Another week has come and gone and your present for surviving it is another weekend filled with Premier League action. Take it all in this weekend as next week we’ll be without it for the evil international break.
No need to waste time here, let’s get on to the games. (All times Eastern)
Bournemouth vs. Newcastle (7:45 AM Saturday)
Back in July, when the Premier League announced the games within the first three months of the season that would be moved for television, many wondered why they chose this game. Even if Bournemouth were as fun and exciting as we thought they would be, it’s not like a game against Newcastle would be appointment television.
As for the actual game, these two clubs are separated by 359 miles. While that would be considered nothing in the U.S. it is good for the largest distance between any two Premier League clubs, and Newcastle are not happy about having to travel that far for the early kickoff. Bournemouth might be ravaged by injuries lately but they’ll squeak out a 1-0 win, though that’s more of a pick against a very bad Newcastle side rather than in favor of Bournemouth.
West Ham vs. Everton (10:00 AM Saturday)
West Ham have been truly remarkable this season, beating every team with a big name, historical stadium, or just at the top of the table while failing to beat pretty much every team that may be in the relegation battle come season’s end.
Everton, on the other hand, have bounced back from a 3-0 defeat to Manchester United and are beginning to fire on all cylinders. Does that make Everton a ‘top’ team that West Ham have been known to pick off all season, or are they a team that West Ham should beat and therefore the Hammer may slip up? I think they’re right in the middle and this match will be an entertaining 2-2 or even 3-3 draw.
Manchester United vs. West Bromwich Albion (10:00 AM Saturday)
“We’re Manchester United, we want to attack!” was the song heard roaring through Old Trafford Tuesday night in their Champions League clash with CSKA Moscow. Despite the win, things are not all roses for the red half of Manchester right now.
Since the last international break, the club has scored just two goals in all competitions, both of them against CSKA. That means no goals against any English opposition. Wayne Rooney may have played his best game of the season Tuesday night, but it’ll take more than one good game before you can have any faith in his ability to impact games on a regular basis again.
At this point you can no longer just assume United will take care of business at home, even in games where they absolutely should. United will score in this one, but it won’t be enough in a 1-1 draw.
Stoke vs. Chelsea (12:30 PM Saturday)
At this point Chelsea have become the easiest team to predict in the league, it’s just a matter of whether they’ll outright lose each week or if they’ll have enough for a draw. This week is different though because manager Jose Mourinho will be serving a stadium suspension. The last time Mourinho was suspended also happened to be the last time Chelsea won a league match. It doesn’t really matter what Stoke does, this week, we’re going to see a vintage Chelsea side as they pick up a 3-0 win.
Arsenal vs. Tottenham (11:00 AM Sunday)
The North London Derby is always one of the biggest matches of the season, but this one could be the biggest one we’ve had in quite some time. Arsenal come into the match in some of the best form they’ve ever been in (despite the midweek loss to Bayern).
Meanwhile, after a slow start where Tottenham drew some very winnable games, Spurs have now climbed back up the table and sit just a point outside the top four. Furthermore Spurs have also been one of the most consistent teams in the league with their only loss coming on the seasons opening day against Manchester United on a Kyle Walker own-goal (because Manchester United can’t score remember?).
Spurs will travel to the Emirates with the Premier League’s best defense and Harry Kane looks like he’s back to doing Harry Kane things. Will it be enough to knock off Arsenal? Give the edge to Arsenal, mainly because they’re the home side, as they’ll get a win a 3-2 thriller.
Rest of the league
We’ve been waiting all season for Leicester City to start regressing and fall back to the lower half of the table where they belong. Instead the Foxes look like they’re getting better with each passing week. That continues this week with a 2-0 win over Watford.
Manchester City’s recent form has been up and down to say the least and if they were playing anyone worthwhile it would be a bit troubling. Lucky for them they take on Aston Villa this week and should dispose of them pretty easily, 4-0.
Frisky Southampton travel north to face a bad Sunderland squad. That won’t be a problem as Southampton grab a 2-0 win.
Norwich City looked really good last week against City, but the reason they’re still at the bottom of the league is because though they’ve shown flashes of brilliance, they’ve been plagued by inconsistency. The same thing has hampered Swansea and this week those two teams will play out a 1-1 draw.
If for some reason you don’t fancy watching the North London Derby, Liverpool will be doing battle with Crystal Palace at the same time. Though the Reds have looked better with every passing game under Jurgen Klopp, Palace, like West Ham, have been very good away from home and very good against the top teams. Crystal Palace win 2-1.
Enjoy the games!