There are only a few days left to make your predictions for the weekend’s Premier League games so here’s a quick look at a few important fixtures ahead of the first whistle on Saturday afternoon:
Arsenal vs. Sunderland
Nine games in, and Sunderland are still looking for their first win of the season but they won’t get it from Arsenal. The Gunners are unbeaten since August 14th while the Black Cats have lost all but two games so far. Arsenal will be without Chuba Akpom (back injury) but his absence gives newcomer, Lucas Perez, an opportunity to stake a claim for the first team. Per Mertesacker and Danny Welbeck are unavailable for Arsenal, while Granit Xhaka is suspended.
It’s hard to see Sunderland getting a point from Saturday’s game (they’re 6/1 for a 2-0 loss with Betway, for example) and their recent defeat to a 94th minute goal against West Ham says everything about their run of luck lately. They also have a raft of injuries, including Steven Pienaar, Adnan Januzaj among seven others.
Outcome: Arsenal win
Manchester United vs. Burnley
It’s no slight on Burnley but these are the kind of games that Manchester United can’t afford to lose. However, Jose Mourinho’s side have been unpredictable of late; they haven’t won a game since their 4-1 victory over Leicester in September and they’ve been goalless since the beginning of the month. They’re also without Marouane Fellaini and Eric Bailly.
Burnley are awful away from home, a trait that will obviously work in United’s favour, but the Clarets will welcome back striker, Andre Gray, and (possibly) the injured Steven Defour before Saturday’s encounter. Burnley are 18/1 for the win with the bookies, however, meaning that they will probably play for a draw at best.
Outcome: United win
Liverpool vs. Crystal Palace
An interesting fact for this game – Liverpool vs. Palace will have the same referee (Andre Marriner) as it did last season, despite the awarding of a penalty for a blatant dive by ex-Liverpool player, Christian Benteke, who now plays for Palace. It’s a lot of déjà vu so don’t be surprised if the Reds replicate their earlier victory as well.
Andre Marriner will referee our game with Crystal Palace on Saturday #LFC
— Anything Liverpool (@Anything_LFC) October 24, 2016
In a weekend of (what should be) easy games for this season’s title candidates, this fixture doesn’t particularly stand out. Liverpool, with no squad issues of note, are clear favourites at 3/10. There is something to be said for Palace as a potential ‘banana skin’ team for Liverpool, however; the Londoners have won three of their last five Premier League encounters with the Reds.
Outcome: Liverpool win
Manchester City vs. West Bromwich
If Man City can end their recent run of average form (they haven’t won in five, in all competitions), this fixture should be a routine win for the league leaders. The Baggies will almost certainly park the bus at the Hawthorns, a tactic that worked well against Spurs recently, so it’ll be up to Sergio Agüero and company to break them down.
City have lost Bacary Sagna, Fabian Delph, Kevin De Bruyne, and Pablo Zabaleta to injury but it might not matter on the night; the Albion haven’t beaten the Northerners in six years, losing nine on the bounce. James McClean is the only injury worry for West Brom. The Irishman has a cut on his leg.
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Leicester
Leicester put up one of the weakest defences to a Premier League title win ever in their first seven games, and it hasn’t gone much better for the unlikely champions since. The Foxes are stuck at 12th in the table, with 100% of their 11 points coming at home. Midfielder, Andy King, should be available for Saturday’s game despite picking up an injury in Leicester’s win over Crystal Palace at the weekend.
Tottenham (4/7 for the win) are undefeated in the league all season, testament to their low scoring (they’ve scored six less than Chelsea) and very defensive style of play. They’re likely to miss both Toby Alderweireld and Harry Kane, which is a blow. With Leicester’s away form in mind, Saturday’s encounter is a definite opportunity for Spurs, but Tottenham’s recent run of draws may be a better indicator of which way this weekend’s result will go.
Elsewhere in the Premier League on Saturday, Watford play Hull and Middlesbrough host Bournemouth. On Sunday, West Ham make the trip to Merseyside to take on Everton while Chelsea are away at Southampton. The only remaining encounter, Stoke vs. Swansea, takes place on Monday.