Chelsea keep winning; Sergio Aguero sorely missed for Manchester City: Premier League predictions
As the Premier League enters its fourth round of matches, Thomas Woods provides his predictions.
Manchester United 1 Manchester City 0
Why? The clash between Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola and what looks like the two major title contenders this season is going to be enthralling. United will edge it in two ways: Firstly, they appear to be sturdier defensively at this stage, with two clean sheets in three games. Mourinho has had the luxury of playing the same back four in each match, while Guardiola’s defence has been unsettled, conceding three goals so far. Secondly, as promising as Kelechi Iheanacho is as a central striker, City will undoubtedly miss the suspended Sergio Aguero who has struck fear into many a United defence.
Bournemouth 1 West Brom 1
Why? After a thumping from Manchester United in their opening home game, Bournemouth will want to get back on track with a first win of the season. However, they will struggle for three points against a West Brom side who will play the way that has brought them success before; tight defence, few risks, and aim to capitalise on set pieces.
Arsenal 1 Southampton 1
Why? Arsenal were impressive in the 3-1 win at Watford last time out, but they could find it hard to breakdown a Southampton side who possess plenty of quality on the break. Southampton lost 2-0 in their only away game this season, at Old Trafford, but troubled United on several occasions with rapid counter attacks. Watch out for new boy Soufiane Boufal who comes with quite a reputation from France.
Burnley 2 Hull City 0
Why? Sam Vokes hit the winner when these two teams faced off in the Championship last season and home advantage will be what make the difference again. Hull are performing above expectations given their pre-season trouble and the small squad with which they began the campaign. They now have reinforcements, such as Ryan Mason from Tottenham, but this game is too early for them to make an impact.
Middlesbrough 1 Crystal Palace 1
Why? Middlesbrough already look like the promoted side most likely to stay up, having begun the season undefeated with five points. Spanish striker Alvaro Negredo again has a great chance of getting on the scoresheet, but Palace have to find their scoring touch eventually and should be worth a point.
Stoke City 1 Tottenham Hotspur 1
Why? This is the kind of game Tottenham would have won last season but it feels like they are still to find their groove this time around, with Harry Kane off the boil. While they are underperforming, a point seems like the most likely outcome. Stoke’s new loan signing Wilfried Bony, a deadline day arrival from Manchester City, will cause plenty of problems for Spurs.
West Ham 1 Watford 0
Why? Dimitri Payet should be back for West Ham and that is a big boost for a side who have not created many chances in three games so far. Watford’s 5-3-2 formation will make them tough to crack, but Payet’s ability should be enough to see West Ham to another home win.
Liverpool 2 Leicester City 1
Why? As always, it’s a case of which Liverpool team turns up here but Jurgen Klopp’s side often rise to the big occasion. If they can keep Riyad Mahrez relatively quiet then Liverpool have the class up front to outscore the champions.
Swansea City 0 Chelsea 1
Why? It is worrying for Swansea but they look like a team that could go down if their performances don’t improve. They have just one fortunate 1-0 away win from three games. Chelsea should be able to keep a clean sheet and, coming off the back of a 3-0 win, it seems like things are clicking in attack too.
Sunderland 0 Everton 1
Why? Fourth-placed Everton have had a great start to the season and have a chance to put one over former manager David Moyes. His first-team squad looks weak after a poor transfer window and he will be crossing his fingers that Jermain Defoe can stay fit for the season, given his lack of striking options.
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Published: September 8, 2016 04:00 AM