It’s a strange weekend with six games being played on Sunday and for a change we will all be staying up for MOTD with Mark Chapman before we return to work rather than our usual Saturday night appointment.
Brighton & Hove Albion v Liverpool
This match up is a absolute nightmare for Brighton, they are currently enduring a four game losing streak while Liverpool are conquering all in front of them domestically. The Seagulls were fantastic during the reverse fixture this season but the electricity in the passing and movement has dispersed. With no Adam Webster again the home sides defence will remain fragile, facing Salah and co is not ideal in that state. Even with Webster the match up between Brighton’s defence versus Liverpool attack is firmly in the favour of the reds, bar Lamptey pace is severely lacking. Cucurella is a tidy, energetic full back but does not possess the dynamic, powerful foot speed at the elite level. Rotation is the key for Liverpool while they play multiple games a week but the depth is there within their squad and I fully expect someone like a Keita or Elliot to play a key role in this game. Both players are skilful and box to box which adds to the oppositions pain when you have to deal with the Liverpool front three also. I cannot see a Saturday lunch time shock occurring at The Amex, another routine win for the title challengers from Anfield.
FPL Player to Watch - Naby Keita £5m
Bet Select - Liverpool win
Brentford v Burnley
The only 3pm KO is another tone setting relegation six pointer, if Brentford win they can increase the gap between themselves and third bottom while Burnley would only be three points behind the Bees with two games in hand! Confidence will be high in the Brentford camp after the dominating away win last weekend over Norwich but Burnley will be a tougher nut to crack. Ben Mee is not expected to play but the Clarets defence is based on the system more than the individuals within it. Two games without a goal will be a worry for Sean Dyche but those games have been against Leicester and Chelsea, Weghorst or Cornet will fancy notching at the Community Stadium. A fun battle will be Conor Roberts renewing his rivalry with Rico Henry, the Brentford man holds the upper hand from recent meetings in the Championship though. Great Dane Christian Eriksen stroked passes all over Carrow Road with pinpoint accuracy during his first start for his new team, that level of play will be vital to pierce a stubborn Burnley team who will look to smash and grab a win.
FPL Player to Watch - Christian Eriksen £5.5m
Bet Select - Brentford win
Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur
Saturday ends with one of the most iconic PL fixtures in its thirty year history red v white, north v south and Champions League qualification the end goal for this season for either team. This has the feel of a match which could be nil nil or 5-4 to any one of them. Historically United dominate the win column while recent form for both of them is patchy. Following the dreadful Derby defeat it will be interesting to see how Rangnick lines up his team on Saturday night. Spurs are dangerous on the break so United will look to offer them possession but mainly in the defensive third while trying to double up the press when weaker footballers are on the ball. The concern is will the players follow any tactical direction and if they do can it be executed correctly? If not Kane, Son or Kulusevski will punish the home side by finding the gaps and driving at pace towards goal.
Due to the Abramovich sanctions this could be one of the final Stamford Bridge games with away fans. It’s quite fitting that two of the most controversial ownerships in world football will collide in this final hurrah in a full stadium. For the neutral fan who keeps abreast with the boardroom dramas they not be able to root for either team. The Newcastle fans will be in a buoyant, triumphant mood due to this amazing run of wins which surely will keep them safe. Chris Wood has finally scored for the Toon and he usually scores in hot runs so it would not be a surprise if he pops onto the score sheet. Chelsea will have a eye on the second leg versus Lille in midweek but like City and Liverpool they can field a functional side which is better than seventeen other PL teams while resting so called “star” players. USA international Pulisic is looking very sharp currently, if given a start his sharpness in and around the box could give Dan Burn especially a hard time.
FPL Player to Watch - Christian Pulisic £7.9m
Bet Select - Chelsea win
Everton v Wolverhampton Wanderers
After Mondays mess of a result Everton now jump into another toxic match up with a Wolves side who thrive playing away from home and just beat Watford 4-0! It’s more than likely the Black Country team will resort back to the norm and be low scoring, issue is whether they are winning or losing they do not concede many goals. The Toffees may have games in hand on some of their rivals but they play so many top half sides it’s hard to see how they can forge any type of form, potentially they could earn nine points till the end of the season which would get them to 31, surely not enough? Demari Gray could be available but his presence will not be enough to strike enough fear in Wolves defenders while their own forwards Podence & Co are neat and direct it’s hard to see how the home sides backline will cope.
FPL Player to Watch - Daniel Podence £5.5m
Bet Select - Wolves win
Leeds United v Norwich City
This game is geared up to be one of the all time great six point games EVER, neither side can defend and the win is the only option. Norwich are pretty much down but losing this extinguishes any hope while Leeds will have to face the fact if they lose to the bottom side at home how can they win another game? Bamford returned for twenty minutes on Thursday v Villa but it was a strange decision as it was around the time they lost the game, why couldn’t he come on at half time instead of Gelhardt. He was named on the bench last Saturday but wasn’t used, if he is not fit then don’t name him in the squad, he is not that good a player. Jonathan Rowe was very impressive last weekend when he came on versus Brentford, a start is well deserved and he would cause Luke Ayling all sorts of problems cutting in from the left wing. Jesse Marsch seems to be well out of his depth, the TV crews panned to him a few time after Callum Chambers out of character strike made it three for Villa and he looked so confused, almost out of ideas already.
FPL Player to Watch - Jonathan Rowe £4.4m
Bet Select - BTTS
Southampton v Watford
This is a great game for both teams, Southampton will feel this is a great match to halt a two game losing run while Watford will see chinks in the home sides armour can be capitalised on by their terrific trio of Sarr, Dennis and King, especially on the break. The home side dominate this fixture and the only Hornet away win was five years ago. With so many fixtures being played Sunday this one could be easily missed or overlooked but that’s usually when England man Ward-Prowse decides to put on a masterclass of ball striking to steal the show. Romeu needs to get back to his imperious form protecting the back four, with the fullbacks creating the overloads in attack. If those things happen Southampton will win but any slip up and Watford could spring a upset.
FPL Player to Watch - James Ward Prowse £6.6m
Bet Select - Southampton win
West Ham United v Aston Villa
Aston Villa are at their weakest when they are over confident and currently they are unbearable. The last three games they’ve not conceded and scored nine goals, two of the games away from home too. At the final whistle Thursday you would have thought they’ve won a cup. Tyrone Mings, Matty Cash and Douglas Luiz are not very likeable footballers and as a neutral make me feel like I hope they get there’s soon. Well it could happen at the London Stadium on Sunday, recent result history is in favour of the Hammers which lays in the fact over the last few years they are a streetwise tough side to beat or take advantage of. Jarrod Bowen will be a big miss but it gives players like Lanzini, Fornals or Benrahma a chance. Declan Rice returning is massive and he single handedly can win the midfield battle let alone having Soucek with him. As much as they can be dominate they need to get a grips with Philipe Coutinho with a few early rugged tackles. If the vibrant Brazilian starts to get his way in and around the attacking third then he could be the catalyst for another win.
FPL Player to Watch - Philipe Coutinho £7.4m
Bet Select - Aston Villa win
Arsenal v Leicester City
Jamie Vardy was the match winner the only time Leicester beat Arsenal at the Emirates but unfortunately injury prevents him from playing in this Super Sunday clash. This is not the ideal game for the Foxes after their Europa League antics on Thursday. The Gunners look good value to earn the fourth Champions League spot with Martin Odegaard pulling the strings in the midfield area, very much looking like the talent Real Madrid brought in as sixteen year old. The highlight battle in the mid park though will be Partey against Tielemens, whoever bosses this scrap will lead his team to victory as he will earn the lion share of the ball for his team. If Lacazette is to be rewarded with a new contract a sustained period of scoring before the end of the season wouldn’t hurt, this is fixture his six yard touch is needed. I can’t decide on a winner but feel their will be one so edging my chances bet wise towards the fact both teams will score.
Selhurst Park is a great venue for Monday Night Football, over the history of the Premier League it’s hosted numerous eventful evening matches. Palace beat City in the reverse fixture this season, I don’t believe Pep is seeking revenge but he will be aware they cannot let the home side boast the double over them. Michael Olise still has a lot to learn but I could see him becoming a City player in the future, he has elements of Mahrez in him. As with many Manchester City games the longer no goals are scored hope increases within the opposition but those last twenty minutes is when they are most lethal. Attacking wise every City outfield player is a danger man, just like Liverpool and this is why they are head and shoulders beyond all over sides in the league. Conor Gallagher thrives taking on bigger, better players and these experiences will set him up to play in the World Cup this winter, another England man Raheem Sterling could be the match winner as his movement will in settle Palaces defence.
FPL Player to Watch - Raheem Sterling £10.7m
Bet Select - Man City win
Wednesday nights games concentrate on the title/Champions League battle while Thursday night sees a resurgent side look to turn the screw on a relegation threaten rival.
Brighton & Hove Albion v Tottenham Hotspur
FPL Player to Watch - Tariq Lamptey £4.5m
Bet Select - Brighton win
Arsenal v Liverpool
FPL Player to Watch - Sadio Mane £11.7m
Bet Select - Liverpool win
Everton v Newcastle United
FPL Player to Watch - Allan Saint-Maxamin £6.8m
Bet Select - Newcastle Utd win
This week I have lumped all the Bet Selects into one acca unlike last week which was a disaster (isn’t it always though), as I have been quite conservative with my picks the odds are a modest 6399.8/1. Good luck if you follow my predictions and have a good weekend watching football.