We’re approaching yet another blockbuster gameweek of Premier League football.
Everyone is back in action and the weekend kicks off with Crystal Palace hosting Brighton. The 3pm kick-offs will see Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle look to get back to winning ways by getting one over Everton whilst Spurs travel down to play Southampton. Meanwhile in the evening, Manchester City will look to push ahead in the title race as they play Watford.
Sunday starts with Liverpool hosting Burnley followed by Chelsea facing Wolves. Then the weekend’s main event is in-form Manchester United heading down to London to take on Arsenal in a huge top four clash.
We’ve had two of our team have a look at the fixtures and come up with some predictions.
Crystal Palace vs. Brighton
Muhammad Butt: Palace are in great form and will be looking to get one over on Brighton for beating them early in the season. The Seagulls are a win-one-lose-one team right now and as they won their last match, expect the Eagles to strike them down. 2-1 Palace.
Steve Jennings: Palace have had more luck on the road than at home in recent months, but the chance to get revenge on their rivals after losing the reverse fixture, and to all but seal their place in the Premier League for next season, should be enough to inspire a victory. 2-0 Palace.
Player to watch: Michy Batshuayi has scored 2 goals in 3 starts and will be looking for his first strike at Selhurst Park.
Cardiff vs. West Ham
MB: Time was, this was the exact kind of fixture where West Ham would come unstuck against a dogged opponent but the Hammers are a proper football team now who know how to navigate winnable games. Cardiff have lost three on the spin, expect it to be four. 0-2 West Ham.
Steve Jennings: Cardiff have conceded ten goals and scored just once in their last three outings, including 5-1 and 3-0 home defeats to Watford and Everton respectively. They simply must turn that form around if they are to stay up, but West Ham will prove tough opposition. 1-1 draw.
Player to watch: Felipe Anderson has created more chances (51) and completed more dribbles (60) than any other West Ham player this season.
Huddersfield vs. Bournemouth
MB: Bournemouth have lost four out of the last five and are tumbling down the table but they will have enough quality to stop the rot at Huddersfield and come away with a point. 1-1 draw.
Steve Jennings: Bournemouth are one of the Premier League’s most unpredictable teams, so it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see them fall to a fifth defeat in six at Huddersfield. But the Terriers’ lack of goals should allow the Cherries to snatch a point. 1-1 draw.
Player to watch: Ryan Fraser has more assists (9) than all but one player in the Premier League this season.
Leicester vs. Fulham
MB: New manager bounce vs. caretaker manager bounce… which do you back? Fulham looked nice under Parker against Chelsea but Brendan Rodgers is working with a seriously talented side so with a week of prep they should see off the Cottagers. 3-1 Leicester.
Steve Jennings: With the Premier League’s two newest managers having painfully lost their opening games in charge, both will be desperate for the points this weekend. Leicester’s home advantage should see them through. 2-0 Leicester.
Player to watch: Jamie Vardy has a 100% shot conversion rate (1 shot, 1 goal) so far under Brendan Rodgers.
Newcastle vs. Everton
MB: This was a draw back in December and Newcastle will be eager to get back on the horse after their West Ham defeat but Everton proved against Liverpool that they’re capable of some impressive football, so they will just sneak this one. 0-1 Everton.
Steve Jennings: Marco Silva has alleviated the pressure on his shoulders somewhat with four points from his last two games. Newcastle’s fine form ended in disappointing fashion at West Ham, but I can see them bouncing back here. 1-0 Newcastle.
Player to watch: Miguel Almiron has created more chances per 90 minutes (3.01) than any other Newcastle player this season.
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Southampton vs. Tottenham
MB: Harry Kane is back scoring and Jan Vertonghen has come over all Gandalf in Moria. Southampton are an admirable side and will fight hard but Spurs should have enough to sneak it on the south coast. 1-2 Spurs.
Steve Jennings: As long as Tottenham can keep things tights at the back – as they did against Borussia Dortmund in midweek – they should be able to snatch a valuable winner at the other end against the Saints. 0-1 Spurs.
Player to watch: Harry Kane has scored six goals in his last four games against Southampton.
Manchester City vs. Watford
MB: Manchester City are a very, very good football team. Watford are fighters and won’t give anything up easily but Pep Guardiola’s men will have too much quality for the Hornets. 3-0 City.
Steve Jennings: After two narrows victories against West Ham and Bournemouth, expect City to come out firing and lay down the gauntlet to Liverpool ahead of the Reds’ game on Sunday. 4-0 City.
Player to watch: Raheem Sterling has played 195 minutes of football against Wolves without ever scoring a goal, can he break that run?
Liverpool vs. Burnley
MB: The Reds will have half an eye on their midweek clash against Bayern Munich but that should lead to the rotation Jurgen Klopp needs to inject his attack with some freshness. Expect Shaqiri to show up and save the day. 2-1 Liverpool.
Steve Jennings: It’s very likely Liverpool will be responding to a City victory, and while Burnley can be a difficult opponent in these circumstances, an early goal should send Liverpool on their way to three points. 3-0 Liverpool.
Player to watch: James Tarkowski and Ben Mee have won more aerial duels (249) than any other centre-back duo in the Premier League so far this season.
Chelsea vs. Wolves
MB: The Blues may well have won three times in a row since losing to City in the Carabao Cup final but some of their underlying issues remain and Wolves are the annoying kind of side that can show up and exploit them before you’ve realised what’s happened. 2-2 draw.
Steve Jennings: Things have almost been going too well for Chelsea since their Carabao Cup final defeat. There is a lingering suggestion Maurizio Sarri could still be in trouble, and Wolves will take advantage of any kind of slip-up from the Blues. 1-1 draw.
Player to watch: Raul Jimenez has scored six goals in his last 10 games for Wolves.
Arsenal vs. Manchester United
MB: Both teams went to France in midweek and Arsenal came away with a dour 3-1 defeat whilst Manchester United rocked the Champions League by beating PSG 3-1. You can’t buy that kind of momentum and with Ole at the wheel you can expect United to roll over Emery’s boys at the Emirates on Sunday. 1-3 United.
Steve Jennings: Manchester United’s miracle in Paris will give the Red Devils confidence of repeating their FA Cup result against Arsenal. However, the visitors’ injury crisis is bound to catch up with them eventually, and the Gunners will be eager to apologise for their Europa League defeat to Rennes. 2-1 Arsenal.
Player to watch: Romelu Lukaku is the first Manchester United player to score two or more goals in three consecutive games since Cristiano Ronaldo in 2006, can he make it four in a row?