By Neil Leverett and Niall Clarke
- Gameweek 8 Game of the Week sees Liverpool host Manchester City at Anfield on Sunday
- Fulham entertain in-form Arsenal in a London derby
- Leicester City and Everton meet at the King Power on Saturday afternoon
PREMIER LEAGUE, UK – The Premier League goes out on hiatus for a fortnight with a bang, as title rivals Liverpool and Manchester City meet at Anfield in Game of the Week.
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Game of the Week: Liverpool vs. Manchester City (Sunday, 16:30)
Niall: The two Premier League title favourites meet for the first time this season in our Game of the Week. Most, if not all pundits and commentators picked either Liverpool or Manchester City to win the Premier League title this season and there are good reasons as to why.
The Reds improved an already strong squad by adding depth and sorting out a questionable defence, whilst City were the most dominant team in the history of the Premier League. We may get an indication on which one has the upper hand when they meet on Sunday.
As it stands, both Liverpool and City are joint top of the table with the Citizens having the advantage when it comes to goal difference. Neither side has tasted defeat in the league and come into this on 19 points.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have been a bit of a bogey side for Pep Guardiola’s side. Liverpool defeated them in three times out of four meetings last season, including a thrilling 4-3 win in this exact fixture – which will go down as an all-time top flight classic.
City tend to struggle more against forward pressing teams, and there are few sides better at that than Liverpool. However, the Reds’ front line is not firing and they come into the match off the back of a 1-0 defeat at Napoli, where they failed to register a single shot on target.
This meeting will do well to match the thrill levels of last season with both sides boasting a better defence this time around, but the result could be the same. Liverpool may not be in great form but their style matches up well against Manchester City, and unless Guardiola finds a way around it, Liverpool will likely pick up the win.
Prediction: Liverpool 2-1 Manchester City
Neil: This is one heck of a way to go into the international break, and it will be a fascinating contest with the hosts looking to get back to winning ways after last weekend’s escape act from west London with a point, but defeat in Naples in midweek.
The Reds’ showing in Europe would have been a tad alarming for Klopp, as perhaps their worst performance in around 12 months. At Anfield however, Liverpool are formidable and this is the perfect opportunity for a riposte.
Whilst Chelsea unquestionably showcased their title credentials last weekend, City will be a little more cavalier in their approach here and that should play into the hands of the Reds’ front three. That will almost certainly be the key to victory here.
The Citizens laboured to a win against Hoffenheim – bailed out only by David Silva’s late goal in Germany – and will need a more complete performance on Merseyside.
Goals are almost a given, but how many and who by? Those questions are yet to be determined, but again it will be entertaining watching the outcome. Normally, and against anyone else I would back Liverpool, but I just get the feeling the hosts are feeling the pace a tiny bit before the two-week domestic break and in those terms I am tipping a share of the spoils.
Prediction: Liverpool 2-2 Manchester City
Niall’s One to Watch: Leicester City vs. Everton (Saturday, 15:00)
My One to Watch features two clubs with European aspirations as Leicester City host Everton at the King Power Stadium. The Foxes have not been given as much credit as they may deserve after making a good start to the season, despite some tough fixtures. Leicester sit eighth with 12 points which is three points and places ahead of their opponents on Saturday.
Everton started the season solidly but have only just come back into the win column after a run of poor results. Defence has been the issue for the Toffees, leaking 11 goals so far this season and squandering winning positions. A solid 3-0 win at home to Fulham will give them confidence heading into their trip to Leicester however.
This match will likely have no impact at both ends of the table, but it could be a big fixture in the race for the Europa League spots. It may be a mid-table clash, but it will be close and should be an entertaining one.
Leicester have a good record at home, and with Everton struggling at the back, the pace of Jamie Vardy and creativity of James Maddison should cause them problems. Everton are good going forward themselves and could easily get a result, but I am going for a home win.
Prediction: Leicester City 2-1 Everton
Neil’s One to Watch: Fulham vs. Arsenal (Sunday, 12:00)
Another London derby catches my eye this week, as a rapidly improving Gunners travel to Craven Cottage to face Fulham. With three or four sides inferior to the Cottagers given their early season showings, home games for Slavisa Jokanovic’s men will nevertheless be a key ingredient of their Premier League survival recipe.
The hosts having taken four points from nine in three games in their leafy Putney residence, but adding further home spoils to their tally will be no mean feat.
After a tricky beginning to Unai Emery era, Arsenal have now won eight games on the bounce in all competitions, and despite continued reservations over the rather errant defence, goals are not a present issue.
Fulham are not ones to shy away offensive forays, in fact their gameplan is very much similar to that of their London opponents. That should make for a wildly open spectacle even with the Gunners’ defence having shown improved signs of solidity across their back line in recent weeks.
This will unlikely be a case of the defence – quite the opposite – and I can only see one realistic winner here in Arsenal, but Bernd Leno could in for a busy afternoon.
Prediction: Fulham 1-3 Arsenal
Premier League Game of the Week takes place at Anfield, as Liverpool entertain Manchester City on Sunday afternoon, kick-off 4.30pm BST
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