PREMIER LEAGUE PREDICTIONS:
Villa need to get their skates on or they could face a long hard season. Just one win from their opening three Premiership games, the manager Tim Sherwood is looking for a quick return on his £7m investment for the teenager Barcelona striker, Adama Traore. They are a restless and demanding crowd in the Villa Park grandstands, and struggling Sunderland’s woes are likely to continue.
Villa to win.
Bournemouth v Leicester
The Cherries pulled off a stunning victory against West Ham last weekend, and after being robbed the previous week at Liverpool, who would deny them their first win among the big boys. Tasty, but without a soft centre and high flying Leicester’s visit to the south coast can expect a serious examination by the newcomers who are determined to become no pushover.
Chelsea v Crystal Palace
What Alan Pardew and unfashionable Palace wouldn’t give to get one over their rich neighbours on the far side of London? It’s a tall order for the Eagles, and humpy Jose Mourinho who is clearly agonising about the immediate future of his captain John Terry will want to settle the nerves at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea to win.
Liverpool v West Ham
Brendan Rodgers couldn’t really have asked for a better start, especially with that draw at Arsenal which bored me witless. The Anfield faithful continue to embrace the likeable Ulsterman and I think the outlook is good. Rodgers had made some dreadful calls – Mario Balotelli being one – but the departure of Raheem Sterling has yet to have had the massive impact many feared.
Liverpool to win.
Manchester City v Watford
The only team with maximum points, I can’t see the champions losing here. They must be a banker, but then I predicted their near neighbours would sweep aside the challenge of Newcastle last weekend, and look what happened at Old Trafford. Watford’s unbeaten run with three draws is about to come to an end. Of that, I have no doubt.
City to win.
Newcastle v Arsenal
If ever there was an opportunity for the Geordies to get their act together in front of what must be the most tolerant fan base in the Premiership, then this is surely it. They proved they can up to the very best with that fighting 0-0 draw at Manchester United last weekend and the 50,000 fans packing St James Park will expect nothing less against the misfiring Gunners.
Stoke City v West Bromwich Albion
There can’t be much left in the kitty at the Potteries, especially after the £12m which was paid to Inter Milan to bring Xherdan Shaqiri to Stoke City. But I wouldn’t be surprised if Mark Hughes reaches for the chequebook again before Monday’s transfer deadline runs out. West Brom need strengthened manpower as well, otherwise the Northern Ireland international pair of Gareth McAuley and Chris Brunt, as well as the Republic’s James McClean are heading for the Championship next season.
Tottenham v Everton
Spurs were within 10 minutes to snatching their first Premiership win at Leicester last weekend before settling for a 1-1 draw, and even though Everton have got off to a reasonable start, I expect White Hart Lane will be in a celebratory mood by the time this game ends. The manager Mauricio Pochettino and especially the club chairman Daniel Levy are already under pressure – but nothing compared to that facing Harry Kane. He needs to quicken his pace and maybe this is the match in which he starts to deliver.
Tottenham to win.
Southampton v Norwich City
The Canaries are desperate to increase their attacking options and the failure to secure the services of the Wolves striker BenikAfobe – their £10m bid was rejected – has dramatically heightened the panic to find a new man before the transfer deadline ends. It doesn’t reflect too well on Kyle Lafferty who has returned to training following a knee injury. So will Northern Ireland’s top striker be on the move again?
Southampton to win.
Swansea v Manchester United
Now that Wayne Rooney has rediscovered his shooting boots after that hattrick at Club Brugge, poor Swansea could be in for a rough ride. United’s Premiership form has just been so-so, but Louis van Gaal must be mightily relieved they are now in Champions League pool stages. They’ll be up for this match big time – especially Rooney – and I’d fear for Swansea as United go about their business and convince the doubters at Old Trafford that they are finally on their way.
United to win.