PREMIER LEAGUE PREVIEW: THE LONDON DERBY WEEKEND

The Premier League is finally out of the beginning stages and into the business end of the season; last week was a week of upsets, with Hull City and Southampton, registering surprise wins, and the mauling of Manchester United at the Etihad, was another shocker. This week yet again throws up some fiery match-ups. So get ready.

TOTTENHAM V CHELSEA @ White Hart Lane

An early kick-off and potentially match of the week. This London derby might not be as significant or have the same intensity as the Tottenham-Arsenal one, but a lot is at stake. Both teams are vying for the top spot.  A loss here could halt the league campaign of either club. A Tottenham win could prove them serious title contenders.  Could this be a beginning of a new manager rivalry: Mourinho V AVB? This one could go either way. A draw could be on the cards.

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

Oscar: The gaffer has shown a lot of faith in this wonder kid, and he has proved him right. In a highly contested defensive match up, his skills could prove vital, for a Chelsea win.

Jan Vertonghen: With only one goal conceded in nine competitive games, Tottenham have been simply outstanding defensively. With “Jan the man” leading the defence. They look impenetrable. Want to bet on Football?

PREDICTION:  2-2

ASTON VILLA V MANCHESTER CITY @ Villa Park

City showed their prowess last week, in their mauling of Manchester United 4-1, hence laying stake on the Premier League title. Although Villa are playing pleasing attacking football, their defence remains a weakness, which City would be looking to seize upon. It should be an easy ride for City at Villa Park.

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

Sergio Aguero: He is in scintillating form, having already scored twice in the Manchester derby and with the amount of goal scoring assists he gets from a world class mid-field (Navas, Nasri, Toure), not scoring in front of a weak Villa defence, would be a shock.

PREDICTION:  1-3

FULHAM V CARDIFF CITY @ Craven Cottage

Fulham have looked out of sorts so far in their league campaign, recording just a single win, against a poor Sunderland team. Cardiff on the other hand are a hard working team and have played well so far this season. If Cardiff sticks to what they do best and work hard as a team, they could sneak out a tough win at the Cottage. Individual brilliance at disposal with Fulham might prove too much for Cardiff City.

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

Dimitar Berbatov: Has to get going someday soon, Fulham need some individual brilliance and Berbatov could be the go to guy. He should be desperate to get going in the League, especially after scoring in the Capital Cup tie against Everton.

PREDICTION:  1-0

HULL CITY V WEST HAM UNITED @ The KC Stadium

West Ham haven’t won in the last seven away games and they have been plagued with injuries, especially Andy Carrol. Hull are the team in form, sitting 11th in the table, an overachievement thus far. Steve Bruce would be looking to maintain the momentum. Both teams would be high on confidence, registering wins in their Capital One Cup games.  The problem is West Ham don’t have many attacking options up front. Hull City should win this one, but have to fight it out.

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

Sone Aluko: Having already scored a match winner and assisted in another against Newcastle last week, he is our player to watch out for.

PREDICTION:  1-0

MANCHESTER UNITED V WEST BROM @ Old Trafford

Winning against Liverpool in the Capital One Cup tie, in midweek, might have given some solace to United, after being brutally beaten last week. They won’t be facing a tough opposition in West Brom, who have had a horrific start to the season themselves. United have way too much talent at their disposal. United should win easily.

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

Wayne Rooney: He still has a thing or two to prove to the Man United fans, if Van Persie is sidelined again, he will be the centre of the United attack. He would be raring to score in front of his home crowd.

PREDICTION:  2-0

SOUTHAMPTON V CRYSTAL PALACE @ St. Mary’s

Pochettino’s team looks solid defensively having allowed only two goals in five matches. They have struggled offensively though having scored just thrice. But this could be a breakout game offensively against Palace. Palace have struggled so far into the Premier League campaign. Having won just once, against bottom side Sunderland. Having won back to back games against Liverpool and Bristol City (Capital One Cup), confidence should be high and Southampton should win this one.

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

Ricky Lambert: This is a match where, Ricky could easily score a hat-trick. Crystal Palace are weak defensively and Ricky will look to pounce upon any given opportunity to score, especially through set pieces.

PREDICTION:  3-0

 SWANSEA CITY V ARSENAL @ Liberty Stadium

Who expected Arsenal to be sitting on the top of the table, a week before the transfer window closed? Arsenal have won all of their last eight matches in all competitions. Now they face a stiff competition against a surging Swansea team, who might be low on confidence, after a loss to The Blues in the Capital One Cup tie. Both teams love to play attacking passing football; it would be a treat to watch. This could be an exciting match and it could go tilt either way, a draw is a certain possibility.

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

Aaron Ramsey: He has been in cracking form, having scored six of seven in 2013/14 competitive matches.

Mesut Ozil: He has settled in extremely well at the Emirates, creating assists, doing what he does best, we haven’t seen it since Cesc Fabregas and RVP days.

Michu: He can be a game-changer on his day, he just needs a glimpse of goal and when he gets it he usually scores.

PREDICTION:  2-2

 STOKE CITY V NORWICH CITY @ Britannia Stadium

With Mark Hughes at the helm, Stoke have undergone radical changes to their playing style, passing more and more, but the quality of the passing disintegrates the more they move into the opponents third. Still, they are sitting 10th in the table on the same points as Champions Man United (7 points) – so not a bad start!  Norwich has started sluggishly, Chris Hughton still hasn’t figured out what style and formation he wants his team to play since the departure of Grant Holt. Until he does, Norwich will struggle despite some quality additions on the players side of things, Stoke should win this one.

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

Kenwyne Jones: He has adapted to the passing style of football, while still posing an aerial threat.

PREDICTION:  2-0

SUNDERLAND V LIVERPOOL @ Stadium of Light

Liverpool are coming off back to back defeats against Southampton last week and Manchester United in the Capital One Cup tie,so the dream start for Brendan Rodger’s men has come to an end! But with Luis Suarez starting his first league game of the season after serving his 10 game ban, Liverpool should be too strong for Sunderland. Sunderland on the other hand are manager less and should remain that way until the game. They haven’t won a game this season and are sitting bottom of the table. Liverpool should be comfortable winning this one; the question is by how many goals.

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

Luis Suarez: He is back; could he achieve the heights of last season? Could he propel Liverpool into the Champions League, with his goal scoring maestro? He has the potential, which we’ll all see, come Sunday.

PREDICTION:  0-3

EVERTON V NEWCASTLE UNITED @ Goodison Park

Everton are the only unbeaten team in the Premier League. They have also kept clean sheets in their last seven home matches. They have easily adapted to Roberto Martinez’s style of play of passing the ball. Newcastle should be high on confidence after notching a win against Leeds United in the Capital One Cup tie. Seeing the recent stats on record, Everton seems a likely winner at home.

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

Leighton Baines: He is currently the best fullback in England (if not Europe), scoring two beauties last weekend against West Ham. He is the player to watch.

Romelu Lukaku: An important part of the Everton strike force and Martinez clearly has faith in him, and has been reward already with a match winner last week, definitely hungry for more goals.

PREDICTION:  2-0

 

 

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