Gameweek 8 Predictions
Brighton 1-2 Tottenham
Burnley 1-1 Everton
Liverpool 3-1 Leicester
Norwich 2-1 Aston Villa
Watford 2–1 Sheffield United
West Ham 2-0 Crystal Palace
Arsenal 2-1 Bournemouth
Manchester City 4-1 Wolves
Southampton 2-3 Chelsea
Newcastle 0-1 Manchester United
Arguably the most fascinating game of the week opens up this weekend’s EPL slate, with Spurs looking to bounce back from a 7-2 midweek drubbing at the hands of Bayern. The North Londoners travel to Brighton, where I expect them to relieve some pressure with a much needed win.
Many games this weekend look like a shoot-out, with Liverpool vs Leicester, Arsenal vs Bournemouth and Southampton vs Chelsea all falling into that category, while in contrast, I don’t see much action in the Super Sunday clash between Newcastle and Manchester United. Manchester City catch Wolves coming off a long trip to Turkey, where they only played on Thursday night. I feel the curse of the Europa League Thursday/Sunday dichotomy is likely to be a factor once again, with City cruising to a comfortable victory.
Game of the Week: Liverpool vs Leicester City
This weekend’s game of the week focuses on the Saturday afternoon clash between Liverpool and Leicester at Anfield, which surprisingly will not be a televised game in the UK. This is the second Leicester game this season that’s wrongfully missed out on TV coverage, with Manchester United vs Leicester also not shown 3 weeks back.
Liverpool come into this off the back of throwing away a three-goal lead at home to Red Bull Salzburg in midweek, before eventually recovering to get the win. Despite the Reds picking up the victory, the match shone an unflattering light on the team’s continuing problems at the back. In their 11 matches this season, Liverpool have kept their opponents out on just 3 occasions- relying heavily on their prolific forward line to bail them out, averaging 2.36 goals a game.
Leicester were many peoples’ dark horses to break into the Premier League’s top six this season, and Leicester have certainly lived up to the hype thus far. The Foxes looked razor sharp in front of goal last week in their 5-0 destruction of Newcastle United, and the attacking threat carried by both teams, combined with both teams’ consistent inability to keep clean sheets, makes the “both teams to score” market a highly attractive option, at best odds of 5/6. Both teams registered in each of the last four meetings between the two and everything is seemingly in place for the goals to fly in at either end this weekend.
Leicester incredibly come away with 5 players in the combined XI, with the goalkeeping position going to Leicester’s Schmeichel, as Adrian is widely expected to continue in goal for Liverpool for another week. Chilwell and Robertson both offer plenty going forward, but the Leicester man gives you a little more in a defensive capacity. Leicester get the edge in midfield, as I feel like Tielemans and Maddison are capable of walking into any EPL team, with the exception of Manchester City. Tielemans is a totally complete midfielder- and it was a huge get for Leicester to sign him after he shined during his loan spell- while Maddison is the second best creative midfielder in the league, behind City’s Kevin DeBruyne. Jamie Vardy is a somewhat controversial choice up top, but he manages to outscore Roberto Firmino nearly every season.
With 16 Premier League victories on the spin and an unbeaten home record that stretches back to April 2017, I think Liverpool will have too much for Leicester. However, it certainly won’t be an easy day at the office, and I expect Leicester to remain bang in the conversation for large periods.