Last week was full of surprise results but I think we’ll see things return to normal this weekend. The big clubs look set to continue their impressive run of clean sheets and it’ll be an almighty tassle between the strikers to claim a spot in our front three. Let’s hope we see goals galore!
Man City v Everton
Man City: Hart, Zabaleta, Nastasic, Kompany, Kolarov, Navas, Toure, Fernandinho, Silva, Aguero, Negredo
Everton: Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Barkley, McCarthy, Gibson, Osman, Lukaku, Mirallas
We should see the return of Sergio Aguero and David Silva to the City lineup this weekend. After a shock defeat to Villa last week, they’ll be looking to shut up shop at the back. This may be quite hard to do with the likes of Lukaku and Barkley firing at them though! I reckon we could see just as many goals as we did in City’s last Premier League game. Clean sheets may be hard to come by for the likes of Zabaleta and Hart and I wouldn’t put too much on Baines and Coleman either. Negredo and Aguero will be the ones pushing for points and you wouldn’t bet against Lukaku adding to his tally. I see the Citizens being too strong at the Etihad though and we should see Everton taking their first defeat of the season. Mirallas is a doubt with an ankle problem and it’s unlikely we’ll see Gibson or Pienaar return in time either. A 2-1 win for the Sky Blues.
Cardiff City v Newcastle
Cardiff: Marshall, Theophile-Catherine, Caulker, Turner, Taylor, Gunnarsson, Medel, Kim, Odemwingie, Campbell, Whittingham
Newcastle: Krul, Debuchy, Coloccini, Williamson, Santon, Gouffran, Sissoko, Cabaye, Ben Arfa, Cisse, Remy
The Magpies visit Cardiff for what should be a pretty evenly matched affair. Mackay’s side will be on a high after their impressive win over Fulham last week. Their new signing, Andreas Cornelius, is still out with an ongoing ankle complaint and we may see Odemwingie in the starting XI. The big question here will be whether Pardew decides to start with Ben Arfa. His attitude has been called into question recently and after being yanked off at half time during their encounter with Everton, the Frenchman’s owners will be weary. A pretty decent alternative is Yohan Cabaye. Williamson should come in for Yanga-Mbiwa at the back. I’m predicting a score draw. 1-1.
Fulham v Stoke City
Fulham: Stockdale, Reither, Amorebieta, Hangeland, Richardson, Ruiz, Sidwell, Parker, Kacaniklic, Bent, Berbatov
Stoke City: Begovic, Cameron, Shawcross, Huth, Pieters, Pennant, Wilson, N’Zonzi, Arnautovic, Adam, Jones
The pressure is mounting on Martin Jol after just 1 win in 6. A home game against Stoke does offer them the opportunity to get back on track though. Stoke have looked like a team in transition and they seem to be heading in the right direction, however, they are yet to offer much going forward. With Walters being a serious doubt and Etherington needing to be assessed after a minor car accident, the home side may just have a chance at a clean sheet. Reither offers attacking returns as well as the possibility of a clean sheet. Aaron Hughes will be looking for a starting berth after failing a fitness test last weekend. This could be a bit of a boring game. Fulham haven’t exactly hit their straps going forward and the likes of Ruiz and Berbatov will need to find another gear to start being considered. Taarabt at 5.7m could be a decent differential. Keep an eye on Marko Arnautovic for Stoke. Should they start to find some form, he may be the best way into The Potters attack. 1-0 Fulham.
Hull City v Aston Villa
Hull City: McGregor, Rosenoir, Faye, Davies, Figueroa, Quinn, Huddlestone, Livermore, Elmohamedy, Aluko, Graham
Aston Villa: Guzan, Bacuna, Clark, Vlaar, Luna, Westwood, El Ahmadi, Delph, Weimann, Kozak, Agbonlahor
Another pretty evenly matched game. Hull have had an impressive start and have won their last two. Things will be a little tougher for them though without the in form midfielder Robbie Brady. The Irishman underwent surgery for a hernia during the week but is making good progress. Chester is still out so it’s likely that Faye will keep his spot in the Tiger’s backline. Koren is still unavailable. I’d back the Villa side to get past Hull’s defence. Agbonlahor has returned to training and will carry the weight of Villa’s attack in the absence of Christian Benteke. Weimann will be hoping to recover in time to add his assistance. Should Lambert stick with the 3-5-2 formation, Luna and Bacuna may be intriguing wing-back options. I’m going for a 1-1 draw here, but wouldn’t be too surprised should Hull come out victors.
Liverpool v Crystal Palace
Liverpool: Mignolet, Sakho, Toure, Agger, Enrique, Henderson, Gerrard, Aspas, Moses, Suarez, Sturridge
Crystal Palace: Speroni, Mariappa, Gabbidon, Ward, Moxey, Dikgacoi, Bannan, Jedinak, Puncheon, Chamakh, Kebe
Crystal Palace don’t have a lot to look forward to here. They have zero points away from home and they’re facing a pretty formidable Merseyside team. I wouldn’t worry too much about the Palace prospects. Moving on to Pool… Rodgers looks set to continue his 3-4-1-2 formation, handing Jose Enrique a role on the left of midfield. He could end up being one the highest scoring players this week if he can get in behind Ward and Gabbidon. Lucas will serve a 1 match ban after picking up his 5th yellow of the season which should see Henderson move into a central midfield role and Aspas on the right. Victor Moses will tuck in behind Sturridge and Suarez and will need to repay the faith in those that invested in him since his switch to Anfield. It’s all down to who will hog the attacking points upfront. Sturridge and Suarez ran riot last weekend and could do the same against a side with just 1 win this season. I’m going with 2-0, but we may see more for the Merseysiders.
Sunderland v Man Utd
Sunderland: Westwood, Gardner, O’Shea, Cuellar, Colback, Johnson, Larsson, Ki, Giaccherini, Cattermole, Altidore
Man Utd: De Gea, Jones, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra, Valencia, Fellaini, Carrick, Young, Rooney, Van Persie
A few weeks ago I would have said that United should bang 3 or 4 past the Black Cats. Given that the former champions have only won 3 out of their opening 6, we may see them take a slightly subdued approach to this one. It’s likely we’ll see them grind out a win so I’d back the likes of Vidic and Evra for a clean sheet. Kagawa finally got a start against West Brom and will be hoping he can retain his spot in the starting XI. Van Persie is back and Rooney should be ok to start after taking a knock to his shin during training before their midweek Champion’s League game. Not much to get excited about on the Sunderland front. We should see an unchanged side from the one that lost to Liverpool, with Cuellar, Cattermole and Larsson back in the mix. They really are missing Fletcher! 2-0 to United.
Norwich v Chelsea
Norwich: Ruddy, Martin, Bassong, Turner, Olsson, Snodgrass, Fer, Howson, Redmond, Tetty, Van Wolfswinkel
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Cole, Mata, Ramires, Lampard, Hazard, Oscar, Eto’o
The Canaries earned a respectable win against Stoke last weekend but will really come up against it with a visit from Chelsea. Pilkington impressed on the left in Redmond’s absence and should retain his spot if the English winger doesn’t make it back in time for this one. Garrido and Bassong still remain doubts and we should see van Wolfswinkel retain the lone striker role. The Stamford Bridge side will be without Torres due to suspension, which should see Eto’o lead the attack and Oscar tucking in behind him. Mata has staked his claim and I’d expect him to return to the fold. Hazard is expected to shake off a knock which saw him miss out midweek. The away side look likely to get a clean sheet, so I’d be backing Terry and Ivanovic to come away with some decent points. 2-0 Chelsea.
Southampton v Swansea
Southampton: Boruc, Clyne, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw, Davis, Schneiderlin, Wanyama, Lallana, Osvaldo, Lambert
Swansea: Vorm, Rangel, Amat, Chico, Davies, Dyer, Jose Canas, Shelvey, Routledge, Michu, Bony
I’m really looking forward to this one. Both sides have been very impressive so far this season and offer us Fantasy Managers an array of mid-price options. Lambert is starting to fire for the Saints and it’s likely we’ll see Lallana and Osvaldo continue to tick over with assists and the odd goal. The Saint Marys’ defense has been a source of major investment so far, but I don’t see points in it for them this week. Swansea have a very attacking side and you’d be a brave man to bet against the visitors scoring. Michu may lead the attack with De Guzman tucked in behind him. Bony started on the bench against Arsenal but will be hoping to find himself back in the starting XI as Swansea chase the goals. I can see a draw with goals for both sides.
Tottenham v West Ham
Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Rose, Townsend, Dembele, Paulinho, Sigurdsson, Eriksen, Soldado
West Ham: Jaaskelainen, Rat, Tomkins, Reid, O’Brien, Morrison, Nolan, Noble, Diame, Maiga, Jarvis
It’s tough to see anything in this for West Ham. They are without a win since GW1 and without record signing Andy Carroll, are really struggling for goals. This will come as good news for those holding Walker and Dawson. If you’re looking to pay the premium, Jan Vertonghen may prove to be a clever investment over the next few weeks. The Hammers are leaking goals as well and Spurs are starting to gel. Eriksen will tuck in behind Soldado and we should see Sigurdsson retain his spot after an impressive showing in the last few weeks. I can’t see the Hammers getting past Lloris, so I’m going for a 2-0 win to the home side.
West Brom v Arsenal
West Brom: Myhill, Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell, Amalfitano, Yacob, Mulumbo, Brunt, Sessegnon, Anelka
Arsenal: Szczesny, Jenkinson, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Gnarby, Ramsey, Flamini, Wilshere, Ozil, Giroud
The Baggies shocked The Theatre of Dreams last week but it would be a little too much to expect them to do the same at home to a side that is looking as good as Arsenal are. The home side do however, have a lot of returning players and we should see Anelka and Sessegnon lead the attack. Anichebe is a doubt and Clarke will be without Scott Sinclair. Don’t bother too much with the Baggies defense. The Gunners will find a way through. With Ozil and Ramsey feeding Giroud upfront, we’re likely to see the Frenchman continue his fine goal scoring form. At the back, Sagna is a doubt with a minor hamstring issue and we may see Jenkinson step in at right-back. It’s a bit of a toss up in the midfield with the return of Arteta. Given he has just returned from injury, we may see him start on the bench with Gnabry and Wilshere on the flanks. Ramsey’s incredible form means he is now owned by an amazing 42% of Fantasy Managers. Will he continue to impress? I’m going with a 2-1 win for the Gunners.
That’s it from me. I hope you’ve gained a little insight into what may happen this weekend. Good luck!