Premier League Preview: Gameweek 8

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I’m very excited I get to talk Premier League now that another dreaded international break is over, although granted – this one did feel like a boxset end of season finale.

I recently penned my October Review, assessing how each of the 20 Premier League teams have fared so far, new managers, new players and fluctuating degrees of form – there are certainly plenty of talking points.

So onto the weekend, and the first game kicking off will be one I’m attending:

Newcastle v Liverpool

Pardew’s side have endured a Jekyll and Hyde start to their campaign with new signing Loic Remy seemingly the only difference between the current team, and the one that flirted so dangerously with relegation last year. Liverpool on the other hand have raced out the blocks so far this season, looking devastatingly dynamic up front. This mostly without that man Luis Suarez. I hate to say it but I think Newcastle’s leaky defence will succumb to Liverpool’s attacking prowess.

2-1 Liverpool with topscorer Sturridge on the scoresheet.

Arsenal v Norwich

Another team who have strolled to the summit of the league is Arsenal. Özil adapting quickly and Ramsey’s electric form have been key in Wenger guiding his team almost effortlessly to five wins from seven. Norwich have for me been the surprise package of the season so far, and not in a good way. Van Wolfswinkel, Elmander and Hooper have all struggled to find the net, while Snodgrass has been unable to capture his rich vein of form from last season.

I expect another rampant performance from the Gunners. 3-0.

Chelsea v Cardiff

Chelsea are another team whose strikers have forgotten what their goal celebrations are. Loaned out Romelu Lukaku has started only two games for Everton this season, but has still managed to score more than Eto’o, Schürrle, Torres and Ba put together. Ouch. Cardiff have enjoyed a steady start to life in the top flight, however reported unrest behind the scenes may well have disrupted Malky Mackay’s preparation for their trip to London.

Chelsea to run out comfortable 2-0 winners.

Everton v Hull

With only one defeat so far, Roberto Martinez is proving a lot of doubters wrong and will be hoping his side can keep their resilient home form record intact. Selling Fellaini has, if anything, boosted the emergence of starlet Ross Barkley who is making the most of his opportunity in the starting eleven, while keeping one eye on the departure lounge for Rio next summer. Hull have certainly impressed me so far, with Robbie Brady clearly their standout player.

Despite a superb win away at Newcastle last month, I still expect Martinez to be smiling at the fulltime whistle. Narrow 1-0 victory for Everton.

Man United v Southampton

Arguably the hardest game of the weekend to call comes at Old Trafford. Last year, a home win in this fixture would’ve been inputted on at least 91% of accumulators countrywide – now David Moyes has Adnan Janusaj to thank for providing some leeway going into the international break. With the link between midfield and attack so clearly lacking, this may be the game Moyes has to trust in the obvious talents of Zaha and Kagawa. Pochettino’s side have actually been the surprise package of the season so far boasting the meanest defence in the division. New signings Lovren, Wanyama and Osvaldo have added to the already solid spine. If Pochettino holds his nerve, there’s no reason they couldn’t challenge for a European spot on this form.

1-1 draw.

Stoke v West Brom

I tipped Stoke to go down this season and it’s fair to say they’ve been reasonably unspectacular this year, with the unwanted record of the least amount of goals scored, a paltry four. Stoke drastically need a Plan B and I’m concerned Mark Hughes has the talent to produce one, nor the required motivation to put some fire in the Potters’ bellies. In contrast West Brom are one of THE in form teams in the league with Sessegnon, Beherino and Morgan Amalfitano running riot in recent games.

I expect nothing less than an away win. 2-0 West Brom.

Swansea v Sunderland

Two sides that desperately need a win. Laudrup is experiencing symptoms of Pardew Syndrome as they tackle an exciting European adventure and the boring, mundane Premier League. Their domestic form has suffered and Michu and Bony have fail to link up effectively enough, although this isn’t a crisis. Yet. Speaking of crises, the season couldn’t have gone much worse for the Black Cats thus far, so surely the only way is up? My friends down the road will be hoping so with one point and 20th place all they’ve had to celebrate this season.

Can new manager Gus Poyet gel Di Canio’s recruits? Not this quickly. 2-0 Swansea.

West Ham v Man City

Another inconsistent team is Allardyce’s Hammers, who romped to victory away at Spurs in the last round of fixtures. Ravel Morrison and Ricardo Vaz Te have stepped up in the absence of sicknote Andy Carroll (no malice intended) and in the absence of any kind of form from Modibo Maiga. Pellegrini hasn’t had the smoothest of starts, to life in England however his side still only remain three points off the top with old boys Agüero and Yaya already notching four goals each.

Not quite a hammering, but a 3-1 win for City.

Aston Villa v Tottenham

Superb Sunday sees Aston Villa host Spurs who have, despite the influx of big money names have largely relied on Sigurdsson and the mesmeric Andros Townsend for form. Lamela and Chadli have yet to cement starting places, while Soldado hasn’t scored from open play this season. Striker crisis??! Villa themselves have been steady, notching a 50% win ratio so far. Paul Lambert will need Brad Guzan to continue his fine form this weekend, if he is hopeful of snatching a point.

I still say 1-0 Spurs.

Crystal Palace v Fulham

And finally, Monday Night Football or ‘MNF’ is an all London affair. Ian Holloway will be searching for only his second victory of the season so far, while underfire Jol will be searching for victory number three. I have genuine concern from Palace, who will show plenty of heart. Fulham desperately need Berbatov to switch from lethargic saunter to steady canter as he holds the key to their survival.

I predict a scrappy 0-0 at Selhurst Park.

Download Hit Row Z’s first ever podcast here! 

Trackbacks

  1. […] an open game. Southampton’s fine form continued with a hard-earned draw at Old Trafford (I did call 1-1 last week…just saying) and Fulham recorded back-to-back victories for the first time this season with the help of […]

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