By Neil Leverett and Niall Clarke
- Matchweek Three sees Manchester United host Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford
- Wolverhampton Wanderers entertain the ever free-scoring Manchester City at Molineux
- AFC Bournemouth play Everton at the Vitality Stadium, with the Cherries holding 100% opening record
PREMIER LEAGUE, UK – Game of the Week takes place at Old Trafford as Manchester United host Spurs, with Wolves facing a stiff test at Molineux versus the champions on Saturday.
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Game of the Week: Manchester United vs. Tottenham Hotspur (Monday, 20:00pm)
Has third season syndrome reared its ugly head for Jose Mourinho again? It is the question on everyone’s mind when it comes to Manchester United at the moment, and Monday’s game against Tottenham will give an indication of where this team stands.
Not only did the Red Devils lose to Brighton in a shock upset at the AMEX last Sunday, United put in one of the worst performances they have had under Mourinho. The usually solid defence leaked three goals against a team that is not known for their attacking prowess, and up front they looked toothless. A repeat performance against Spurs will result in a thrashing, but with this being a big game at Old Trafford we should expect a better Manchester United.
Tottenham have two wins from two to start the season, and last week’s victory over Fulham saw a marked improvement on their opener against Newcastle. They looked more in control and defended better than they did against the Magpies with Harry Kane finally getting a goal in August. That said, we have not seen the best of Mauricio Pochettino’s side yet and with some of their starters lacking match sharpness, that should come as the season progresses.
Both these teams are known for being difficult to break down with two world class goalkeepers between the sticks. It is doubtful we will get a goal-fest at Old Trafford but what we will get is a tactically intriguing game that could have big top four implications. The winner could very well come down to who defends better which after last week looks like Tottenham, but expect an improved United at Old Trafford and there will be little to separate these two teams.
Prediction: Manchester United 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Neil’s One to watch: Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Manchester City (Saturday, 12:30pm)
The season has perhaps not began as Wolves would have hoped, having taken just a point from a possible six on the their return to the Premier League. Their hopes of adding to their tally here are slim as the free-scoring Citizens roll up to Molineux on Saturday lunchtime is my one to watch this weekend.
Pep Guardiola’s men have scored eight times during their opening two games, but despite a raft and array of potent attacking weapons City’s defence still has a few chinks in the armour.
Wolves were unlucky against Leicester City last weekend having been denied by the woodwork on two occasions at the King Power Stadium, and there will be no lack of effort here against the champions – if Nuno Espirito Santo‘s men can get hold of the ball.
Surely there will be no keeping out Guardiola’s side who look more offensive already than last season, but the Wolves will be at Ederson’s door waiting to pounce this weekend.
This should be a really tasty lunchtime encounter with both sides on the front foot. I can see the hosts breaking through and will be looking for as many set-pieces from the boot of Ruben Neves as possible, but City will have too much pace on the counter-attack and make it three wins on the bounce to begin the new campaign.
Prediction: Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-3 Manchester City
Niall’s One to watch: AFC Bournemouth vs. Everton (Saturday, 15:00)
My one to watch is a match between two teams who have had impressive starts to the season as Bournemouth take on Everton.
It is hardly the most high profile match of the week, but this match should be a very good watch and could see some goals fly in as both sides have netted four times in two matches.
Bournemouth were expected to beat Cardiff, but what caught everyone’s attention was their win away at West Ham. The Hammers have been tipped to do well this season and Bournemouth outplayed them. Eddie Howe’s team continue to surprise season upon season and they could have a successful campaign if they continue the way they started.
Everton could launch an outside top six challenge under Marco Silva and they have stated the season well themselves. The Toffees went to Wolves and got a respectable point with ten men before defeating Southampton 2-0 at home. Richarlison has been the stand-out performer for Everton, netting three times after re-uniting with Silva. Can the Brazilian keep up his good form against Bournemouth? Evertonians are also anticipating the debuts of Yerry Mina and Andre Gomes but Saturday will come to soon for the duo, although Bernard could start after signing on deadline day.
Bournemouth’s recent record against Everton is very good, winning four of their last five meetings. But this Everton side has more quality than the past few seasons and could get a result on a difficult away trip.
Prediction: AFC Bournemouth 2-2 Everton
Manchester United host Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford in Game of the Week on Monday evening at 8pm.
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