By Neil Leverett
- The Britwatch Football Team give their preview and predictions for the tenth weekend of the season
- Follow their progress throughout the season and see which writer takes the Premier League prediction cup
- Correct result gets one point, correct scoreline takes three points
PREMIER LEAGUE – The action continues with some great line-ups this weekend.
Manchester United vs. Tottenham Hotspur, (Saturday, 12:30pm)
Niall: The weekends football kicks off with arguably the most anticipated game as Tottenham travel to Manchester United.
Spurs have a great away record this campaign having won all their matches on the road. However none of those trips have been as difficult as a trip to Old Trafford. United have one of the best home records, and that is why this match is so interesting.
Both Spurs and Man United are more known for their defensive prowess, but up front they both boast a proven goalscorer. Or at least did. The headlines have arguably already been made for this one, with Harry Kane ruled out with a hamstring injury. That leaves Romelu Lukaku to have his own personal battle with the Spurs defence, and it is likely the Belgian could decide the outcome.
United have hit a bit of a rough patch as of late whilst Tottenham are bang in form. That extra bit of confidence might be enough to see Spurs over the line.
Prediction: Man United 1-2 Tottenham
Neil: The weekend’s games kick off in blockbuster style as Manchester United host Spurs at Old Trafford. The Red Devils were stunned last weekend with their first defeat of the campaign at the John Smiths Stadium versus Huddersfield, and having been in what could be described as poor form over the past fortnight, the pressure is on Jose Mourinho’s men to deliver here.
Spurs themselves are coming off a surprise League Cup exit to West Ham United on Wednesday night, with Mauricio Pochettino’s men surrendering a 2-0 lead at half-time to be knocked out by the struggling Hammers. The visitors will miss the goal-scoring exploits of Kane, however his absence could see Fernando Llorente get a rare league start. It would be easy to predict another goalless draw, with Mourinho parking his patented bus, but at home there is an onus to attack rather more. With that said I am going to go with a draw nonetheless.
Prediction: Man United 1-1 Tottenham
Arsenal vs. Swansea City, (Saturday, 15:00)
Niall: Arsenal showed some good form when they breezed past Everton last week so they will be confident in getting another three points at home to struggling Swansea. Having said that, Swansea have a surprisingly good record at the Emirates. They have won two of their last three visits here, though it must be said those Swansea sides were better than the current crop.
It is difficult to see past the Gunners grabbing a comfortable win here and climbing closer to a top four spot.
Prediction: Arsenal 3-0 Swansea
Neil: The Gunners returned to winning ways last weekend at Everton, as the sword fell on Ronald Koeman’s 18-month reign at Goodison Park. After a difficult campaign, Mesut Ozil collected his first goal and assist of the season versus the Toffees, with fellow contract rebel Alexis Sanchez also amongst the goals.
The Swans fell victim to another managerial change round last Saturday, as caretaker Michael Appleton oversaw his first – and last – win as deputy in South Wales for the Foxes. Paul Clement takes his side to North London knowing they are capable of frustrating away opposition having held Spurs last month. Despite this however I cannot foresee a similar result on the cards, with a comfortable win for the hosts.
Prediction: Arsenal 2-0 Swansea
Crystal Palace vs. West Ham United, (Saturday, 15:00)
Niall: Two struggling Premier League teams meet at Selhurst Park in a must win game for West Ham manager Slaven Bilic.
The Hammers’ boss is under serious pressure as his side sit in the bottom three. Their heroics against Spurs in midweek may have eased the pressure, but a loss against rock bottom Palace may see the end of the Croatian’s reign.
Palace have looked better under Roy Hodgson and i believe with West Ham’s struggles they can pick up some points.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-0 West Ham
Neil: After a first win of the season versus Chelsea, Hodgson’s Eagles failed to soar last time out, as Crystal Palace fell back to earth with a bump courtesy of Mikel Merino’s only goal of the game against Newcastle United. Injury to Christian Benteke has forced Hodgson to use both Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend as an unlikely strike partnership, and for 90 mins at least it paid off.
The Hammers will be buoyed after their stunning comeback in the Carabao Cup versus Spurs, as under-fire Bilic continues to fight in the trenches for his job. A resounding 3-0 loss to Brighton last Friday could have been the death knell of the Croatian, but West Ham’s owners have persisted – to their credit. The visitors are still unlikely to suffer relegation this season, but it will be games like this that could determine their fate come May. I am backing them here to overcome a spirited Palace by the odd goal.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-2 West Ham
Liverpool vs. Huddersfield Town, (Saturday, 15:00)
Niall: After their famous win over Manchester United, Huddersfield Town will look to upset another of the Premier League’s big six as they travel to Liverpool.
The Reds are not in good form too. Last time out they were beaten 4-1 by Spurs and are winless in their last three league matches. Jurgen Klopp will be hoping to turn it around with a statement win against Huddersfield.
The Terriers will be confident after beating Man United, but that result came at their home ground. Away games are a different story, and without their home crowd to spur them on, i see Liverpool getting the win.
Prediction: Liverpool 4-1 Huddersfield
Neil: Liverpool are now without a league win in four, after the Reds were put to the sword at Wembley last Sunday by Spurs. Despite Mohamed Salah continuing his scoring start to life on Merseyside, it was predictably once again the Reds’ defence that was the decisive factor last weekend, with Dejan Lovren making a string of rash calls to race out from the back in an attempt to thwart the Lilywhites’ attacking line.
The Terriers pulled off an unlikely win versus the Red Devils last week in what was their first win over United in 65 years. The goals had dried up for David Wagner’s men, so the double last weekend would have been a welcome relief ahead of the likely barrage they are set to face versus a stung Liverpool side. Huddersfield have proved a more than able team defensively, but remain inconsistent. I can see the visitors finding the net in this one, but Liverpool should have too much to handle at the other end.
Prediction: Liverpool 3-1 Huddersfield
Watford vs. Stoke City, (Saturday, 15:00)
Niall: Despite their loss to Chelsea, Watford are flying high under Marco Silva and they will be favourites to keep up their good start against Stoke.
The Potters are struggling at the moment and come into this match off the back of a 2-1 defeat to Bournemouth. They look a little short of ideas at the moment, and this is not a good time to face a good Watford side.
I only see this going one way. Watford may struggle defensively, but going forward they should have enough to break Stoke down.
Prediction: Watford 2-1 Stoke
Neil: The Hornets were unfortunate not to take away a point from Stamford Bridge last Saturday versus Chelsea, but at 2-1 up, Watford missed a couple of gilt-edged chances through Richarlison to have put the game to bed before substitute Michy Batshuayi’s late brace in West London. Silva’s side nevertheless remain in the top six, but will know there is room for improvement at Vicarage Road where they have taken just five points.
Stoke are beginning to look like they might be in trouble this season, sandwiched between Everton and West Ham in 17th place. Last weekend’s loss to fellow strugglers Bournemouth put a dent in Mark Hughes’ hopes of firing his side up the table as they travel to Hertfordshire this Saturday. The Potters have taken just a point from four games on the road this term, and despite Watford’s relatively poor home record I can only see a Watford win this time around.
Prediction Watford 2-1 Stoke
West Bromwich Albion vs. Manchester City, Saturday, 15:00)
Niall: Table-toppers Manchester City will look to extend their lead at the summit when they make the difficult trip to West Brom.
Pep Guardiola’s side have been a marvel this season, scoring for fun and dominating every game they have played. Kevin De Bruyne is in fantastic form, and with Sergio Aguero alongside Gabriel Jesus up top, they also have one of the best front lines in the world.
West Brom are struggling at present, but they will prove a stern test for City. I doubt the Citizens will be as free-scoring as they have been so far, but they will have enough to win comfortably.
Prediction: West Brom 0-2 Man City
Neil: West Brom are now winless since August but almost took a point versus Southampton last weekend in largely forgettable encounter, before Sofiane Boufal’s piece of genius stole the points at St. Marys’. Even their home from has deserted Tony Pulis’ side, who have retreated back into their shell once more this term, having ventured a yard further last season. Goals are still a burning issue for the Baggies.
The Citizens survived their first real examination in midweek in the Carabao Cup, having been taken to penalties by the Championship’s table-toppers Wolves. Guardiola’s men were frequently exposed at the Etihad and could realistically have suffered their first defeat of the season – in any competition. City will no doubt be tired from their League Cup exploits here having played a near full-strength side on Wednesday. Whilst that factor may make this more of a contest, I cannot however, it making a difference to the final outcome.
Prediction: West Brom 1-3 Man City
AFC Bournemouth vs. Chelsea, (Saturday, 17:30)
Niall: After their win over Watford, there was an uplifting feeling around Stamford Bridge and a sense of relief. Chelsea have had a tough start to the season and it feels like things may pick up again.
Chelsea travel to Bournemouth on Saturday and will be expecting three points. The Cherries have struggled to get going so far this season and despite their win at Stoke i do not see them overcoming Chelsea.
Prediction: Bournemouth 1-3 Chelsea
Neil: Last weekend’s victory at Stoke was a massive boost for Cherries’ boss Eddie Howe, with Bournemouth now having taken seven points from their last five games. The 2-1 win at the Bet 365 was the visitors first points on the road this season, but ahead of a the visiting Chelsea the team will need to produce a united front at both end of the field.
Rumours of unrest continue to dog Chelsea and a loss the Watford could have spelt trouble for Blues Antonio Conte, had his the side fell to a third-successive league loss. Batshuayi’s brace will have been a fillip to the Belgian striker, but may have to settle for a place on the bench once more. Of greater importance to Chelsea has been the return to form of Pedro, having scored and assisted last weekend and could be key to the visiting side here. The Blues have looked shaky in recent weeks in defence, but I am backing them to pick up the points here, to plunge Bournemouth back into trouble.
Prediction: Bournemouth 0-2 Chelsea
Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Southampton, (Sunday, 13:30)
Niall: It is a southern battle as Brighton welcome Southampton to the AMEX stadium on Sunday.
The Seagulls have an impressive home record since being promoted to the Premier League and you feel like that is key to their survival chances. Southampton are a solid side but they struggle in front of goal and I think Brighton might edge it.
Prediction: Brighton 1-0 Southampton
Neil: In what will be the first South coast derby between the two sides in Premier League history, the Seagulls host the Saints at the AMEX Stadium this Sunday afternoon. With Tomer Hemed serving his final game of his suspension, his strike partner and/or rival Glenn Murray took his chance with his brace at the London Stadium last weekend. That could see Murray retaining his spot up front as he looks to add to his tally. Last Friday also saw the third clean sheet in nine for Chris Hughton’s men, as Brighton show signs of tightening up at the back.
The Saints were rescued with Boufal’s mazy run goal against West Brom, but goals are still providing boss Mauricio Pellegrino with issues. At the opposite end the return of Virgil van Dijk has bolstered Southampton’s defence, with the Dutchman already topping the aerial clearances charts for the club. The Seagulls are yet to put together an unbeaten run on their top-flight return, but I see that changing this Sunday with a share of the spoils.
Prediction: Brighton 1-1 Southampton
Leicester City vs. Everton, (Sunday, 16:00)
Niall: Manager-less Everton face newly-appointed Claude Puel’s Leicester at the King Power on Sunday. The Foxes looked improved in their first match since the sacking of Craig Shakespeare and Everton will look to have a similar response after departing with Ronald Koeman.
However at home Leicester are a difficult task for anyone. With Everton struggling for form it feels like The Foxes are the favourites here and I think they will grab the win in an entertaining affair.
Prediction: Leicester 3-2 Everton
Neil: Puel oversees his first game in charge at the King Power against caretaker boss David Unsworth’s side. Leicester’s win at Swansea was vital to temporarily erasing any fears of another relegation scrap come May, but for those notions to be consigned to the scrap heap, the hosts will need a performance this Sunday.
The Toffees look much-improved in the League Cup under former fan favourite Unsworth – who is rumoured to want the Goodison Park job on a permanent basis. His task will be to get his side flowing once more as they have done in previous season, but this game may come too soon for the Liverpudlian to make his mark.
Prediction: Leicester 2-0 Everton
Burnley vs. Newcastle United, (Monday, 20:00)
Niall: Monday night’s offering sees Burnley host Newcastle at Turf Moor in what is an intriguing match up. The Clarets are a better away side surprisingly this season after being so solid at home all of last. Newcastle have slotted back into Premier League life well and look set to stay up under Rafa Benitez.
It will be a close game with not many goals, but i think Burnley will show why Turf Moor is such a hard place to visit once again.
Prediction: Burnley 2-0 Newcastle
Neil: Monday Night Football rounds off Matchweek 10, as eighth play seventh at Turf Moor. As predicted, the Clarets lost their unbeaten away record to Man City last week, as Sean Dyche’s men return to the home comforts of Lancashire. Chris Wood has largely carried the hosts’ attacking threat in recent weeks and will be hoping the New Zealander recovers in time having been forced off with an ankle injury in Manchester.
The Magpies sneaked a 1-0 win versus Palace last time out, as Benitez’s side sit comfortably in the top half of the league table. Midfielder Matt Ritchie is proving to be Newcastle’s main source of creativity and whenever the Toon find the net, it seems the Scot is at the heart of the play once more. The visitors have a decent away record, but have lost two of their four games away from home. It will be a tight affair, but I just fancy the hosts to nick this one.
Prediction: Burnley 1-0 Newcastle
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