By Neil Leverett and Niall Clarke
- Arsenal host unbeaten Liverpool in a mouth-watering game of the week at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday evening
- Resurgent Manchester United travel to the Vitality Stadium to face AFC Bournemouth on Saturday lunchtime
- Wolverhampton Wanderers look to bounce back from successive defeats at home to Tottenham Hotspur
PREMIER LEAGUE, UK – As another busy weekend of Premier League action lays in store, Arsenal host Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium in Gameweek 11’s game of the week.
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Game of the week: Arsenal vs. Liverpool (Saturday, 17:30)
Neil: This weeks game of the week takes place at the Emirates Stadium, but in truth, any of our three picks for Gameweek 11 could get the nod such is the calibre of Saturday’s marquee games, but any clash between the Gunners and Reds must take precedent.
Having seen their eleven-match winning streak come to and end in last Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace, the hosts return to home comforts with one of their stiffest tests of the season against Jurgen Klopp‘s unbeaten Merseysiders. This weekend’s opponents were comfortable winner against Cardiff last time out, but will be aware that their lesser form of late has been coupled with lapses at the back, which Callum Paterson highlighted at Anfield.
What more needs to be said about this one? A game that needs no hype and that has almost every time delivered a number of goal should be the same once again, and though the hosts might be feeling a tad more optimistic against Liverpool than any other time in recent seasons, the Reds’ counter-attack is likely to make the difference in what will surely be a scintillating encounter. Gameweek 8’s top-of-the-table clash failed to deliver, but this will as I pick the visitors to eke out three points, with Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah again firing.
Prediction: Arsenal 2-3 Liverpool
Niall: There is a lot to like about Saturday’s Premier League line-up, but it is this one clash that takes the prize for Gameweek 11. If recent history tells us anything, this contest should be a lot of fun for the neutral. Last season this fixture ended 3-3 with the 2016 version being a 4-3 thriller in the favour of Liverpool. Both sides love to come forward and attack, but there is a slightly different dynamic in play for 2018.
Liverpool have improved significantly in defence since the arrival of Virgil van Dijk, and along with a quality goalkeeper in Alisson, the Reds have become a difficult team to break down. This solidity at the back is the reason they sit level with Manchester City at the top of the league as Klopp’s men have been able to win matches even when their front three has not been firing.
Arsenal’s winning streak came to an end at the hands of the Eagles last week, but Gooners must be pleased with the start they have made under Unai Emery. Unlike Liverpool however, their defence is shaky, but going forward they are a huge threat particularly with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in form. Arsenal’s leaky back line means that this will surely not be a goalless draw like Liverpool’s match against Manchester City. However the Red’s defence will prove the more difficult to break down and if Liverpool can go on a hot streak they will be almost impossible to contain.
Prediction: Arsenal 1-3 Liverpool
Niall’s One to watch: AFC Bournemouth vs. Manchester United (Saturday, 12:30)
‘Super Saturday’ kicks off with a lunch time game between Bournemouth and Manchester United which features as my one to watch. It feels like the negativity surrounding Man United has dissipated somewhat in recent weeks as some decent results against Chelsea and Everton have lifted the mood at Old Trafford. However a loss against Bournemouth will ultimately bring it down once again and potentially see the Red Devils fall further behind their rivals.
United currently sit in eight, nine points off Manchester City and Liverpool at the top of the Premier League and five behind fourth placed Arsenal. Interestingly enough, Bournemouth are currently three points ahead of their opponents on Saturday and could extend that to six with a win.
The Cherries have started the season really well, winning six of their first ten matches. However it has been a kind start in terms of fixtures, and United will prove a sterner test than most of Bournemouth’s opponents thus far. Eddie Howe’s team will show little to no fear of Manchester United and will play their way no matter what. Bournemouth are a huge threat to the Red Devils, but the question is will they have enough on the day? Confidence is high, but United are playing better than they did a few weeks ago so the points could be shared on the day.
Prediction: AFC Bournemouth 1-1 Manchester United
Neil’s One to watch: Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Tottenham Hostpur (Saturday, 19:45)
No sooner are we done in North London, more goals could be in store at Molineux to round off a stellar Saturday of action. Wolves have hit a fork in the round in the last fortnight, but will look to get the Nuno Espirito Santo express back on track in the Black Country.
Spurs’ four-game winning league streak was brought to an end by Manchester City on Monday night, and their task in responding will be by no means a simple task for Mauricio Pochettino‘s men here. Despite back-to-back losses, the hosts have not played badly indeed it took a tour-de-force form Brighton stopper Mat Ryan to deny Wolves a point at the AMEX last weekend.
The Lilywhites are one side in particular that like to dictate play and dominate possession, but this could be one rare occasion where their opponents are the side on the front foot. It should be another fascinating encounter and I expect both sides to show their colours in attack, but I just get the feeling there will be a share of the spoils here, though it will doubtful be a stalemate, so to speak.
Prediction: Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Premier League Gameweek 11 game of the week takes place at the Emirates Stadium, as Arsenal face Liverpool on Saturday evening.
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