The EPL is back- Liam Whitlock

October 16, 2014 9:41 am

So with the international break at an end we very much welcome The Barclays Premier League back. Enough of discussing about Rooney and Sterling and more focusing what happens on the pitch in the ten Premier League games this gameweek has to offer.

SATURDAY

Manchester City vs Tottenham

We start with Manchester City vs Tottenham. Almost 11 months ago Spurs lost 6-0 at The Etihad to pile pressure on then boss Andre Villas Boas. This is a game again I’d expect Man City to win. With Sergio Aguero’s (10.6M) 5 goals in 5 Premier League starts for City, he looks destined to carry that record going as Aguero always seems to come up with the goods against the biggest clubs. It’s also worth pointing out that David Silva (8.3M) has made more passes in the final third (192) than any other player in Europe’s top 5 leagues this season.

Tottenham haven’t started too badly this season too, being only 3 points off City. Give Pochettino credit he seems to have got a lot out of Lamela (6.3M) and even more so with Nacir Chadli (6.2M). Chadli is a minor doubt for this weekend, although I’d expect him to start. Tottenham have the joint second best defence so far this season (7) with only Southampton (5) letting in less. Goal scoring though could be a problem for Tottenham this season and this will no doubt be a big test for Pochettino’s men.

Key Player – Sergio Aguero

Score Prediction: Manchester City 3-1 Tottenham Hotspur

Arsenal vs Hull City

We move on to Arsenal vs Hull City. I always feel a lot of pity for Arsenal fans. The club seems to take one step forward and then go two steps back. With this week’s news that their fans pay the highest on average for a season ticket, they ought to be getting more for their money.  Arsenal have also had a very unfortunate international break. With the likes of Ozil and co now out missing. Despite this Wilshere has come out publicly saying the loss of Ozil won’t change a lot. However with Chambers already suspended, Debuchy, Arteta, Ramsey, Giroud and other doubts this could be a frustrating afternoon for Arsenal against a usually stubborn Hull back line.

For me Hull had one of the best transfer windows, but their new players seem to not be gelling as well as their fans had hoped for. 3 of their next 4 games are all away including a trip to Liverpool. This will be a testing few weeks for Steve Bruce’s boys and the only player I would consider for my team is Jelavic (7.1M) with 4 goals in 7.

All in all this is a very hard one to predict, Arsenal still have quality available but no doubt a defeat or even a draw here, will start to increase tension at The Emirates.

Key Player – Alexis Sanchez (10M)

Score Prediction: Arsenal 2-1 Hull City

Burnley vs West Ham

Next up is Burnley vs West Ham United. I really feel Burnley have to start picking points up now, before it’s too late. It’s simple no win in 7 is simply not good enough and admittedly Burnley don’t have the biggest infrastructure or finances, but I feel their owners should have spent money on experience and making sure goals weren’t as hard to come by. They’ve been unlucky with injuries to Vokes (5.4M) and Ings (6.1M), but even they are just potential and nothing more at present. I would maybe have a stab at Jutkiewicz in this game (5.4M), but 1 assist in 5 isn’t going to set my world alight unfortunately.

As for West Ham, I do feel like Big Sam doesn’t get the credit he deserves at West Ham. Let’s not forget he got the club promoted in the first place and the signing of Andy Carroll seemed to be more of David Gold’s than of Sam’s. This may not be true but this year’s signings look very solid and add another dimension to the side. It won’t be long and West Ham will be in The Olympic Stadium and I think in the next five to six years we could expect big things from them. With captain Mark Noble potentially coming back into the side and the inform Diafra Sakho (6.1M) with 3 goals in 3 games I’d expect an away win here.

Key Player –  Diafra Sakho

Score Predcition: Burnley vs West Ham United 0-2

Crystal Palace vs Chelsea

Crystal Palace vs Chelsea is the next game and after last season’s match up at Selhurst Park this should be another exciting London derby. New Palace manager Neil Warnock ended his unbeaten league record two weeks ago with defeat at The KC Stadium to Hull City. I do expect Palace to be there or thereabouts at the bottom, near the end of the season, but Palace’s terrific support seems to get them results when it matters just like Pulis last season.

However Palace are coming up against Mourinho’s Chelsea. In my opinion Chelsea have the best defence in Europe and when you have Hazard (8.8M), Fabregas (9.1M) and Costa (11.3M) in combination with it, it looks like the Chelsea of old. As good as Mourinho’s team when they were scoring 100 points plus. This league’s is Chelsea’s to lose and it seems Mourinho’s little ponies have stopped parking the bus and hit Silverstone. They are flying and this should be a Chelsea win.

Key Player – Branislav Ivanovic (7.9M)

Score Prediction: Crystal Palace 0-2 Chelsea

Everton vs Aston Villa

Next up is Everton vs Aston Villa. I’m going to start off with Martinez. I don’t like criticising many people in the game of football believe it or not. But I really feel Martinez has made some strange decisions in regard to his rotation policies between The Europa League, League Cup and League games. Leaving Mirallas (6.9M) and Naismith (7.2M) on the bench against Palace baffled me and I’m not blaming everything on him as I believe he’s a top manager but unfortunately that has coincided with Everton’s defence, as it looks like what Wigan’s looked like when Martinez was manager there.  Regardless of this Lukaku (9.3M) is a must for me as the next 5 games for Everton look very favourable. Remember form is temporary, class is permanent and Lukaku will be in most managers’ iTeams very shortly I can assure you.

As for Paul Lambert’s Villa, well to be honest I expected a lot worse from them, but credit needs to be given to Lambert and his team. When your best player is out injured it’s very easy to start blaming absentees, but they’ve just got on with things and with Benteke (7.7M) and a fresh Agbonlahor (6.3M) who didn’t feature at all against Manchester City a fortnight ago, things can only get better for Villa.    

Key Player – Romelu Lukaku

Score Prediction: Everton 2-1 Aston Villa

Newcastle United vs Leicester City

It’s been a much needed rest from Premier League football for Alan Pardew. This is a manager that took Newcastle to 5th at one stage and even won manager of the year for it. Unfortunately the club have struggled with Cabaye leaving them and just as important Loic Remy (8.2M) who was their top scorer by far last season. A must win game for Newcastle. 52,000 fans don’t deserve to have witnessed what they’ve seen so far. Cisse (6.6M) has been a Godsend for them as of late and has kept Pardew in his job. He needs a win or surely he’s gone? Newcastle should be comfortably beating newly promoted clubs in the greatest respect to Leicester.

Leicester seems to have been like a yo-yo so far this season. They beat Manchester United and score 5 against them, but fail to score against Crystal Palace. But that’s The Premier League for you. I’ve always liked Nigel Pearson as a manager and I hope Leicester stick with him, because they are a well-run club and seem to have a lot going for them at present.

This is again a difficult one to predict, Newcastle needs a win, but Leicester can get goals. I will edge the score line at a low scoring home win. But this really could go either way.

Key Player – Papiss Cisse

Score Prediction – Newcastle United 1-0 Leicester City 0

Southampton vs Sunderland

This weekend sees an early start for Sunderland fans as they play at St Mary’s against an in form Southampton side. I will be at the game and it will be interesting to see how much trouble Sunderland will keep giving Southampton as Sunderland beat Southampton twice in cup action last season and drew both their games at The Stadium Of Light and on The South Coast.

I’m not going to go over whether or not it’s been a ‘revelation’ or a ‘miracle’ as I have read about Southampton’s start this year. Southampton has only played one of last year’s top 4 and that’s why Saints fans should not be carried away by the start they have had. However I will add I have been impressed by who Koeman has managed to bring in. Pelle (7.9M) looks a steal for The 8 million Pounds Saints paid Feyenord for him, especially with his goal in his debut for Italy and Dusan Tadic (5.8M) so far has looked an upgrade already on Adam Lallana.

As for Sunderland they know they are up against the meanest defence so far this season, but they also know Steven Fletcher (6.5M) is back and scored twice against Stoke in their last match. Connor Wickham (6.7M) also got onto the score sheet against The Potters and after being linked with a move to St Mary’s in the summer this is one he must be relishing.

I can’t see their being too many goals in this I expect this to be a nervy game for both sets of fans. I’m going with my heart with a narrow home win, but this wouldn’t surprise me if The Saints were to draw this.

Key Player – Graziano Pelle

Score Prediction: Southampton 2-1 Sunderland

SUNDAY

Queens Park Rangers vs Liverpool

We move onto Sunday’s two games with QPR vs Liverpool up first. Both these sides have struggled for early season form and sit 20th and 9th retrospectfully.

Queens Park Rangers have won a game unlike Newcasltle and Burnley this season, but they’ve looked all at sea at times. Caulker (5.2M) and Ferdinand (5.1M) were brought in to strengthen the defence, but it seems to have done the opposite and with Ferdinand being fined from The FA this week it’s not making anything better off the pitch for Rangers. Saying all this they are coming up against a vulnerable and shaky defence and do have another home game against Aston Villa after this one, so Charlie Austin (5.9M) may be worth a punt.

As for Liverpool this is a game their fans will be desperate on winning. Many will back Liverpool here, but it all depends on the starting eleven for me. If Sterling (7.9M) is FiT enough and Sturridge (10.2M) returns I’d expect a few goals from Liverpool. Balotelli (9.2M) could really do with a goal to give him a confidence booster ahead of games such as Real Madrid and Chelsea.

Liverpool should be just too strong, but it all depends on Rodgers’ choices.

Key Player – Daniel Sturridge

Score Prediction: Queens Park Rangers 1-2 Liverpool

Stoke City vs Swansea City

The 4:00 game sees The Potters face Swansea. I wouldn’t expect a goal fest here unfortunately. Stoke have scored the least goals out of anyone out of the bottom 3 (6) but have conceded the same as 5th place Swansea (8).

Stoke for me do look a better side than the one Mark Hughes inherited over 12 months ago and seems to be a popular figure At The Britannia. It’s very easy to look at the standings of the table and say that Stoke have had a bad start, but they could infact go above Swansea with a victory here, which goes to show how tight the league is.

Swansea have really impressed me this season. I had Gary Monk down as the first manager to get the boot, how wrong could I have been? Swansea look strong all over the pitch and the signing of Sigurdsson (7M) has been a revelation for them. The form of Dyer (6M), Routledge (5.5M) and the suspended Jonjo Shelvey (5.7M) are all worth a mention. You know all 3 of them will always give 100% and have that bit of quality that could outdo Stoke here.

Won’t be a thriller, but it will be intriguing to see how attacking Swansea line up and whether they can hit them on the break.

Key Player – Wilfried Bony (8.6M)

Score Prediction: Stoke City 1-1 Swansea City

MONDAY

West Bromwich Albion vs Manchester United

The final game of the weekend sees Manchester United visit The Hawthorns in a big game for both. United could be by Monday evening back in mid-table if results go against them and West Brom could be in the bottom 5. Let’s hope this is as good as Fergusons last ever match as United manager when it finished 4-4 here.

Berahino (6.3M) seems to be the shining star for West Brom and without him Alan Irvine could have been an early dismissal. For me the best signing has been Joleon Lescott (5.1M), showing his experience with clean sheets against Tottenham and Burnley. West Brom might as well go for this as Berahino really could cause major issues for an unsettled back four.

For me Manchester United will be ‘WELBECK’ in the top four this season. They seem to not only have a stronger squad than last season, but knowing that goals shouldn’t be a problem for them when they need it, just like The United of old. I would avoid any United defenders though, not only because of how their defence have fared so far, but because they face Chelsea and Manchester City in their next two encounters after this one.

Key Player – Angel Di Maria (9.1M)

Score Prediction: West Bromwich Albion 1-3 Manchester United

Thanks for taking time to read this, we’re coming to a stage where points are vital in Fantasy terms and in The Premier League, so expect another great weekend in the best league in the world.

Yours truly,

Liam Whitlock

This post was written by FiT Admin

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