There are 5 games for your viewing pleasure this weekend, with the return of Friday night football, and 3 games on Sunday. It’s another busy weekend in the Premier League.
Friday-Everton vs Crystal Palace 6:30pm on Sky Sports 2 (KO 8pm)
Sky’s third of twelve forays into Friday Night football sees Crystal Palace travel to Everton. Everton go into this game having suffered the first loss of the season to Bournemouth, and what was also their second defeat in a row in all competitions. Everton who had showed early promise at the start of the season, will be looking to use this game as a spring board back to winning ways. Everton are also unbeaten in their last 3 games against Palace in the league.
Everton come into this game with 6 players in the treatment room. Leighton Baines should be back in time for the game, but both Darron Gibson, Muhamed Besic and James McCarthy will all be out of the game.
While Romelu Lukaku will be looking to add to his 4 goal tally this season, Yannick Bolasie may end up being the key man for the toffees. For Bolasie this will be the first time he has faced his former side since his £30 million move in the summer. Bolasie, who is still regarded highly at Selhurst Park, has started life well for Everton. Bolasie has created 2 assists for Everton and has been chipping in with an average of 2 key passes per game.
Bolasie, who suffered from a number of inconstant performances during his time at Palace, will no doubt be the focal point of Everton’s wing play but the occasion could end up getting to him.
Palace are undefeated in their last 4 league games, which included a comeback from 2-0 down at Sunderland last Saturday. A victory at Everton, will see them leap the Toffees in the league table up to fifth.
Palace will be without mercurial defender Scott Dann, who scored in the fixture last season. Loic Remey and Pape Souare are both long-term injury casualties, but Wilf Zaha may be available for the game. In midfield, Palace should line up with the trio of Joe Ledley, James McArthur and Jason Puncheon that has worked so well in recent games.
Palace will also hope that Andros Townsend, Bolasie’s replacement, dissipates any regret they might feel about their former winger’s departure. For that to happen, he and his teammates will have to improve the service to Christian Benteke, who spent so much of the game against Sunderland a spectator before his late intervention to win the match 3-2.
Saturday-Swansea City vs Liverpool 11:30am on Sky Sports 1 (KO 12:30pm)
Saturday’s only televised game, features inform Liverpool traveling to the Liberty Stadium to take on a struggling Swansea side. Swansea have not won in the Premiership since the opening day of the season, a 1-0 win away at Burnley, since then the Swans have drawn 1 and lost 4, including their last 2 games in a row. This has left Swansea languishing in 17th in the table and Francesco Guidolin on the brink of losing his job.
Swansea will have a pretty much full squad to pick from, with only Frederico Fernandez and Nathan Dyer out for Swansea. Swansea may also be buoyed by the fact that they beat Liverpool 3-1 in this fixture back in May. Leroy Fer will be key to any kind of result for Swansea. Fer is Swansea’s top scorer, and has been one of their better performers during their recent slump.
With Liverpool’s inability to keep a clean sheet, Fernando Llorente will be looking to add to his debut goal from last weekend against Manchester City.
While Liverpool’s defensive issues remain, they have yet to keep a clean sheet this season and they have conceded the most amount of goals in the top 6, there attacking fruition has carried them to 4th in the league. Liverpool put 5 past Hull City last weekend, and they would have been buoyed by the fact they had 4 different goal scorers in the game.
Liverpool should have Dejan Lovren back from a viral infection, but will be without long-term injury victims Joe Gomez, and Sheyi Ojo. Sadio Mane will again be the key player for Liverpool, Mane who has just won the PFA fans player of the month award, scoring last weekend taking his tally of the season to 3. Mane has brought speed to Liverpool’s attack and his versatility means Mane can play either flank or centrally.
Swansea will need to find there form quickly in this game, as Liverpool like to press from the off. But it is unlikely that they will be able to counter the attacking football that Liverpool will bring to the Liberty Stadium.
Sunday-Manchester United Vs Stoke City on BT Sport 1 11:30am (KO 12.00pm)
Sunday’s early kick off see’s Man United play their 3rd home game in a row in all competitions against a Stoke team in desperate need of 3 points.
United endured a nightmare week following the Derby defeat, losing 3 Games in a row. The press were licking their lips at some early season Mourinho drama, the manager himself looked as if the pressure was getting to him. However following a convincing, if not spectacular win against Northampton, Man United fashioned an emphatic 4-1 win against champions Leicester In what was one of the best 45 minutes of football played since Sir Alex Ferguson retired. A Europa League victory over the stubborn Zorya Luhansk on Thursday night has now taken United’s winning streak to 3 in a row, a victory against Stoke would send Man United into the International break on a good run of form.
Jose Mourinho has dropped hints that Wayne Rooney will once again be left out of the starting eleven as he was in the Europa league, with Mourinho talking about protecting Rooney from the media onslaught. In fact United have won five of the last seven Premier League games that Wayne Rooney hasn’t started. The match against Zorya once again paired Marouane Fellaini with Paul Pogba in the middle of the park. It also acted as a timely reminder why United can’t afford to do that in the league. I’d expect to see Pogba alongside the impressive Ander Herrera once again with Juan Mata playing a key role most likely at number 10, a player Jose praised in his recent press conference as being better than he was at Chelsea
For Stoke, the season up to this point has been a disaster which currently sees them languishing in 19th place with 2 points.
A match at Old Trafford is the last thing Mark Hughes would have wanted when desperately seeking his first win of the season. Man United have won all of their 8 meetings against Stoke at Old Trafford in the Premier League.
It’s a very odd situation for the Potters, a team that finished 9th in the league last season, has had seen such a decline in the first 6 games. What’s concerning for Stoke is four of the last six Premier League teams to take two points from their opening six games (as Stoke have) have been relegated. It’s something that Mark Hughes needs to tackle soon as the old adage ‘the squad is too good to get relegated’ was put to bed by Newcastle’s lurid fall from the Premier League last season. But in all honesty, this Stoke team is too good to be in 19th, and should at minimum, be around mid-table. With players like Joe Allen, Xherdan Shaqiri, Marko Arnautovic, Bony and Bojan the wealth of technical ability Mark Hughes has at his disposal is astounding. Unfortunately I don’t think this will be a game Stoke will win. Much more important games for Stoke will come after the international break where they meet fellow strugglers Sunderland in an early season 6 pointer followed by Hull City.
Injuries to Jon Walters and Jack Butland have been key absentees for Stoke who have a total of 5 players out of action for their trip to Old Trafford this weekend. There is a small chance however Walters may pass a late fitness test to give Mark Hughes another option off the bench.
For United, repeat sick note Phil Jones will more than likely be the only player unavailable for selection with a knee ligament injury. Anthony Martial made a cameo appearance in the Europa League along with Wayne Rooney who has been nursing a slight back injury. Luke Shaw and Henrikh Mkhitaryan should both be back, although it’s not clear if Mourinho will choose them or try to keep the same team that were so impressive against Leicester last week.
I think Man United will be up for this game knowing they will have to produce a better performance than the dowdy affair seen on Thursday night. With Spurs taking on Man City, it’s a great chance to gain some of the lost ground in the league before the international break. For Stoke, they will probably be looking to the international break to re-group and rebuild some confidence that has dissipated from this squad of late, but I only see a home win on the cards.
Sunday- Tottenham vs Manchester City on Sky Sports 1 1:30pm (KO 2:15pm)
The last 2 unbeaten teams in the league will meet on Sunday, in what is no doubt the biggest game of the weekend as Tottenham take on Manchester City. Tottenham, who won mid-week in the Champions League, have won their last 3 league games in a row. Despite the injury to Harry Kane Tottenham have not really missed him, thanks to the form of Son Heung-min.
Son has been in fine form, having scored 5 goals this season, including 3 in his last 2 games. He also got the winner for Spurs against CSKA Moscow in the Champions League. Against the Russian side, it was only when Victor Janssen, Spurs current number one striker, was substituted, and Son moved into a central role, that Spurs began to look dangerous. Pochettino might be tempted to use the player in a similar position against City, who defend very high up the pitch. It would also allow the coach to play three attackers behind him in Christian Eriksen, Erik Lamela and Dele Alli and use a midfield double pivot in the heart of the pitch.
Spurs will also need a top performance from Toby Alderweireld, to contain Sergio Aguero. Alderweireld is an excellent defender and has done supremely well for Spurs and he is one of the key reasons they find themselves unbeaten in the league, and with the best defensive record of only conceding three goals in the League so far. Alderweireld has only conceded one goal against Aguero in his 2 seasons in the English game, but with Aguero in a rich vein of goal scoring form, the Belgian will have to be at his very best.
Manchester City will also be without their own Belgian superstar in Kevin De Bruyne, but in Raheem Sterling they have another game changer to unleash on Spurs. Sterling, who struggled to justify his £49 million fee at points last season, has rediscovered his form under Pep Guardiola.
Under Guardiola, Sterling has rediscovered himself and is playing with the confidence that made him such a key player at Liverpool. He has four goals and two assists in six matches in the Premier League. His end product has evidently become better, but Sterling hasn’t lost any of his flair averaging 3.9 successful dribbles every 90 minutes. With De Bruyne injured, the attacker will have added responsibility for the game and the winger will have to make sure he can make an impact in this crucial tie.
Spurs maybe the side to stop the City juggernaut, despite drawing with Celtic in the Champions League on Wednesday, City remain a side brimming with confidence. Pep Guardiola needs to win this match away from home to break the record for the best start to a managerial career in the Premier League (currently tied with Carlo Ancelotti).
But second place Spurs have the defensive stability, and their own in-form player in Son, to frustrate City.
Sunday-Burnley vs Arsenal on Sky Sports 1 4:15pm (KO 4:30pm)
The final televised game of the weekend will see one of the leagues in form teams Arsenal travel to Burnley.
Arsenal put in the performance of the season last weekend, in a 3 nil victory over Chelsea. Arsenal completely took Chelsea apart in half an hour of destructive football with pace and verve. They were too much for Chelsea to handle with Sanchez playing a leading role.
Arsenal currently sit 3rd in the league behind City and Spurs, winning their last 4 league games on the bounce. Arsenal will surely be huge favourites going into this game, where a free flowing pass and move style of football could prove too much for Burnley to handle. Arsenal will be looking to string together 5 wins in a row for the first time since last October.
Burnley on the other hand have had an inconsistent albeit respectable start to the season, currently sitting in 13th place equal points with current champions Leicester. With 2 wins, 2 losses and 1 draw so far this season, Burnley will have their work cut out and are winless in 7 against the Gunners. However they will be in fine spirts having secured the 3 points last week against a good Watford side. Burnley’s other win was against Liverpool, so they have proved they can mix it against the top teams.
Steven Defour will be the key man for Burnley, having being involved in 4 out of the 5 goals scored in the league this season, scoring 1 and assisting 3.
Arsenal on the other hand have plenty of match winners and game changers, but Sanchez has been the key man so far this season. Many didn’t agree with Arsene Wenger at the start of the season when he made it clear Sanchez would be used in more of a forward role this season. But it has to be said it is a decision that seems to be paying off. Sanchez has scored 4 goals in the league so far this season, but has also created 10 chances.
Another plus point for Arsenal is the revitalised Theo Walcott who seems like a new player this season. Walcott has contributed 3 league goals so far this season in his 6 appearances, also creating 6 chances. His pace and athleticism will cause Burnley trouble, however they best way to deal with his threat is by keeping close and being physical. Often a player to shy away from the physical battles, it’s the one way Burnley can try to reduce his impact in the match.
Arsenal currently have 5 players out injured with Coquelin perhaps the biggest miss. His role in the midfield as enforcer gives some protection to the back 4 as well as allowing Arsenals more creative players to receive the ball on the turn quicker to kick off a trade mark counter attack. Arsenal are also without Ramsey, Mertesacker and Welbeck.
Burnley have a much less in the way of injuries with only 1 notable absentee in Ashley Barnes, who’s hamstring injury will put him out for some time yet.
This could be a match with intrigue if Burnley get in the face of the Arsenal players, who are much less physically able without Coquelin in the side. However, Arsenals quality will be too much for Burnley, especially as they know anything other than a Tottenham win against City will leapfrog them into 2nd position in the league. The important thing for Burnley is to keep it tight for the first half an hour at least, an early goal for Arsenal could open the floodgates like it did against Chelsea last week.
Thanks to our friends at NextBetWins they have come up a massive 5 fold Acca across the weekends televised games. All odds priced through Bet365.
- Liverpool to beat Swansea and BTTS 13/8
- Tottenham Vs Man City – BTTS no draw 5/4
- Theo Walcott to score in 90 minutes against Burnley 7/4
- Marouane Fellani to be carded against Stoke 4/1
- Romelu Lukaku to score against Crystal Palace 11/10
All multiples round up to a massive 169/1!!