By Neil Leverett
- The Britwatch Football Team give their preview and predictions for the seventh weekend of the season
- Follow their progress throughout the season and see which writer takes the Premier League prediction cup
- Correct result gets one point, correct scoreline takes three points
After a midweek of European action, domestic affairs continue for Matchweek Seven, the last before the international break. Neil took a 12-point haul last week and sitting just two points behind Niall now, can he draw level prior to the international hiatus?
Huddersfield Town vs. Tottenham Hotspur (Saturday, 12:30)
Niall: Huddersfield pit their unbeaten home record against one of the Premier League’s best away sides in Spurs. It is a good way to kick off match week seven.
Huddersfield’s solid defence has been key to their success so far, but a lack of finishing has denied them the chance to climb higher in the table. Spurs do not have that problem with Harry Kane scoring for fun at the moment. He will be a key factor in this match for certain.
And it is the Englishman’s form that is forcing me to pick Spurs. They may struggle at Wembley, but away they look good and Kane should bag another goal and had Huddersfield their first home defeat.
Prediction: Huddersfield 0-2 Tottenham
Neil: This weekend sees the last set of fixtures before domestic affairs take a fortnight off for the conclusion of World Cup Qualifying group stages. Huddersfield Town entertain Spurs first up, with the Terriers looking for their first win in three, having drawn their last two.
The Lily Whites continued their impressive away form last weekend at West Ham, having a 100% record on the road thus far. A trip to the John Smiths Stadium represents a different kind of task for the visitors with David Wagner’s men unbeaten at home. Kane scored his sixth hat-trick of the calendar year away in Cyprus in midweek however, and with the England striker in scintillating form of late, I expect him to once more have his say and close out the month with a win for this team.
Prediction: Huddersfield 1-2 Tottenham
AFC Bournemouth vs. Leicester City (Saturday, 15:00)
Niall: Bournemouth have seemingly changed their form around after a very slow start to the season. Leicester on the other-hand have not performed badly, but have had a tough set of fixtures to kick off the season. It will likely be a tight game with Bournemouth controlling possession and Leicester looking to hit them on the counter. There will be goals, but I see the Foxes being a little too good going forward.
Prediction: Bournemouth 1-2 Leicester
Neil: With the Cherries a quarter of an hour from successive wins last Saturday, two goals in five minutes from Everton’s forgotten man Oumar Niasse snatched the points from Eddie Howe’s men last time out. With the hosts still in the bottom three, the visit of the Foxes – themselves just a point above their opponents in the table – represents a vital game ahead of the two-week hiatus.
Leicester were unfortunate not to hold Liverpool to a point last time out, but with Jamie Vardy still in a goal-scoring vein, boss Craig Shakespeare can be confident his men will test a defensively frail Cherries. Howe will be looking to show a greater level of solidity themselves, but whilst I can’t see that occurring, I can see the hosts taking a much-needed point.
Prediction: Bournemouth 2-2 Leicester
Manchester United vs. Crystal Palace (Saturday, 15:00)
Niall: Pointless and goalless, Crystal Palace have had the worst start to a Premier League season ever, and it does not look like improving with Manchester United away next on the agenda.
The Red Devils are joint top of the league with Manchester City and have looked like Champions. Their defence is solid and they have scored plenty to go with it. Romelu Lukaku has particularly impressed, and he will be hungry for more goals this weekend.
It is possibly the easiest fixture to predict. In their current form, it is hard seeing Palace troubling United at all and it will likely be an easy win for Jose Mourinho’s men.
Prediction: Man United 4-0 Crystal Palace
The Red Devils returned to goal-scoring ways in Moscow on Wednesday, as Jose Mourinho’s men put a hapless CSKA to the sword, with Lukaku notching two more to his season tally. Clinging on to a point versus the Saints last weekend also, United continue to be a stubborn foe this term.
The Eagles are becoming increasingly beleaguered now without a goal or point in six Premier League outings. That stat is unlikely to change this weekend. As Roy Hodgson eyes an end to their nightmare trio of games, taking something away for Old Trafford would be a potential season-changer. In the cold and particularly harsh light of day for the South Londoners however, I just can’t see it, with or without Phil Jones in defence.
Prediction: Man United 3-0 Crystal Palace
Stoke City vs. Southampton (Saturday, 15:00)
Niall: This has tightness written all over it. Both sides seem at a similar level with similar aspirations, but will either be able to get the win? Neither side has made an ideal start to the season, but Southampton will come into the game in higher spirits after a good performance against Man United last week.
Stoke have been difficult to beat at the Bet 365 stadium though, and this match feels like it will be a tight draw and the spoils will be shared.
Prediction: Stoke 1-1 Southampton
Neil: Mark Hughes’ Stoke City will be starting to look nervously over their shoulder, with just five points from six games – four of which have come at home. As such this sits as pivotal fixture against a generally water-tight defence, following the Potters’ 4-0 drubbing to Chelsea seven days ago.
The visitors dominated the second half versus United last time out, and were unlucky not to earn a point at St. Marys’. Mauricio Pellegrino will see this as an entirely winnable fixture, but will expect a hard fight for the spoils. Despite having played just two away games in six, Southampton are yet to concede a goal and I am tipping that statistic to remain.
Prediction: Stoke 0-1 Southampton
West Bromwich Albion vs. Watford (Saturday, 15.00)
Niall: Watford have made a surprisingly good start to the season, but they face one of their tougher tests away to West Brom.
The Baggies set up to frustrate teams and that could reduce the amount of chances Watford have. West Brom also have a big aerial threat, especially from set pieces. It will not be a great game for the neutral, but it will be closely contested between two solid sides.
Prediction: West Brom 1-1 Watford
Neil: West Brom underlined their unpredictable status by taking the game to Arsenal on Monday night. With better finishing and a pinch of good fortune – as well as the odd refereeing decision in their favour – the Baggies may have not fell to the 2-0 loss at the Emirates that transpired. So, against the Hornets does boss Tony Pulis stick or twist?
Watford made it nine points out of nine on the road last weekend at Swansea, with a late goal from Richarlison helping Marco Silva’s men to add to their impressive start this campaign. When these two sides have met in recent seasons, it has proved a battle of wills in defence, but with Silva’s approach this term, that is unlikely to happen.
Prediction: West Brom 1-1 Watford
West Ham United vs. Swansea City (Saturday, 15:00)
Niall: This is a big game for both sides as they are both need points. West Ham performed well against Spurs last week, but their comeback attempt was eventually thwarted. Swansea on the other hand struggled again as they lost at home to Watford.
With the Hammers maybe having that extra bit of confidence due to their prior performance, they will be favourites heading into this one, and with good reason. Swansea do not seem like a complete team yet and West Ham have better individuals through their team, so I am picking a home win in fairly comfortable fashion.
Prediction: West Ham 2-0 Swansea
Neil: The Hammers late fightback versus Spurs last week will give Slaven Bilic a huge injection of confidence ahead of a clash versus a side who are unlikely to challenge the top half of the table this term. West Ham are finding their feet in front of goal at last, but keep losing key members of their starting XI to injury, Michail Antonio being the latest victim.
Swansea are yet to gel as a unit, but the introduction of Tammy Abraham last weekend to partner Wilfried Bony up front led to a Swans resurgence in the second period at home to Watford. It was alas to no avail. As we saw versus Spurs however, Paul Clement’s men are capable of a backs-to-the-wall-effort and versus a team currently lower in the standings, Swansea will see another point as a valuable one to take back to Wales. I do however, see the taking the win here.
Prediction: West Ham 2-0 Swansea
Chelsea vs. Manchester City (Saturday, 17:30)
Niall: This is undoubtedly the biggest game of the season thus far, featuring two teams expected to be fighting for the title. It is certainly the main event of match-week seven.
Man City have been impressive in the league, especially going forward where they have netted 21 goals in just six games so far. Chelsea have seemingly found their groove lately, and their performance against Atletico Madrd was one of the finest from an English side in Europe since the turn of the decade. Eden Hazard is back to full fitness and is already linking up well with Alvaro Morata.
The match will likely be decided as an attack vs defence contest. Can City’s blistering front line break Chelsea’s blue wall at the back. The visitors were dealt a hammer blow with the news Sergio Aguero sustained broken ribs in a car accident on Thursday night in Amsterdam and is now set for a number of weeks on the sidelines. That will be a huge relief for Antonio Conte. The Argentine will be a big miss up front and whilst City have been free-scoring thus far, Chelsea are the best team they have faced and could very well nick the three points.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-1 Man City
Neil: Saturday’s late game sees not just the biggest draw of the weekend, but one of the games of the season at Stamford Bridge. With the hosts firmly back to winnings ways and fresh off a superb win versus Atletico Madrid in Los Coloncheros’ first Champions League game in their new home, Conte will be bullish as his men face the league leaders. Morata will be keen to add to his triple last week against Stoke, with Hazard finally set to start his first league game of the season, having been teased all this month.
The Citizens roll into West London having conceded just once during their last six games in all competitions, having scored a phenomenal 24 goals. Pep Guardiola’s men are in electric form but are also becoming far more secure at the back. Saturday’s encounter is a tough one to call, but due to City’s rampant form in front of goal, that could just be the decisive factor this weekend.
Prediction: Chelsea 1-2 Man City
Arsenal vs. Brighton & Hove Albion (Sunday, 12:00)
Niall: Arsenal are back in form after a slow start to the season, but they entertain an overachieving Brighton side at the Emirates on Sunday who could frustrate the Gunners.
Brighton’s best chance of survival though will be to make the AMEX a fortress, and given their good home form that looks like it may end up being the case. This is away however, and that gives Arsenal a huge advantage. Arsenal have much more individual quality and that should shine through in the end.
Prediction: Arsenal 3-0 Brighton
Neil: The Gunners made it seven points from nine on Monday evening, as they entertain Brighton at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday lunchtime. Had it not been for a fortunate officiating call versus West Brom, that might have been a different story. Building on from their impressive showing at Stamford Bridge a fortnight ago, Arsene Wenger’s men have begun to look more organised in all areas.
The Seagulls claimed a massive win against an improving Newcastle last Sunday, looking to add to their haul of seven points at this early avenue of the campaign. That will prove to be a tricky feat in North London, and without the suspended Tomer Hemed up front, Chris Hughton may instead look to stay compact for the early stages. I can only see one eventual outcome however, that being a home win, potentially with ease.
Prediction: Arsenal 3-1 Brighton
Everton vs. Burnley (Sunday, 14.15)
Niall: Everton ended their poor run of form with a come from behind win last week against Bournemouth, but the season has still not gone to plan for the high spending Toffees. Burnley have arguably been better way than at home this season, as they have held Tottenham and Liverpool to draws, and beat Chelsea on the opening weekend. Mid-week did not go well for Everton and Burnley’s solidness might make it a difficult fixture for Ronald Koeman.
Prediction: Everton 1-1 Burnley
Neil: Koeman’s men ended an horrendous run of form last weekend, however it took them the best part of 80 minutes to achieve it. The Toffees have Niasse – who did not even have a matchday suit of his own –to thank for bailing them out. With the Merseysiders still woefully short in attack, Niasse could be set for a start this weekend to fire his side up the table.
Burnley however, are set to make the hosts’ afternoon a sticky one. The Clarets are unbeaten on the road thus far and have now taken points versus Chelsea, Spurs and Liverpool. The trip to Goodison then should not stand as any more daunting in theory, but these things have a funny way of changing when least suspected in the Premier League and I am backing a home win.
Prediction: Everton 2-1 Burnley
Newcastle United vs. Liverpool (Sunday, 16:30)
Niall: One again Liverpool struggled to find the net in mid-week, and despite being the League’s great entertainers, the results have not been great for Jurgen Klopp.
Newcastle had their three match winning run ended last week, but they have still started the season well alongside their promoted rivals. Liverpool have a habit of dropping points against sides they are expected to beat, but I think that will not hold true here. The Reds will head into this with something to prove and I think they will get the job done.
Prediction: Newcastle 1-3 Liverpool
Neil: The final match before the international break sees a classic league match-up return as Newcastle host Liverpool at St. James’ Park. The Magpies’ three-match winning streak was ended at the AMEX Stadium last weekend, but as Rafa Benitez’s men return to the North-East to face his former employers, his men can be confident of rising to the challenge, despite Joselu’s goal woes continuing.
Liverpool are once again becoming the great entertainers for the first time since the Suarez-Sturridge-Sterling attacking trio, with a glut of goals expected whenever they play. Sadio Mane will bolster Liverpool’s threat, which is now back to its full strength after the return of Philippe Coutinho. The Reds are struggling to finish off teams however, an occurrence which Newcastle will take great hope from. These games have seen three separate 4-3 results down the years and whilst I am not expecting a repeat this time, I do foresee an entertaining spectacle, with a draw the most likely outcome.
Prediction: Newcastle 2-2 Liverpool
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