August 25, 2018 By Fabian Odhiambo
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Manchester City
Last Five Meetings: W0 D1 L4
Fab Says: The champions are running away with this, ain’t they? It’s only end of August, just two games played but they top the table and have outscored everyone. A visit to Molineux should have been tricky before the start of the league, but not anymore. It should be said that Wolves have a decent squad but the visit of the Citizens comes a bit too early. A routine win for the favourites.
Bobo Says: Manchester City seems unstoppable at the moment. While they remain coy about their achievements last year, they are even scarier this season and it appears like they may have an easier ride to the trophy compared to their record breaking title last season. Wolves have a good team but they are still rather naïve and I don’t think they have the quality to beat or even get a point from the Citizens. They have to wait longer for three points.
Arsenal v West Ham United
Last Five Meetings: W4 D1 L0
Fab Says: It’s the worst start for Arsenal in years, albeit under new management. The doctors say sometimes it gets worse before it gets better. Gooners will claim that’s the same here, but it has to start getting better fast, preferably in this fixture where they’ve been dominant. The Hammers too are finding life a bit tough under the new regime of Manuel Pellegrini, who’s yet to charm is way before Lady Luck. Jack Wilshere returns hoping to haunt his former employers, which only means his miserable afternoon will be compounded by a sending off. Heh! Unai Emery should be able to finally get lift off in his Arsenal career.
Bobo Says: Emery era (Emera, no?) has begun on a rather low note. To be fair though, the man got rather difficult matches to work with and the worst can be said to be over for now. The Hammers will not make it easy for Arsenal but Arsenal have the quality to get over this hurdle quite comfortably.
Bournemouth v Everton
Last Five Meetings: W2 D0 L3
Fab Says: The Cherries are high flying at the moment and go into this fixture which has provided a lot of goals and drama in the recent past. Everton too are yet to taste defeat and it seems they have taken wholly into Marco Silva’s dogma, but there’s still the feeling of them not being fully versed with his style yet. There will be goals alright, but evenly shared.
Bobo Says: The Cherries have started really well and they seem very well organized. Everton have started well too and star man Richarlison is proving to be worth every million paid for him so far. However, I expect that the Cherries will continue riding on their good form and will just nick this.
Huddersfield Town v Cardiff City
Last Five Meetings: W0 D1 L4
Fab Says: The Terriers are coming off an almighty pasting at Man City but generally won’t feel too downcast as it was rather expected. It is games like this visit of newly promoted Cardiff that they will feel the real need of winning. Effectively, this is an early relegation six-pointer. Cardiff registered their first point in the 0-0 draw with Newcastle last weekend, but really, they have to start scoring goals. Huddersfield is an opponent against whom that is well possible, but given their disastrous start so far, it won’t be any easy. This is a contest in which no one will want to cede an inch and will be as dour as they come, though I fancy the home side to just nick it.
Bobo Says: Cardiff showed some grit to get a point against Newcastle. They come up against a totally different opponent this time. Huddersfield will need to rise above the disastrous loss to Manchester City, a team that is a gulf away in terms of class to overcome the newly promoted team. I think Cardiff have more than enough to hold on though.
Southampton v Leicester City
Last Five Meetings: W1 D2 L2
Fab Says: Jamie Vardy misses out courtesy of a sending off last weekend and that kind of alters the dynamics of this match a bit. You just wonder who will pop up and take up the goalscoring responsibilities for the Foxes, even if James Maddison got on the scoresheet against Wolves. The Saints on the other hand made what certainly seems a shrewd acquisition of Danny Ings from Liverpool and he already has broken his duck. Might he be the difference? I think so.
Bobo Says: Southampton have a relatively good defense and this should benefit from the absence of Jamie Vardy for Leicester. This is a good opportunity for the Saints to get their three points and I think that they will.
Liverpool v Brighton & Hove Albion
Last Four Meetings: W4 D0 L0
Fab Says: Liverpool have embraced the tag of Man City’s chief chasers with aplomb and won’t be stepping off the gas any soon. Their squad exhibits strength everywhere on the pitch and maybe Brighton will feel even more grateful for their giant-killing 3-2 win over Man United last Sunday, because that lightning isn’t about to strike again at Anfield.
Bobo Says: Liverpool will be facing a very stubborn Brighton side that has the benefit of just beating Manchester United. Brighton will be riding high but will this be sufficient to beat a ruthless Liverpool side? I don’t think so. But I do think that Brighton can cause just enough trouble and get some points at Anfield.
Watford v Crystal Palace
Last Five Meetings: W0 D2 L3
Fab Says: 2 wins out of 2. That’s how the script reads for Watford, somewhat surprising given that they had been penciled for a long relegation fight. Palace started impressively at Fulham, but were just unable to crack a resolute Liverpool defense on Monday night. Then again that can be put down to the massive gulf in quality between the two. In Watford they find a team that looks like their peers and so you can expect the Eagles to be up for it. Both teams should be able to score a goal or even two in an entertaining share of the spoils.
Bobo Says: This should be an entertaining match. Watford are looking very well organized and Crystal Palace have the quality to just about match them. Crystal Palace are very well organized too and they are quite entertaining. I think this will be a close one and I go with Fab’s scoreline.
Fulham v Burnley
Last Five Meetings: W1 D1 L3
Fab Says: I had quite high hopes on Fulham but really, as they too have found out, top flight football is a whole different kettle of fish. Against Spurs in the derby last weekend they looked totally out of it by the 70th minute and will feel relieved that Burnley will come into this clash after a difficult trip to Piraeus in the Europa League qualifiers. For Burnley, it will be a case of balancing between a decent showing in Greece and reserving some energy for Fulham. That said, I think the Cottagers just might take advantage.
Bobo Says: Burnley have gone on with the Sean Dyche effect on goalkeepers and are very solid at the back. Fulham will have a hard time breaking them up. However, Fulham seem to be growing from strength to strength as the team gels and adapts to the PL and they should get the three points.
Newcastle United v Chelsea
Last Five Meetings: W1 D1 L3
Fab Says: Chelsea may have won three of the last five meetings with Newcastle, but they just never fare well at Tyneside. Indeed they haven’t won in the North East for 7 years now. The Blues have collected maximum points from their games so far, while the Magpies only one. Thus history and logic says Chelsea will drop points this Sunday, only question is whether it will be 2 or 3. I’m sticking with history here.
Bobo Says: Chelsea’s bogey team and away too. This will be a tough test for the Blues under the new manager and the change of playing style. I do not think that Chelsea will get over a Newcastle team that will feel that they should have won it at the death last weekend. It could be a bad weekend for the Blues.
Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur
Last Five Meetings: W3 D0 L2
Fabian Says: All’s not well at Old Trafford, and hasn’t been for a while. Jose Mourinho’s frustration in the transfer window has been hard to hide, as has Paul Pogba’s displeasure (with what he cannot bring himself to say) too, especially in the lackluster display at Brighton last Sunday. Funny enough Spurs, a side that couldn’t be bothered to make signings in the summer seems to be content and in rude shape for this battle. United don’t look like knocking this off the park, though it is at such times that they have often defied the odds in the past. That side, Spurs look so damn good and Harry Kane has found his scoring boots a month earlier than customary. That cannot be good news for United. The crisis is set to burrow even deeper.
Bobo Says: Took some minutes to think about this one. Mourinho doesn’t like losing against ‘big teams’ despite how poor the outlook is for his team. Man United have won 21 of their 26 home PL matches against Spurs (D3 L2). They have won in each of the last four without conceding a goal. Do we go with history on this or form? I am going with form and I think Spurs have the quality to take the three points and make the situation worse at Old Trafford.