Ahhhh the Premier League was back last week and what an array of results reached us. As ever, I put together my own predictions as to what outcomes and scores would be, let’s see how I fared. Scoring system is three points for a spot on scoreline, one point for just the correct outcome and zero points for getting it wrong.
Man Utd 2-1 Man City (0 points – actual score 1-2)
Arsenal 3-1 Southampton (1 point – actual score 2-1)
Bournemouth 1-1 West Brom (0 points – actual score 1-0)
Burnley 1-1 Hull (3 points)
Middlesbrough 2-1 Crystal Palace (0 points – actual score 1-2)
Stoke City 1-2 Tottenham (1 point – actual score 0-4)
West Ham 2-1 Watford (0 points – actual score 2-4)
Liverpool 1-1 Leicester (0 points – actual score 4-1)
Swansea 0-3 Chelsea (0 points – actual score 2-2)
Sunderland 1-2 Everton (1 point – actual score 0-3)
Total – 6 points consisting of four correct outcomes and one correct score. That is a long way off the heights of last week where I got nine correct outcomes, that is for sure. Indeed last week I had as many correct scores as I had correct outcomes this week. Some genuinely surprising results, but I did say it would be a tricky week of action. I am certainly hoping for better this week.
From that less than amazing week of results, let’s consider week 5 of the Premier League.
Chelsea 2-2 Liverpool – This is a tasty match indeed. Conte has made a very impressive start to life at Stamford Bridge. Their draw at Swansea was a disappointment, which is a measure of the way back to the right track the Blues are making. Terry out of the defence is a loss in terms of consistency in the back four. Yet they have goals in them and Costa is looking back to his menacing best. Liverpool, meanwhile, are not doing too poorly. Their comprehensive dismantling of the Premier League Champions gave the league an indication of what they are capable of at their best. Should they approach the tricky fixture at Stamford Bridge with that approach they have every right to feel confident of leaving with something. No easy feat, though. Lovely match to consider.
Hull 1-3 Arsenal – Hull are still battling away with all their issues and yet keeping their head above water with just the one defeat so far. That is scheduled to change, though. Arsenal arrive in a similar position to Man Utd when they turned up in Humberside. That position is an expectation of three points. They are accomplished at playing in Europe and returning to domestic affairs and producing the goods. It is an expectation that they do that against the plucky Tigers. That expectation is reasonable when presented with the wealth of talent at their disposal. On this occasion, I don’t expect things to go against those expectations.
Leicester 2-1 Burnley – This has the makings of a surprise result. People rightly expect Leicester to win. They won’t necessarily give Burnley much of a prayer against the Premier League champions. Yet Leicester return from their continental excursions for the first time in a long time. They are not used to this and Dyche is just the sort to want to take advantage of that. It could be an upset, I give it that for sure, so if the lads from Turf Moor leave the Midlands with something we can say it wasn’t totally out of the blue. However, I am still going for a narrow home win, just because there’s something about the canny Ranieiri that will ensure his team gives the home support something to cheer about.
Man City 3-0 Bournemouth – Someone remarked on how the Manchester derby for those first forty minutes looked like men against boys with the blue side being the senior dominating team. I don’t quite concur with that opinion and some of the praise given for the performance is a bit exaggerated. Having said that, Bournemouth surely don’t have a prayer against a City side that did show against United that life without Aguerro was not helpless. It really would be a big surprise if City failed to hear the final whistle at the Etihad without collecting another three points. That’s no disrespect at all to Eddie Howe’s side who know how to play good football. It’s just that this definitely looks on paper more like the men against boys picture.
West Brom 1-1 West Ham – Both of these sides are not enjoying football lately. The hammer blow of seeing a two goal lead turn into a two goal deficit by the end of their home game against an unfancied Watford side did not do Bilic any favours. Tony Pulis, though, is truly having a tough time at WBA, he’s having pop after pop at Berahino while the rest of the time somehow conspire to play a football so lacking in much that it’s a surprise scientists haven’t used their games to help cure insomnia. Hence when I look at this fixture my thoughts turn to a draw. Why a score draw? Well I have got to give those poor West Brom fans some hope of not being bored to tears completely … again.
Everton 2-1 Middlesbrough – Boro are a better side than Sunderland. They have a lot more going for them as a team, as a squad and as a club. This will be useful for them when they face a team that spanked Sunderland in the second half of the game on Monday, without really stepping out of second gear. Boro will need to be at their best to compete with the Toffees. Koeman is playing this initial period very well indeed, never giving any impression of being even satisfied with the team performances to date. Even his players are getting in on the act of insisting there is plenty more to come from them. That doesn’t make the game on Saturday a stroll in the park for the home side, but a win would be a reasonable outcome.
Watford 1-3 Man Utd – Mourinho will not be happy. However much he may want to fob off the Europa League, the fella hates losing. So to lose twice in a row scoring just once in the process, is not something he will be happy with at all. Someone will have to pay for that. Enter Mazzari, the Watford boss, who has apparently not always been a fan of Mourinho. Yes he will certainly get his lads up and ready for the fight on Sunday. He will want to prove the come back against West Ham is no fluke. He will be desirous to get one over on that bloke in charge of the United mob. This will not be a straightforward game at all. Yet my instinct is to see United do something similar to Watford as they did to Bournemouth – give them a glimmer of hope before snuffing it out with a commanding display they are more than capable of. They had better win or else … Mourinho will not be happy.
Crystal Palace 2-1 Stoke City – I didn’t fancy Palace beating Boro last week, but there they go getting the three points. There’s something about them, though, that suggests now that they have confounded expectations before, they will mess it up now against a Stoke City side that are a little out of sorts at the moment. This should be them riding the crest of positivity to collect another three points. There is nothing about Stoke that makes you think they can come and do something differently. Scoring goals seems to be a genuine problem for them. Yet on this occasion, they could finally find a way through because it’s not as though the Palace defence strikes fear into the hearts of onrushing attackers. For all of that, City are on a bad run presently and I don’t think they have enough to emerge from it in this game.
Southampton 1-1 Swansea – Southampton have played at home in a European tie on Thursday. They now have to prepare for Swansea on Sunday. Are they used to that? Have they got the squad for that? Have they even got the team for that? No disrespect to the Saints at all. They are in Europe because their form was good enough in the league to qualify. Despite the loss of good players and an excellent manager, they are still good enough to be competitive in the league. Swansea, though, they are not easy pickings, they won’t turn up at St. Mary’s and keep their fingers crossed that they won’t concede too many. They can be an irritant. Southampton are slightly better on paper, but the game isn’t played on paper, so a draw is a likely outcome.
Tottenham 3-0 Sunderland – Champions League football, played at Wembley is one thing. Premier League football played at White Hart Lane is something different. Spurs will certainly hope that’s the case as far as results are concerned following the disappointing defeat to Monaco this week. Thankfully for them they play Sunderland. David Moyes knows how to set up teams that are difficult to beat. He knows how to arrange sides that can be tough to break down. It’s in his locker to produce sides that will be stubborn. But this is Sunderland, away from home, having just suffered a stuffing against an Everton side that are not as good as this Spurs side who will be itching to get back to winning ways. Sure there can be talk of Euro hangover and the like, but this Spurs team should be beating Sunderland.
The fixtures this week are kinder than last week. I expect to do better certainly in the number of correct outcomes with this round of games.
Let’s see how it goes.
C. L. J. Dryden