Another tasty slate of matches in the Premier League this weekend. Here’s how I have it all shaking out.
Swansea City vs. West Ham United (Sun 12:00pm ET on Extra Time; Liberty Stadium)
On a normal week, Swansea wins this match easy. But this is a Europa League week meaning Michael Laudrup’s men could be a bit leggy in this one.
Swansea City 1 West Ham United 1
Crystal Palace vs. Arsenal (Sat 7:45am ET on NBCSN; Selhurst Park)
Remember back in high school when you used to avenge a tough loss by pummeling the JV team? That’s happening Saturday at Selhurst Park.
Crystal Palace 0 Arsenal 3
Aston Villa vs. Everton (Sat 10:00am ET on Extra Time; Villa Park)
One match, two enormous debates.
Who is the better American goalkeeper – Aston Villa’s Brad Guzan or Everton’s Tim Howard? And who is the better Belgian striker – Villa’s Christian Benteke or Toffee loanee Romelu Lukaku?
My opinion – Howard and Lukaku.
Aston Villa 1 Everton 3
Southampton vs. Fulham (Sat 12:30pm ET on NBCSN; St Mary’s Stadium)
Sitting at 5th in the table the Saints have few dissenters and I myself can’t even pretend to not be impressed. Three goals in eight matches is an incredible feat. But while ‘goals against’ is a key category, nearly as important is ‘goals for’ and Southampton has only managed merely eight thus far.
With the likes of Dani Osvaldo, Rickie Lambert, Jay Rodriguez, Adam Lallana and Gaston Ramirez running at opposing defenses, averaging a goal per match simply isn’t good enough. A good old fashioned shellacking should be the next box Mauricio Pochettino’s side ticks off. Fulham provides an excellent opportunity.
Prediction: Southampton 4 Fulham 1
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Hull City (Sun 12:00pm ET on Extra Time;White Hart Lane)
Big Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore return to White Hart Lane to try and give Andre Villas-Boas a case of the Jose-Mourinho-Lukaku’s – if that makes any sense, which it should. Unfortunately for the Hull new-boys, Spurs run deep.
Tottenham Hotspur 2 Hull City 1
SQUEAKY BUM TIME
Liverpool vs. West Bromwich Albion (Sat 10:00am ET on Extra Live; Anfield)
The sign of a good team is one that can bounce back after a difficult result. This will be Brendan Rodgers’ advice to his squad before this match. Or, perhaps he’ll take a bit more of a tone like, ‘West Brom are crap, spank them’, or ‘No team has gotten luckier than the Baggies this year, punish them,’ or ‘Fail to win this match and I’ll break out the envelopes again.’
In all seriousness West Brom are oddly difficult to break down, as evidenced by their six match unbeaten run. But if Liverpool are to prove their mettle as contenders for the Top 4, they need to win this match. Not a result. A win. Three points. No less will do. Now go make the Kop smile.
Prediction: Liverpool 2 West Brom 1
Manchester United vs. Stoke City (Sat 10:00am ET on NBCSN; Old Trafford)
Not sure who I feel worse for – United or Stoke.
United have taken all three points only once in their last four league matches, a 2-1 home victory over last placed Sunderland. Stoke have managed a single point in their last four, last week’s 0-0 snooze fest with West Brom.
Needless to say, both sides need a win. But Old Trafford will be straight-up anarchy if things don’t go the way of the Red Devils.
Do I want to see that happen? Yeah, I kinda do. Do I think we will? Nope.
Prediction: Manchester United 1 Stoke City 0
Norwich City vs. Cardiff City (Sat 10:00am ET on Extra Time; Carrow Road)
Will the real Ricky van Wolfsfinkle please stand up?
After scoring in the season opener the Dutchman has given the Canaries little to cheer about. It’s not everyday Norwich drops £8.5 million on a striker, so perhaps it’s time the Wolf repay his employers for their faith. Things don’t come much more favorable than a home match against Cardiff.
Prediction: Norwich City 2 Cardiff City 1
Sunderland vs. Newcastle United (Sun 9:30am ET on NBCSN; Stadium of Light)
Ahhh, the Tyne-Wear derby. Gotta love it. Nothing brings out the blood and guts football of the North East quite like a match between the Mackems and the Geordies. Studs-up challenges, elbows to the head and fans punching police horses – this match truly has it all.
Except Paulo Di Canio. He and his emphatic knee slides will be sorely missed.
Prediction: Sunderland 1 Newcastle United 2
Chelsea vs. Manchester City (Sun 12:00pm ET on NBCSN; Stamford Bridge)
Sergio Aguero, Alvaro Negredo, David Silva, Samir Nasri and Yaya Toure are all dominating at a relatively high level. Problem is, without Vincent Kompany the City defense tends to be a bit leaky. And Fernando Torres likey leaky.
Prediction: Chelsea 1 Manchester City 1