English clubs enjoyed a reasonably successful week in Europe before returning to action in the Premier League this weekend.
Liverpool smashed Maribor 7-0 to get their first Champions League win of the season while Manchester City downed Italian league leaders Napoli; winning 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium.
Manchester United also beat Benfica while Chelsea could only draw against Roma in a thrilling 3-3 draw at Stamford Bridge.
Below are my predictions for match day nine of Premier League action…
West Ham vs Brighton
West Ham have put their early season woes behind them and are starting to climb the Premier League table. They could only manage a draw last week at Burnley but were not helped by Andy Carroll receiving his marching orders. Brighton also drew away to Everton after giving away a late penalty. The Hammers could have no fit strikers to face the Seagulls, so I’m going for a goalless draw.
Chelsea vs Watford
Chelsea face a massive game against Watford after enduring a miserable week. After being beat at home by Manchester City, the Blues were also beat by bottom of the table Crystal Palace before failing to beat Roma. Antonio Conte needs a win but faces a Watford side full of confidence; currently fourth in the table. I’m backing Marco Silva’s men to take a point home from Stamford Bridge.
Everton vs Arsenal
Everton’s form did not improve last week as they could only scrape a draw against Brighton – Wayne Rooney’s last-minute penalty rescuing a point and potentially saving Ronald Koeman’s job. Despite being given the vote of confidence by chairman Farhad Moshiri, Koeman needs to turn things around. Arsenal were shocked by Watford last time out and will need to bounce back at Goodison Park. I think Arsene Wenger’s men will get the business done at the expense of the Toffees.
Tottenham vs Liverpool
After last week’s draw against Manchester United, Liverpool travel to Wembley to face Tottenham with Jurgen Klopp having never lost a game against the Lilywhites. Mauricio Pochettino’s men picked up their first win at the national stadium against Bournemouth last week and salvaged a draw against Real Madrid in the Champions League. Both sides are excellent going forward so there should be goals. I think Mohamed Salah will hurt Tottenham on the wide surface of Wembley and pinch a narrow win for the Reds.
Huddersfield vs Manchester United
Huddersfield’s great start to the season is slowly coming to an end as they can’t seem to find the goals to fire them out of trouble. They lost to Swansea last week and now face a visit from Manchester United who are yet to lose this season. It’s hard to look past a Manchester United win with the visitors in such good form despite the draw at Anfield. The loss of Marouane Fellaini hurt United against their rivals, but with Romelu Lukaku in excellent form, they should pick up three points.
Manchester City vs Burnley
There looks to be no stopping Manchester City who have raced to the top of the Premier League in style. Pep Guardiola have finally got the Citizens ticking and continued his side’s excellent goal-scoring form with a rampant 7-2 win over Stoke. The win over Napoli will only build their confidence. Burnley have exceeded expectations so far this season and picked up another good point on the road to Everton. The Clarets have surprised big sides already this season, but City look on a different level.
Newcastle vs Crystal Palace
Palace finally picked up their first win of the season against Chelsea no less. Wilfried Zaha was instrumental in the success and his performances will be critical to the Eagles in the absence of Christian Benteke if they are to stay up. It’s another huge game against Newcastle who drew with Southampton last time out after being in the lead twice. Two former Liverpool managers in Roy Hodgson and Rafael Benitez will make for an intriguing tactical battle – I think Newcastle will win this one.
Stoke vs Bournemouth
Stoke and Bournemouth both find themselves in the bottom four already this season, and both managers might start to feel the pressure if results do not improve. The Potters shipped seven goals against City with the Cherries losing narrowly to Tottenham. Eddie Howe’s men put in an improved performance and will need something similar to pick up points on the road. This game has draw written all over, but I think Bournemouth might steal it.
Swansea vs Leicester
Craig Shakespeare became the second managerial casualty of the season after picking up just one win from Leicester’s opening eight games. They are currently in the relegation zone but were handed one of the hardest opening set of fixtures in the league making his dismissal seem a bit hasty. Nevertheless, they will look to win against Swansea while searching for his replacement. Paul Clement’s side beat Huddersfield last week and will fancy their chances against the Foxes.
Southampton vs West Brom
Finally, we have Southampton who welcome West Brom to St. Marys. The Baggies are tough to beat under Tony Pulis, but the Welshman’s side have not won in the league for six games. Southampton fought back against Newcastle terrifically but will have their work cut out against West Brom. I think it’ll end goalless.
Leave your predictions below!