As we hit mid-September we are starting to get an idea about how some clubs are going to look. It’s by no means definite; some teams are still acclimating to each other while some are still recovering from injuries. This week’s slate of games looks pretty straightforward, but as always in the Premier League, it never turns out that way.
(all times eastern)
Chelsea vs. Liverpool (3:00 PM Friday – NBCSN)
As always the question is, which Liverpool will show up. The ones that looked like world beaters against Arsenal and Leicester, or the ones that couldn’t finish against Burnley and Tottenham. That’s simply been the problem for Liverpool for the entire duration of the Jurgen Klopp era. When they’re good, they’re unbelievable, but so often they follow up the good performances with duds. They now travel to Chelsea who have yet to put things together either. But Chelsea do have an in-form Diego Costa. Sure, he should have picked up three red cards already this season, but he hasn’t, and when he’s on the field he scores goals. 2-2 draw
Manchester City vs. Bournemouth (10:00 AM Saturday – NBCSN)
I don’t care how much you like Bournemouth they are facing a trip to the Ethiad at the absolute worst time. Manchester City are playing some of the best football in Europe at the moment. Not having Sergio Aguero doesn’t seem to slow them down at all as Kevin de Bruyne is ready to pick up the offensive load. Summer signing Ikay Gundogan returned to City in the Champions League this week making them even more dangerous. If there was a knock on City it’s that they haven’t played a complete 90 minutes yet. Nevertheless they could easily be up 3-0 at halftime and take things easy over the last 45 minutes again this week. Manchester City win 4-0
Everton vs. Middlesbrough (12:30 PM Saturday – NBC)
I’m starting to really buy in to Ronald Koeman’s Everton, and it’s looking like the players are too. Koeman sent a message loud and clear Monday night when he removed Ross “This-is-going-to-be-his-breakout-year” Barkley at halftime, making it known that no one has a guaranteed place in his team. Everton responded by getting three quick Romelu Lukaku goals, and when Lukaku gets going, he doesn’t stop. Everton win 3-1
Watford vs. Manchester United (7:00 AM Sunday – CNBC)
It has not been a banner week for Manchester United. First they got outplayed in their own stadium in the Manchester Derby before losing their Europa League opener to Feyenoord, causing Jose Mourinho to give some very Louis van Gaal-esque quotes that United were “in complete control of the game.” United need to turn things around fast, and now travel to a Watford side that came back from 2-0 down to West Ham to win 4-2. It’s a ground that United struggled in last season, but they’ll get back to the classic Jose Mourinho style wins in this one. Manchester United win 1-0
Tottenham vs. Sunderland (11:15 AM Sunday – CNBC)
As expected, Tottenham dismantled Stoke City 4-0 last week, but as I said on the Premier League podcast, I need to see them beat someone else before I declare them back. Spurs promptly fell on their face this week losing a home game to Monaco in the Champions League. They have a great opportunity to get back on their feet this week as they return to White Hart Lane and welcome in a very bad Sunderland side. Many predicted Sunderland to be relegated at the end of the season, and so far they have done nothing to change anyone’s mind. That’s a good way for Spurs to get back on track. Tottenham win 3-0
Rest of the games
Hull City got off to a great start to the season but things are starting to fall apart, especially as they enter a more difficult part of their schedule. This week they welcome in Arsenal who will have a very determined Olivier Giroud, who’s looking to make amends for the red card he picked up in the Champions League. A 3-1 win for the Gunners is in store.
Turns out going to the Champions League is exactly the kind of medicine Leicester City needed. They’ll take the momentum from their 3-0 win over Brugge to grab a 2-0 win over Burnley.
What’s going on with West Ham these days? Dimitri Payet had one of the nicest assists you’ll ever see last week, and immediately West Ham fell apart, conceding four straight goals to Watford. They’ll need to work out those defensive kinks, but West Brom is not the type of team to expose them. West Brom will make it ugly though as they get a 1-1 draw.
Southampton were unlucky to not get a point against Arsenal last weekend. Swansea were lucky to get one from Chelsea. What happens when the two teams meet each other now? With both teams struggling to take off offensively they’ll cancel each other out in a 1-1 draw.
Stoke City are not as bad as their record shows. Yes, they’re missing first choice goalkeeper Jack Butland really badly right now but this team is too talented to keep playing this poorly. Crystal Palace may have finally gotten themselves a win last week but that doesn’t mean I’m ready to buy into them yet. This is exactly the kind of game that the Premier League always serves up to us that will see Stoke grab a 2-1 win just when everyone thinks that Palace are starting to put things together.