THE PREMIER LEAGUE: WEEK 9 PREVIEW

The Champions league came up midweek and it was a case of mixed fortunes for Premiership teams, Arsenal continued their fine form, Leicester has a plan and it includes conquering Europe after securing their third straight win and only a point away from earning the second round phase, Tottenham Hotspurs got a valuable away point whilst Manchester City just can’t seem to catch a break losing heavily to Barcelona. In the Europa Cup, United had something to cheer as Pogba inspired them to a win, whilst Southampton were unlucky at Inter Milan.

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The bread and butter of the ever intriguing Premier League takes center stage yet again this weekend and there is a juicy tie on the cards. 10 matches across various grounds and Halftimeng presents a preview of every single one of them.

Jose returns to the Bridge

When the fixtures for this season’s games were released, outside the Manchester Derby, another game that a lot of football followers marked the date on their calendar is finally here. Manchester United up against Chelsea, a game of several sub plots but none more intriguing than that of Jose Mourinho filing out against the team he made a force during his first spell, returned after his Madrid adventure, won yet another title, then supposedly lost his dressing room and ended up losing his job. A lot has been speculated as to how the London fans will welcome him but let’s try focus our attention to the game itself. It’s fifth up against seventh, it is a game of two tacticians seeking a little bit more from their respective teams. United were largely criticized in certain quarters for what many called their boring and negative style in the last game against Liverpool considering the pool of individual attacking talent in the squad, this has been a feature of Jose in big games over the years, so the question is, are we going to see the same of the same come Sunday evening? For Conte, the 3-5-2 formation seems to be working wonders, Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso have brought some newness to the squad, Hazard is loving the game yet again and Diego Costa can’t seem to stop scoring, it’s a game that both managers would love to win but would be more interested in not losing.

Prediction: Chelsea 1 Manchester United 1

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The Citizens welcome the Saints

Manchester City have now gone 4 games without a win and this is not a drill, from a flawless start to the season to being proven to be mortals both in the league and in Europe, Pep Guardiola’s men come off a 4 nil defeat in the hands of Barcelona mid week, which raised a lot of questions surrounding Peps tactics especially his decision to drop Sergio Aguero. City needs to react and they come up against a Southampton team that is proving that it has an ability to recreate itself despite losing major players every season. Claude Puel has forged a unit based less on individual talents and more on team effort and solidity with the likes of Nathan Redmond and Charlie Austin enjoying a good spell thus far, one wonders what tactics Puel will deploy as his team also has a flair for expansive and attractive football up against the manager who just won’t defend and will play the game in the only way he knows how to. This promises to be an exciting game and should come with a good number of goals.

Prediction: A slim City win

Arsenal VS Middlesbrough

It’s 7 wins in their last 7 games in all competitions, 23 goals including 9 in the last two games and Mesut Ozil is not just providing assists but scoring hat-tricks while Theo Walcott can’t seem to stop scoring also, this is definitely a good time at the Emirates and the question is do Aitor Karanka’s boys have enough in them to stop this moving train? Looks like a one way traffic with goals bound to rain yet again for the gunners

Prediction: Arsenal 4 Boro 1

Bournemouth VS Tottenham Hotspurs

Back to back away draws for Pochettino’s men and yet another away game at Bournemouth who mauled Hull City scoring six goals last time out, Manager Eddie Howe is one of those impressive young managers who knows how to work around the limit of his squad, they however welcome an undefeated Spurs side who are keen to get back to winning ways, this is a tricky tie and I won’t be surprised if it ends in a draw.

Prediction: A draw

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Leicester City VS Crystal Palace

It is almost certain the Leicester City will not be defending their title this season, lost again to Chelsea last weekend and are 13th on the log with 8 points from 8 games, for Alan Pardew’s Palace side, they come off the back of a defeat to West Ham with Christian Benteke who has had a decent start to the season missing a penalty. Claudio Ranieri seems to have prioritized getting to the latter stages of the Champions league as his goal this season and with this in view, an upset could yet be on the cards.

Prediction: Leicester City to edge this

Burnley Vs Everton

Ronald Koeman’s Everton has shown that they have the ability to mix it when it matters, got their tactics near perfect last weekend against City, though Phil Jagielka’s silly mistakes meant Maarten Stekelenburg had to be called upon to make two penalty saves from two different players. The way they took their goal was however impressive, breaking from the back, few touches and Lukaku was one on one with his defender and Belgian forward took his goal exceptionally well. They visit Turf Moor, home to Burnley who have proven to be quite a handful at home. Everton should have enough in their tank to nick this.

Prediction: Everton win

Swansea City VS Watford 

With Bob Bradley surviving a baptism of sort in his first game against an inform Arsenal, he would take some delight in his forwards Siggurdson and Borja getting on the score sheet, for Watford, it is a case of finding consistency off the back of successive draws, this could yet see both sides sharing the spoils.

Prediction: A Draw

Editorial use only. No merchandising. For Football images FA and Premier League restrictions apply inc. no internet/mobile usage without FAPL license - for details contact Football Dataco  Mandatory Credit: Photo by Michael Zemanek/BPI/REX/Shutterstock (5505365bc)  Jurgen Klopp manager of Liverpool looks on   during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Liverpool   played at Boleyn Ground on 2nd January 2016 in London  Barclays Premier League 2015/16 West Ham United v Liverpool Upton Park, Green St, Upton Park, London, United Kingdom - 2 Jan 2016

Liverpool VS West Bromwich Albion – despite being held by Manchester United last weekend, manager Jurgen Klopp can build on his sides second half performance especially after the introduction of Adam Lallana. Tony Pulis men will be dogged, Chadli will be dangerous but this looks like a Liverpool Win.

Prediction: Liverpool to win

West Ham United VS Sunderland – After finally securing their first win in five, the Hammers would be seeking to consolidate against bottom side Sunderland, manager Slaven Bilic however has a long injury list with some key players missing and Cresswell suspended, he will however rely on the mercurial talents of Payet and Lanzini to get this victory over a Sunderland team who are still searching for their first win of the campaign.

Prediction: West Ham to win

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Hull City VS Stoke City – Last weekend was a bad way for Mike Phelan to celebrate his confirmation as manager losing by 6 goals to Bournemouth, he would need to address this immediately or else all the good work done in the first few games will count for nothing, he is however up against a Stoke City that seems to be regaining confidence and Joe Allen proving indeed to be the ‘British Pirlo’, the KCOM stadium is the venue come Saturday afternoon and Mark Hughes men should be stealing this.

Prediction: Hull City 1 Stoke City 2

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

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