As predicted by yours truly in the staff picks, there was an abundance of 1-0, 1-1 and 2-1 games that easily could have gone either way on Saturday. (Pats myself heartily on back.) As decidedly not predicted by this forecaster, the Manchester United/West Brom game ended 2-0 instead of nil-nil. (Ashamedly removes hand from back.)
With the Red Devils and Foxes winning yesterday, Arsenal and Manchester City both surely feel the pressure to do likewise if they want to keep any breathing room at the top of the table. Meanwhile, Southampton nabbing three points and West Ham/Everton finishing with a draw have Tottenham and Liverpool eyeing victories to help their Champions League aspirations going in light of Chelsea's continued implosion. (Hand returns to patting back.)
Aston Villa, of course, would love nothing better than a strong showing in front of the home crowd for the early game with new manager Remi Garde's official debut in charge. Will he make any changes to the starting line-up or simply light a fire under the usual charges? Does Jordan Amavi return to fantasy relevance or remain marginalized? Sergio Aguero and David Silva are still out injured for the visitors, and with the Citizens not being nearly as potent on the road (seven goals scored in five games) as at home (19 goals in six games), Villa grasps at a puncher's chance to keep the score down and nick a result, but a win is required to climb out of last place. Can Jordan Ayew keep scoring or will this be all about Wilfried Bony, Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling instead? After last week's howler, can Joe Hart deliver a clean sheet for himself along with his defenders?
Next up, the exciting North London derby. Which Gunners side will show up for the Emirates crowd, the one that was destroyed midweek 5-1 at Bayern Munich or the one that comes in with five straight Premier League victories by a combined score of 16-3? Will Mathieu Debuchy fill in adequately for Hector Bellerin and will Laurent Koscielny be fit to play or will Gabriel Paulista be a second replacement in the back line? Can Olivier Giroud keep scoring and can Mesut Ozil keep assisting? Will the visiting Hotspurs side extend its 10-game streak without a league defeat? After netting only once in the first nine games, is Harry Kane up for scoring three weekends in a row? As they say, something's gotta give!
As for Crystal Palace's visit to Anfield, Liverpool looks like it is getting more comfortable under new gaffer Jurgen Klopp, with two wins and a draw in his three fixtures across all competitions. However, given Chelsea's defeat at Stoke on Saturday, does that downgrade your opinion regarding the Reds' conquest of the Blues' last weekend? Are you counting on Christian Benteke and Philippe Coutinho to thrive, or will Yohan Cabaye and/or Palace's defenders (who have combined for four goals and two assists this season) shine instead? Do you expect a stalemate between these seemingly evenly matched 9th/10th place teams or will either side be able to assert itself?
Are we in store for another day of tight, low-scoring games or are we headed for some lopsided score lines instead?