After a fortnight off to make way for international football, the Premier League returns with a bang as the top five all feature in Saturday’s action.
League leaders, Liverpool kick things off with a trip to Tottenham before Chelsea and Manchester City feature amongst the 3pm games.
Depending on how results go in early games, Watford could well enter the teatime match against Manchester United with opportunity to go top of league.
This is really Tottenham’s first big test of whether they ought to of spent this summer, given that Liverpool are currently in fierce form.
For me, Spurs’ lack of summer spending isn’t the big worry here because Liverpool have been pacey down the flanks in opening four games, which will test Tottenham’s defence to their maximum because if they get dragged away from opposition then goals will be a formality for Liverpool from any pass or cross into box.
Harry Kane meanwhile is another concern because unlike Mohamed Salah, he hasn’t been his usual self since returning from the World Cup.
If he is fatigued then Mauricio Pochettino should rest him after Inter Milan on Tuesday for a fortnight, otherwise he will pick up an injury which they cannot afford at this stage of season.
Dele Alli and Hugo Lloris are already absent with injuries, with the former being a huge creative miss but I cant see Spurs getting anything here given how tough Liverpool are to beat.
Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 0-2 Liverpool
Jake predicts: Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Liverpool
Bournemouth have been impressive so far but Leicester will provide their first real test of the likely seventh to tenth place contenders.
Eddie Howe has done a fantastic job in keeping the spine of this Cherries side and developing them into a solid side who are difficult to beat, especially in latter stages of games when fatigue can set in.
Leicester meanwhile are as fantastic as ever when going forward on the attack but I worry for them defensively because they haven’t been good enough in shutting down gaps.
I can see this match going either way because both sides are strong when pushing but Bournemouth are better at the back.
Prediction: Bournemouth 2-1 Leicester City
Jake predicts: Bournemouth 1-2 Leicester City
Anything less than victory here for Chelsea will surely be embarrassing given Cardiff’s woeful away form so far this season.
Under Maurizio Sarri, Chelsea appear to be back to their 2016-17 selves again and Jorginho has added an extra engine to the midfield alongside N’Golo Kante when it comes to passing and setting up teammates.
Cardiff admittedly are definitely facing a relegation fight and I really cannot see how they will keep this Chelsea side quiet unless they go ultra defensive and counter attack.
This should really be a nice and easy home win for the Blues.
Prediction: Chelsea 3-0 Cardiff City
Jake predicts: Chelsea 3-0 Cardiff City
Huddersfield should view the visit of Crystal Palace as their perfect opportunity to get that first win of season.
Admittedly, the Terriers haven’t had the best run of fixtures to start this season but Palace look to be on a downwards spiral at minute, after shifting two goals in each of last three matches.
If Huddersfield don’t pounce now when their opponents are low on confidence and momentum in a winnable game, then they face a tough season but I reckon that they will get the job done now.
Prediction: Huddersfield Town 1-0 Crystal Palace
Jake predicts: Huddersfield Town 1-1 Crystal Palace
Manchester City have been in rampant form this season, only stopped by Wolves so this could be a tough match for Fulham.
The Cottagers however didn’t disgrace themselves against Tottenham in week two and have pushed on since then, on the attacking front.
Defence however is still poor as evidenced by blowing a 2-0 lead at Brighton last time out, which is something that Sergio Aguero and co will punish heavily if are clinical enough.
City however aren’t perfect themselves in defence, having leaked one goal in each of their last three matches.
It wouldn’t be a surprise if both teams scored but I am going for a home win purely on quality.
Prediction: Manchester City 3-1 Fulham
Jake predicts: Manchester City 3-0 Fulham
Both teams have had tough starts to this season but for Arsenal, this is key to shaping their momentum for over the coming weeks as they enter the Thursday-Sunday routine again.
Newcastle meanwhile need to start getting their act together after a sluggish start with four defeats from five games across all competitions.
Although it has been a tricky start under Unai Emery, the Gunners are starting to click when on attack with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette. Defence however is still a concern which Newcastle can expose if are clinical enough.
The Magpies’ formation definitely will be a key indicator after Rafa Benitez’s bizarre approach to their last home game against Chelsea, as to how they are going to play this game.
Ultimately, I am expecting Arsenal to win if the front line quickly rediscovers its connection following a fortnight off.
Prediction: Newcastle United 1-2 Arsenal
Jake predicts: Newcastle United 1-2 Arsenal
High flying Watford definitely will be relishing this match against an out of sorts Manchester United side.
Both sides enjoyed impressive wins against Tottenham and Burnley last time out but for Man U, it doesn’t disguise their defensive woes which were on show against bigger teams than the Clarets.
Watford meanwhile are being muttered about as potentially being this season’s Leicester City and whilst they have impressed, they made a similar start last season before fading away.
We therefore should be wary about what to expect from the Hornets here but the Red Devils are missing Marcus Rashford who is suspended,
His absence could well play into Watford’s hands because he has found goal scoring form in past week with England, leaving Romelu Lukaku as United’s best hope of scoring.
Add in United’s midweek trip to Young Boys in Champions League potentially weakening the starting eleven here, then I think Watford could cause another upset.
Prediction: Watford 2-1 Manchester United
Jake predicts: Watford 1-1 Manchester United
With the new season underway, so is Prediction Wars between me and Boro Rants writer, Jake Self.
Rules however are same as last season and goes as follows;
Correct score – 3 points
Correct result – 1 point
Incorrect result – 0 points
Now here is how the table stands after last round of fixtures.