Sixteen goals apiece were scored on Saturday and Sunday as the Barclays Premier League continued providing the shocks on what was only matchday five. The most striking result was the 5-3 battering, mauling and humiliation of Manchester United at the hands of promoted side Leicester City. The Red Devils, boasting a fiery front line of top marksmen were exposed at the back as they surrendered a 3-1 lead with barely 30 minutes before full time. This weekend, they host West Ham at Old Trafford with no less than 9 members out with injury. All but two matches will be played with two derbies spicing up a weekend which won’t be short of upsets, shocks and goals. Here’s my weekend predictions:
Liverpool 2 1 Everton (Saturday, 1445hours)
It has not been a good start for the two Merseyside clubs. Liverpool’s start to the season has been rocked by inconsistency which has seen them lose thrice in the opening five league games. After getting punished 3-1 at West Ham last weekend, the Reds struggled in their midweek Capital One Cup clash against championship side Middlesborough who pushed them past extra time and into a marathon of penalties which Rodgers’ men won 14-13. That game must have taken a toll on them especially young Raheem Sterling who played the whole 120 odd minutes and is likely to be involved again. Their city rivals Everton haven’t done any better and were knocked out of the League Cup after a 3-0 capitulation at Swansea. Even worse, the Toffees were beaten 2-3 by Crystal Palace at Goodison Park. This Merseyside derby at Anfield couldn’t have come at a better time for either of the clubs. Three points for either will be a fine kick up their backside especially for Liverpool who will have home advantage as they aim to extend their unbeaten run at Anfield against the visitors to 21 matches. Daniel Sturridge could play a bit part should he be declared fit to play. If he plays, the Reds will overpower their visitors.
West Ham 2 2 Manchester United (Saturday, 1700hrs)
Manchester United’s season took a turn for the worse last weekend after they threw away a 3-1 lead and ended up losing 5-3 at Leicester. The Red Devils were cruising with just half an hour to go but a debatable penalty decision not only allowed Leicester to get a goal back but shifted momentum in their favor. With Louis van Gaal hauling off Angel Di Maria, Nigel Pearson’s side got rejuvenated to the detriment of United defence which was exposed for the umpteenth time. Jonny Evans sustained an ankle injury in that match and with Tyler Blackett receiving a red card which means he’s suspended for the West Ham visit this weekend, Marcos Rojo is the only member of the Red Devils’ defence who is 100% fit. That could spell even more trouble for van Gaal’s men especially if the Hammers carry on with the same game plan that saw them beat Liverpool 3-1 where they had a real go at the Reds. With Blackett , Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones all likely to miss, Van Gaal will probably raid the youth set up for backup with under-21 captain, 21-year-old Tom Thorpe, and 19-year-old Paddy McNair likely to be given the nod to make their senior team debut. It could be another high scoring game this which could go either way meaning I’ll settle for a draw.
Chelsea 3 1 Aston Villa (Saturday, 1700hrs)
Frank Lampard dominated the headlines last weekend at the back of his goal that helped Manchester City nick a point against Lampard’s former side Chelsea at the Eitihad in a 1-1 draw. It was a fine operetta for the former England international who returned to bite his former employers as the Blues’ 100% start to the season ended. Jose Mourinho’s men resume Premier League duties after their 2-1 win over Bolton Wanderers in midweek when they host Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge. Villa were bullied to submission by Arsenal last weekend and their run of tough fixtures continues with a visit to Chelsea before they host Chelsea at Villa Park next weekend. The 1-1 draw at City was the first time this season that Diego Costa failed to find the back of the net for the Blues in the league and the Spaniard will be keen to get his boots back in action in a match I tip them to win.
Hull City 1 2 Manchester City (Saturday 1700hrs)
Steve Bruce’s Hull City will be gunning for only their second ever victory over Manchester City when they host the Premier League champions at the KC Stadium. The two teams were both in League Cup action in midweek with City battering Sheffield Wednesday 7-0 while Hull were edged 2-3 by West Brom. So much separate The Tigers and their weekend visitors than the two-point difference there’s in the league. Hull haven’t had a bad start but expecting them to stifle City will be too much to ask though they will give it a good go. However, the class of the champions will prevail as they try to ensure the 5-point gap between them and the top doesn’t stretch any further.
Arsenal 2 2 Tottenham (Saturday 1930hrs)
The second derby on the weekend will see Arsenal welcome bitter rivals Tottenham for the North London derby on Saturday evening. Tempers are destined to flare as these two adversaries fight for points at the Emirates. Arsenal go into this fixture a wounded animal having been bundled out of the League Cup by Southampton while Tottehnam registered a comfortable win over Nottingham Forest to advance to the next round. The Gunners have won the last three meetings in this encounter and haven’t lost against Spurs at the Emirates since November 2010. However, both clubs are still struggling to calm their ships which makes a draw all the more possible result.
And That’s thesteifmastertake!!