Saturday is upon us, I’m off from everything all day, so I’m going to be here for ALL of it, what a Saturday! The pinnacle of it all for me will be Ole’s debut, but of course we have Arsenal at home to Burnley with Sean Dyche’s men on a bad run and Bournemouth at home to Brighton having only won 1 in their last eight so today will be a good chance for them.
Arsenal vs. Burnley
At one point during this season, I thought Arsenal may well be the dark horses for the title, but against Southampton they showed that maybe they do still have a little bit or work still left to do. I also found their exit to Tottenham in the League Cup a little strange too, given that I thought Emery would want to win a cup competition in his first season and winning that trophy is something Arsene never did. I guess his bigger goal is top 4 or even winning the Europa League to get Arsenal back on track and I would say they are still big contenders to do that.
Burnley have been poor so far this season, I’ve said it before, they have been tired after their Europa League efforts and have yet to regain that solidarity they had in defence last season. They beat Brighton a couple of weeks ago and showed some good resilience against Tottenham last week that saw them just fail at the last, so maybe they’re starting to re-concentrate again. Either way, at the Emirates I think Arsenal are going to get back to winning ways in front of their own supporters where we know they’re really strong.
My Prediction: 2-1 win for Arsenal
West Ham vs. Watford
The Hammers have been making a real comeback in recent weeks and, after not winning their first 4 games, have instead won their last 4 games. They’re now in the top half and playing so well that Pellegrini has tipped them to break into the top 6. Although I don’t see them doing that, I still think a strong top half finish could be on the cards for them and, who knows, if one of the higher teams win the cups then maybe they’ll pick up Europa, that would be good for them.
Watford, conversely, have only 1 win in their last five and Cardiff really made them fight for it. Ok, so that run has included City and Liverpool, but they have really had a slow dropping off and a drift down the table after that early spell when they went unbeaten. They’re still in with a shout of top half and I don’t see them being relegated, but I’m sure they would like to make another push if possible. I see this game going the way of the home crowd at the Olympic Stadium, although not usually a happy hunting ground for the Hammers, I can see them pushing on and getting that fifth win in a row, something they haven’t done since 2006!
My Prediction: 3-1 win to West Ham
Chelsea vs. Leicester City
Chelsea have won 3 on the spin recently, so I think at home to an up and down Leicester side they’ll have what it takes to push through. Especially if Hazard plays like we know he can, he’s actually having his best season so far already which speaks volumes for how he has played. Leicester, on the other hand, have won one in the past 6, so if they change that at the bridge, it will be monumental for them. I, myself, don’t see it happening, Sarri is a cool customer and will know how to approach this game so that they come away with all the points.
My Prediction: 3-1 win
Huddersfield vs. Southampton
This game is going to be really interesting and wholly crucial for both of these sides in the race against relegation. After Southampton’s impressive display last week, I really believe that Southampton’s black box might have picked a winner in Ralph Hassenhuttl. I know it’s only the first game, but they showed real fight in beating a good Arsenal side, whilst Huddersfield, as I predicted at the start of the season, are just not looking like a Premier League outfit. I think they might do well in the Championship next year, but I don’t think it will be for them this time around and I’m lumping for the away side today.
My Prediction: 2-1 win to Southampton
Newcastle vs. Fulham
This is a result I’m actually struggling with as both teams could get this one in the bag. Mitrovic has the potential to come and upset the party at his old club today and I can see him getting one for you fantasy footballers out there. I was thinking I might have to lump for a draw here, it’s definitely the one this weekend that is most likely to end in stalemate. However, I’m never one to pick a draw as I don’t like doing it, so I’m going for the Newcastle win after Fulham have that long drive all the way up North. Plus, I watched that documentary about Sir Bobby Robson on Netflix yesterday so I’m feeling the Newcastle vibe a little.
My Prediction: 2-1 win to Newcastle
Bournemouth vs. Brighton
As said before, Bournemouth are on a horrible run right now, so Eddie Howe will be wanting his team to perform today at 200 percent. Both are in relatively comfortable positions in mid table, but everybody knows that you’re not safe until it’s a mathematical impossibility. Therefore, these are the games when their players are going to want to show heart and these two teams are the two for me that do that the best. As they are the home team, however, I’m going to go for The Cherries to take the 3 points today, although this one is a close second for most likely to end in a draw.
My Prediction: 1-0 to Bournemouth
Manchester City vs. Crystal Palace
Roy Hodgson is an artist when it comes to playing as a well-organised, defensive team, so I think that they might be able to frustrate City today, at least for the first five minutes. After that, I think it’s going to be all City, all the time. I think this will be a comfortable, game-managed victory for the Citizens, much in the tone of Liverpool vs Wolves yesterday. They are the champions and they know how to approach games like this so they will be concentrated, as they know that one slip up and Palace will close the doors on you.
My Prediction: 3-1 to City