This weekend’s Premier League kicks off with a series of important fixtures, which could see two of three relegation spots be all change come Saturday night.
Leicester City meanwhile face a difficult return to the King Power Stadium, a fortnight on from Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha’s unexpected death for a home clash with Burnley.
Cardiff City vs Brighton & Hove Albion (12:30pm)
Cardiff were unlucky not to take a point last weekend in a home game like this where they really need to be collecting wins if are to stay up.
Brighton meanwhile were ripped apart defensively by Everton so will be vulnerable here against a solid Bluebirds attack.
I am therefore expecting to see a tight game with both team pushing on the attack but Cardiff should just edge this with home advantage, although my gut says 0-0.
Prediction: Cardiff City 1-0 Brighton & Hove Albion
Jake predicts: Cardiff City 0-1 Brighton & Hove Albion
Result: Cardiff City 2-1 Brighton & Hove Albion
Huddersfield Town vs West Ham UnitedEmbed from Getty Images
Both teams picked up wins last weekend so I can see a good quality match between these sides.
Huddersfield’s home form has been slowly improving and that first half winner against Fulham will reignite their confidence, having previously conceded in their three home games beforehand before the break.
West Ham meanwhile were just ruthless against Burnley when attacking from midfield, with Felipe Anderson and Grady Diangana being two notable stand-outs. Saying that, the Hammers did leak two goals so I wouldn’t be shocked if they concede here.
Ultimately, if Anderson and Diangana are at their best then I can see only one winner.
Prediction: Huddersfield Town 1-2 West Ham United
Jake predicts: Huddersfield Town 0-3 West Ham United
Result: Huddersfield Town 1-1 West Ham United
Leicester City vs Burnley
“mentally, it was a tough game for all of us.” – Kasper Schmeichel speaking to BBC’s Match of the Day on 3/11/18.
If last weekend was tough, Leicester face another challenging test as they return home to the King Power Stadium for first time since the tragic events of a fortnight ago, as they face Burnley in what will surely be another tough game for the whole club.
Prediction wise, this is difficult because the Foxes coped well against Cardiff in front of sold-out away supporters but this will be bigger and more pressure to get the win in front of a mass home crowd.
Burnley meanwhile will be hoping to hit back from their horror show at West Ham but this will be a really rough match against a side, who will want to do justice to the mass support by getting another win here.
Prediction: Leicester City 1-0 Burnley
Jake predicts: Leicester City 2-0 Burnley
Result: Leicester City 0-0 Burnley
Newcastle United vs BournemouthEmbed from Getty Images
Newcastle finally got their first home win last time out but Bournemouth are flying high despite a late defeat by Manchester United.
Whatever worked last weekend for The Magpies needs to happen again here because Bournemouth are a difficult side to stop at present, particularly down the flanks.
Should they fail to do so and the Cherries are clinical then I can see just one result coming here.
Prediction: Newcastle United 0-2 Bournemouth
Jake predicts: Newcastle United 1-1 Bournemouth
Result: Newcastle United 2-1 Bournemouth
Southampton vs Watford
Both teams need to improve compare to last time out if we are to get a winner.
Watford’s only issue really is the fact that they uncharacteristically failed to finish their shots in a quality manner, which is something that can be easily corrected here.
As for Southampton, their defending was atrocious in a 6-1 thrashing by Manchester City and don’t get me started on what happened in the 36th minute.
City managed to get into box and were able to manage EIGHT scrappy passes between themselves before Wesley Hoedt managed to clear. Despite the gulf in quality, for any team to manage that amount of passes before ball is cleared highlights serious issues at the back that needs addressing.
Sadly although I expect better defending from the Saints, I can see Watford comfortably winning this if are on song.
Prediction: Southampton 0-2 Watford
Jake predicts: Southampton 1-2 Watford
Result: Southampton 1-1 Watford
Crystal Palace vs Tottenham Hotspur (5:30pm)Embed from Getty Images
Tottenham came through a really tough home test in midweek against PSV but are starting to rediscover their top football, which is something that should worry Crystal Palace.
Palace haven’t won any of their last six league meetings with Spurs and boast the worst home record this season in Premier League, with only two points from five home games.
I simply don’t see how Palace can win this because they aren’t strong across the pitch with defence a real issue when Tottenham have just found another level compared to recent weeks.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Jake predicts: Crystal Palace 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Result: Crystal Palace 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur
With the new season underway, so is Prediction Wars between me and Boro Rants writer, Jake Self.
Rules remain the same as last season and goes as follows alongside latest standings;
Correct score – 3 points
Correct result – 1 point
Incorrect result – 0 points