PREMIER LEAGUE: FIVE THINGS + 5 TO EXPECT THIS WEEKEND

With another weekend comes another flurry of football across various leagues round the world and as always the excitement keeps gaining several notches as the competition gets fiercer with every kick of the ball. Week 6 in the Premier League throws up some interesting round of fixtures, major landmark for Arsene Wenger and decision Saturday for Jose Mourinho as the cries to drop Wayne Rooney gets louder, here is a preview of the weekend games;

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1. Decision day for Jose as United take on the Champions
It’s Manchester United hosting reigning Champion’s Leicester City at Old Trafford in the weekend curtain raiser fixture. Off the back of two consecutive League defeats, United welcome Leicester who have showed various shades of form thus far this season. All eyes will be on the team-list when it gets released an hour before kick-off as the clamor for Wayne Rooney to be dropped following yet another below par performance midweek grows, also quite a number of fans will be interested in seeing what Jose does with the midfield following impressive showings by Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick, will the duo be drafted in to allow Paul Pogba more freedom or will Jose stick with Maroune Fellaini who have been quite decent in the games played thus far. For Ranieri, it’s a quest for consistency from his team and will he be opting for two strikers following Slimani’s fine debut last time out. A Vardy/ Slimani attack will worry an uncertain United defense.
Prediction: United to edge this 2-1.

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2. Will Conte reign on Arsene’s Parade?
This weekend marks the 20th Anniversary of Arsene Wenger as Arsenal Manger. For all the criticisms that have come his way, few would argue that Arsene contributed a large quota to the excitement and appeal that has made the Premier League one of the most exciting and followed league in the world. Two seasons ago when he marked his 1,000th game in charge, the opponents that day was Chelsea under manager Jose Mourinho and the result is one that Arsene will pray does not get repeated. This time around, Arsenal welcome Chelsea to the Emirates under new Manager Antonio Conte and the Blues who have enjoyed a fine start to their campaign until last weekend’s defeat to Liverpool will be hoping to quickly bounce back from the loss, the big question however remains, with two goals scored in the EFL following impressive performances anytime he gets played, has Fabregas done enough to earn a starting berth in Conte’s team. For Arsene, many times his team has fluffed on occasions like this and following the form of new signings Granit Xhaka and the likes of Alex Iwobi, Arsenal has a good chance of doing one over their local neighbors in what should be an explosive end to Saturday games.
Prediction: A share of the Spoils. 2-2

3. The Saints go marching Ham
When it rains, it pours, 13 goals conceded in 5 games, 8 in the last two and despite having an exciting forward of Lanzini, Payet and Miguel Antonio who can’t seem to stop scoring, West Ham cannot seem to get it right at the back. Bilic rang some changes to the back line last weekend but Arthur Masuaku who has now being ruled out with an injury got things off on a really bad note for the hammers. Slaven Bilic really needs to get a result from this as his team has not shown any bit the top beaters they were last season, despite the creative talents upfront, only Miguel Antonio seems the only player who knows how to score especially when it’s not a penalty for Lanzini or a late minute free kick from Payet and new signing Simone Zaza has been disappointing thus far. For the Saints 5 points from 5 games is not exactly top grade but a first win at home to Swansea is enough to boost confidence going into this game. One thing is certain, goals abound.

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4. Should we start taking Everton Serious?
13 points from 5 games is huge, especially with the renewed form of Roman Lukaku, the creativity of Bolasie and the solo runs of Seamus Coleman. Manager Ronald Koeman seems to be on a roll, there is a considerable amount of talent in his team with the likes of Barkley, Mirallas, Bolasie and Enner Valencia all capable of producing some moment of magic. They have found stability in Gareth Barry who celebrated his landmark game with a goal last week and the defense seems to have found the missing lock in Ashley Williams, some have predicted the Merseyside team to maybe become this season’s Leicester City and finish in the top four, early days yet but the signs are looking good for the team. For Bournemouth, with only a point above the relegation zone, this is one home fixture they have to make count, a point will be fair, all three will be welcomed.
Prediction: Everton to win 3-1

5. Will Hull fall down at Anfield?
Hull have been one of the surprise teams thus far this season, few expected them to have gotten a point at this stage but they sit fairly comfortable on the log with 7 points from 5 games, not bad when you consider their injury worries and in- house troubles at the start of the season and being on same number of points with defending champions Leicester is one that Mike Phelan will be proud of. For Mike Phelan, who remains caretaker coach, he is yet to lose an away fixture but this may just be the end of that run. Liverpool are becoming quite a unit, beautiful on the ball when they have to, battlers when they need to, liked how they defeated Chelsea last weekend and I don’t see Hull stopping them from getting all three points come Saturday.
Prediction: Liverpool to win

Other fixtures:

Swansea City VS Manchester City: Who can stop Pep’s army? Swansea seeks to perform this task for the second time in four days following a 2-1 defeat at the hand of their visitor’s midweek. Swansea have won one of eleven fixtures against this weekend’s opponents whilst City have maximum points from all their games, this is one task too tough to demand from Guidolin and his boys, another City win.

Middlesbrough VS Tottenham Hotspurs: With Harry Kane ruled out for up to 8 weeks, new signing Vincent Jansen has a platform to prove his worth, he did score in the EFL even if it’s just against Gillingham and via a penalty, for Boro, a win is vital following consecutive league defeats, coach Karanka will be desperate for three home points.

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Stoke City VS West Bromwich Albion: Following the goals feast at home to West Ham last season that saw star signing Nacer Chadli running the lines, Tony Pulis will be hoping his team can finally now start scoring more especially on the road. For Stoke City, it has been a disastrous start to the season and they sit bottom on the log, this is a real chance for them to get the season going and Arnautovic’s last minute consolation goal away to Crystal Palace shows that individually there is some considerable talent in the team.

Sunderland VS Crystal Palace: Palace in fine form up against a struggling Sunderland who did get a win in the EFL away at Queens Park Rangers, Palace should win this

Jonathan Moscrop / LaPresse20 10 2012 Torino ( Italia )Sport CalcioJuventus vs. Napoli - Serie A Tim 2012/2013 - Juventus StadiumNella foto: L'allenatore del Napoli Walter MazzarriJonathan Moscrop / LaPresse20 10 2012 Turin ( Italy )Sport SoccerJuventus versus SSC Napoli - Italian Serie A Soccer League 2012/2013 - Juventus StadiumIn the Photo: Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri

Burnley VS Watford: Monday night kickoff see Watford who enjoyed a first win in 30 years against Manchester United last week away at Turf Moor, home ground of Burnley, the Clarets enjoyed a surprise win at home to Liverpool earlier in the season but are yet to win a game since then. Manager Sean Dyche will be hoping for a repeat performance come Monday night.

Adeyemi Adesanya
Sports Business Consultant and Football Intermediary; Risk Management & Due Diligence Consultant; Freelance Football writer & Pundit on Radio & TV and Man.Utd Fan
http://www.halftimeng.com

One thought on “PREMIER LEAGUE: FIVE THINGS + 5 TO EXPECT THIS WEEKEND

  1. That Bournemouth game is a repeat of last season’s 3-3 thriller that had two goals scored by both teams in the last 5 minutes of the game. Hopefully this one will give us a repeat performance and have us screaming, “Encore!”

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