By Neil Leverett and Niall Clarke
- The Premier League returns this weekend, as Tottenham Hotspur host Chelsea in Gameweek 12’s game of the week
- Fellow table-toppers Liverpool travel to Vicarage Road to face Watford
- AFC Bournemouth entertain Arsenal at the Vitality Stadium on Sunday afternoon
PREMIER LEAGUE, UK – The Premier League swings back into action after the international break this weekend, as Tottenham Hotpsur entertain Chelsea at Wembley in game of the week.
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Game of the week: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Chelsea (Saturday, 17:30)
Niall: Wembley plays host to another big game this weekend, but instead of the England national side being at home it is Tottenham Hotspur who take on Chelsea on Saturday.
With the growth of both these London clubs in the past decade, Spurs versus Chelsea has become one of the most anticipated fixtures on the Premier League calendar, but this match-up has even more spice with the sides only being separated by a point heading into gameweek 13.
Despite that, it feels like Tottenham have not really got going this season. The performances have not been up to par but they have still got the results to confirm their best ever Premier League start. You could attribute that down to the injury woes with Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen who will be back to full fitness this weekend, and the return to form for Harry Kane will be a huge relief. However Danny Rose, Davinson Sanchez and Jan Vertonghen are likely to miss this match and Mousa Dembele is also a doubt.
Chelsea are the only unbeaten team in all competitions across Europe’s top five leagues and that is a testament to Maurizio Sarri who has transformed this team in a very short space of time. The Italian still believes there are more improvements to be made which is a scary proposition for the rest of the league. Speaking of which, there are questions over the fitness Eden Hazard but it looks likely he will be in the matchday squad.
The recent head to head suggests that this will be a tight affair. Chelsea lead 3-2 in the last five meetings and most of those have had goals, even when the Blues were a more defensive side. Both teams will likely score, it is just the question of which will get the vital second or third that gets the win.
Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 Chelsea
Neil: After the final leg of the UEFA Nations League concluded last weekend, domestic affairs swing back into action in fine fashion, with a meeting of two sides that have in recent years become quite the rivals.
After Kane’s heroics for his country against Croatia, his responsibilities switch very much to his club side and England’s number nine will need to be at his best against the unbeaten Blues.
Sarri’s men rather misfired against Everton last time out, and will be keen on avoiding a repeat performance in north London. That may very well depend on the fitness of Hazard, as Niall documents but regardless of the Belgian’s start, this game should not disappoint – when has it done in recent years?
As to the game’s outcome, the Lilywhites have yet to really show their quality against the top sides and that could be the decisive factor here. Whilst I fancy the hosts to find the net, Chelsea will likely have too much for Spurs to handle.
Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 1-2 Chelsea
Neil’s One to Watch: Watford vs. Liverpool (Saturday, 15:00)
The Liverpool goal machine has rather spluttered in recent weeks, but Jurgen Klopp will be eager to his side return to the goals, with an awkward looking task of Watford away at Vicarage Road on Saturday.
After being held at Arsenal, followed by a shock defeat to Crvena Zvezda, coupled with an underwhelming 2-0 win at home to Fulham, the Reds know they must be on their game against a Hornets side who have impressed in the opening third of the campaign.
After signing a new deal, Sadio Mane will look to reward his new club as will Mohamed Salah whose form continues to bubble under but is yet to explode into life.
This is an intriguing match-up that should supply the goals and with Javi Gracia‘s men suffering a uncertain few games, Watford will be looking to right those wrong here. This is quite a tought result to call as both sides are capable of keeping a tight ship in defence, but I have to again side for the swashbuckling Reds.
Prediction: Watford 1-3 Liverpool
Niall’s One to Watch: AFC Bournemouth vs. Arsenal (Sunday, 13:30)
Arsenal face a tricky away day at Bournemouth in my one to watch. Only four points separate the Cherries and the Gunners who sit sixth and fifth respectively. Bournemouth have punched above their weight so far this season, but two straight defeats may have hindered their form. Arsenal have drawn their last three games after winning seven on the bounce, but they remain unbeaten in 16 competitive games under Unai Emery.
The Spaniard has improved his side’s away form this season, and a win at the Vitality Stadium will see them equal their four away wins of last season. The hosts have proved to be difficult to defeat at home though with only Manchester United getting the better of them at home.
This is another fixture that looks like it will produce goals. Bournemouth have been a good first half team with Arsenal being a good second half team so it may turn out to be a game of two halves. Bournemouth may take the lead, but Arsenal have shown more than once they are capable of a turnaround.
Prediction: AFC Bournemouth 1-2 Arsenal
Premier League Gameweek 13’s game of the week sees Tottenham Hotspur host Chelsea at Wembley Stadium on Saturday evening.
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