10 games on the cards, each with its own level on importance, for the teams in the top rank of the table, most of them had mixed fortunes last week and it’s all about seeking some breathing space from the chasing pack whilst for the bottom teams, focus is on climbing out of the relegation zone, here is my preview of Week 10 fixtures in the Premier League.
No wins in Six, Panic time for Pep?
Manchester City started like a house on fire, new tactics, ball playing goal keeper, a ‘Rolls Royce’ defender in John Stones, a reborn Raheem Sterling, 6 wins in their first 6 Premier league matches, 10 wins in all competitions and life could not be better at the blue side of Manchester but all that seems to be eons ago now, no win in last 3 Premier league games, two points from a possible nine and knocked out midweek in the EFL Cup by rivals United, City somehow remain top of the log and would be keen to break the streak with a win this weekend. They are away at the Hawthorns where they face West Brom, who parade one of the most organized teams in the league under manager Tony Pulis who put pen to paper on a new deal this week, the Baggies have no worries allowing their opponents much possession on the ball but Pep’s boys will be at their very best to unlock the defense, they are however also winless in their last 4 games and would be counting on the likes of Rondon, Chadli and Fletcher to help get at least a point from this fixture
Prediction: West Brom 1 Manchester City 3
It’s Bottom VS Joint Top
Sunderland remain the bookmakers top bet for relegation and despite David Moyes’s team seeming to be getting slightly better with their performances in recent games, luck and goals seem to have evaded the team as after a strong showing last week away to West Ham, they were left heartbroken as a Winston Reid late winner meant they returned home with no points to show for their travels, they welcome high flying Arsenal in the lunch time kick-off with Arsene Wenger’s boys in enviable form despite picking just a point in their last league game, the gunners have won 5 of their last 6 games and with the form of the likes of Theo Walcott, Alex Iwobi, Mesut Ozil, the black cats will be hoping their star forward Jermaine Defoe rediscovers his scoring form if they are to stand any chance against the visitors.
Prediction: Arsenal to win
Manchester United VS Burnley
Last week Sunday did happen, the thrashing on his return to Stamford Bridge wasn’t an act, Jose was humbled and his side have now gone three games in the league without a win, they needed a response and the EFL fixture against City midweek gave them that perfect opportunity which United did take with a Juan Mata strike, Jose Mourinho will be hoping to build on that result and kick his team into a winning momentum that will see them close the gap with the log leaders if their slim title aspirations is to be kept alive. For Burnley, Sean Dyche’s team go into this one confident off the back of a win over Everton and would be smelling blood on their visit to Old Trafford.
Prediction: Manchester United 2 Burnley 0
Tottenham Hotspurs VS Leicester City
No win in 5 for Pochettino’s men since their victory over Manchester City, Tottenham seems to be falling off as the season gets deeper, they are up against last season’s Champions, Leicester City, the last time Leicester City visited White Hart Lane, a Robert Huth goal was enough to earn maximum points as the foxes went on to win the league. This season has however not gone according to plan as Ranieri’s men have been struggling in the league especially on away grounds and top Striker Jamie Vardy is without a goal for over a month now, though they got a moral boosting win last weekend, a repeat of that performance will be required if they are to better their poor away record.
Prediction: A draw
The Eagles seek to fly past Liverpool
Liverpool are winning games against teams that in past seasons they probably would have dropped points, slim 1 nil margins in their last three wins also prove that outside being a free scoring side with the likes of Mane, Coutinho and Firminho, they can also grind out the result when required. Alan Pardew’s men have seen their good start to the season halted with back to back defeats and slumped to 11th place on the log. Former Liverpool forward, Christian Benteke gets a chance to prove to Klopp that he made a mistake in letting him go and the Eagles will be hoping their good run of just one defeat in five games against Liverpool continues.
Prediction: Liverpool to nick this
Southampton Vs Chelsea
3 wins in 3 for Antonio Conte with no goals conceded since he adopted the 3-5-2 formation in the league, a blip in the EFL midweek is one that will not give him sleepless nights if the performance displayed by his team against Manchester United gets repeated every other week in the league, for the Saints, the St. Mary’s stadium is a fortress of sort as the only team to have defeated them on the ground this year is Chelsea back in February. Claude Puel has adjusted well to the league and would be in high spirits for this one.
Fortunes reversed in Everton VS West Ham
The swagger has returned, confidence has found its place yet again and the results are finally going the way of the Hammers, after struggling to buy a win, its 3 victories in their last 3 games in all competitions and they will fancy their chances against an Everton side that seems to have lost steam, Ronald Koeman’s men have not won in their last four games, he would be seeking to change this especially as the fans at Goodison Park will be cheering for a win to enhance their chase for an European place .
Prediction: Everton to edge this
Stoke City VS Swansea City
Despite their poor run weeks back, we consistently stated that Stoke had enough individual talents to be doing much better in the league and thus it was only a matter of time before Mark Hughes sorted the mess and results start going their way, this has proven to be true as we have seen the likes of Joe Allen, Arnautovic and last week Xherdan Shaqiri show to the world how special they were. For Bob Bradley, his search for a first win continues, no win in last 7 games, and a cold Monday night visit to Stoke City’s Bet365 Stadium awaits, a ground where Premier League fans claim even a Lionel Messi will struggle may not be bearing gifts for the new Swansea Manager.
Prediction: Stoke City 2 Swansea City 1
Watford VS Hull City
A first win since been confirmed as Hull City Manager in the EFL Cupcame with a bit of relief for Mike Phelan’s under-performing side but can they build on this momentum on their visit to Vicarage Road. For Watford, it’s been a season of inconsistencies as they have drawn more games that they would have wished but up against a really poor and uninspiring Hull side, they should do enough to get maximum points at home.
Prediction: Watford to win
Middlesbrough VS Bournemouth
One of my favorite teams in the league this season under manger Eddie Howe, Bournemouth have proven that they have what it takes to mix it with the big boys in the top tier, they take valuable points from teams around them and have pulled some upsets against top teams especially with their win over Everton and draw last weekend against Tottenham. For Boro, a draw against Arsenal in a game where many predicted them to lose should be a morale booster going into this weekend fixture and a win at home is one that Karanka will be in a hunt for.