By Neil Leverett and Niall Clarke
- Gameweek seven’s Game of the Week sees unbeaten Chelsea host table-topping Liverpool on Saturday
- West Ham United host a Manchester United side still mired off the field rumblings
- AFC Bournemouth entertain Crystal Palace on Monday night, to finish off the weekend
PREMIER LEAGUE, UK – Gameweek 7 sees a top of the table tussle between unbeaten Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge, as Premier League title rivals meet.
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Game of the Week: Chelsea vs. Liverpool (Saturday, 17:30)
Niall: Liverpool travel to Stamford Bridge in hopes of continuing their 100% start to the season in this top of the table clash.
These two sides are meeting for the second time in a matter of days after Chelsea overcame The Reds 2-1 in the Carabao cup earlier in the week. Expect many changes to the sides from that clash though as both will return to full strength for this Premier League fixture.
Liverpool may have nightmares when it comes to Eden Hazard as he tore the defence apart to score the winning goal on Wednesday, as the Belgian continues his fine form so far this season and will be the biggest threat to the league leaders on Saturday. Chelsea will have to worry about the fluid front three of Liverpool who are all expected to start at Anfield, but there are also big threats coming from midfield from the likes of Naby Keita.
Over the past few years, meetings between Liverpool and Chelsea were a clash in styles. Jurgen Klopp’s side are known for their high press and attacking football, whilst Chelsea were known for their defensive stability. This season will be different as Maurizio Sarri has brought a much more offensive style to Stamford Bridge and this Blues side has more goals In them.
There should indeed by lots of them in this contest with the attacking talent on field but this is a match that could go either way. Liverpool are facing their toughest challenge this season and their 100% record is in serious danger. Chelsea already got a win over Liverpool in mid-week and that may instill them with enough confidence to repeat that victory.
Prediction: Chelsea 3-2 Liverpool
Neil: More than anything, it will be intriguing to see how this one begins from the get-go. The opening half in midweek was cagey to say the least, before exploding into life after the interval.
It was also a rather spicy affair, with no less than eight yellow cards brandished by referee Kevin Friend, so will we see a similar contest here?
The Reds will undoubtedly by at their strongest which should see the visitors could far more problems for the Blues in defence, as well as themselves boasting a greater solidity.
Chelsea could opt to try to flood the midfield and prevent Klopp’s men seeing too much of the ball, but I rather fancy Sarri to remain on the front foot. That should see a more open contest in west London – rather like when the hosts entertained Arsenal last month.
Niall believes that could see a 3-2 once more – a scoreline that is more than possible – but I am going to revert to perch on the fence, though we should be store for a thrilling encounter regardless.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-2 Liverpool
Niall’s One to Watch: West Ham United vs. Manchester United
My one to watch this week follows the further adventures of Manchester United, as they travel to the London Stadium to face West Ham United.
It has not been a harmonious week for Jose Mourinho to say the least. After only earning a draw at home to newly promoted Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday, United were knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Frank Lampard’s Derby County on penalties. It feels like the wheels may be coming off at Old Trafford, and a bust up with Paul Pogba will not help things for Mourinho.
West Ham started the season horribly, but after a run of three games unbeaten it feels like Manuel Pellegrini has finally settled into the club. After holding Chelsea to a goalless draw on Sunday, the Hammers thrashed Macclesfield Town 8-0 in the League Cup on Wednesday and facing an in-form West Ham side could be ominous for the visitors.
This may not be the most entertaining game this weekend, but it will be interesting to see how United respond after losing out to the Rams. Can Mourinho start to turn things around or will things go from bad to worse for the Red Devils?
West Ham will be a difficult trip for United just as Chelsea found out last match-week. The Hammers will be tight defensively and have threats on the counter-attack such as Andriy Yarmolenko and Felipe Anderson. If Marko Arnautovic returns also, then a Hammers win becomes more likely, but for now it looks like a draw is the most realistic result.
Prediction: West Ham United 1-1 Manchester United
Neil’s One to Watch: AFC Bournemouth vs. Crystal Palace (Monday, 20:00)
We finish off the weekend on the south coast at the Vitality Stadium, in a game that could rival the game of the week for entertainment.
Bournemouth’s early season optimism was doused somewhat last weekend, taking a hiding at the hands of a struggling Burnley and Eddie Howe will be eager to see a response from his charges on their return to Dorset.
The Eagles meanwhile failed to capitalise on a dominant performance against Newcastle last time out, and will need to be far more clinical in front of goal against the Cherries, who will be eyeing racking up a number of goals in riposte to last Sunday’s loss in Lancashire.
All the ingredients are there for the goals to flow in this; an in-from Ryan Fraser, Wilfried Zaha enjoying his newly-found freedom as a shadow striker, and two sides that emphasise attack over defence.
The hosts are a formidable opponent on home soil, but Palace themselves often turn up to the party at Dean Court and I get the feeling this game will be no exception. Like at Stamford Bridge, I am tipping a scoring draw.
Prediction: AFC Bournemouth 2-2 Crystal Palace
Premier League Gameweek 7’s Game of the Week sees Chelsea host Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening at 17:30 BST.
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