We take a look at this week’s Premier League fixtures, including a potentially difficult fixture at home for Man City, as they face Fulham, Luton’s first game of the season at home, against West Ham, and three big ties between teams looking at European places this season.
This Week’s Premier League Fixtures
Luton v West Ham
Sheffield United v Everton
Brentford v Bournemouth
Burnley v Tottenham Hotspur
Chelsea v Nottingham Forest
Man City v Fulham
Brighton v Newcastle
Crystal Palace v Wolves
Liverpool v Aston Villa
Arsenal v Man United
Luton v West HamEmbed from Getty Images
Well, Luton can finally kickstart their Premier League at home when they host West Ham on Friday night. It will be the first Premier League game they have hosted this season, and the first in a very long time. The atmosphere should be amazing.
Luton will be hoping that can help get them over the line in this one, their first two games have not gone to plan, after being beaten by Brighton 4-1 on the opening weekend, and then losing 3-0 against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
I do not think anyone expected Luton to turn up and get a point from their game against Chelsea, let alone three. This is why their home games are going to be so important this season. If they can make themselves hard to beat at home, they have half a chance of staying up.
I think we will see the real Luton on Friday night. Away from home, they will rarely look to dominate sides and be on the front foot, but at home, they need to be doing this. I cannot wait to see how they perform at home, especially against a team that has an outside shot at the European places this season.
As for West Ham, what a start to the season they have had. They sit pretty in second place, following a draw and two wins. Following a slightly disappointing draw against Bournemouth, they have gone on to beat Chelsea and Brighton, both 3-1.
The most impressive thing about these performances has been the lack of possession West Ham has had in both games. Against Brighton, they managed just 22% possession, and against Chelsea, they managed 24.3% possession. Their style of low possession is an interesting tactic, but it seems to work.
The signing of James Ward-Prowse seems to fit this style perfectly. His ability from set pieces allows West Ham to make the most of these situations when they come around, as his goal and two assists in his first two starts shows.
How will that style of play work out against teams like Luton, who themselves are not too interested in dominating possession? Will West Ham continue with their low possession style of play? Or will they start to dominate the ball and make the most of the set pieces at the same time?
Their first Premier League game in front of their own fans for a long time. West Ham will want to continue their good run of form, and if results go their way, they could even end the weekend at the top of the table. I think West Ham will be too good for Luton here.
Prediction: Luton 1 – 3 West Ham
Sheffield United v EvertonEmbed from Getty Images
My goodness, what a story we nearly had a Bramall Lane we had last weekend. Following their poor start to the season, nobody gave them a chance against Man City.
In all honesty, City were far from their best. With the absence of Pep, the team looked to be in second gear throughout the entire match. Haaland was uncharacteristically quiet and missed a few easy chances by his standards, whilst Kyle Walker had a few efforts off-target from a distance.
Haaland even missed a penalty that would have put City in the driving seat, as Sheffield United continued to ride their luck. They kept themselves in the game, however, and even after going 1-0 down, tried to make things happen. Jayden Bogle came off the bench, and was the unlikely scorer, putting United level, and looked to give them an unlikely point.
They were undone in the end, but they should be proud of their display. They kept themselves in the game and got back level when given their chance. If they can defend like that every week at home, they may find themselves outside of the bottom three.
They have finally started to invest in the squad, and it will be interesting to see how Cameron Archer does. £18 million is a lot of money for a striker who may or may not work in the Premier League. He did well in the Championship last year though, so only time will tell.
They have a great chance to get some points on the board here. A home game against a team that probably will be fighting against relegation with them, what a time it would be to get their first win of the season here.
Everton are really worrying me this season. They were bad last year in the Premier League, but this season they seem to be even worse. They have let some of their players go. They have lost players all over the pitch, and have only brought in attacking players that have hardly featured.
Just like last season, goals are their issue. Three games in, no wins, no goals. In their first game of the season against Fulham, they created chances but could not put them away. Against Villa, they were awful and got hammered. Against Wolves, they created the most chances, and Jose Sa got the man off the match for Everton, which shows how unfortunate Everton was.
They need goals and they need goals fast. They have recently signed Beto from Udinese, and they will hope that he can come in and hit the ground running. He scored 10 goals in 34 games last season, and Everton will be hoping that he can improve on those numbers for them.
This is a big relegation 6-pointer for Everton and for Sheffield United. Being away from home, Everton will be happy with a point, but they need to go one better here. Away against a newly promoted side, they need to put on a strong showing.
This is a huge game for both sides and one that could really kickstart either side’s season. A win for Everton would be huge, especially due to them being away from home. If either side were to win this, I can only see it being Sheffield United. They will come into this wanting the win and wanting to impress their home fans. Slender home win for me here.
Prediction: Sheffield United 2 – 1 Everton
Man City v FulhamEmbed from Getty Images
Man City really got away with one last weekend against Sheffield United. They looked in total control, but could not find the back of the net. Eventually, as they always do, they did score, but then could not put the game to bed. They were nearly made to pay, if Rodri had not scored an absolute rocket.
Rodri is such a huge character for Man City, and how many times has he scored a massive, winning goal for them now? He is so crucial to this team, and when he is in good form, Man City really tick.
The current Premier League champions looked like they really struggled without Pep on the touchline. Throughout most of the game, the technical area was empty, devoid of his character and spirit. This will be a much harder test than Sheffield United posed City, and it will be interesting to see how they perform without him on the sidelines again.
People questioned whether the fight will have gone from Man City after winning the treble last season, but it has been evident in all their games this season, that they are here to compete again. I am not sure whether they can replicate the success they had last season, but they most likely win at least one trophy this season.
Fulham have been a bit of a mixed bag this season. They win by slender margins away against Everton on the opening day of the season, they then get hammered 3-0 by Brentford at their own stadium, before playing out an entertaining 2-2 draw with Arsenal at The Emirates, not to mention their progression in the Carabao Cup at Spurs expense, after beating them on penalties.
It certainly shows that Fulham are able to compete with the bigger teams at the top of the table. They were outside contenders for a top 6 spot last season, and they will be looking to close that gap between themselves and the teams that occupied those spaces, this season.
I was worried for Fulham when Mitrovic left. He has been such a big player for them over the years, breaking records in The Championship, and then finally settling into the Premier League last season. It is a shame for Fulham to have lost such a big player, but they need to move on, and the Jimenez signing from Wolves could be one that goes under the radar this season.
What is a successful season for Fulham this year? They should certainly not be involved in a relegation scrap, their team is far too good for that, and their side has goals in it. A top-half finish is an absolute must, but there are a lot of teams vying for those positions now, with Newcastle, Villa, West Ham and Brighton all improving vastly.
City will not be able to play this game in second gear like they did against Sheffield United. They will have to be at their best, and Haaland will have to tuck those easy chances away this time around. I do think City will make it 4 from 4 here though.
Prediction: Man City 2 – 0 Fulham
Liverpool v Aston VillaEmbed from Getty Images
I said in my preview for the Newcastle vs. Liverpool game last week that it should be the game of the weekend, with both sides going at it from the start, and was I right about that? What a game it was for the neutrals, and what a turnaround from Liverpool.
To start with, Liverpool were incredibly lucky to have 10 men on the pitch. The tackle from Van Dijk is a red card, no doubt about it. He was the last man, stopping a clear obvious goal-scoring opportunity, it had to be a straight red. Trent Alexander-Arnold was the lucky player to still be on the pitch, however.
His first yellow card may have been deemed slightly unlucky. Anthony Gordon fouls him, and Trent throws the ball on the pitch, away from where the foul was given, and receives a booking due to the new laws. Had the free kick been given in the first place, he would not have been booked.
His challenge on Gordon moments later should have seen him receive a second booking. He cannot stop a counterattack like that, and get away with it. Liverpool should have been down to 10 from that moment on, but instead, he got away with it.
Even though they were down to 10, Liverpool kept themselves in the game, and when they keep themselves in the game, they have every chance of sneaking a surprise result. Nunez, who was brought on as a sub, finished two sublime chances, to give Liverpool an unlikely win considering the circumstances.
Nunez looks like he has finally learned to finish those chances he missed every week last season. If he can continue like this, Liverpool may find themselves competing for the title this season. They need a striker to be scoring 20 goals a season for them, and Nunez could well do that for them this time round.
Villa picked up a very good away win against Burnley last week and had an unlikely player to thank for the majority of it. Matty Cash scored a surprise brace, as Villa ran riot in the first half, and whilst they did not dominate the ball like they may be used to, they did restrict Burnley to just two shots on target.
Moussa Diaby has been a brilliant signing for Villa so far. The winger has 2 goals and an assist to his name after the Burnley game, and he is linking up well with Watkins and Bailey upfront. Villa’s front three are so quick and skilful, that teams need to be careful with them on the break this season. Even if they are not dominating possession, they now have the ability to hurt on the counter.
Villa has bounced back well from that 5-1 loss against Newcastle on the opening day. After that second-half collapse, I was almost worried for them, that it might knock their confidence going into the season, and we might see a different Villa team in the first few weeks. But, they look to have shrugged that defeat off and have put on two brilliant attacking performances since.
These games are going to make or break Villa’s season yet again. They will need to pick up points now before their hectic European schedule kicks in. It certainly is going to be a very interesting season for Villa.
This should be a brilliant game and one that could be very hard to call. Liverpool are at home, and their fight this season has shone through. Twice they have come from behind, after being down to 10 men. They are capable of performing when things are going against them. Villa on the other hand are hard to beat, but will a trip to Anfield be one step too far? I think so, a slender home win here.
Prediction: Liverpool 2 – 1 Aston Villa
Arsenal v Man UnitedEmbed from Getty Images
Arsenal will feel hard done by in their game against Fulham. After conceding in the first minute, they went on to completely dominate the game. Two goals in two minutes, late in the second half, gave them the lead they deserved, and the sending off of Calvin Bassey should have sealed all three points for The Gunners.
However, things are not always that simple with Arsenal. Despite only having three shots on target, Fulham found themselves scoring two of those, with Palhinha getting 10-man Fulham back into the game with just minutes to go. They held on for a point and left Arsenal rueing their missed chances throughout the game.
If Arsenal are serious about challenging for the title again this season, this is a big slip-up from them, so early in the season. This is where they need to be building their form, and whilst they did not lose the game, it is reminiscent of those games against West Ham and Liverpool games, that cost them the season last year, after slipping up from a winning position.
Arsenal need to iron those issues out now and learn how to kill a game off as soon as possible. The sooner they do this, the sooner they can start to dream about being Premier League champions again. With the added pressure of the Champions League this season, I cannot wait to see how Arsenal will perform.
Man United have been extremely frustrating to watch so far this season. Their loss against Spurs the other week was woeful. So many simple chances that were missed, and they were made to pay. They were second-best on the ball, and they looked out of ideas at times.
Casemiro, Fernandes and Mount are all going to struggle playing with each other. Fernandes and Mount play too high up the pitch, and often Casemiro is the only midfielder sitting back. On the turnover, United will get overrun in midfield, and they will suffer from counter-attacking teams unless they drop Mount or Fernandes a little deeper.
Their game against Forest really showcased the best and the worst of United. To go 2-0 down, at home, to a team who just survived relegation last season, in the first 4 minutes, is abysmal. A side like United should have dominated the ball from the get-go and controlled the tempo.
Instead, they conceded two, really, awful goals. The only positive is that they showed character and fought to get themselves back into the game. When Eriksen made it 2-1 after 17 minutes, you just knew United would go on to win the game. Casemiro equalised shortly after the break, and a Fernandes penalty finished the turnaround.
The sending-off of Joe Worrall may have helped, but take nothing away from United, They showed some fight, and they need to take that into their next few games, especially in this one against Arsenal.
This will produce drama, and I expect there will be a few goals as well. The history between these two sides is well known, and a win for either side here will do their confidence wonders going forward. Like I said, there should be goals, and I think the result will go the way of Arsenal.
Prediction: Arsenal 3 – 1 Man United
Other Premier League Predictions
- Brentford 2 – 0 Bournemouth
- Burnley 1 – 3 Tottenham Hotspur
- Chelsea 2 – 1 Nottingham Forest
- Brighton 1 – 1 Newcastle
- Crystal Palace 1 – 0 Wolves