After an interesting week of ups and downs, and before we indulge in another roller-coaster ride for Premier League Week 3, let’s take a look at the important factors to know about each game.
Both teams have one thing in common; they lack discipline in the final third, so it’s at the top end where they fall apart. Villa were the dominant side against Bournemouth but missed opportunities in the front. The Villans have lost the opening two matches of the season already.
Niel Taylor (£4.5m) and Ahmed Elmohamady (£4.5m) have surprisingly been starting while Frederic Guilbert (£4.4m) and Matt Targett (£4.4m) have yet to appear for the team. Also, Jota (£5.9m) will be the one to replace Anwar El Ghazi (£5.5m) who hasn’t really had a great performance yet.
Everton may have a forward lineup possessing all the attributes to trouble most Premier League teams, but it has been their defence that has been steady, keeping two clean sheets in their two games. Lucas Digne (£6.0m) was withdrawn against Watford, but Marco Silva hopes that he is fit. Moise Keane (£6.9m) is also expected to make his first start. Former Villa player Fabian Delph (£5.5m) is past his injury, which means Villa Park will provide a cold-hearted reception if he manages to play.
Interestingly, the Toffees have managed to keep five clean sheets in their previous six games, and they’ve won five of their last six meetings against Villa in all competitions.
Prediction: Aston Villa 0-2 Everton
This match will go back to front, as Frank Lampard looks to win his first match as Chelsea boss, but expect Norwich to give the Blues a tough challenge. For a second week in a row, Chelsea showed a brilliant level of fast-paced football but only during their first 45 minutes; that really needs to improve. Lampard displayed his sense of playing style and continued trust in a youthful side that dominated various phases of the game. Now an overall performance throughout the match will be needed for Chelsea.
Good news for fantasy managers is that Callum Hudson-Odoi (£6.0m) and Antonio Rudiger (£6.0m) have both returned to full training after recovering from serious injuries, but we can’t be sure if they will even make the bench. Mason Mount (£6.0m) will be the one taking charge, and expect the always sharp Olivier Giroud to start ahead of the currently ineffective Tammy Abraham (£7.0m).
However, Norwich does have a no-longer secret weapon in Teemu Pukki (£6.8m and likely still rising) who has been in red-hot form in the first two games, scoring a hattrick against Newcastle last week. Manager Daniel Farke has no reason to switch his side, so he will keep showing the fans a fearless attack, which is why Chelsea’s shaky defence should be in trouble. Teemu Pukki will annoy the likes of Kurt Zouma (£5.0m) and Andreas Christensen (£5.0m). The Finn has more goals than Alexis Sanchez (£6.9m) has had for United in 32 appearnaces, and Pukki has only played two games in the Premier League!
Norwich will aim to fix their record against the Blues as they have not won in their last six meetings but did manage to get three draws during that time.
Prediction: Norwich 1–1 Chelsea
Brighton have turned out to be a surprise package after demolishing Watford in the opening game and snatching points from West Ham away. Leandro Trossard (£6.0m) has been influential for his side, scoring and helping teammates to chances against the Hammers last week. Graham Potter will also provide Neal Maupay (£6.0m) with his debut sooner rather than later, and the same can be said for Adam Webster (£4.5m); both can be key players for Brighton later in the season.
Despite having lost two straight matches, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side did cause Liverpool plenty of trouble. Such signs will be the positives to gain from last weekend. They did deserve better after shooting 14 straight at Adrian (£4.5m) despite having only 36% possession. Such odd stats showed gutsy performance, so if Southampton can remain consistent in this week’s game, Brighton will face trouble for sure. Saints have never lost to Brighton in the Premier League, but they’ve lost their previous seven matches while Brighton have failed to win ten of their last eleven. Given both teams’ performances displayed last week, anything can happen.
Prediction: Brighton 1–1 Southampton
Manchester United vs Crystal Palace
The Red Devils were extremely close to having a perfect start of the season, till Paul Pogba (£8.6m) missed a crucial penalty that would have given United the winner against Wolves. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer did show a mature side by having his team keep the ball patiently, having the composure to move forward when given the opportunity. Expect the manager to make a few changes with Daniel James (£6.0m) and Jesse Lingard (£6.5m) failing to impress. Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£5.5m) will face his boyhood club for the first time since leaving in the summer.
Since Wilfried Zaha (£7.0m) feels stuck without a new team, Crystal Palace seems likewise — stuck in the Premier League, but not for too long, sadly. They already seem to be contenders for the relegation battle alongside Newcastle after just two matches. Gary Cahill (£4.5m) will hope to make his Palace debut. The only game changer the Eagles have is Zaha, who really hasn’t been in the mood lately.
These two sides have met 20 times in the Premier League, with the South Londoners yet to come away with a win. Plus, the Eagles have failed to score in their past six visits to Old Trafford.
Prediction: Man United 2–0 Palace
Since returning to the Premier League, Sheffield United has been on cloud nine, taking 4 points from a possible 6. Chris Wilder’s side doesn’t boast world-class players, but their hunger and desire to make life difficult for opponents is their key ingredient. They’ll face Brendan Rodger’s high-pressing, possession-based Foxes.
Those Foxes are having a difficult time scoring goals so far, but it should just be a matter of time until Jamie Vardy (£8.9m) & Co. begin putting the ball into the net despite having gained just a point from each of their two opening games.
Prediction: Sheffield Utd 0–2 Leicester
Watford has failed to trouble the goalkeepers so far this season, having lost to both Brighton and Everton in the opening two game weeks.
However, Watford have record signing Ismaila Sarr (£6.5m) and English striker Danny Welbeck (£6.0m) nearing full fitness. Watford has the best opportunity to level up their game against a volatile Hammers side who are still learning each other’s names and positions.
The Hornets have lost their last five matches, conceding almost two goals per in their last three at home.
Prediction: Watford 2-2 West Ham
Liverpool vs Arsenal
This is the most anticipated fixture of the weekend: every football fan will love to watch it, but every fantasy manager is sweating it.
With wins over both Newcastle and Burnley, the Gunners have won their first two fixtures in the league for the first time in a decade. Now Unai Emery’s side will face a true test against Klopp’s. Arsenal may look exciting in the front but still lack passion in the back, which will be their downfall. In three of their last five meetings, Liverpool demolished Arsenal with score lines of 5-1, 4-0 and 3-1, which speaks tons.
Adrian (£4.5m) has done a half decent job covering for Allison (£5.9m) — he is a good shot-stopper but looks extremely uncomfortable playing the ball from the back. If he again forgets what color jerseys his opponents are wearing, Arsenal has the forwards to take advantage.
Prediction: Liverpool 3–1 Arsenal
Bournemouth vs Manchester City
Pep Guardiola will be looking to avenge last week’s VAR disappointment against Spurs when they drew after dominating the pitch with 30 attempts. It seems Pep’s biggest rival will be VAR this season, but there will come times when they will be friends too. After gaining just a point, the Citizens displayed the aggression that all teams should fear from them, so fans shouldn’t worry a bit about their team at all.
Howe comes from a bright 2-1 win against Aston Villa so he could name the same XI at the weekend that would see Philip Billing continue in midfield despite being hauled off at halftime.
Manchester’s Kevin De Bruyne (£9.6m) has started the season superbly, tallying three assists. Raheem Sterling (£12.2m) has been on fire, already scoring four, and he also has an impressive record against the Cherries, with four goals in their last five meetings.
Prediction: Bournemouth 0–3 Manchester City
Tottenham vs Newcastle
It’s really fascinating how Spurs managed to run away with a point from the Etihad Stadium last week, but Mauricio Pochettino hopes to bring his team back to winning momentum against floundering Newcastle. Tottenham will be happy to welcome back Son Heung-min (£9.5m) after suspension; his inclusion in the team is key.
Steve Bruce is already in trouble, in the race to earn the first sacking. The club is in turmoil, and that’s showing through its performances on the field.
Tottenham have really not had the greatest start in their first two fixtures, but they are facing a side that is just looking for nothing to achieve in the Premier League.
Prediction: Tottenham 2–0 Newcastle
Wolves vs Burnley
Both teams almost have the same approach in their football style of play; providing their best work on the counterattack, waiting to sit deep and allowing the opponents to dominate possession. However, Wolves are expected to be the dominant figure on the ball at home, while Burnley will be waiting to grab it.
With both managers having similar style, this could be an interesting match to watch, but Wolves have the home supporters to their advantage, so they can be called favourites for this particular fixture.
Prediction: Wolves 2–1 Burnley
Which fixture are you hoping to help you to gain points? Any match you think will be the one throwing away points for fantasy managers to grab? Feel free to express your opinion in the comments down below and let us know what you think is the game to watch over the weekend! Also, please share any late-breaking news!