As I predicted last week when the Premier League was starting to look just a little too straightforward, the only predictable thing about it was that it was going to throw us a curveball immediately. Of course the Premier League delivered immediately, serving up some shocking results. It did give us a few too many goalless draws, but I’m sure we’ll all take that in exchange for keeping us on our toes. Does more of the same continue this week?
(All times eastern)
Sunderland vs. Arsenal (7:30 AM Saturday – NBCSN)
There are two schools of thought on this one. The first is that Sunderland are horrifically bad and Arsenal are really good so this should be a blowout. The other is that Sunderland have actually been playing better then you’d think, they just happen to have this little issue of conceding late goals and maybe they’re catching Arsenal at the right time after they were held to a goalless draw at home to Middlesbrough last week? The second theory sounds good, but Arsenal’s draw was more of a blip on the radar. The clocks in England don’t change until Sunday, so we’ll get one more week of good Arsenal. Arsenal win 3-0
Manchester United vs. Burnley (10:00 AM Saturday – NBCSN)
This should be as straightforward as they come. Manchester United playing at home against Burnley. But with Jose Mourinho involved there’s always the risk that it’s not straightforward. In his last 41 games Mourinho has won just eight times, and when he continually picks Marouanne Fellaini in the midfield instead of Michael Carrick, it starts to make sense why. Manchester United should roll over Burnley pretty easily in this one, but the form of most of their attacking players has been horrific recently. That’s partially on them and partially on the manager for not putting them in a chance to succeed. Can you trust them to snap out of it? Manchester United win 2-0
Tottenham vs. Leicester (10:00 AM Saturday – NBCSN)
Last season Tottenham and Leicester played some fantastic games with just one problem. They were so early in the season that we didn’t realize these were going to be the two teams competing for the title so we couldn’t appreciate it when it happened. This time when they meet both teams are in flux; Tottenham have been really feeling the absence of injured striker Harry Kane, while Leicester have been absolutely awful in the matches before a Champions League match. The difference between this match and the other ones is Leicester’s nine points in the Champions League group stage leaves them in a great position to move on, meaning they can devote more attention to getting a result in this one. 1-1 draw
Crystal Palace vs. Liverpool (12:30 PM Saturday – NBC)
Just when it looked like Crystal Palace were starting to put things together this season, the month of October started and they reverted to the Palace we expected them to be. That doesn’t bode well for them as they now face a Liverpool side who, save for the bus Jose Mourinho parked in the box at Anfield, has annihilated everything that’s gotten in their way over the past six weeks. Christian Benteke will certainly score a goal against his former team, but that’s where the host’s good fortune ends. Liverpool win 3-1
Southampton vs. Chelsea (12:00 PM Sunday – NBC)
This is that one Sunday where England changes their clocks before we do and these games start bleeding in to your NFL Sunday, which may cause you to think you can skip out on this one since Chelsea will blow the doors off of Southampton. If you’re thinking of doing that, don’t. Chelsea’s 4-0 win over United last week is a little misleading. They were good, but United were also really bad. Southampton are very good at home, good enough to get a result against an overconfident Chelsea. 1-1 draw
Rest of the games
Back in May I warned you that Pep Guardiola might be a tad bit overrated and would likely struggle in the Premier League. With Manchester City going winless in six games that’s certainly starting to become a legitimate concern. However, I do think City turn it around and get a 1-0 win over West Brom this week. Baby steps.
Quick check of Bournemouth’s last two games. A 6-1 win over Hull followed by holding Tottenham to a 0-0 draw. Both of those were great results. Middlesbrough’s draw with Arsenal was an aberration, the Cherries are going to get all three points in this game with a 2-1 win.
Speaking of Hull City they face a trip to Watford, which is just the kind of opponent the Hornets need to get themselves back on track. They’ve been getting results recently, but haven’t been playing their best football. A 2-0 win should help them fix their issues.
Following two straight wins at the Olympic Stadium is it safe to say West Ham are back? It’s certainly looking like it, even if Dimitri Payet hasn’t fully gotten going yet. Nevertheless a 2-1 win over a quietly slipping down the table Everton is certainly in the cards.
Bob Bradley certainly didn’t pick the best time to join Swansea with trips to Arsenal and a night game in Stoke in two of his first three games. There are few rules in the Premier League, but one of them is beware of picking against a finding-their-form Stoke City playing at home in a night game. It’s a 2-0 win for the Potters.