Whilst the International fixtures have taken all the headlines this week, I cast an eye to the next round of Premier League fixtures.
Manchester City vs Tottenham Hotspur
The return of the Premier League begins with Tottenham heading to the Etihad Stadium to face defending champions Manchester City. An important game for City who need to pile the pressure on leaders Chelsea. Ultimately, I believe City will just have too much for Spurs – I see this one being a 2-0 victory for City.
Crystal Palace vs Chelsea
A repeat of the game that arguably changed the title race last season. The blues lost this fixture due to a John Terry own goal, a massive slip up that gave City a big advantage. This year I cannot see the same happening. I see an air of ruthlessness in Chelsea. Nevertheless, as Palace have been resurgent since Neil Warnock once again took charge at Palace, they will certainly pose a threat. My prediction for this is a 2-0 away win.
Arsenal vs Hull
Saturday sees a repeat of last season’s FA Cup final between Arsenal and Hull – a great game that provided both goals and excitement, with Arsenal victorious on the day. Hull have struggled so far this season and the last thing they need is to face an in-form Danny Welbeck, who has scored seven goals in his last eight games for club and country. I believe Hull still have a good chance in this game as Arsenal have been struck down with a number of injuries. A tight game, ending with a score draw.
Burnley vs West Ham
For me this is a big game for Burnley, one they must try and get maximum points from. Yet it will no doubt be a tough ask for them considering West Ham’s considerable improvement over the summer. The Hammers are a team in form after recording wins over Liverpool and QPR in recent weeks. West Ham will edge this one with a 2-1 victory.
Southampton vs Sunderland
I have been really impressed with Southampton this year following the exodus of players over the summer. In contrast, Sunderland have struggled to win games and the result of this tie depends on which Sunderland team turns up. If Gus Poyet’s men fail to put in a decent performance, Southampton could run riot.
Newcastle vs Leicester
Against a team on the rocks, this is a great chance for Leicester to capitalise and get another three points on the board. However, this could be a tough time to face Newcastle, who seem to be finding their feet after a 2-2 draw against a tricky Swansea side. I think the new boys will want to kick on after they threw two points away against Burnley – 1-0 away victory.
Everton vs Aston Villa
Everton have struggled in the League so far this season, and this is largely down to their Europa League commitments. The Toffees have only registered one win so far, and they face a Aston Villa side that has started surprisingly well. In a week where Roy Keane has dominated the headlines, I am predicting his side will gain a valuable away point.
QPR vs Liverpool
Queens Park Rangers will have to show a considerable improvement if they are to get anything from this tie. They have looked shambolic at times, and are sitting at the bottom of the League. On the other hand Liverpool, by their own standards, have not endured the best start to life without Suarez, yet I believe they will comfortably see off Rangers. I predict a 3-0 away victory.
Stoke City vs Swansea City
Stoke are a team that has improved this season, bringing in more attacking talent in the form of Bojan and Victor Moses, both of whom have a point to prove. Swansea threw away two points last time out against Newcastle through sloppy defending and I think Stoke will be able to get a result from this game. I am going for a 1-0 home victory.
West Brom vs Manchester United
The Monday night action comes in the form of West Brom vs Manchester United. West Brom would have been hoping to play this United side sooner, as things seem like they are starting to click under Louis Van Gaal. They are making improvements, despite their injury-hit squad and shaky defence. I am going for a 2-1 away victory.