Here’s how things went as far as the predictions and outcomes for Week 7 were concerned. Remember it’s three points for getting it spot on, one point for just the correct outcome and zero points for getting it wrong.
Everton 2-1 Crystal Palace (0 points – actual score 1-1)
Swansea 1-3 Liverpool (1 point – actual score 1-2)
Hull 1-3 Chelsea (1 point – actual score 0-2)
Sunderland 1-1 West Brom (3 points)
Watford 2-1 Bournemouth (0 points – actual score 2-2)
West Ham 1-2 Middlesbrough (0 points – actual score 1-1)
Man Utd 2-0 Stoke (0 points – actual score 1-1)
Leicester 2-1 Southampton (0 points – actual score 0-0)
Tottenham 1-2 Man City (0 points – actual score 2-0)
Burnley 1-3 Arsenal (1 point – actual score 0-1)
Not a great week that – six points, half of which came from one match. Percentage of the games with correct outcomes only hitting 40%. Not a week to remember fondly at all.
So let’s see if I can get it better as I consider the predictions for Week 8 of the Premier League.
Chelsea 2-2 Leicester
Arsenal 3-0 Swansea
Bournemouth 2-0 Hull
Man City 2-1 Everton
Stoke 2-0 Sunderland
West Brom 0-2 Tottenham
Crystal Palace 2-1 West Ham
Middlesbrough 1-1 Watford
Southampton 1-0 Burnley
Liverpool 3-2 Man Utd
Let’s see how it goes.
C. L. J. Dryden
While talk of corruption in the game continues to dominate the headlines this week, the game goes on. Just when we thought it was safe to think there wouldn’t be any disruption to our enjoyment of the football, another international break is about to hit us. Thankfully before then we have another week of Premier League football. That means I can get round to predicting how the games will be played. First, however, let us look back on how I did in week 6.
Man Utd 2-1 Leicester (1 point – actual score 4-1)
Bournemouth 1-2 Everton (0 points – actual score 1-0)
Liverpool 4-1 Hull (1 point – actual score 5-1)
Middlesbrough 1-2 Tottenham (3 points)
Stoke 1-1 West Brom (3 points)
Sunderland 1-2 Crystal Palace (1 point – actual score 2-3)
Swansea 0-3 Man City (1 point – actual score 1-3)
Arsenal 2-2 Chelsea (0 points – actual score 3-0
West Ham 1-1 Southampton (0 points – actual score 0-3)
Burnley 1-2 Watford (0 points – actual score 2-0)
In terms of the points that was very pleasing as I accrued ten points, more than last week or the week before. Regarding the percentage of correct outcomes the percentage was 60% for the third week in a row. That is to say when it comes to this predicting gig I get more right outcomes than not, without being strong enough to be considered class.
Still, that was then and this is now, so as the clubs get ready to face each other over the weekend let’s consider predictions for Week 7 of the Premier League.
Everton 2-1 Crystal Palace: Alan Pardew’s name has once more been very loosely linked the vacancy at the top of the national game. His stock is on the rise with a number of good results in the start of the season so far. The team are not dominating games and dispatching all before them, but their return from two goals down to beat Sunderland last week showed a grit and determination about them that should be reason for optimism. When I look at Everton it is very clear that Koeman is taking his time to implement his vision of how the team should play. They are still very much a work in progress. They are at Goodison, though and so they will be eager to put some recent disappointments behind them and get back on the course of winning games. There is a good argument to suggest that this is the toughest test Palace have faced so far this season, I just don’t see them passing it on this occasion.
Swansea 1-3 Liverpool: Swansea are not new to the Premier League, but such is their turnover of managers of late and such is their unconvincing style in the last few years that they still come off as plucky upstarts looking to do a new thing with the big boys. Sure they are gallant and noble in their efforts and their team displays can make things awkward for bigger opponents, but they are not convincing anyone that they won’t do much more than plug away at staying competitive in matches and looking to retain their Premier League status. That should be repeated in this game against Liverpool. The Reds are on a spot of good form at present. The way they dispatched of Hull and Leicester in recent games gives the impression they are on the way to learning how to deal with the lesser teams. Of course, there is the current ongoing rule that they will concede at least once. For the good of their own efforts to gain a top four spot, though, they have to turn up to this match and leave with the three points – recent evidence suggests that they have the attacking threat to do so.
Hull 1-3 Chelsea: After a bright few opening games, reality is starting to hit Hull City like a ton of bricks. They are by no means a bunch of losers as far as their effort is concerned. Yet the reason why this is called the Premier League is because it’s a lot more than effort that allows you to succeed. Having said that, although there is a certain Premier League quality that allows you to succeed, Chelsea are having to learn again that effort is still required. Losing to Liverpool and being humiliated by Arsenal in recent games is hammering home the point that effort is needed and Chelsea have been surprisingly lacking in this area. Conte does not appear to be the kind of boss to let things like that slip. In Hull they have an opportunity to get back on track where adding effort to their undoubted quality is concerned. That is not to suggest that this is an easy game for Chelsea at all, but one thing they have going for them is the persistent menace of Costa. Even though he didn’t score against Arsenal, he was still a nuisance. He has the scoring in his veins at the moment and if the backing crew can get their act in order, they may be able to leave Humberside with all three points.
Sunderland 1-1 West Brom: Believe it or not, this is a game Sunderland can genuinely win. Losing the two goal lead in their last match should be a wake up call for them. It should, however, also assure them that they are capable of getting into a two goal lead, which is odd for Sunderland. If they learn their lessons from that last match and can grow in some sort of confidence they can definitely win this game. It is possible. Tony Pulis, however, has not made his West Brom side one that can be beaten easily. No Pulis team is really there to be beaten easily. Away from home too, West Brom love nothing better than to quiet the home side down by squashing any efforts on goal. If they concede they will still make things difficult for the opposition and as Stoke know, they do have it in them to get back in a match and leave with a point. That is exactly what I believe will happen in a game that will not be one for the purists, it won’t be the feature match in the highlights shows later on.
Watford 2-1 Bournemouth: Here is an interesting game. Both teams have been in the Premier League for two seasons on the trot. Both of these teams also look like Championship sides grateful for the opportunity to be playing in the Premier League. As they face each other though they have the chance to make a mark on the league and let others know they are capable of truly mixing it with the bigger clubs. Bournemouth appear to be the ones better equipped and the loan signing of Jack Wilshere has been encouraging. Beating Everton has reinforced that confidence and they enter this match with optimism especially after the Hornets were buzzed off pretty competently in their game against Burnley last Monday. The thing about these two teams, though, is that they know their previous matches won’t indicate how this game will end up. The last time they played at Vicarage Road they beat a good Manchester United. They will want to return to that spirit as they play again at home and with that desire even a Bournemouth caught up in the fuss made over their boss touted as a contender to be the next England manager. The side from the south coast will not be taking this game for granted at all, but the home side may just nick it in the end.
West Ham 1-2 Middlesbrough: In recent weeks I have been of the impression that the Hammers can turn the corner. They have played against teams they really should have beaten and ended up losing, sometimes in the most pitiful ways. This could be the game where they turn the corner. They could do something different, they could have a different approach, their manager-permitted team-bonding night out might just do the trick and they can actually turn their home ground into the advantage it really should be. That could all happen. Seriously, though, who am I kidding? Middlesbrough must surely have seen the videos of the recent games and be heartened. If they put in the effort that they have so far in the league and if the likes of Negredo rediscover their scoring touch then they should have every confidence of going to London and returning to Teeside with the victory. This is not to suggest West Ham are a soft touch, but it does recognise mountain West Ham have to climb mentally more than anything else to turn around their current shocking form.
Man Utd 2-0 Stoke: Sometimes going away from home takes the pressure off a tough run. Stoke City have a tough run, they will turn up at Old Trafford knowing full well they are not the favourites to win it. The pressure, to a degree, will be off them. That could work in their favour. Former fan favourite Mark Hughes will return to the club he knows well and have a point to prove to himself that he is still a competent manager able to put a team out that can get a result when the pressure is on the other side. Mourinho, meanwhile, has won three games in a row which is a good thing. The way he won two of those matches, however, has been unconvincing. They are still a team looking for their best line up and their best performances. Should Rooney be in the team, should he be out? Where does Pogba play best? Is this where Rashford starts again? What is the best formation and system for the players available? These questions rumble on as the home crowd patiently waits for the real Manchester United to stand up and make itself strong. Though this will not be that match, it should act as a good indicator before the international break that they still mean business in picking up the three points.
Leicester 2-1 Southampton: Both teams are recovering from European exertions and creditable performances and results. So to a degree both of them start at the same level and should be considered on what they have to offer. Southampton showed against West Ham that they can offer goals to be scored. They are ticking over fairly competently in the league, not great form, but not relegation form either. As with other new managers in the league, Puel is not looking at his finished product and they have some weaknesses. Ranieri, meanwhile, knows his team very well. He is not happy at the way they lost their last two games and now back at their home he will be keen to see his side apply themselves well against opposition that they are capable of beating. There is room for hope where they are concerned because even though Vardy has been a bit dry on the goals front, at least the man Slimani hasn’t forgotten that aspect of his trade. It will not be a demolition job, but the Premier League Champions can use this match to remind folks why they are the champions.
Tottenham 1-2 Man City: This is a test. It will be the second of the week for Manchester City. They ended their run of consecutive wins when they came back three times at Parkhead to snatch a draw. Their league form, however, is relentless. This, however, is truly their biggest test to date. Bigger than United. Where Spurs are concerned, City are now playing a team that is accustomed to the demands of the pressing game. In Spurs, City are facing a side that have a commitment to a style of play that has made them more than competitive against the top teams. This really should be the game of the weekend as City could possibly face dropping their first points of the season. Much has been made about the absence of De Bruyne, but the real concern as far as City go should be their defence. Conceding three goals against Celtic is nothing to gloss over. Spurs have a decent attack and creative force who work hard for each other. City will need to be at their best to get through this latest challenge. What City have as their ace in the hole and the reason that should see them over the line in possibly collecting another three points is the most prolific striker in English football. Aguerro can do the business. He’ll certainly need to do it if the love-in for Guardiola is to continue unabated.
Burnley 1-3 Arsenal: Watford and Liverpool have visited Turf Moor and left empty-handed. Dyche has a fair few points under his belt now which he wouldn’t necessarily have thought he would have at this stage of the season. As he hoped Burnley are playing competitively, their efforts are not in question, their passion is not in doubt. This is all going to be of great help when it comes to the opponents. Wenger is enjoying himself at the moment. A good win in the Champions League followed a very good win in the league against Chelsea a team he hasn’t beaten in a while. They are doing very well and everyone at the Emirates has a reason to have a smile on their face. This is all happening as they still deal with a couple of niggling injuries to important players. As they roll up to Lancashire they go confident in the knowledge that they can defeat the side. It is possible that the home side could burst a bubble for the Londoners, they could nick something out of nowhere. It would be a surprise, though.
Seven weeks in and I am still enjoying this prediction business. This week is going to be an interesting week as teams look to put in a good performance before the break. I remain confident again of finally breaking the run of 6/10 correct outcomes and hitting the seven, maybe even eight correct outcomes mark. What makes the prediction deal all the more intriguing now is the matter of if I want more points through correct scorelines or more correct outcomes. On this week I would like an improvement on both. Asking a bit much? Ahhh might as well be ambitious about these things.
Let’s see how it goes.
C. L. J. Dryden
Premier League teams are about to start their sixth game of the season. It is not too early for football analysts, pundits and einsteins to be giving the benefit of their considerable ignorance already as to how things are going. Certain clubs are doomed already. Certain managers are scheduled for the chop already. Certain teams are destined to dominate already. Certain teams are title contenders already.
There are 38 league games and after six folks are reaching conclusions. Don’t get me wrong, I acknowledge the need to report on what’s happening. Nothing wrong with that. Yet because this game has so many opinions and because of the culture of football both among fans and among the media then reporting is not enough and thus the incredulous and ridiculous.
Meanwhile in the world of predicting Premier League scorelines the thinking was after five games although things were not set in stone, there would be a rhythm to guessing how things would proceed. So let’s see how my predictions fared from last week. As ever I will gain a glorious three points if I get the correct scoreline. There will be a solitary point should I get the correct outcome alone. I will end up with zero if the outcome I guessed was wrong. A suggestion has also been made that boost my spirits I also consider the percentage of game outcomes I get correct and with their typically being ten games in a Premier League week, it should make things a little easier to make a percentage of it. Let’s apply that to my predictions from last week:
Chelsea 2-2 Liverpool (0 points – actual score 1-2)
Hull 1-3 Arsenal (1 point – actual score 1-4)
Leicester 2-1 Burnley (1 point – actual score 3-0)
Man City 3-0 Bournemouth (1 point – actual score 4-0)
West Brom 1-1 West Ham (0 points – actual score 4-2)
Everton 2-1 Middlesbrough (1 point – actual score 3-1)
Watford 1-3 Man Utd (0 points – actual score 3-1)
Crystal Palace 2-1 Stoke City (1 point – actual score 4-1)
Southampton 1-1 Swansea (0 points – actual score 1-0)
Tottenham 3-0 Sunderland (1 point – actual score 1-0)
What a week for the predictions! No correct scorelines which is disappointing especially considering how a lot of the games saw me miss out on correct scores by a single goal. Hence the six points for the week of predictions. Percentage wise however I got a 60%, which is a pass mark and one that I am not displeased with. Of the four games that I got wrong two were genuine surprises namely West Ham getting done over at West Brom and Watford doing the job against United.
Still that was the week that was. Time to consider that which is ahead as we take a butchers at week 6 of the Premier League.
Man Utd 2-1 Leicester: Claudio Ranieiri is a canny character. The only pressure surrounding Leicester City is on how reporters can get the balance between the ‘fairytale’ story ending and reality hitting without being too harsh on last season’s Champions. The boss is not under any pressure at all and neither are his players. As a result they have a very real chance of going away from home and getting something against a United side that has come in for a great deal of criticism because of the run of three defeats in a week. There is something about Mourinho and this Manchester United side in development, however, that suggests they will look to build on the win against Northampton in midweek and establish themselves once more as a team worth talking about for the right reasons with a win. It will not be easy at all, but I suggest a home win is more than in order.
Bournemouth 1-2 Everton: Koeman is not a happy guy. He sent out a team in the week that he had confidence in progressing in the league cup. That they slipped up at home to Norwich was not something that made Koeman happy at all. Now this is a guy who even in their unbeaten start to the season had not expressed that degree of pleasure with what he was seeing. Someone will have to suffer for that. Eddie Howe will look forward to that with all the delight of a man going to the dentist for an extraction or three. Having been dismantled with relative ease by Guardiola’s City, it’s not the best time to be meeting an unhappy Koeman side. Sure Bournemouth have their own cup exit embarrassment to get over, but of the two sides, the way Koeman hones his team is going to have the greater threat and thus greater likelihood of taking the three points.
Liverpool 4-1 Hull: In the two last rounds of predictions I have been cautious in expecting a Liverpool draw. Leicester and Chelsea are not games you predict a win on with overwhelming confidence. Yet here are the Reds with six points from those games giving them a tremendous lift. Now is the test of their consistency. Now is the time to see if they can turn on the style to a side far less regarded than those two blue clubs. Mike Phelan is still riding a wave of good-will as he does his best with this still rather depleted Hull side. He is under no pressure really and will set up his side to remain competitive and niggle at this home side. There are still possible weaknesses that could be exploited in this Liverpool side and things could go the way of the opponents. For all that though those who turn up wearing red at Anfield will go there expecting a home win and a comfortable and dominating one at that. This is not an unreasonable expectation.
Middlesbrough 1-2 Tottenham: I have a lot of time for Karanka. He’s done well to take Boro to the Premier League. The side he puts out is competitive and in it for the scrap for the whole 90+ minutes. Boro, however, are a side that recognise their limitations. They are not as good as the big boys and so have to organise in the light of that. This game against Spurs is such an example of their organisation being required to come into play. Even without Kane, Spurs will be a menace. This game will thus hinge on how successful Boro are in battling. Pochettino will be eager to get his team continuing the relatively decent league form they have at present which still sees them unbeaten so far. He will be more than aware of the stern test his lads will face, but these are the games where he will see if the squad he has developed really has the chops to deal with the challenge. I won’t be surprised if there is a draw emerging from this game, but I will be surprised if Boro manage to leave the match with all the points. There should be enough quality in this Spurs squad to clinch this game.
Stoke 1-1 West Brom: I did a double take when I saw the score from the Hawthorns last week. Winning a game is something already for West Brom. Beating the Hammers is also a notable achievement too. Scoring four goals, though. West Brom. Scoring four goals. In a single game. I thought I had entered the Twilight Zone. The West Ham defence, however, might be regarded as airtight compared to how the Stoke City have fared thus far in the league. The mood at Stoke City is not buoyant at all, but that’s what consecutive defeats will do as well as conceding four goals in four games already. So you wouldn’t be out of line to expect Tony Pulis to be rubbing his hands in anticipation of adding to the grief at his old club. This is, however, a Tony Pulis West Bromwich Albion side. Scoring four at home is a freak accident. They are now travelling. They will do well to score at all. Stoke City will likewise be keen to at least do better in that department. It will not go well with the home fans if they should suffer another defeat, so I cansee this game ending in points shared.
Sunderland 1-2 Crystal Palace: It’s the second time Palace would have travelled to the North East already. The last time they left a competitive game against Boro with all three points. Sunderland are not as good as Boro at all. To be fair Moyes is still getting his ideas across and building a side that is more in line with his plan for them. He’s doing that whilst engaging in a relegation battle. That’s a tough task to take. Pardew at Palace, meanwhile, is having a good time of it. They will have every right to pop into the Stadium of Light and leave with all the points in the bag, especially if their star players turn on the style. They have the goals in them, they have the creativity in them and they are sufficiently defensively sound to be confident of leaving the North East with another set of three points. Is there any hope for Sunderland at all? Well yes, of course there is. Their manager is competent and in Jermain Defoe they have one of the best poachers in the game. If they feed him on the break and if they can work together at the back they could emerge with something. I don’t predict it, though.
Swansea 0-3 Man City: It’s a little disrespectful for reports to buzz around Swansea about Giggs being considered to take on the head coach position. The caveat that the owners want to give Guidolin a bit more of a chance in the role is no optimistic thumbs up if they are already considering replacements. That is hardly going to help the lads of the Liberty Stadium as their next opponents stroll into town. Especially when those next opponents happen to be the apparently unassailable Manchester City. The love-in for the Citizens is almost total. De Bruyne is considered to be at the level below Messi and is enjoying his football. City didn’t do themselves justice in their league cup match and so will be more than happy to leave their mark in Wales in collecting their three points for the love-in to continue. Swansea are not a poor side at all and their Premier League pedigree of late does not make them easy fare for City, but you look at that Swansea side and match them up against that City side even without Kompany and Aguerro and it will be an upset for City not to leave with the three points.
Arsenal 2-2 Chelsea: This is definitely the hardest game to predict of the set this week. These are two top sides and yet with both the result will depend on the answer to the question – which Arsenal/Chelsea side will turn up? Chelsea are a work in progress in the Conte regime. They are actually more than capable of being savvy in their defensive work. Hazard and Willian can provide the bullets for an in-form Costa to be the headache for the opposition. That is possible and if Conte thinks it’s worthwhile he may allow Fabregas to have a go against his old team and mix things up creatively in the middle of the park. Yet this is the week and time when Arsenal pay tribute to 20 years of Wenger at the helm. This is an Arsenal side that are finding some sort of form after a stuttering start to the season. They have options in midfield, their defence has cover and they have credible and quality options in goal. There’s a hint of goalscoring options as well. Above all that, though, this is Chelsea – they have been a thorn in the side of Wenger in recent years. Arsenal are not being spoken of in the same way other top teams are for the title. That cannot be allowed to last and what better way to establish true title credentials than beating a team that want to have title credentials. That’s the desire. That’s the plan. That’s the goal. Not that it will work out that way, though, because in as much as this is Arsenal, this is also an Arsenal that have been consistent in lacking the necessarily killer instinct and that clinical touch that makes proper winners of titles that matter for clubs of their size.
West Ham 1-1 Southampton: Poor West Ham. They cannot catch a break at all. Concede four goals at home to Watford, then go and concede four goals away at West Brom. Thankfully the team they face now does not have a name beginning with ‘W’. That’s about as far as the good news goes for them. It is really down to them to be hitting the standards they set last season or at least making progress in that direction. Southampton might sniff a chance for them to pile on the misery. There’s something about Puel’s side, however, that suggests that they have not quite hit their stride as a team that can come away from home and do a job to leave with the three points. You may wonder in the light of their current goal bonanza games of late why I haven’t predicted such a goalfest for a game featuring West Ham. That is purely on the belief that Bilic will not want that kind of madness and nonsense happening again. Sure if Watford and West Brom can score four against them that should give Southampton hope, but they would be wise to not go gung-ho into this match with that thinking.
Burnley 1-2 Watford: Monday Night Football is an invitation for viewers to enjoy Premier League football to take the edge off the Monday morning feeling. Whoever thought scheduling Burnley against Watford as the fixture to do that on this occasion must have none they were on a hiding to nothing. They have got to know that. I wouldn’t be surprised if more people were interested in the Championship match of Newcastle taking on Aston Villa earlier in the weekend. Yet here it is. A Burnley side that knows it’s on borrowed time in the Premier League against a Watford side who are on a high after putting Man Utd in their place last weekend. Burnley, however, will see this home game as one of those they have to do well in if they are to buck the expectations of most that their stay in the league is for one season only. Dyche certainly won’t be too perturbed at the result of his opponents, he will have faith that his side can do their home fans proud. As well he should because the Watford side that show up will not be allowed to think this is the same sort of challenge as their last one. So it will be interesting to see if the Hornets can come so far up the country and leave with the points. Really and truly I wouldn’t be surprised if this turned out to be the bore draw that it screams on paper. There is a little twinkle in me, however, that leads me to just edge it to the away side.
This week’s set of fixtures is not that straightforward to pin down. Some should be certainties, but there’s always that room for an upset or other surprise result. It would be good, however, to get at least one correct scoreline on this run of predictions. It’s possible and I can see as many as four correct scorelines emerging from this set – but that’s with my super optimistic perspective hat on. I would appreciate getting more than the six points average thus far.
Let’s see how it goes.
C. L. J. Dryden
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
The international break is over. I am not sad about that at all. Ten Premier League games are to be played between midday Saturday and 10pm on Monday, so there’s much to consider in terms of predictions. First, however, let’s review how I did in Week 3 of Premier League Predictions, remembering 3 points for spot on predictions, 1 point for the correct outcome and zero points for getting it wrong. Here is what I predicted and in brackets the actual score and what I got from the game.
Tottenham 1-2 Liverpool (0 points – actual score 1-1)
Chelsea 3-0 Burnley (3 points)
Crystal Palace 1-1 Bournemouth (3 points)
Everton 2-1 Stoke (1 point – actual score 1-0)
Leicester 2-0 Swansea (1 point – actual score 2-1)
Southampton 1-1 Sunderland (3 points)
Watford 1-3 Arsenal (3 points)
Hull 0-3 Man Utd (1 point – actual score 0-1)
West Brom 1-1 Middlesbrough (1 point – actual score 0-0)
Man City 3-0 West Ham (1 point – actual score 3-1)
A very good week indeed. Nine out of ten correct outcomes – that’s outstanding. Four correct scorelines too. Giving a stunning week total 17 points. Setting a new record for the points total. Particularly pleased with how many correct outcomes were predicted, if I can get that more often than not I will be doing well indeed!
From that stunning week of predictions let’s consider week 4 of the Premier League.
Man Utd 2-1 Man City – Undoubtedly the game of the weekend. Billed as the clash of the big managers there’s a lot to consider in predicting this game. The two teams are very close to each other in quality. Aguerro will be a big miss for City, but their creative force is considerable. On this occasion, however, I can see United edging the game. Their physical superiority and striking options from the bench should see them narrowly win this one.
Arsenal 3-1 Southampton – The win against Watford gave a proper kick-start to Arsenal’s season, meanwhile Southampton are still waiting for their first win and there’s nothing to suggest they have what it takes to get it here. The quality of the home side should really make this a comfortable win.
Bournemouth 1-1 West Brom – These are two mediocre Premier League teams. Although Bournemouth will feel the lift from getting Wilshire on loan from Arsenal and West Brom will be largely underwhelmed at the end of their transfer activity, Pulis still knows how to set up a team that is difficult to beat. For that reason, the draw is the most likely result.
Burnley 1-1 Hull – This is one of the harder games to predict primarily because of the early season form of Hull. There was no shame in the manner of their defeat to United last time out and plaudits are rolling in from around the country for their displays. Burnley, meanwhile, are still finding their feet, but the home win against Liverpool will give them optimism. That’s why I am plumping for a draw.
Middlesbrough 2-1 Crystal Palace – Every so often in a week’s prediction I go for something a little left-field. Palace have the pedigree in the division and it’s been a long time since Boro were playing with the big boys. But there’s something about Palace that just makes me think they won’t be able to do much away from home, especially this far up. Hence the plunge for a home win.
Stoke City 1-2 Tottenham – This is another tricky match to predict. The results for Stoke have not been good so far, which is why they are looking up at 19 teams above them at this early stage of the season. Yet I have not been all that convinced by Spurs so far. The last time they visited Stoke they thrashed them, but I don’t see a repeat of that. I also don’t see Stoke having enough as yet to get their first point or points of the season.
West Ham 2-1 Watford – It has not been the ideal start to the season for either of these teams. Watford have the excuse of a new manager and West Ham have the excuse of a new stadium, but they could both be doing a little better. Bilic wants to make the most of the new home and if their players show up in this match, they should have enough to collect the three points.
Liverpool 1-1 Leicester – The Premier League Champions visit Anfield for the home team’s first home game of the season. Leicester have certainly strengthened the squad since the end of last season. They have options up front, now and are not weaker defensively. The onus will be on the home side to see if they can do something they have rarely done in recent years and manage a game to their advantage. The LFC fan in me looks to be optimistic, the realist in me is not completely convinced as yet.
Swansea 0-3 Chelsea – Conte has had a marvellous start to his time as Chelsea boss. Three games, three wins. It doesn’t get better than that. Not only that but there is more to come from his team in terms of quality of performance. Swansea are showing the signs of a team who are grateful just to be in the same league as Chelsea and so there’s no reason why the Blues cannot leave the Liberty Stadium without freely taking all three points.
Sunderland 1-2 Everton – David Moyes takes on his old club in the last game of the weekend fixtures. His message to the fans telling them to expect another relegation battle may have been realistic, but hardly an encouraging point for the fans. There won’t be a sense of looking to prove anything to his old side who made noises looking to take his best central defender before the transfer window shut. From Everton’s view they will be looking to build on a promising start to the season. Koeman is slowly getting the team to understand his expectations. They enter this game as favourites to win, but it won’t be easy.
This week of fixtures is harder to predict. There are a number of tighter fixtures that could go any way. So of these ten games, I will be very pleased if I get six correct outcomes but still would like to get over the six points that I got in the first two weeks.
Let’s see how it goes.
C. L. J. Dryden
Before we dive into guessing how things will go in Week 3 of Premier League football, let’s see how did I do in Week 2. My predicted scores are shown and my point for that game is given along with the actual score if it’s any different.
Man Utd 3-1 Southampton (1 point – actual score 2-0)
Stoke City 1-2 Man City (1 point – actual score 1-4)
Burnley 1-4 Liverpool (0 points – actual score 2-0)
Swansea 2-1 Hull City (0 points – actual score 0-2)
Tottenham 2-1 Crystal Palace (1 point – actual score 1-0)
Watford 0-3 (1 point – actual score 1-2)
West Brom 1-1 Everton (0 points – actual score 1-2)
Leicester 2-2 Arsenal (1 point – actual score 0-0)
Sunderland 1-1 Middlesbrough (0 points – actual score 1-2)
West Ham 2-1 Bournemouth (1 point – actual score 1-0)
Total Score – 6 points.
That points tally reflects 6/10 correct outcomes but 0 correct scorelines.I got more correct outcomes than I predicted, but incorrect scorelines let me down so I ended up with the same points tally as last week.
Let’s consider what I predict from the weekend ahead.
Tottenham 1-2 Liverpool
Chelsea 3-0 Burnley
Crystal Palace 1-1 Bournemouth
Everton 2-1 Stoke
Leicester 2-0 Swansea
Southampton 1-1 Sunderland
Watford 1-3 Arsenal
Hull 0-3 Man Utd
West Brom 1-1 Middlesbrough
Man City 3-0 West Ham
Let’s see how it goes.
C. L. J. Dryden