If you’ve only been paying attention to the biggest or most well-known clubs in the English Premier League this season, you’ve been missing some fantastic soccer going on throughout the rest of the league. So far, this season has been wild and insanely unpredictable, culminating last week when a team in 17th defeated a team in fourth. That was Chelsea knocking off Arsenal, but you get the point.
While everyone was busy reacting to what happened at Stamford Bridge, West Ham went up to the Ethihad and not only scored the first goal against Manchester City this season, but handed them their first loss. City now sit just two points above rivals Manchester United at the top of the table; it’s just too bad that doesn’t matter since everyone declared the title race over back in August.
So how will these teams fare this week? Let’s find out. (All games Eastern Time)
Tottenham vs. Manchester City (7:45 AM Saturday)
There are a few pieces of both good and bad news for Tottenham this week. The good news is Spurs haven’t been nearly as bad as their August record suggests – they’ve won two in a row and haven’t conceded a goal in September. Furthermore, new signing Son Hueng-Min has gotten off to a flying start with his new club.
The bad news is that the club’s star (and only) striker Harry Kane is still completely lost on the field. Right now Spurs are scraping by without their striker, but this team was built around Kane and if Kane doesn’t get his act together soon, Tottenham will be in a lot of trouble.
That other piece of bad news is that they’re going up against a City side who are looking to bounce back from a loss last week and were able to use their midweek League Cup tie to thrash Sunderland and regain their juju. That’ll be enough to get City back on the winning side of a 2-0 result.
Leicester City vs. Arsenal (10:00 AM Saturday)
If you haven’t been watching Leicester City this season, you’ve been missing out. The Foxes have formed themselves into an attacking power with a never say die attitude. The past two weeks the team found themselves down 2-0 in the second half, only to rally to beat Villa 3-2 two weeks ago and salvage a 2-2 draw against Stoke last week.
The team has scored a goal in every game they’ve played so far this season, and has certainly taken advantage of a soft early schedule to get themselves a nice base of points that will come in handy come relegation time. Their only problem this week is they face an Arsenal side that (maybe?) is starting to figure out it’s game.
Here’s what we know about Arsenal: they will certainly come out angry after last week’s result at Chelsea. But here’s the other thing about Arsenal: they’re a completely different team depending on whether Theo Walcott or Oliver Giroud starts up to, and thus I’m giving two predictions.
If Walcott starts: Arsenal win 3-1
If Giroud starts: 1-1 draw
Manchester United vs. Sunderland (10:00 AM Saturday)
A few things happened this week for United. Louis van Gaal learned how to win a League Cup match, they managed to win a game where Michael Carrick didn’t start, and David de Gea kept a clean sheet. Will any of that have an impact on Saturday’s match? Absolutely not since all those things came against Championship side Ipswitch Town.
Luckily for United, they get a Premier League team who are about as close to a Championship side that the league has to offer. These 10:00 home matches vs. bad teams used to be affectionately referred to as ‘a walk in the park’ but unfortunately since Louis van Gaal came around it always seems to get more complicated. Expect that good old Louis van Gaal “possession, possession, possession” game that United played against Newcastle; the difference is this time United will have Anthony Martial in there. David de Gea will keep his first clean sheet since April and United win 2-0.
Newcastle vs. Chelsea (12:30 PM Saturday)
WE’VE GOT OURSELVES A RELEGATION SIX-POINTER HERE! Not really, because Chelsea are bound to figure it out eventually, but they’ve been lucky. They were given a gift of three points last week by Mike Dean (which the Premier League later admitted they completely messed up). Diego Costa was then given a three-match ban (the first of which was a League Cup match that he would have skipped anyway), and now they get to face Newcastle who’ve been really bad.
Newcastle sit in 19th ahead of Sunderland on goal differential only. Their two results were an opening day draw vs. Southampton and a fortunate 0-0 draw against Manchester United. Chelsea win this match 2-0, but not because Chelsea have all of a sudden figured things out. Newcastle are that bad.
Watford vs. Crystal Palace (11:00 AM Sunday)
If you’ve been reading along you’d know that I’ve been really high on Bournemouth, Leicester City, and Crystal Palace this season. So with those clubs occupying all my time, I’ve been sleeping a bit on Watford, who apparently are… good? Turns out they really are, especially at home – which is something most teams haven’t been this year.
Crystal Palace has been fantastic away from home this season, but Watford have yet to concede a goal at Vicarage Road. That’ll be enough to get them a 1-0 win.
West Bromwich Albion vs. Everton (3:00 PM Monday)
You’ve been following West Brom from a distance this season right? So you know they’ve been pretty inconsistent and have had their ups and downs, right? Wrong. The Baggies have had some scoring issues, but that’s going to get better now that Saido Berahino is actually back and playing. Defensively though, the team hasn’t conceded a goal to anyone not named Chelsea and Manchester City.
Meanwhile, Everton haven’t conceded a goal away from Goodison Park this season. So which one will give? Well, neither actually. It’s Monday Night Football, but not a thrilling one as it ends in a 0-0 draw.
Rest of the league:
You know who’s currently leading the race for the Golden Boot? It’s not Diego Costa or Sergio Aguero. Nope, it’s Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson, but can he do it on a rainy day in Stoke? I say he can, and the Cherries win 3-2.
West Ham have been absolutely fantastic away from home this campaign. At home though, not so much. Norwich wins 2-1.
You know who else has been dreadful at home? Liverpool. Their only home win came on a goal that should have been offside, getting a goal against wrongfully called back. Add in that Brendan Rodgers could get sacked at any moment, and despite Aston Villa not being great, they’ll be good enough to get a 1-1 draw. Finally Swansea snap out of their little funk to keep Southampton in theirs with a 2-0 win.
Enjoy the weekend!