EPL GAME WEEK 8 PREDICTION
Saturday 6th October
Burnley v Huddersfield 3pm
After a sluggish start, Burnley look to have found their way out of the fog with consecutive victories. But Huddersfield are still without a win. In fact, they’re seven points worse off than this time last year. A first victory is going to have to come soon if they’re to stay in the top flight for a third season. The two league meetings last season – the first they’ve had in the Premier League – both ended in goalless draws. I expect Burnley to continue their good form with a win here. 2-0 to Burnley.
Crystal Palace v Wolves 3pm
Palace lacked a cutting edge after fighting back at Bournemouth before throwing away a point. They need to change their style. Without a home goal so far, they have to stop the slump. Wolves play open football. If Palace catch them on the break they can get a much-needed win. Crystal Palace and Wolves have never met in the Premier League. Palace have won their last three games against Wolves in all competitions and this should be the fourth. 2-1
Leicester v Everton 3pm
Having won six of their last eight matches, the Foxes are buoyed by far better form than Everton, whose defeat to Southampton in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday was their third in four games. Claude Puel’s first match as Leicester manager was a 2-0 Premier League home win in this fixture last season, one of only four Foxes victories against Everton in 24 attempts (D13, L7). 3-1 win to Leicester.
Tottenham v Cardiff 3pm
The Bluebirds’ season, which was always going to be a hard one, doesn’t get any easier – Spurs are the fifth member of last season’s top seven they will have faced in their opening eight matches. Neil Warnock will hope and pray that facing Barcelona will have taken its toll in some way on Spurs. Mauricio Pochettino, though, will be looking for a comfortable day at their temporary office to maintain Tottenham’s promising start to their league campaign. Tottenham are on a seven-match unbeaten streak against Cardiff, winning five and drawing two. 4-0 Tottenham win.
Watford v Bournemouth 3pm
It’s sixth against seventh at Vicarage Road – not many would have predicted that before the season began. Watford’s lofty perch is the result of their best start to a top-flight campaign – the highlight of which was probably beating Spurs. A draw at Fulham and a loss at Arsenal since then might have taken away some of their momentum, but they played well at the Emirates and arguably deserved better. Bournemouth got themselves back on track by beating Crystal Palace after their 4-0 thumping at Burnley, and Eddie Howe’s side do have the occasional spectacular off-day. But they are – more often than not – a pleasure to watch. Watford have lost just one of their last 14 games against Bournemouth in all competitions but I exoect Bournemouth to hold them to a draw here. 1-1
Manchester United v Newcastle United 5:30pm
As civil war reportedly rages between players, management, fans and owners, what else is true is the urgent need for a win. Manchester United generally DO win at home to Newcastle. Jose Mourinho has ALWAYS won at home to Newcastle, and – forget ‘style’ – this might be a time when the sort of ground-out victory he once specialised in will do. Rafael Benitez knows how to get those too, and – in the words of a predecessor – would ‘love it’ should the Magpies win. For all the home side’s current torments, that remains the outside bet. Manchester United have lost one of their last 36 home matches against Newcastle in all competitions (W26, D9), with that solitary loss coming in December 2013 during David Moyes’ tenure. 2-0 Manchester United win.
Sunday 7th October
Fulham v Arsenal 12 noon
The growly Slavisa Jokanovic seems determined to go with his gut instinct – namely that Fulham’s best bet for survival is to attack. That philosophy came unstuck at Manchester City, whose superior players were allowed all the space they needed to prosper. It will be interesting to see whether Jokanovic is willing to allow a little pragmatism on home turf against in-form Arsenal. Unai Emery’s team seem to be enjoying life after a very awkward start; their win over Qarabag in Baku on Thursday took their sequence of victories to eight. Even when they were losing to Chelsea and Manchester City, Emery kept chirping cheerfully and politely that better times were just around the corner. It seems he was right. Fulham have won just three of their last 30 top-flight games against the Gunners (D6, L21). Their only victory in the past 11 meetings came at home in January 2012. Arsenal have won their last two Premier League matches at Craven Cottage, both in 2013. Another win is on the cards here. 2-1 to Arsenal.
Southampton v Chelsea 2:15pm
The omens don’t look good for Southampton against a Chelsea side who remain unbeaten under their new head coach Maurizio Sarri and have only conceded one away league goal. Mark Hughes’ Saints enjoyed a morale-boosting Carabao Cup win on penalties over Everton during the week, but their home form has been awful for the best part of a year and shows little sign of improvement. Saints have managed to win only one of their 14 home matches in the league since last November. The wretched run includes Chelsea’s last visit in April, during which Southampton led 2-0 before eventually losing 3-2. Southampton have lost their last six matches against Chelsea in all competitions. 3-1 win to Chelsea.
Liverpool v Manchester City 4:30pm
A game that doesn’t need hype is getting plenty, and – whilst not wishing to dampen the excitement – it’s maybe worth remembering that neither team will be ruled out of nor guaranteed to be winning anything at the end of it. What SHOULD be a cert, however, is a cracking contest between (in my opinion, lest some get upset!) the two best teams to watch and enjoy in the country. Liverpool ride into Anfield on the memories of last season’s successes against City, and THEY might help to banish the blues of an uncharacteristically limp display against Napoli. Liverpool are unbeaten in 17 home matches against Manchester City in all competitions (W12, D5). Another home win for Liverpool 2-1.