The Premier League is finally back this weekend after a torturous international break.
Those people who support football clubs dread this part of the season. Nobody looks forward to international matches other than those who support national teams. But guess what? The action is back this weekend with some feisty fixtures to look forward to!
Current league leaders Leicester City travel to current Champions Liverpool in a clash between first and the third. Arsenal will hope to bounce back to winning games against an extremely tough side in the name of Leeds.
Spurs vs Man City is the match of the weekend, while Sheffield United will try to grab its first win in this Premier League campaign. Other than the Blades, Burnley and West Brom are also winless and will try to collect their first wins against Crystal Palace and Man Utd respectively. Michael Owen in his weekly Premier League column gives his predictions:
Newcastle 1-2 Chelsea
Newcastle appear very inconsistent just now. I was covering their game against Southampton and it was clear that they couldn’t get into any rhythm. It will be interesting to see if Callum Wilson can shake-off the hamstring injury that he picked up in that game. He’s been excellent in front of goal for the Magpies, so far. I think in terms of the whole season, Newcastle should be fine. But their inconsistency could cost them dearly over the course of a season and as I can only see them finishing around mid-table.
I originally said I fancied Chelsea to finish third, however, I think that the points total will be lower this year, and that could bring the Blues right into the title mix. If they are to achieve that, then they will have to take maximum points from matches such as this. With Timo Werner in such good form, I think he could be amongst the goals in a Chelsea victory.
Aston Villa 1-1 Brighton
I’m sure that Villa will be safe this season and with the likes of Watkins, McGinn and Grealish, they have the basis of a team that can score plenty of goals. They’ve had some great results already, but I don’t think we’ve consistently seen them at their best yet. Brighton have also had some excellent performances this season, however, they have been a bit unlucky when either drawing or losing by the odd goal.
As I’ve mentioned several times before, they have changed their philosophy slightly having gone from quite a direct and pragmatic team to a side that likes to play. It’s a dangerous change in the short term and they may have to go through a bit of pain until they get it right. That said, and I think their never say die attitude could get them a point here.
Burnley 0-0 Crystal Palace
I covered Burnley’s match at Brighton and although they are industrious and hard-working, they didn’t create much. Unfortunately for the Clarets, they’ve been decimated with injuries. They are starting to get a few back and that’s so important when you consider that they have such a small squad. I must say, their goalkeeper has been excellent. And his shot-stopping is right up there with the best in the league.
Palace have been great on the road and have made an impressive start to the season. The impetus is usually on the home team to take the game to the visitors which suits the Eagles nicely. But I don’t see Burnley playing such a high line here. If that materializes, I think there could be a bit of a stand-off in a game where both may be happy with a point.