It’s a massive weekend in the Premier League. An out-of-sorts Tottenham face a north London derby against bitter rivals and resurgent Arsenal, while Manchester United need points quickly if they’re to keep up with those at the top.
Jose Mourinho’s men are at Bob Bradley’s Swansea on Sunday, while Manchester City face Middlesbrough and Everton travel to Chelsea.
Predict the outcome of each match in our polls …
ARSENAL: Despite their Champions League stumble, Spurs are still unbeaten in the league. So it will be close, but a combination of home advantage and Arsenal’s firepower could edge it.
Prediction: Arsenal 2-1 Tottenham — Tom Adams
TOTTENHAM: Spurs will pray the old cliché proves to be true and the form book goes out of the window on derby day. They have failed to win any of their last six games, drawing four times and losing twice, and their only two goals in the last five matches have come from the penalty spot. Meanwhile, Arsenal have won 10 of their last 11 games, scoring seven times in the last two.
Prediction: Arsenal 2-0 Tottenham — Ben Pearce
MAN CITY: City must get their feet back down on terra firma rapidly for Middlesbrough’s visit. Understandably, Pep Guardiola’s men are still on a high following their exploits against Barcelona in midweek. Boro, showing signs of life at last, have been a tricky opponent for City down the years, but home fans will be hoping their club’s unprecedented “crisis” continues for a week or two more.
Prediction: Manchester City 3-1 Middlesbrough — Simon Curtis
MIDDLESBROUGH: Aitor Karanka’s men will be keeping their fingers crossed that Champions League fatigue plays a part and that Manchester City go easy on the visitors. The Teessiders celebrated their first home win of the season last week and will be aiming for a clean sheet and at least a point from their trip to the Etihad.
Prediction: Manchester City 2-1 Middlesbrough — Catherine Wilson
CHELSEA: The feel-good factor is well and truly back at Stamford Bridge. Antonio Conte’s new shape Chelsea are on a winning streak and while Everton, and cast-off Blues striker Romelu Lukaku in particular, may fancy their chances of upsetting the odds which are stacked in the home side’s favour, Ronald Koeman’s team may well find Eden Hazard and Diego Costa too hot to handle.
Prediction: Chelsea 3-1 Everton — Mark Worrall
EVERTON: It is 21 league games and almost 22 years since Everton left Stamford Bridge with three points. Ending this and similarly wretched sequences away to Arsenal and Liverpool would indicate genuine progress under Koeman, but the visitors must do without the suspended Idrissa Gueye for the trip to Chelsea.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-1 Everton — Luke O’Farrell
LIVERPOOL: Jurgen Klopp’s side face a stiff test breaking down a Watford defence that haven’t conceded a goal in three matches. This may be a good opportunity for the Reds to put their own defensive house in order while still doing enough at the other end to win.
Prediction: Liverpool 2-0 Watford — Steven Kelly
WATFORD: After a run of excellent results, the trip to Anfield represents something of a free hit for the Hornets. The return to full fitness of Daryl Janmaat is a big boost, but it’s up front where Walter Mazzarri has questions to answer. There will surely be the temptation to play one up front against an in form Liverpool, with the misfiring Odion Ighalo’s place in jeopardy. Although they will be hopeful of causing a shock, this will be a huge test for Watford.
Prediction: Liverpool 2-1 Watford — Mike Parkin
SWANSEA: Manchester United are on a four-game winless streak in the Premier League and haven’t scored a goal in their last three league games. If ever there was a good time for ailing Swansea to face United — who are also without the suspended Mourinho — it is now. Bob Bradley’s men need to believe, but belief is short in Wales at the moment.
Prediction: Swansea 1-2 Manchester United — Max Hicks
MAN UNITED: Swansea have lost seven of their 10 league games. However, their comfort must be that the visiting Manchester United are struggling for goals. The key to leaving with a victory looks to be Juan Mata, with the slimmest of margins likely to separate these sides.
Prediction: Swansea 0-1 Manchester United — Musa Okwonga
LEICESTER: The champions start a kinder run of fixtures at home to West Brom on Sunday. The Foxes were poor away in their 0-0 Champions League draw at Copenhagen but will be buoyed by a valuable point. Jamie Vardy has a habit of scoring against West Brom and could desperately use a goal. It’s a match City should win, especially at the King Power, where they continue to defend well.
Prediction: Leicester 2-0 West Brom — Ben Jacobs
WEST BROM: Tony Pulis has promised to “have a go” at champions Leicester after surrendering tamely in the 4-0 defeat to Manchester City in their last fixture. With James McClean suspended, young winger Jonathan Leko will be key to this game plan after his impressive cameo against City.
Prediction: Leicester 1-1 West Brom — Matthew Evans
WEST HAM: A match between two teams who started the season badly. Stoke seem to have steadied the ship, while West Ham are still a little unsure of where they are headed. If the Hammers can get some form going up front, then this promises to be an entertaining affair.
Prediction: West Ham 2-2 Stoke — Peter Thorne
STOKE: With Marko Arnautovic suspended, Mark Hughes is sweating on the fitness of Xherdan Shaqiri in the hope that he has at least one of his preferred wide men available. And having finally opened his account for the season on Monday, Wilfried Bony will be looking to make up for lost time against an inconsistent Hammers backline.
Prediction: West Ham 1-1 Stoke — James Whittaker
HULL CITY: The result was the same but the performance very different as Hull City lost a sixth consecutive league game at Watford last weekend. A switch to 3-5-2 shored up a creaking defence and only a late own goal denied Mike Phelan’s side a much-needed point. Repeat that performance at home to a Southampton side in Europa League action this week and the Tigers’ luck ought to turn.
Prediction: Hull 1-1 Southampton — Phil Buckingham
SOUTHAMPTON: Claude Puel’s men should be expecting three points against the Premier League whipping boys. The Southampton boss will be demanding a response after last weekend’s timid loss at home to Chelsea
Prediction: Hull 0-2 Southampton — Alex Crook
BOURNEMOUTH: The Cherries will be looking to bounce back from their 2-0 defeat to Middlesbrough as quickly as possible, and a home match against a struggling Sunderland side is the perfect fixture to do just that. Eddie Howe will hope Jack Wilshere can continue his improved form and guide them to victory.
Prediction: Bournemouth 2-0 Sunderland — Will Kent
SUNDERLAND: David Moyes may believe he can turn around Sunderland’s season, but supporters are hard-pressed to see where a first win of the campaign might come from. Only Jermain Defoe and Patrick van Aanholt have scored so far, Bournemouth’s form is largely impressive and more pain for Moyes seems the likeliest outcome.
Prediction: Bournemouth 2-0 Sunderland — Colin Randall
BURNLEY: After beating Everton and drawing with Manchester United, the Clarets will want to go into the upcoming international break on a high. Steven Defour’s expected return from injury is a boost and Crystal Palace hold little fear, so Burnley can continue their solid form with a narrow win.
Prediction: Burnley 2-1 Crystal Palace — Jamie Smith
CRYSTAL PALACE: While Palace have struggled for clean sheets and wins recently, it would be typical of the Eagles to get both from a game like this. The return of Jason Puncheon to fitness might just be the key to Palace getting a result they need.
Prediction: Burnley 0-2 Crystal Palace — Rob Sutherland
Elsewhere this weekend, David Moyes goes in search of his first Premier League win as Sunderland boss as his side visit Bournemouth and in form Liverpool host Watford at Anfield.
How will the matches go in the final round of fixtures before the international break? Have your say by voting in the match polls and leaving your comments below.
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