Southampton v Aston Villa
The Friday night game sees Villa travel to the south coast in what could prove a vital clash for Dean Smith. The Aston Villa boss has lost his last four games and is now the favourite in the ‘next manager to be sacked’ market. Southampton have been stop-start this season but are gradually picking up form and look well drilled under Ralph Hasenhüttl.
Prediction: Southampton 1-1 Aston Villa
Manchester United v Manchester City
The Saturday lunch time fixture is interesting. Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side won comfortably at a woeful Tottenham last weekend but it won’t be enough to convince the United faithful. A win against City, however, would buy the Norwegian more time. Such is football’s short-termism. City struggled against Crystal Palace and United have a decent record against their rivals in recent years. All that said, Pep Guardiola’s team are a clear level above and should prove too strong.
Prediction: Manchester United 1-3 Manchester City
Chelsea v Burnley
Chelsea haven’t played particularly well of late, with the exception of last weekend’s thumping victory over Norwich, and yet keep winning games. The sign of champions as the cliché goes. In reality, the Blues have had a kind run of fixtures, albeit without striker Romelu Lukaku, which continues with Burnley at home on Saturday. Sean Dyche’s side finally won their first league game of the season last week but shouldn’t cause Chelsea problems.
Prediction: Chelsea 3-1 Burnley
Crystal Palace v Wolves
This should be a great game. Palace are purring under Vieira and this fluent Wolves side are unbeaten in the league in five. The London team are just favourites but you’d need Hecate’s finger to predict this one.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-2 Wolves.
Brentford v Norwich
Norwich’s Orwellian season goes on. And on and on. Brentford will be keen to bounce back after a disappointing defeat at Burnley and the Canaries should prove the perfect opposition. Brentford will win the first ever top flight meeting between these two clubs.
Prediction: Brentford 2-0 Norwich
Brighton v Newcastle
Eddie Howe is set to take over Newcastle in what feels like a sensible move for the club (and the manager) but he won’t be in charge at the Amex on Saturday night. Brighton battled hard to get a point at Liverpool and are strong favourites despite not winning in five. They should have enough.
Prediction: Brighton 1-0 Newcastle
Arsenal v Watford
Claudio Ranieri’s revolution at Watford came to a grinding halt after a disappointing home defeat to Southampton last time out. Arsenal, and in particular goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, were impressive at Leicester. The Hornets’ performance at Everton will have some Gunners fans concerned but Arsenal should win this relatively comfortably.
Prediction: Arsenal 2-0 Watford
Everton v Tottenham
Antonio Conte’s first Premier League game in charge sees Tottenham travel to Liverpool. Spurs’ squad feels prime for Conte’s famed 3-5-2 and it feels like a big step up on Nuno Espírito Santo. Everton have been poor lately, losing their last three games, and Tottenham are rightfully favourites.
Prediction: Everton 1-3 Tottenham
Leeds v Leicester
Leeds are in trouble. They remain without striker Patrick Bamford. ‘Bielsa burnout’ and ‘second season syndrome’ are being murmured with ever increasing frequency. Leicester will be disappointed to have lost at home to Arsenal last weekend and could only manage a draw in their midweek Europa league game. It could be tight.
Prediction: Leeds 1-2 Leicester
West Ham v Liverpool
The final game of the weekend is another one not to miss. West Ham were held to a draw by Genk in the week and the trip to Belgium may leave some heavy legs. Liverpool are my tip for the title and are playing with an impressive attacking fluency led by Mo Salah. The Hammers have enjoyed some brilliant results against big clubs in recent weeks but this should prove a step to far.
Prediction 1-3 Liverpool