far this season but were too good for another of last season’s promoted teams Brighton sandwiched in between and I expect the Foxes to “rule to roost” against the Terriers at the weekend.
Michael’s recommendation: Leicester to win at
Liverpool v Burnley
Burnley may have been flattered to beat Palace last weekend and I’m not yet convinced that the Clarets are the much-improved side their results at Chelsea and Spurs last month would suggest.
The Reds will have to do without Sadio Mane through suspension but Philippe Coutinho was back in the fold against Sevilla in the Champions League midweek and I expect to see the Reds get back to winning ways and collect a third successive clean sheet in the PL at Anfield this term.
Michael’s recommendation: Liverpool to win to nil
Newcastle v Stoke City
The hosts will be looking to win three PL games on the run for the first time in nearly three years, but Stoke are unbeaten in their last four and will be hard to beat – I believe they will get a point at St James’s Park.
Michael’s recommendation: Game to finish in a draw at
Watford v Manchester City
Unbeaten Watford will go top-of-the-table if they beat City at Vicarage Road and the Hornets have not conceded a league goal since the opening day of the season. City have kept back-to-back clean sheets, themselves, against Liverpool and in Rotterdam in the Champions League midweek and have looked irresistible at times so far this term going forward.
I am an admirer of Watford coach Marco Silva and the team he is building at Vicarage Road – but this will be a stern test of how far they have come in such a short time under their new coach.
Michael’s recommendation: City to win and BTTS at
West Brom v West Ham
It was great to see Andy Carroll back for West Ham against Huddersfield earlier in the week and it goes without saying that the Hammers are a much better side with the striker fit and firing on all cylinders.
Gareth Barry will become the first player in the history of the PL to start 600 games if he gets the nod from manager Tony Pulis at the Hawthorns and that is an extraordinary achievement. Indeed, one that may never be broken.
It may be an unforgettable game for the former England midfielder but I’m not convinced it will be a great spectacle for the neutral and don’t expect to see many goals.
Michael’s recommendation: Under 2.5 goals at
Tottenham v Swansea
Spurs showed that Wembley holds no fears for them by beating Dortmund in the Champions League on Wednesday although they need to back that up against Swans given they have only picked up one point from their two PL games played at the home of English football this season.
Dele Alli missed the tie against the Bundesliga outfit through suspension and he is taken to find the back of the Swans’ net at Wembley having missed a couple of gilt-edged opportunities against Everton last weekend.
Michael’s recommendation: Dele Alli to score anytime at
Chelsea v Arsenal
Arsenal have lost their last five at Stamford Bridge in the PL although they did beat the champions in both the FA Cup Final and Community Shield, albeit on penalties, in recent months. I am not convinced Antonio Conte and his side will have taken those losses too well and I expect to see the Blues sweep the Gunners aside.
Arsene Wenger’s team have not picked up a point or scored a goal in their two games on the road so far this season but at least we know they cannot play as badly as they did at Anfield in their last away game!
Michael’s recommendation: Chelsea to win at
Manchester United v Everton
I am sure Wayne Rooney will receive a warm reception at Old Trafford as befits the return of the club’s all-time leading goalscorer. Rooney has scored Everton’s two goals in the PL so far this season and Ronald Koeman’s side have only had seven shots on target which is worrying if not alarming for this new-look Blues outfit.
The game also sees in-form Romelu Lukaku face his old club for the first time and I can’t see past a comfortable home win despite the absence of the influential Paul Pogba from the United midfield.
Michael’s recommendation: United to lead at halftime/fulltime at
Michael’s weekend wager: Bournemouth, Chelsea and Manchester United at