Premier League returns from the international break with plenty of blockbuster matches to kick off the weekend.
Highlights include Jose Mourinho’s visit to former side, Chelsea with Manchester United whilst there are a couple of local derbies as Bournemouth meet Southampton and West Ham face Tottenham Hotspur.
Chelsea vs Manchester United (12:30pm)
Chelsea can deliver an early physiological blow to Manchester City and Liverpool with victory here to move top, as Jose Mourinho once again returns to Stamford Bridge with Manchester United.
We need to see United start this match right from how they finished against Newcastle, otherwise this Chelsea side will just rip them apart if we see another pitful start and I am not talking a couple of goals here.
A stat that really underlines how awful United’s start has been is the fact that THREE Chelsea defenders have managed to make more passes than the Red Devils’ top player – Paul Pogba has with 554 passes.
Now that stat just highlights the contrast in both teams and only David de Gea’s saves will keep this score respectable, but there will be just one result.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-0 Manchester United
Jake predicts: Chelsea 2-0 Manchester United
Result: Chelsea 2-2 Manchester United
Bournemouth vs SouthamptonEmbed from Getty Images
I am looking forward to this match because Bournemouth are really growing into a strong side whilst Southampton are still in a rout.
On the pitch, the Cherries have impressed with their togetherness with Ryan Fraser down the left being a notable standout from their 4-0 win at Watford a fortnight ago.
Southampton meanwhile are currently in a bit of a mess with little clinical attacking edge because from 117 shots, they have only turned 36 on target and just a sixth of that number became goals.
Now that is really concerning for a team who used to be amongst the best midtable teams a few seasons ago and shows the dire situation that Mark Hughes has to turn around.
Bournemouth meanwhile have scored 16 goals so far, which is more than the amount managed by Liverpool, Tottenham and Man Utd amongst others, highlighting the gulf in finishing between these two teams.
Prediction wise, if Southampton don’t turn up then I can see a nice comfortable home win here.
Prediction: Bournemouth 3-0 Southampton
Jake predicts: Bournemouth 2-1 Southampton
Result: Bournemouth 0-0 Southampton
Cardiff City vs Fulham
Defence has been a huge issue for both teams but Cardiff need to win these home games to even stand any chance at survival.
Fulham meanwhile are fantastic when attacking and could be higher in mid-table if can sort out their back four.
The Cottagers’ away form is also another concern because they have conceded three goals in three of their four away games so far this season, with last two being a pair of 3-0 defeats.
It might be October but to me, this is already a six pointer for both sides so a draw would be a sensible bet here.
Prediction: Cardiff City 1-1 Fulham
Jake predicts: Cardiff City 1-1 Fulham
Result: Cardiff City 4-2 Fulham
Manchester City vs BurnleyEmbed from Getty Images
Manchester City are currently top on goal difference but face a tough test in a strong Burnley team, who have taken seven points in their last three league games.
Last time out, City were understandably quite cagey against Liverpool so we should hopefully see a return to their usual strong performances here, particularly against a team who they have never lost at home to in the Premier League era.
Burnley meanwhile are starting to rediscover their magic from last season after a tough start but this will be a difficult game to even get a point from.
They will however provide more of a fight than what the likes of Fulham and Newcastle provided last month.
Prediction: Manchester City 2-0 Burnley
Jake predicts: Manchester City 3-0 Burnley
Result: Manchester City 5-0 Burnley
Newcastle United vs Brighton & Hove Albion
Newcastle finally shown a glimpse of what they can do last time out at Manchester United so their challenge in my eyes is to repeat that performance at home but keep better control than they did in second half.
Brighton meanwhile have made an inconsistent start to the season, particularly on the road where they have taken just one point from a possible 12.
That point came against Southampton who are below the Seagulls in the table, so they really need to win here to hopefully kick start some momentum.
Sadly, I don’t see that coming here if Newcastle repeat their attacking performance from last time out.
Prediction: Newcastle United 1-0 Brighton & Hove Albion
Jake predicts: Newcastle United 2-2 Brighton & Hove Albion
Result: Newcastle United 0-1 Brighton & Hove Albion
West Ham United vs Tottenham HotspurEmbed from Getty Images
West Ham showed some potential in between international breaks but Tottenham will be a real test here.
Spurs might be struggling in Europe but have quietly gone about their league business and currently sit two points below the top three.
This game therefore is going to be really interesting because West Ham impressed at home against Chelsea and Manchester United but those games were on TV, whereas this is amongst the three O’ Clockers.
Home however has been the Hammers’ sticking point with no consecutive home wins since December 2016, so I am going for a tight Spurs’ win here.
Prediction: West Ham United 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Jake predicts: West Ham United 1-3 Tottenham Hotspur
Result: West Ham United 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Watford
We could have a feisty game on our hands because Wolves have not lost in two months but Watford are in decent form, despite slipping in between the international breaks.
Wolves have been at their best down the flanks whereas Watford are strong all over the pitch when on song, making this a toughie to call.
Although form suggests a home win, eleven of last 17 meetings at Molineux has finished level and I feel that we could have a similar result here.
Prediction: Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-1 Watford
Jake predicts: Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0 Watford
Result: Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-2 Watford
Huddersfield Town vs Liverpool (5:30pm)Embed from Getty Images
Depending on Chelsea and Manchester City’s results, Liverpool could move top with victory here.
To be honest, I really don’t know what to expect from Liverpool here after a hectic few weeks.
Jurgen Klopp saw some key players pick up injuries on international duty and their last two league games were against their title rivals, which is a whole different kettle of fish compared to Huddersfield.
Another issue for Liverpool is that they have a habit of struggling when facing teams sat in relegation zone, failing to win any of those games last year when coming across a bottom three sitting club.
That has to change now because they cannot afford to experience similar fortunes otherwise the title won’t be going to Anfield this season.
Huddersfield meanwhile are totally inconsistent because they are yet to score at home this season yet have netted in their four away games so far.
It however was this weekend last season when the Terriers beat title chasing Manchester United. With that in mind, if they can use it as a mental boost then I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a draw here.
Prediction: Huddersfield Town 1-1 Liverpool
Jake predicts: Huddersfield Town 0-2 Liverpool
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 alongside latest standings;
Correct score – 3 points
Correct result – 1 point
Incorrect result – 0 points