The 2019/20 Premier League season is about to enter its fifth gameweek.
We return from the international break with a classic matchup as Liverpool host Newcastle at Anfield at Saturday midday. Manchester United play Leicester, Spurs host Crystal Palace and Chelsea visit Wolves in the pick of the 3pm kick-offs. Saturday finishes with champions Manchester City visiting Norwich before a more low-key Sunday highlighted by Arsenal travelling to Watford. The gameweek ends on Monday with Aston Villa vs. West Ham at Villa Park.
We’ve had two members of our team take a look at each game, analyse how it may play out and give their predictions.
Liverpool vs. Newcastle
Muhammad Butt: The Reds are rampant right now and Newcastle haven’t beaten Liverpool since 2015 and haven’t won at Anfield since 1994. They’ll put up a fight and the history of this fixture indicates goals are likely (they haven’t played out a goalless draw since 1974) but it would take a miracle for the Magpies to stop Jurgen Klopp’s men. 2-1 Liverpool.
Chris Smith: Newcastle have improved of late but Liverpool have started 2019/20 in the same, frightening fashion they carried out 2018/19, winning every game so far. The Magpies will likely be a tougher proposition than many expect but they still won’t have enough to overcome Jurgen Klopp’s men at Anfield. 3-1 Liverpool.
PLAYER TO WATCH: ROBERTO FIRMINO has scored or assisted in all but one Premier League game so far this season (2g 2a).
Brighton vs. Burnley
MB: Burnley have been kind of all over the place this season but they beat Brighton away last season and with Ashley Barnes in fine form (and Chris Wood itching to get off the mark) they’ll have too much for their hosts. 1-2 Burnley.
CS: Two sides who have had solid, if unspectacular starts, home advantage should see Graham Potter’s side over the line. A quick recovery from their thrashing away to Man City will be just what the Seagulls need. 2-0 Brighton.
PLAYER TO WATCH: CHRIS WOOD scored twice the last time Burnley played at the Amex Arena, in February of this year.
Manchester United vs. Leicester
MB: Manchester United leak goals like a screen door on a submarine and they’ve got injuries weighing down a paper-thin squad. But Marcus Rashford will be returning from the international break in good form and Leicester’s open style could play into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s counter-attacking system, as long as David de Gea doesn’t drop another clanger. 2-1 United.
CS: Man Utd have been bang average since their 4-0 opening day win over Chelsea and face unbeaten and impressive Leicester City on Saturday. United should have enough for a draw but they’ll have to work damned hard for it. 1-1 draw.
PLAYER TO WATCH: DAVID DE GEA has kept just one clean sheet in his last 15 Premier League games, time to buck the trend?
Sheffield United vs. Southampton
MB: Southampton are improving under Ralph Hasenhuttl and the Saints play with the kind of verve and focus that could prove to be the undoing of Chris Wilder’s plucky Sheffield United. But The Blades have too much fighting spirit to go down easy. 2-2 draw.
CS: Everyone finally sitting up and taking notice of Sheffield United? Good. Chris Wilder’s Blades have been nobody’s pushovers so far, taking away points against Chelsea and Bournemouth, and should be good value for another point against Ralph Hasenhuttl’s energetic Southampton. 2-2 draw.
PLAYER TO WATCH: JAN BEDNAREK has more clearances (27) than all but one player (Tyrone Mings) in the Premier League so far this season.
Spurs vs. Crystal Palace
MB: Spurs will return from the international break without new man Giovani Lo Celso and even though they finally have Heung-min Son available they will have one eye on the Champions League midweek. They will dominate the ball but can they find the goals? They’ve been extremely fortunate to score their last four goals and were blanked at home by Newcastle, after all. 0-1 Palace.
CS: It’s been a bit of a jarring start for Spurs, while Roy Hodgson’s Palace have been, well, typically Roy Hodgson, grinding out seven points from four games by fine margins. Harry Kane has been on fire for England – back him to continue that here to get Pochettino’s men back on track. 3-0 Spurs.
PLAYER TO WATCH: VICENTE GUAITA has a higher save percentage (80%) in the Premier League this season than any currently available goalkeeper.
Wolves vs. Chelsea
MB: Chelsea are an ambitious and attacking side under Frank Lampard but that makes them perfect fodder for Wolves. Nuno Espirito Santo’s men are a ruthless machine against open attacking sides. Expect them to gut the Blues on the break. 3-1 Wolves.
CS: They’ve only lost once so far but Wolves are still without a Premier League win this season.Things haven’t exactly been smooth for Frank Lampard at Chelsea, either, although his young English talents Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount are thriving and could deliver the goods on Saturday. 1-3 Chelsea
PLAYER TO WATCH: TAMMY ABRAHAM has scored a brace in each of his last two games, netting multiple times in back-to-back matches for the first time in his career.
Norwich vs. Manchester City
MB: Norwich are a lot of fun in attack but struggle defending and Manchester City are the best team in the world. Kevin de Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero are in scary form. The Canaries might score one, maybe even two, but they will ship a colossal amount. 2-6 City.
CS: Norwich deserve great credit for their bravery on the ball and in attack so far but with just three points to show for it, fans will be looking nervously at this game. If Daniel Farke sticks to his game plan, there’s every chance this Man City side – who have already scored 14 goals in four games – could pick them off and run up a cricket score. 1-4 Man City
PLAYER TO WATCH: SERGIO AGUERO has scored more goals (6) than any player in the Premier League this season, he also has the highest shot conversion (66.67%) of any player to take more than one shot.
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Bournemouth vs. Everton
MB: After some rickety defensive displays, Everton will look to rely on the strength of their attackers to overpower Bournemouth who are a rickety nothing of a side. If Nathan Aké isn’t on his game, expect a beating. 1-2 Everton.
CS: Alex Iwobi has added a new dimension to Marco Silva’s attack but that backline needs tightening up if they’re to hold out a Bournemouth side stacked with attacking talent. Everton have never won here in the Premier League but their new-look forward line could change that this weekend. 1-2 Everton.
PLAYER TO WATCH: NATHAN AKÉ has more interceptions (14) than any player in the Premier League this season.
Watford vs. Arsenal
MB: Arsenal are poor at the back and superb in attack. This will be the same story all season and you would have figured them to roll over Watford but with The Hornets lifted by new manager bounce (and what a wonderfully scarfed manager he is) you should probably expect something of an upset at Vicarage Road. 2-2 draw.
CS: The basket case that is Watford Football Club goes on, sacking Javi Gracia and replacing him with Quique Sanchez Flores, back for his second spell. The Hornets are bottom of the table and it’s hard to see them getting anything against an Arsenal side containing the likes of Aubameyang, Lacazette and Pepe. 0-2 Arsenal
PLAYER TO WATCH: NICOLAS PÉPÉ has completed more dribbles (15) than any other player in the Premier League so far this season.
Aston Villa vs. West Ham
MB: Aston Villa are not, strictly speaking, good. It’s a shame to see them struggle but West Ham will almost certainly have too much firepower for them even in their own back yard. The Hammers have won three in a row, expect it to become four. 1-3 West Ham.
CS: West Ham have recovered well from their opening day drubbing to Manchester City, taking seven points from three games, while Villa have won just once from their opening four games. That said, Dean Smith’s side have put in some good showings and should take a point in front of a big home crowd on Monday. 1-1 draw.
PLAYER TO WATCH: MANUEL LANZINI has created more chances (14) than all but one player (Kevin de Bruyne) in the Premier League so far this season.