The 2017/2018 Premier League season enters its third week with some interesting round of fixtures. The season which has started on an explosive note continues lunch time on Saturday as Bournemouth play host to Manchester City in the weekend before the International break, here is a preview of 5 top games this weekend;
- Liverpool VS Arsenal
Clearly the biggest game of the weekend holds at Anfield as Jurgen Klopp’s men do battle with Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal, the Gunners suffered a defeat in their last outing against Stoke City and would be eager to avoid a successive one very early in the season, whilst Liverpool are on 4 points following a draw and a win from their opening two fixtures.
Liverpool were boosted midweek by their return to the group stages of the Champions league and whilst their defensive problems remain visible, the attacking talents offer excitement with Sadio Mane yet again pivotal to the team, they will be without playmaker Phil Coutinho as he continues to seek a move away from the Reds while Arsenal may be buoyed by the return of Alexis Sanchez to the squad after the club made it known that he will not be sold this summer. Though early days yet but a win for either side will boost their confidence and lay down a marker as to the intent of both managers this season, the fixture has always provided goals and with Alexis Sanchez due to return, Lacazette looking sharp, Sadio Mane and Firmino featuring, it does look like one that’ll live up to expectations.
- Chelsea VS Everton
Antonio Conte’s men enjoyed a hard fought victory away at Spurs last weekend despite a rough start to the new season, the defending champions have had to contend with Diego Costa’s bickering, injuries to first team players, red cards in their opening fixture which they surprisingly lost at home and the manager unsatisfied with his squad depth. But after 90mins with 2 Alonso goals, all that seemed to have been forgotten as the players began to look to the future and the manager would have been pleased with new signing Bagayoko who had just returned from an injury. Everton progressed to the group stages of the Europa Cup and have started the new campaign fairly decently despite a relatively changed squad, a win and a decent draw against league favorites Manchester City is enough to give manager Ronald Koeman something to smile about but he will be worried by their lack of goals as they have only registered two goals thus far in the league both scored by Wayne Rooney who this week announced his retirement from International football. Gyfil Sigurdsson scored a belter on Thursday night and will be pushing for his first start since joining the club, but if the game against Man City is anything to go by, then Everton will be deploying a conservative approach in this game with Calvert Lewin playing as the lone striker whilst Rooney drops in from the midfield.
Prediction: Chelsea to win
- Manchester United VS Leicester City
Manchester United have gotten off the blocks really well with 2 wins from 2 games, 8 goals scored and none conceded, new signings Matic and Lukaku seemed to have gelled and Anthony Martial looking every bit like the hungry lad signed from Monaco 3 seasons ago, United were further boosted during the week by the re-signing of last season’s top striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who could yet play a vital role especially in the second half of the season. Even though the manager has tried to downplay their fiery start to the season, the team has looked formidable and their conversion rate has improved. They host 2015/16 Champions Leicester City who themselves have started the season fairly well, a slim defeat to Arsenal in game one and a convincing 2 nil win in game two will leave Craig Shakespeare’s side feeling confident ahead of this fixture. Leicester City are not expected to struggle like they did last season but also not expected to challenge for the title like two seasons ago and going away to a United side confident and having all their players fit, they are not likely to leave Old Trafford with any point.
Prediction: United to win.
- Newcastle VS West Ham
The odd case of a relegation six pointer at this stage of the season, Newcastle who successfully made a return to the top flight after one season being relegated have lost their last three games including a surprise defeat in the Carabao Cup to Nottingham Forest whilst West Ham only got a reprieve with a victory over Cheltenham after back to back defeats in the league with both sides occupying the rear positions on the table. Rafael Benitez says his Newcastle side do not look ready for life in the Premier League and has few days left to bolster his squad while Slaven Bilic who has been under pressure since last season will be hoping his side can be inspired with the fight they put up despite going a man down against Southampton with two goals from Chicharito before a late Charlie Austin penalty sealed their fate. Whilst Newcastle have lacked bite going forward, West Ham have been porous at the back and with record signing Arnautovic suspended, they will be hoping Manuel Lanzini makes a return to the starting lineup and inspire the lads to victory.
Prediction: West Ham to edge it
- Bournemouth VS Manchester City
Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth who put up some impressive performances last season go into Saturdays early kick-off without a point or goal from their opening two games, they are up against Manchester City who despite losing Kyle Walker in their game against Everton put up a spirited fight to earn a 1-1 draw. Bournemouth have lost games to opponents they should be getting points from if they are to stand a chance of surviving in the league so it’s hard to see them get anything from this fixture. Manchester City may have not been rampant yet but possess arguably the most talented squad in the league. Bernado Silva coming off the bench last week showed flashes of his brilliance alongside Raheem Sterling, the partnership of Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus is yet to yield the desired goals with both guilty of gilt edge misses but with the likes of De Bryne, David Silva being able to carve out chances, A City win is inevitable come lunch time Saturday
Prediction: Manchester City to win convincingly