All eyes will undoubtedly be on one of the most anticipated Manchester derbies in recent history this weekend as an explosive yet equally as intriguing encounter is set to take centre stage. William
Both have new managers and have been somewhat underwhelming in their season’s so far. Coming off the back of strong Champions League displays however means confidence may have been restored to the two squads. However, it has been pointed out that a defeat for either side would leave them on just seven points from a possible 15 – not a stat any title chasing side would welcome.
Because of that fact, a draw would seem the most likely of outcomes. Neither manager will want to surrender points so early in the season and this could be reflected in their starting XIs. Were either side to lose and league leaders Liverpool win, it would mean an early six-point gap would have opened.
And many would expect the inform Liverpool to pick up three points at home to Southampton. While the Saints have carried added goal threat this season while solidifying their defence, Daniel Sturridge has been running some of the best defenders ragged so far this season – he has scored in every league game this season and shows no signs of slowing down. Anfield has also become something of a fortress again – they are undefeated at home in 10 league games, winning seven.
Elsewhere Jose Mourinho will be looking to put Champions League shock behind him and Chelsea. The Blues were beaten by Basel 2-1 in their own back yard and heaped more misery on the club after suffering at the hands of Everton last weekend. However Fulham have yet to find some consistency and home victory will be fancied.
Tottenham have impressed since losing to rivals Arsenal and will be expected to continue their good form away to Cardiff. While the Bluebirds have started off well at home, especially with a shock victory over City, an away victory will be favoured with the extra quality Spurs possess over their opponents.
Mezut Ozil joined Arsenal on the back of their North London Derby success, and while the club record signing has settled quickly, it is Aaron Ramsey who is currently stealing the show. Six goals in seven club games have seen the Welshman fuel Arsenal’s good form, and they will be tipped to overcome Stoke this weekend at the Emirates – the club where Ramsey broke his leg three years ago.
Predictions, with William Hill
Norwich vs Aston Villa
Lambert’s return to Carrow Road will be a tricky one and with his side in a rut could find it difficult, even with Norwich trying to find consistency: 2-1
Liverpool vs Southampton
Liverpool will be without Coutinho but welcome back Suarez next weekend. Momentum is a fine thing in football and Sturridge will look to carry Liverpool into a big game next week: 2-0
Newcastle vs Hull
Newcastle have finally dug deep and found some form. Hatem Ben Arfa has been splendid and they should have enough at home to see off Hull: 2-0
West Brom vs Sunderland
Two of the league’s early strugglers will be an interesting watch. A tight game ahead with Sessegnon no doubt set to have a say: 2-0
West Ham vs Everton
Everton come off the back of a big win over Chelsea but it is always a tough game at Upton Park: 1-1
Chelsea vs Fulham
Chelsea have had two poor results but will always be expected to win at home. Fulham are still settling after summer transfers and it will be a big ask to come away with any points: 2-0
Arsenal vs Stoke
Arsenal are in a rich vein of form and should have too much for a solid Stoke side, especially with how easily Ozil has slotted in alongside the inform Ramsey and Giroud: 3-0
Crystal Palace vs Swansea
Swansea beat Valencia midweek in a memorable result but Palace will prove a tough test to their concentration levels: 1-2
Cardiff vs Tottenham
Cardiff have shown that their home form is good and they will be tricky for any visiting team, but Spurs should have enough quality to unlock their organised ranks: 1-3
Man City vs Man Utd
This will be a tight game but a lack of fireworks can be expected, both teams will not want to come away without any points: 0-0