The Premier League is finally picking up its pace now. European champions Liverpool and England champions Manchester City aim to open a massive gap from the rest after each side made a statement with a major victories last week. The rest of the ‘top four’ teams continue to face problems, and teams such as Leicester will be looking to crash their party and nick a spot for UEFA competitions.
Let’s check out Premier League’s game-week 7 with its intriguing clashes to ponder and problems for fantasy managers. Let’s decide which players to trust and whom to get the most points from.
[Note: Fantrax managers should see Sheffield and Liverpool lineups in our countdown hour before Saturday’s deadline.]
Saturday, 28 September
Sheffield United vs. Liverpool
The story is written for Liverpool chasing for the title. With their record start of winning six with +12 goal difference already, their only question is which star will likely take the stage and put the ball in the net.
The Blades did look comfortable defeating Everton last week, but expect the Reds to rain on that parade to maintain maximum pressure on Manchester City in the table. It’s going to be a long 90 minutes at Bramall Lane for the hosts.
Prediction: Sheffield 0 – 3 Liverpool
Villa will be disappointed after not coming away with a result against Arsenal last week despite having an extra man on the pitch for half an hour of the match. It really is a question of their mentality, whether they will be able to respond or still be stuck with that upset.
Conversely, Burnley stopped Pukki’s Norwich with a commanding victory that reminded everyone why their back line is becoming dominant. However, they are still hunting for their first away win this season, so they’ll need to translate the home threat Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood provide.
Prediction: Aston Villa 0 – Burnley 1
This fixture is interesting because of the way both sides have started their campaigns, currently in 5th and 6th. West Ham put themselves in fifth in the table thanks to five games without a defeat and a solid back line that has not conceded in 343 minutes in the league.
Bournemouth come into this game on back to back 3-1 wins over Everton and Southampton to pull themselves up to sixth. The Cherries need to keep their game compact and control the way West Ham begin their counter-attacks if they want all three points.
Prediction: Bournemouth 0 – 0 West Ham United
Chelsea will be looking for redemption after their clash with Liverpool, but with Callum-Hudson Odoi back in the team during the League cup and already smashing one goal in his name, the young side looks stable enough to bag three points against Brighton. However, Emerson Palmieri is ruled out for a month, not expected back until after the next international break.
Despite the Seagulls playing some brilliant football under Graham Potter, the breaks haven’t been going their way, especially on the road. The visitors are winless in their last five league games, recently drawing 0-0 at Newcastle.
Defending has been Chelsea’s main issue, not keeping a clean sheet yet, but this week is the perfect opportunity. With Brighton having open game-play, expect Tammy Abraham to take charge and put a couple goals in the net.
Prediction: Chelsea 3 – 0 Brighton
Palace has been inconsistent in attack, but their back line has been working out for them so far. They were destroyed by Spurs before then being denied late in their encounter with winless Wolves.
On the other side, the Canaries have lost all three of their matches played away from Carrow Road, but they could win their third match of the campaign if they can export the scoring form of Teamu Pukki against a stable Palace defense.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 0 – Norwich City 1
Tottenham vs. Southampton
Tottenham have been all over the pitch. Their shock exit from the League cup by Colchester United on penalties bodes ill, and wasting their goal lead in the loss against Leicester last week has put many in doubt whether they have a winning mentality. Pochettino’s side now have just one win in five league games, and little is going their way at the moment.
Southampton has shown signs of an attacking game against Liverpool and last weekend’s Bournemouth despite losing to both.
Spurs should be able bounce back from this fixture and defeat Southampton but it won’t come easy against an opponent that seems to step up its game for a big teams.
Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 1 – 0 Southampton
These are the only two teams yet to claim victory in the league this season. They have a total of six points from their combined twelve fixtures so far. Wolves managed to nick a point from Palace, but their struggle to score goals has become a major issue.
Watford came out with the most embarrassing defeat in years, conceding eight against Manchester City, which only means their struggle will continue in the back line. It’s a tricky match to call on who will come out victorious; both must see this match as the chance to have a first win of the season.
Prediction: Wolves 0 – 0 Watford
Everton vs. Manchester City
There’s not much to say in this fixture as Guardiola’s side will gear up their winning momentum to stay close to Liverpool. The question is how many goals they’ll smash into Everton’s net. The English champions will dominating at Goodison Park, building goal-difference to continue their title-race.
Prediction: Everton 0 – 4 Manchester City
Sunday, September 29
Leicester vs. Newcastle United
It’d be difficult to win the Premier League this season, but with the way the Foxes have been performing, top four is defiantly a possibility. They delivered after coming from a goal down to seal the victory against Spurs that put them in the third spot, level on points with Arsenal and West Ham.
Their home record at the King Power Stadium will likely make them favorites to win against a Newcastle who drew to a struggling Brighton last week, showing difficulty in scoring. Brendan Rodgers’ side will likely continue their winning form and maintain their quest of a top six, if not top four, finish. Plus, Jamie Vardy has scored three goals in seven Premier League matches against the Magpies, so don’t be surprised if he puts the ball in the net.
Prediction: Leicester 2 – 0 Newcastle
Monday, September 30
Manchester United vs. Arsenal
The fiery battle this fixture once provided during the Ferguson v Wenger era was the most interesting to watch, but today it’s Solskjaer v Emery where both managers are under immense pressure to lift their clubs back to winning ways.
Arsenal managed to win against Villa last week despite having a performance not many would say was dominant, but United lost to West Ham, which raises plenty of questions about the desire and hunger of the Red Devils.
OGS fielded first-team players in the League Cup midweek, and they fought their way to an impressive result against third tier Rochdale. They are still struggling for goal-scoring options, but playing against the Gunner’s delicate defensive back line could be the tonic they need to put one into the net.
Still, Arsenal’s attack can cover for their defensive errors, which could leave both teams struggling to meet expectations. The best scenario is a draw that will preserve both managers but please neither.
Prediction: Manchester United 1 – 1 Arsenal
Who is worth risking in fixtures such as Man United v Arsenal? Which game are you most looking forward to watching? Any game you are hoping will rain points? Please share in the comments below!