Norwich 1–1 Southampton
Tottenham 1-1 Manchester United
Watford 0-2 Leicester
Brighton 1-2 Arsenal
West Ham 1-2 Wolves
Bournemouth 1-0 Crystal Palace
Newcastle 0-0 Sheff United
Aston Villa 1-3 Chelsea
Everton 0-1 Liverpool
Manchester City 3-1 Burnley
It’s tough to make picks on the first week of behind-closed-doors football, however, when we look at stats from the Bündesliga, we saw that only 11 home teams won in the first 55 games – which is just 20% – while the road teams won an astronomical 51% of those matches. I’ve only gone for 2 home wins with my picks, truly feeling that we will see further evidence that no crowds truly neutral home advantage, with the familiarity of the surroundings, counting for very little.
I believe Leicester and Chelsea will make their extra class tell, as they move further clear of Manchester United – who will be satisfied with a point at Spurs – however, if results go according to my predictions, Wolves will go level with United in 5th. At the bottom, Norwich must open up the weekend with a win to have any chance of overcoming the 6 point deficit between themselves and the safety zone, while a Bournemouth win could result in a huge leap up the table if results go their way. A victory over Everton in Sunday will mean Liverpool are just one win away from the title, in what I feel will to be a tight and physically contested Merseyside Derby.
Game of the Week Preview-
Covid-19 certainly handed a life-line to Tottenham, who’s season had been on the verge of complete collapse following a string of poor results and injuries which threatened to derail their entire campaign.
By contrast, a Bruno Fernandes inspired Manchester United, were playing their best football of the 2019/20 season in the weeks before the hiatus, with 8 wins in 11 in all competitions, including victories over Chelsea and Manchester City.
Tottenham will be lifted by the return of their two most influential players, with Harry Kane and Son Heung-min back in the fold. This definitely makes Spurs worth a look at around 2/1, given that Mourinho has had a decent period of time to prepare him team. However, Manchester United are the rightful favourites, based on the fact that they are the in-form team here, coupled with the fact they have beaten Spurs in their last two encounters.
My combined XI is very United heavy at the back. Kane and Son’s importance is echoed by my selection of both, however, United’s Rashford and Pogba, who are also two players returning from injury, also slot straight into my team. United’s dominance in this team shows the improvement they’ve made this season, while also justifying their favouritism to win this match. By contrast, the lack of Spurs’ players also highlights the Lillywhites decline over the last 12 months.
While punters will be pounding the BTTS and Over markets, given the attackers on show, I think we will see two teams who don’t want to lose. Mourinho will be keen to avoid a defeat against his former club, while Solskjær will also want to maintain the feel good factor around Manchester United, by extending their 11-match unbeaten run.
Tottenham 1-1 Manchester United