It’s another weekend of Premier League action this week and after 10 games a piece teams are starting to really discover their identities. We now have a much better idea of who’s for real, who is really bad, and who will stick around for longer then we thought but eventually fade away (the West Ham category).
It’s another big weekend of action and there’s no shortage of storylines. As an added bonus, Europe switched their clocks last week so we still get to sleep an hour later on Saturday before all the action starts. (All times Eastern)
Chelsea vs. Liverpool (8:45 AM Saturday)
What’s with the Premier League’s habit this season of having all their biggest games in the early Saturday slot so you can’t sleep in? The truth of the matter is this match is between two clubs who think they’re way bigger then they are. So why is it a big match? Simple, the managers.
Jurgen Klopp vs. Jose Mourinho. The two managers square off for the first (and quite possibly only) time in the Premier League. I don’t buy Chelsea’s defense at all, but I don’t buy Liverpool’s attack either. Chelsea’s only hope will be if Mourinho’s constant jerking around of Eden Hazaard finally pisses off the Belgian to the point that he produces the vintage Hazaard we all got used to seeing in previous seasons.
I don’t see that happening though so it will be another 1-1 draw for Liverpool this week.
Crystal Palace vs. Manchester United (11:00 AM Saturday)
Manchester United’s last three games: A 3-0 shellacking by Arsenal, a great display in a 3-0 win against Everton, and then an atrociously boring 0-0 draw against City where both teams were far more afraid of losing than even trying to win. Lucky for them this week they get a Crystal Palace team that will actually have a go at them.
The only problem for Palace is they’re just not that good at home. Another problem for Palace is that while last season United struggled away from Old Trafford, aside from the Arsenal match United have been really good away from home this year.
It’s a little sad to see how badly United rely on teenager Anthony Martial to generate any kind of attack, but they’ll get enough to grab a 2-1 win.
Swansea City vs. Arsenal (11:00 AM Saturday)
It’s almost comical at this point how much like clockwork Arsenal operates. The clocks change, the yellow ball comes out, and everyone gets hurt. This week Arsenal added Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott to the list, the latter of which could be a huge loss.
There’s no way around Arsenal are a different team when Walcott starts up front than when they go with Olivier Giroud, with Walcott bringing out the best in Mesuit Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.
At the end of the day, Walcott or no Walcott, Sanchez and Ozil are enough fire power to get Arsenal past a poor Swansea side 2-0.
Southampton vs. Bournemouth (11:00 AM Sunday)
A month ago this would have been a very intriguing match between a Southampton side starting to put everything back together and a Bournemouth side that was loads of fun to watch but has since been hammered by injuries. It still has some element of intrigue as it’s the closest match Bournemouth will get to a derby when they take on their south coast neighbors.
Bournemouth were picked by many to stay up this season, but without their top three players they look like a mid-table Championship side at best. Southampton aren’t City or Spurs, but they’re still a lot better than the Cherries and they’ll win this derby-ish match 3-1.
Tottenham vs. Aston Villa (3:00 PM Monday)
Tim Sherwood takes on Tim Sherwood’s former club! Or at least that’s how it would have been advertised last week before Tim Sherwood was sacked by Aston Villa. Now we get a Villa side that are managed by interim manager Kevin MaDonald taking on a Spurs side who have sneaky been one of the most consistent teams in the league this season.
The problem for Spurs is they just haven’t won as many games as they should have, mainly because they’re not getting the goals they expected out of Harry Kane. Kane picked up a hat-trick last week, with the caveat that it was against Bournemouth, but sometimes all a striker needs is to see the ball go into the net for his confidence to come back.
If the hat-trick was a sign of things to come for Kane, the Spurs become the clear favorite for the fourth spot in the league. If it was just a blip on the radar, they still have a lot of work to do. Either way they should win this 2-0.
Rest of the league
Manchester City admitted that United were better than them last week by playing not to lose at Old Trafford in the Manchester Derby. This week they get to beat up on Norwich 3-0.
West Brom have been quietly racking up a few wins recently while playing some unwatchable football, unfortunately they run into Leicester City this week, who can score goals in bunches and have just figured out how to keep clean sheets. Leicester win 2-1.
Watford looked impressive against Stoke last week, but not as impressive as West Ham actually winning at home against Chelsea. As long as West Ham keep winning away matches I’ll keep picking them, they win 2-0 this week.
It doesn’t get much worse for Newcastle then losing 3-0 to their biggest rivals Sunderland last week. It also won’t get any better this week when they fall 2-0 to Stoke City.
Those good vibes Sunderland are taking from that win won’t last long either as they face a tough trip to Everton, who will bounce back from their loss to Arsenal with a 3-0 win.
Enjoy the games!