After a mixed first week of Premier League predictions, Enda Coll has come back refreshed after a depressingly boring couple of weeks of international football and is ready to up his strike rate.
Newcastle vs Chelsea
This should be a straight-forward game for Frank Lampard and his Chelsea team. Although they don’t have the best record at St James’ Park, Chelsea are the form team over the last few weeks.
Lampard’s team are on a run of eleven games without defeat, and have a number of players firing in goals across the international break. Timo Werner has 10 goals in 10 games for club and country, while Hakim Ziyach grabbed a hat-trick for Morocco recently. They will be hoping that translates across to their club action this weekend.
Aston Villa vs Brighton
After stumbling against Leeds and Southampton, Aston Villa got back to winning ways with an impressive win against Arsenal last time out. I’d expect much the same from Dean Smith’s team when they take on Brighton.
I know it goes without saying, but bloody hell, what a player Jack Grealish is. After another impressive showing for England [dies a little inside], he’ll be full of confidence going into this game. Brighton are a team that flatters to deceive. They are near the top with almost every XG known to man but it hasn’t translated to goals.
This could be another difficult game for them.
Prediction: Aston Villa
Tottenham vs Man City - 5:30pm
This should be the game of the weekend.
Will Pep Guardiola’s new deal put a bit of his name back into his step? Man City, while getting results have been largely unimpressive so far this year.
Tottenham, on the other hand, have been excellent so far. This will be a critical time for Mourinho’s side if they are serious contenders, though. After this game, they face Arsenal, Crystal Palace, Liverpool and Leicester, so it will be a true test of this side.
For the first time in years, I actually fancy Jose to get the better of his former Barcelona colleague. Spurs have the right type of players in midfield to overrun Man City, and with Kane playing the way he is, this could go Mourinho’s way.
Man United vs West Brom
Ah, to be done with international football and getting back to the real matter at hand - is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the man for the Man United job?
That conversation feels like a warm comfort blanket amongst the doom and gloom of whether a pro-Irish video should, or should not have been shown to a squad of players that wore 1916 below their badges not so long ago.
To matters at hand though, this should be straight forward for Solskjaer’s team. They have the fire-power, West Brom are dreadful, they should win. However, just because they should win, doesn’t mean they’ll make it easy on themselves. Ultimately, that will depend if they bother to show up.
Prediction: Man United (It will either be 5-0 or a scrappy penalty at the death to seal the victory)
Fulham vs Everton
We all waited for it, and it never came. Where did the blue wave disappear to? It turns out losing all your key players through injury and suspension does actually affect your team’s performances and results.
There’s no such excuses for Everton this weekend though, as they welcome Richarlison back to their side after his suspension and just like that, Ancelotti’s side look dangerous again.
They probably didn’t need to be at full strength to beat Fulham this weekend, but it’ll definitely help. This one should get the Toffees back to winning ways.
Sheffield United vs West Ham
Like the Irish team and goals, I’m starting to wonder if Sheffield United ever actually won any games.
Chris Wilder’s side is still without a win in the league this year, and looking at their fixtures, it wouldn’t come as a shock if they went as far as Christmas without getting one. West Ham have been much better this year and we’re starting to see David Moyes cracking his first smile since Donald Trump was elected President.
Will he have more to smile about this weekend? That will depend largely on the fitness of Michail Antonio; who is undergoing assessments. I’d lean towards the away team if he’s fully fit, but this could well end in a stalemate.
Leeds vs Arsenal
Two sides that started so promisingly, yet, haven’t been able to capitalise on it with points on the table.
Leeds have been exciting to watch but have leaked goals, while Arsenal have been pretty boring to watch but also leaked goals. A boost for Leeds is that Arsenal’s new-signing Thomas Partey through a thigh injury, but they do have injury problems of their own in midfield.
Kalvin Phillips has missed the last few games through injury, and while Bielsa said he will be back, he wasn’t nailed on to be fit to start the game. This has the makings of a game with a lot of goals, so naturally it will end 0-0.
Liverpool vs Leicester
Liverpool and Ireland have a lot in common. They both have managers who want to play good football, they both were sponsored by New Balance last year, and they both have an absentee list longer than your arm.
The slight difference between the two is that Liverpool’s absentee list contains players one could consider world-class. With Mo Salah, Joe Gomez, Virgil Van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold and several other key players missing this weekend, it could be a nice return to Anfield for Brendan Rodgers.
Rodgers’ side weathered their injury storm earlier this season and are now flying high at the top of the table. With a new-found dynamism within their team up against Liverpool’s inexperienced high-line, Leicester could do some damage here.
Burnley vs Crystal Palace
Sky Sports have put this at 5:30pm on a Monday night for a reason.
Prediction: Crystal Palace
Wolves vs Southampton
I know it has been said, but Southampton really made the right decision keeping their faith in Ralph Hasenhuttl after their 9-0 thrashing last season.
The Austrian has developed his side, tweaked his gameplan, and finally found someone else to score goals that isn’t Danny Ings. They’re going to need the in-form Che Adams to step up to the plate on Monday Night, with the aforementioned Ings missing this game through injury.
Wolves have been quite disappointing this year. It just hasn’t ‘clicked’ for Nuno Espirito Santo this year. I’m not saying that selling Matt Doherty is the only reason they’ve been poor, but it certainly hasn’t helped.
They’ve still got the talent, they just need to up it a little bit. With Ings out injured, this is their chance to do so.