By Neil Leverett and Niall Clarke
- Premier League continues this weekend, before two-week international break
- Table-toppers Liverpool travel to the King Power to play Leicester City
- Second plays fourth at Vicarage Road and Chelsea host impressive AFC Bournemouth
PREMIER LEAGUE, UK – As the Premier League continues before the first international break of the season, Watford host Tottenham Hotspur in Game of the Week at Vicarage Road.
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Niall’s One to watch: Leicester City vs. Liverpool (Saturday, 12:30)
My one to watch pits former champions Leicester City against title pretenders Liverpool at the King Power Stadium.
This could be a fascinating contest as it pits two sides with different philosophies on how to play the game. Liverpool press high and are arguably the most attack minded side in the country whilst Leicester are known for their counter attacking ability. It is a fixture that has produced goals in recent meetings. Last season this exact fixture finished 3-2 to the Reds in an entertaining 90 minute contest.
Liverpool come into match-week four top of the table after winning their first three games without conceding a goal. The defence was often criticised as a weakness last season but so far this campaign the Reds have been rock solid at the back with new recruit Alisson making a crucial save late against Brighton.
Leicester lost their opener against Manchester United but responded well with back to back victories against Wolves and Southampton. Claude Puel has been criticised for his style of play leading to a lack of goals for the Foxes, but so far this campaign it has not been much of an issue with Leicester netting five times in three games.
The Foxes will present Liverpool with their biggest challenge to date this season despite the absence of Jamie Vardy. The Reds may concede their first goal of the season in this match, but going forward they may have too much firepower for the Foxes to handle.
Prediction: Leicester City 1-2 Liverpool
Neil’s One to watch: Chelsea vs. AFC Bournemouth (Saturday, 15:00)
For the past few seasons, this particular fixture has made for fascinating viewing and with both sides unbeaten to start the campaign this season’s offering at Stamford Bridge should not be any different.
Eden Hazard made a winning return to the Blues’ starting XI on Tyneside last weekend, netting his first goal under Maurizio Sarri and the Belgian’s fresh return after the World Cup will be key to the hosts’ aspirations here.
The Cherries have enhanced their reputation as the comeback kings of English football, indeed no other top flight team have won more points from a losing position in recent campaigns. Eddie Howe’s men have enjoyed trips to west London before, but will likely have to call on all their powers of resilience here.
The hosts have rather moulded into somewhat of a tiki-taka outfit under Sarri, but still need the aid of the again relentless Marcos Alonso to spark the eventual win against Newcastle United.
I expect a vibrant end-to-end contest here with both sides to score once more. For me, Hazard will be key again in unlocking the Bournemouth back line, but the resistance of their midfield in particular Jorginho and N’Golo Kante should just about see Chelsea to a fourth win despite the efforts of an in-form Cherries front line spearheaded by Callum Wilson.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-1 AFC Bournemouth
Game of the Week: Watford vs. Tottenham Hotspur (Sunday, 16:00)
Neil: Perhaps a surprising choice had we plumped for this one on day one of the season, but as two sides who have 100% records after three games – and in somewhat of a North London derby to boot – the Matchweek’s final game before the international hiatus at Vicarage Road is our Game of the Week.
The Hornets are buzzing right now but after wins against Crystal Palace, Brighton & Hove Albion and Burnley, the first test of boss Javi Gracia’s mettle comes now against Spurs.
Having scored seven in their opening three games, the Hertfordshire side are not lacking firepower in their new system, underlined by the explosive start by Roberto Pereyra this term.
The Lilywhites capitalised on the doubt plaguing Manchester United at Old Trafford last Monday night and despite the issues dogging Jose Mourinho’s men, the visitors put in an impressive showing, as Lucas Moura grabs his chance to shine with both hands in the absence of Son Heung-min.
Watford’s main problem coming into games of this ilk in form in the past, has been converting it into getting a result on the day against the bigger sides. Whilst I can see that happening, the more likely occurrence is a Spurs win but it may very well be tight.
Prediction: Watford 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Niall: Both Watford and Tottenham boast 100% records heading into Sunday’s clash at Vicarage road, making this a top of the table clash as we reach matchweek four of the new Premier League season.
Many expected the Hornets to struggle this season, but if the first three games are anything to go by they should have a good season under Gracia. Watford have impressed in their opening three games with their most recent win coming at home to Crystal Palace where they overcame the Eagles 2-1.
Tottenham are of a different class to what Watford have face so far however. Spurs are also perfect on nine points after three outings, the most recent of which was a 3-0 victory at Old Trafford against Manchester United. Maurico Pochettino’s side spent no money in the summer, but their lack of transfer activity has yet to come back to haunt them.
Prediction: Watford 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Game of the Week in the Premier League sees Watford host Tottenham Hotspur at Vicarage Road, kick off 4pm BST.
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