The Premier League is getting ready for another blockbuster gameweek of football.
The highlight of these midweek round of fixtures is a titanic clash on Saturday evening as Chelsea will host Champions Manchester City. That comes at the end of a day that will begin on the south coast as Liverpool will be looking to beat Bournemouth and go top of the league (for a while, at least). Meanwhile Manchester United will play Fulham as José Mourinho looks for his first win in four. Sunday sees Newcastle host Wolves whilst the gameweek ends with Everton taking on Watford at Goodison Park.
We’ve had a look at the fixtures and had two of the Squawka team come up with predictions:
Bournemouth vs. Liverpool
Muhammad Butt: Liverpool aren’t playing brilliantly right now but they seem to be grinding out results. That said, the Cherries are back in the saddle and with a colossal Champions League clash against Napoli on their minds, Liverpool could slip up on the south coast. 1-1 draw.
Evan Smith: Bournemouth stopped the rot of 4 defeats on the bounce in their last match against Huddersfield and Liverpool battled from behind well against Burnley on Wednesday. That aside, this will be a tough game – Liverpool are enjoying their best ever start to a Premier League season and I think they can get the job done against Bournemouth. 2-1 Liverpool.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Callum Wilson has now scored eight goals this season after 15 games, as many as he managed in 28 games last season.
Arsenal vs. Huddersfield
MB: Arsenal are roaring right now; only a couple of epic defensive collapses let United back into proceedings at Old Trafford. As long as they have enough fit players to form a starting XI, they’ll have too much potency for Huddersfield even with their leaky back-line. 4-2 Arsenal.
ES: Unbeaten in 20 games Arsenal should be too good for Huddersfield on Saturday. They don’t usually keep clean sheets this season though. 3-1 Arsenal.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the only player to reach double figures for goals scored this season. He has the best minutes per goal ratio amongst players to have played at least 10 games this season (112.6).
Burnley vs. Brighton
MB: Burnley were unlucky against Liverpool and you’d figure them to have an advantage against a Brighton side that have won just two of their last away games; but those two came in their last four and Burnley haven’t won since September. 1-1 draw.
ES: This fixture finished goalless on both occasions last season so we are due goals in this one, Brighton alone have scored five goals in their last two games (and won both). I fancy Brighton to win three consecutive matches for the first time in the Premier League. 1-2 Brighton.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Florin Andone has scored two goals from two shots on target in Brighton’s last two games.
Cardiff vs. Southampton
MB: Spurs smacked the Saints silly and even with new manager Ralph Hasenhuttl in charge, it’s unlikely they can effect too quick of a turnaround against a stodgy Cardiff side who have won their last two home games. 2-2 draw.
ES: Southampton are winless in 11, the longest active streak in the league this season. Now Ralph Hasenhuttl is in charge, it would be typical for that new manager bounce to happen. Fulham for example were winless in nine and then won in Ranieri’s first game in charge. 1-2 Southampton.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Nathan Redmond has completed more take-ons than any other Premier League player this season (39).
Manchester United vs. Fulham
MB: Manchester United are bad and they should feel bad. José Mourinho seems to be hanging around out of sheer spite and avarice at this point, meanwhile United’s leadership don’t want to have to pay him to leave but a humiliating home loss would be the push they need. Ranieri is slowly turning Fulham around and the footballing fates will allow the wonderful Italian to get Mourinho sacked for the second time after turfing him out of Chelsea almost exactly three years ago. 1-2 Fulham.
ES: Manchester United have drawn their last three games but this seems like the game to break this deadlock since Fulham have lost their last six away games and have also lost 18 of 23 Premier League meetings with this weekend’s opponents. 2-1 United.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Jean Michael Seri has created eight chances since Claudio Ranieri took over, more than any other player from either side has managed in the last three games.
West Ham vs. Crystal Palace
MB: West Ham are playing well right now, but they’re still West Ham so you know calamity can’t be too far away. A winnable home game against a struggling Crystal Palace has “shock defeat!” written all over it. 1-2 Palace.
ES: West Ham are creating more chances and picking up wins in the process. Crystal Palace are reliant on Zaha and he hasn’t scored in his last nine so its difficult to look past West Ham in this one. 2-0 West Ham.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Robert Snodgrass created six chances for West Ham on Tuesday, no Premier League player created more during the last round of fixtures.
Chelsea vs. Manchester City
MB: City suffered a scare away to Watford but were utterly resplendent for most of the match. Meanwhile the veneer has come off Chelsea and it’s now clear they’re a side in development. City should produce a powerful and polished display to batter the Blues off the pitch. 1-3 City.
ES: In their last four games Chelsea have picked up 4 points from a possible 12 and seem to have quickly lost the form of their brilliant start to the season. Man City however are still flying high unbeaten and also unbeaten in their last 14 away games, a run stretching back to last season. Guardiola has won each of his last three games against Chelsea in all competitions and I think it will be a similar case on Saturday. 1-2 City.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Leroy Sané has been directly involved in at least one goal in each of his eight Premier League starts this season.
Leicester vs. Spurs
MB: Spurs rebounded from their North London Derby defeat midweek, and with Harry Kane’s penchant for hammering Leicester in addition to his general form (four in his last five), the likely outcome of this match is a Spurs win. 2-0 Spurs.
ES: Leicester approach this fixture in decent form. They are unbeaten in their last six games in the Premier League. But I fancy Spurs to win mainly because Harry Kane loves scoring against Leicester. 1-3 Spurs.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Harry Kane has scored more goals against Leicester (13), than any other side he has faced in the Premier League.
Newcastle vs. Wolves
MB: Newcastle snatched a draw at Goodison Park but Nuno will have Wolves riding high after their win over Chelsea. The Premier League newcomers should return to their September form and roll over Newcastle. 1-0 Wolves.
ES: Newcastle have a bad home record – they’ve lost six of their eight Premier League games at St James Park. Wolves will be buoyed by their brilliant win against Chelsea and should pick up the points here. 2-1 Wolves.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Raul Jimenez scored his first goal from open play since mid-September but he has been directly involved in 53% of goals that Wolves have scored this season.
Everton vs. Watford
MB: Everton have been playing well lately even though their results have been mixed. They seem set to smack someone around and despite their almost-comeback against Manchester City, Watford will probably be the unlucky victims. 3-0 Everton.
ES: Everton’s home record against Watford and also their record from home this season are impressive. They are unbeaten at home since mid-September and have won each time they have faced Watford at home in the league. It’s difficult to look past Everton in this one. 2-0 Everton
PLAYER TO WATCH: Lucas Digne has completed more crosses from open play than any other player (15) and created more chances than any other defender (28).