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Watford Vs Liverpool

Watford Form: LLWDL

Liverpool Form: DWWDD

Key Man: Trent Alexander Arnold

It would be fair to say Jurgen Klopp isn’t best impressed with the fixture selection this week as his Reds face a refreshed Watford side in the early kick off this Saturday. And understandably so, Fabinho and Allison are due to start for Brazil at 1:30am Friday morning- just 35 hours before Liverpool kick off at Vicarage road! Rumour has it that Watford snubbed Liverpool’s request to move the game to an evening slot, for which you can hardly blame them given that Fabinho and Allison are widely considered to be in the top five best players in the Liverpool roster.

Meanwhile, Claudio Ranieri will take charge of his new Watford side for the very first time and he’ll be preparing for a baptism of fire despite facing a potentially weakened Liverpool side. As usual, the Italian has been up to his old tricks again, reportedly promising his players an all-expenses paid meal out if they can stop the Red Machine scoring on Saturday.

You’ve got to give it to him, the optimism is respectable, but there is simply no way Liverpool aren’t scoring this weekend. Granted, new managers often inspire a side to an immediate burst of results as players fight to establish themselves under new reign. However, his new team haven’t kept a clean sheet in any of their last 17 games and they happen to be coming up against arguably the hottest player in the world right now in Mo Salah. Rather than focussing on clean sheets, Ranieri should be considering the fact that Liverpool have won just two of their last five games and more specifically, the game against Brentford in which their leaky defence shipped three.

If the Hornets want a result, their best bet is to attack and make the most of the potential absence of Alisson and Fabinho. Through approaching the game in the correct fashion, they might have a very slight outside chance, but I’m still backing a comfortable Liverpool win. Trent’s return to the fold will be crucial, he’s created more chances than any other player in the league this season and he should have a field day.

SAM’S PREDICTION: 0-3
SAM OBASEKI’S PREDICTION: 1-2

 

Aston Villa Vs Wolves

Villa Form: DLWWL

Wolves Form: LLLWW

Key Man: Matty Cash

Derby day in the West Midlands then for these two rivals and it’s sure to be a close encounter. Despite a very up and down season so far, the Villa have taken 7 from a possible 9 points at home this campaign and Dean Smith seems to have got momentum travelling in the right direction now the Grealish hangover is subsiding. Significantly, of those three home fixtures they’ve conceded just once, which should give the team plenty of confidence coming up against this Wolves team that seem to have been shooting with a blindfold on in most of their games to this point.

Everyone except new signing Hwang Hee Chan anyway, who’s been spearheading the charge for his side and has been the main catalyst for their recent upturn in form. The partnership that is forming between the Korean and Raul Jimenez has seen the duo notch 4 in as many games between them and you can bank on both starting against Villa on Saturday.

Whichever way this one goes, my best tip for this game is under 2.5 goals. Just once has a Wolves fixture this season surpassed the two-goal mark and given how big a game this is for both clubs; you can expect much of the same. In terms of the result- the availability of Emiliano Martinez and Douglas Luiz might be a deciding factor. It looks like Villa will be hit by the same bullet as Liverpool with the South American fixture trouble and that’s enough to turn me away from backing them outright for the victory.

SAM’S PREDICTION: 1-1
SAM OBASEKI’S PREDICTION: 1-1

 

Leicester Vs Manchester United

Leicester Form: WLLDD

Man U Form: WWWLD

Key Man: Jamie Vardy

Jamie Vardy + (an absent Harry Maguire + an absent Raphael Varane) = Leicester win.

Is that too short a preview? No, in all seriousness, United are going to be in trouble these next few weeks without their two starting central defenders. Everybody witnessed the trouble Liverpool had last year adapting to the loss of core defensive players in their team, and when you consider the lack of a real elite holding midfielder- you worry for United here. Credit to Sky Sports for this great stat which proves this point brilliantly but United are in fact winless in their last five games that Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelöf have started alongside each other.

It’s not like they’re coming up against the most impressive Leicester side this weekend though. Brendan Rodgers has struggled to replicate the form of last season; however, Jamie Vardy’s six goals rank him alongside Mo Salah as the league’s top scorer and he has the tools to punish this unorganised United team given the correct service.

Ronaldo could of course prove me wrong, likewise Pogba and Fernandes, yet without a bout of individual brilliance, Leicester have every chance of winning here for me.

SAM’S PREDICTION: 2-1
SAM OBASEKI’S PREDICTION: 1-2

Manchester City Vs Burnley

City Form: WWDWD

Burnley Form: DLLDD

Key Man: Foden

This is safe as houses this fixture. Man City have answered a lot of questions regarding their title credentials in recent weeks and shut plenty of people up. Namely me…

A hugely impressive victory away at Stamford Bridge, followed by playing Liverpool off the park at Anfield and only being denied a victory through sheer genius, Pep’s men have staked their claim. They will be in with a shout come the end, that’s for sure. A few setbacks heading into this one as Ederson, Jesus and Ferran Torres will all be unavailable, but it shouldn’t pose too much of a problem this weekend.

Burnley have managed to scrape just 3 points from their opening 21. They are firm relegation candidates and whilst their performances have often warranted better, the league table never lies. Dyche’s men don’t have the same capacity to grind out results the way they used to and they have problems at both ends of the pitch that need addressing. The key statistic for me here is that each of the last four fixtures between these two at the Etihad has ended 5-0 to the hosts. A pattern which you can be sure will follow in a similar vein on Saturday.

SAM’S PREDICTION: 4-0
SAM OBASEKI’S PREDICTION: 3-1

Norwich Vs Brighton

Norwich Form: LLLLD

Brighton Form: LWWDD

Key Man: Maupay

A slight upturn for Norwich as they scored their first points of the campaign away at Burnley last time out. They’ll need to rally around that small victory and gain some momentum fast if they have any hopes of survival this season, scoring just twice whilst conceding 16 times across their opening 7 fixtures does not make for happy reading. Fans are quickly losing hope and with a trip to Stamford Bridge on the horizon, the Canaries could really do with a result to cling to here.

They’ll have a job though and anyone who would bet against Brighton has got more bravery than me. Sitting just two points off top of the league, Graham Potter truly has hit the sweet spot. Europe is more than realistic for them, but the real acid test will be the games proceeding this as the Seagulls face off against City and Liverpool consecutively.

The result is clear. Brighton will have far too much for this Norwich side. They are a fully established Premier League outfit at this point whereas Norwich are Championship quality through and through. A comfortable win for the away team.

SAM’S PREDICTION: 0-2
SAM OBASEKI’S PREDICTION: 0-2

Southampton Vs Leeds

Southampton Form: DDDLL

Leeds Form: DLDLW

Key Man: Livramento

Tough one to call this. Both teams have struggled through the opening phase of the season and have just 1 win between them from 14, yet both have shown some signs of promise. Southampton were unfortunate last time out against Chelsea and might have gotten a point if it wasn’t for the late James Ward Prowse red card, who’s suspension will leave them short-handed on Saturday. The real issue for Southampton is the Danny Ings shaped hole in their squad. They lack any real firepower without his presence, so much so that they haven’t scored from open play since August 28th and the decision not to bring in a proven Premier League striker seems to be the main factor holding this team back.

They have got a stroke of luck this weekend though, as Patrick Bamford and Raphina will both be unavailable for the trip down South. Arguably Bielsa’s two most important players, certainly going forward anyway, which will make Leeds nowhere near as potent as usual. When you combine that with their catastrophic defensive traits that have seen them concede an average of 2 goals per game, it looks like the stars might aligning for the Saints.

SAM’S PREDICTION: 2-1
SAM OBASEKI’S PREDICTION: 1-2

Brentford Vs Chelsea

Brentford Form: DLWDW

Chelsea Form: DWWLW

Key Man: Ivan Toney

Ready for the surprise of the weekend? Although, maybe it won’t be too much of a surprise given how mightily impressive Brentford have been under Thomas Frank. Beaten just once so far and if you exclude the Liverpool game, the Bees defence has been breached on just 3 occasions. Which tells you all you need to know about how solid this London outfit really is.  Ivan Toney has begun to turn in the kind of performances that people were whispering about pre-season and is arguably in the top three form players in the league right now. All in all, Brentford really are flying.

Significantly for this match up, Chelsea have several key players who are doubtful for Saturday following the international break: Silva, Rudiger, James, Pulisic could all miss out for a number of different reasons. Whilst star man Lukaku also remains short of full fitness even if he does feature.

It might be an unpopular opinion, but the Blues have dropped off from their lofty standards they set at the start of the season. They were fortunate to win against Southampton, far below par against City and they could get stung by the Bees here. A narrow victory for Brentford in a fiery game that could leave Tuchel with a bitter taste in his mouth.

SAM’S PREDICTION: 2-1
SAM OBASEKI’S PREDICTION: 1-2

Everton Vs West Ham

Everton Form: WWLWD

West Ham Form: DDLWL

Key Man: Doucore

Personally, some of the hype around West Ham is beginning to become unjustified. They started the season incredibly well, yet it should be said with a rather generous fixture list, and still managed to win on just three occasions. Moyes has created a team that excels playing counter attacking football and it’s so effective when the opposition plays expressively against them, but as demonstrated in their draw & defeat to Palace & Brentford, it doesn’t work nearly as well against teams that are more willing to let them have the ball.

Which is exactly the kind of team this Rafa Benitez side is. Directness personified, it’s no coincidence that Everton’s average possession has dropped from 47% to 42% from last season. The Toffees are more than happy to sit back and allow the opposition to play and what’s more, they rank 18th for touches in the middle third which suggests how much Everton look to use long ball tactics under Rafa. You can expect Everton to sit off and only engage West Ham once they begin to advance up the pitch, there won’t be any space left to be exploited in behind.

Everton have the set up to beat the Hammers here.

SAM’S PREDICTION: 2-1
SAM OBASEKI’S PREDICTION: 1-2

Newcastle Vs Tottenham Hotspur

Newcastle Form: DLDDL

Spurs Form: WLLLW

Key Man: Harry Kane

The new era begins on Tyneside. Read that again.

This really is history and well worth a watch on Sunday. Newcastle United are now by far the richest club in the land and the fans have finally got what they wanted so the atmosphere should be absolutely rocking inside St. James’ Park on Sunday. The question is- will this be enough to turn their season around and get their first win on the board? The Magpies currently occupy 19th spot in the table, are winless, and let’s face it, could even be considered outsiders for relegation. Which would be some story if it was to ever happen after recently becoming the richest club on God’s green earth…

In terms of the game this weekend, as much as it would be great to see them kickstart the new era with a bang, they’re lack of quality tells me it can’t happen. Spurs aren’t in the best of form, in particular Harry Kane who hasn’t even scored in the league yet. However, they got the win away at Villa Park last time out which should prove much more of a test than this frail Newcastle outfit. Kane will begin to come good at some point and I’m opting for him to be the key man here.

SAM’S PREDICTION: 1-3
SAM OBASEKI’S PREDICTION: 1-2

This article was written by highpress. To check out their other work click here or you can leave them a comment below.

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