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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 September 2018

Premier League predictions: Chelsea to beat Arsenal and big wins for Manchester teams

Steve Luckings gives his predictions for Round 5 of the English football's top flight.

In Jamie Vardy, Leicester City have a striker who will look to stretch Huddersfield’s rearguard. Andrew Couldridge / Reuters
In Jamie Vardy, Leicester City have a striker who will look to stretch Huddersfield’s rearguard. Andrew Couldridge / Reuters

Bournemouth 1-1 Brighton & Hove Albion

Why? Bournemouth are second-bottom of the Premier League without a point and just a solitary goal in four games so far. Manager Eddie Howe has defended his players, suggesting application rather than attitude are to blame for the team’s current plight. They face a Brighton side buoyed by their first win of the new season last time out against West Bromwich Albion, and while Bournemouth have not become a bad team overnight, they need to stop the rot against one of the division’s lesser lights.

Crystal Palace 1-0 Southampton

Why? No team goes through managers quite like Crystal Palace. Since returning to England’s top tier in 2012 six full-time managers have headed out the exit door with the latest, Frank de Boer, lasting only 450 minutes of Premier League football. His replacement, Roy Hodgson, has a history of firefighting at struggling clubs. Basement side Palace have a proven goalscorer in Christian Benteke but the big Belgian striker is yet to convert this season. He will get another chance to open his 2017/18 account against a Southampton defence that could be boosted by the reintroduction of Virgil van Dijk after the Dutchman was denied a move over the summer despite handing in a transfer request.

Richard Jolly: Palace end De Boer mismatch and revert to type with safety-first Hodgson

Extra Time podcast, episode 6: De Boer doomed from the start

Huddersfield Town 0-2 Leicester City

Why? Could the wheels be falling off at Huddersfield after such a promising start? Perhaps. David Wagner’s side offered nothing as an attacking threat as they surrendered meekly to West Ham United on Monday with Aaron Mooy and Steve Mounie, two players who can make a difference, anonymous in the 2-0 defeat. Tom Ince continues to struggle to show he can play at the top level and in Leicester City they face a side who should arguably have more than the three points they have secured thus far. Riyad Mahrez looks to have decided to knuckle down and carry on after failing to find a club over the summer and in Jamie Vardy they have a striker who will look to stretch Huddersfield’s stoic but sometimes immobile rearguard.

Liverpool 3-1 Burnley

Why? Liverpool will still be reeling from the after effects of their 5-0 capitulation against Manchester City last week and will be without the services of the suspended Sadio Mane, who was sent off for a borderline assault on City goalkeeper Ederson. A 2-2 draw against Sevilla in their Uefa Champions League opener will have done nothing to brighten the mood of manager Jurgen Klopp, but Mane’s absence offers the chance for others to step up. Daniel Sturridge and Dominic Solanke are both vying for the vacant slot or Klopp could opt to play Philippe Coutinho more advanced with the Brazilian playmaker set to feature for the first time this season. Burnley have defied expectations with their early season showings but Liverpool will want to right the wrongs of their last two results.

Jurgen Klopp is not in the best of moods lately. Stu Forster / Getty Images
Jurgen Klopp is not in the best of moods lately. Stu Forster / Getty Images

Richard Jolly: Mane to continue challenging keepers

Newcastle United 1-1 Stoke City

Why? Considering it took Stoke until October to register their first win last season, this one has seen them race out of the gates with five points on the board already. With a win against Arsenal and a draw at home to Manchester United already secured, they travel to a Newcastle side who have fared even better and are a point better off. It could turn out to be a straight shoot-out between two young promising Spanish strikers. Joselu was secured from Stoke over the summer and is already off the mark for his new employers while Jese, who joined Stoke on a season-long loan from PSG and netted the winning goal on debut against Arsenal, has looked sharp as a tack and the sort of poacher who can take advantage of Xherdan Shaqiri’s probing passes from a more free role than the Swiss winger has been used to in previous seasons.

Watford 0-3 Manchester City

Why? Because Manchester City have Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus working and scoring in tandem, Kevin de Bruyne looking like the best midfielder on the planet, David Silva not far behind him and the likes of Bernardo Silva, Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling struggling for game time. Watford look a more solid and enterprising unit under Marco Silva, with the Portuguese bringing about incremental changes rather than the wholesale change in philosophy that was to be Frank de Boer’s undoing at Crystal Palace. Still, they don’t have the manpower to contain City’s embarrassment of riches and will surrender their unbeaten start to the campaign at Vicarage Road.

Richard Jolly: Watford benefit from a clarity of thought but face original thinker in Guardiola

West Bromwich Albion 2-2 West Ham United

Why? West Ham threw themselves a lifeline on Monday when they secured their first points of the season with a convincing win over Huddersfield. With Marko Arnautovic available again after suspension, manager Slaven Bilic finds himself in the unfamiliar position of wondering who to leave out of a winning team or not. Creative fulcrum Manuel Lanzini is still out with a knee problem, but in Andy Carroll, Javier Hernandez, Arnautovic, Michail Antonio and Andre Ayew, who came off the bench to score against Huddersfield, the Croatian could potentially field an attacking five more than equipped to cause West Brom problems. Tony Pulis may decide now is the time to add quality to solidity in midfield and hand a debut to PSG loan signing Gregorz Krychowiack.

West Ham United's Pedro Obiang celebrates scoring their first goal in the 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town on Monday. David Klein / Reuters
West Ham United's Pedro Obiang celebrates scoring their first goal in the 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town on Monday. David Klein / Reuters

Tottenham Hotspur 4-1 Swansea City

Why? They finally did it. After an embarrassing Champions Legaue campaign, an FA Cup semi-final exit and a defeat and a draw to open this season, Spurs finally managed to get the Indian sign over their Wembley hoodoo and win a game at England’s national stadium. Mauricio Pochettino’s side were at their scintillating best against Borussia Dortmund, with Harry Kane free to score again now that wretched month of August is out of the way. The sense among Spurs fans is that once they had got that elusive win out of the way, they would go on to well and truly make Wembley their home this season. They face a Swansea side who were insipid in their 1-0 defeat to Newcastle with new superstar loan signing Renato Sanches guilty of being wasteful and sloppy in possession on his Premier League debut. Spurs are up and running and Swansea could be in for a hiding.

Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal

Why? Arsenal’s recent record against the champions is impressive. They secured a third FA Cup in four seasons in May’s Wembley showpiece to deny Antonio Conte’s men the league-and-cup double and won the Community Shield at the same venue last month. And while last week’s win against Bournemouth was routine, manager Arsene Wenger once again let a summer transfer window pass without addressing a problem that has plagued his side since the departure of Gilberto Silva nine years ago, ie the lack of a midfield leader. Whatever combination of Granit Xhaka, Aaron Ramsey or Francis Coquelin he fields in midfield it is inferior to N’Golo Kante and Tiemoue Bakayoko in almost every department. Chelsea seem to have overcome their abysmal opening day defeat to Burnley and are purring along nicely. Alvaro Morata continues to score – particularly with his head – another problem area Wenger failed to adequately address in defence this summer.

Thibaut Coutrois: 'Good to face Arsenal now', while London rivals struggle

Manchester United 3-0 Everton

Why? Wayne Rooney’s return to Old Trafford looks set to be a mixed one. On the one hand United’s record goalscorer is sure to be afforded a warm reception from the supporters who adored him for 13 trophy-laden years but that courtesy is unlikely to be extended by his former teammates. The nagging sense from Everton’s first four games is that Ronald Koeman’s side have flattered to deceive so far, lacking balance as he tries to shoehorn in three creative midfielders in Rooney, record signing Gylfi Sigurdsson and Dutchman Davy Klaassen at the expense of wide players who can get behind defences. With Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and creator-in-chief Henrikh Mkhitaryan all firing Everton will struggle to keep the scoreline respectable.

Richard Jolly: Koeman needs greater clarity in his team selection if Everton are to progress

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