After the international break, the English Premier League is back with loads more excitement and engaging matches (including the Manchester Derby) to come. This is The Mastermind‘s Preview and Predicted Scores for Matchday 4 in the Barclays Premier League.
Manchester United 2-2 Manchester City
The weekend starts off brightly with one of the events of the year, the Manchester Derby. Manchester City currently sit top of the table with Manchester United just -1 behind in the point differential department. Both sides have looked incredible to start this season and this could be the beginning of the fantastic title race that is to come between these two sides and their other lead rival Chelsea. One of the tastiest things about this encounter is the renewed rivalry between Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola, facing each other again after despising each other in their La Liga days with Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively. Stars like Paul Pogba, Wayne Rooney, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, David Silva and Kevin de Bruyne will all be on show but Manchester City will have to do without their star man Sergio Aguero who sits out due to suspension. Although the two Manchester derbies of last year were not the most entertaining, there is no reason to suggest that this one won’t be anything less than an incredible contest.
Man of the Match: Kevin de Bruyne
Key Matchup: John Stones vs. Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Manchester United – De Gea, Valencia, Bailly, Blind, Shaw, Fellaini, Pogba, Martial, Rooney, Mata, Ibrahimovic
Marcus Rashford will be knocking on the door waiting for a call into the first eleven this match but might have to bide his time on the bench for a little while longer. Mkhitaryan also picked up an injury whilst on international duty for Armenia and as a result may only be fit enough for the bench again. As a result, Jose Mourinho’s lineup is likely to remain unchanged again as it has done all season.
Manchester City – Bravo, Sagna, Stones, Otamendi, Clichy, Fernandinho, Sterling, de Bruyne, Silva, Nolito, Iheanacho
Claudio Bravo looks set to make his debut for Guardiola at City after his arrival from Barcelona was confirmed a little over a week ago. Bacary Sagna also returns from injury and is likely to feature instead of Pablo Zabaleta, while Kelechi Iheanacho looks the most likely replacement in the team for the suspended Sergio Aguero.
Arsenal 2-0 Southampton
Arsenal finally secured their first win of the season last week in a thumping 3-1 victory over Watford and now look a steady unit again ready to take on the 2016-17 Barclays Premier League season. Most of Arsenal’s unfit players are seemingly fit again for this match so a much more normal and cohesive Arsenal eleven looks set to feature. Claude Puel’s side meanwhile have been dreadful so far this season and unfortunately, that doesn’t look likely to change this Saturday.
Man of the Match: Laurent Koscielny
Key Matchup: Mesut Ozil vs. Oriol Romeu
Arsenal – Cech, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Xhaka, Cazorla, Walcott, Ozil, Sanchez, Giroud
Ramsey is the one doubt for this match in terms of what might normally be Wenger’s first choice eleven for his team this year as the Welsh international continues to try and regain fitness after his exertions at Euro 2016. Olivier Giroud on the other hand should be set for a return to the starting 11, pushing Alexis Sanchez out wide. German international Shkodran Mustafi should also be set for his first game in an Arsenal shirt after arriving in the closing stages of the Summer Transfer Window.
Southampton – Forster, Cedric, Fonte, Van Dijk, Bertrand, Romeu, Davis, Ward-Prowse, Tadic, Redmond, Long
Southampton’s lineup will certainly be one to keep an eye on as Claude Puel’s diamond formation clearly hasn’t worked out so far and on top of that, the club smashed their transfer record fee to sign Moroccan international Sofiane Boufal from LOSC Lille last week. The addition of Boufal may mean that the Saints revert to a more customary 4-2-3-1 and Nathan Redmond goes back to play as a right winger. However, I believe that Puel’s men will continue to lineup in their diamond formation to start and that Boufal will have to wait to feature as a substitute. Ryan Bertrand is the only likely change to the side as he returns from injury and knocks Matt Targett out of the side.
Middlesbrough 2-1 Crystal Palace
Middlesbrough have started the season off brightly and are unbeaten so far, while Crystal Palace only have one point on the board so far after Scott Dann’s equalizing header last game against Bournemouth. Both sides will be hard to break down but Middlesbrough may have the upper hand again.
Man of the Match: George Friend
Key Matchup: George Friend vs. Wilfried Zaha
Middlesbrough – Guzan, Chambers, Ayala, Gibson, Friend, Clayton, Forshaw, Stuani, Ramirez, Downing, Negredo
George Friend and Marten de Roon are both back from injuries but the latter may have to wait to earn a permanent spot back in the starting eleven after Adam Forshaw impressed in his place. Brad Guzan will also probably play instead of Victor Valdes while Calum Chambers looks set to make his Boro debut after securing a loan move from Arsenal last week.
Crystal Palace – Mandanda, Ward, Dann, Delaney, Souare, Ledley, McArthur, Zaha, Puncheon, Townsend, Benteke
Christian Benteke is likely to start up top instead of Connor Wickham and could provide Crystal Palace a better opportunity to win this match.
Stoke 1-3 Tottenham Hotspur
Stoke have been terrible to start this season as they sit bottom of the table. Tottenham meanwhile have had a bit of a rocky start but still remain unbeaten and look pretty much as good as they did last year. Wilfried Bony could add some firepower up front for Stoke but the stable and steady Spurs defense will likely be able to shut that out fairly comfortably.
Man of the Match: Erik Lamela
Key Matchup: Dele Alli vs. Gianelli Imbula
Stoke – Given, Bardsley, Shawcross, Cameron, Pieters, Whelan, Imbula, Allen, Bojan, Bony, Arnautovic
Joe Allen had another impressive performance for Wales in midweek in their 4-0 win over Moldova and will likely retain a place in Stoke’s XI on Saturday. Geoff Cameron also looks prepared to start at centre-back after an impressive performance in that position against Everton last week and for his national team, USA, against Trinidad & Tobago. The most notable change is the addition of Manchester City rejectee Wilfried Bony who will be looking to regain his confidence in front of the net and get off to a flying start to his Stoke career with a debut goal.
Tottenham Hotspur – Vorm, Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies, Dier, Wanyama, Lamela, Alli, Eriksen, Kane
Danny Rose picked up an injury during England’s match against Slovakia and could be replaced in the side by Ben Davies. Eric Dier could also fill that role if Pocchettino wants to start Moussa Sissoko right away after his big money move from Newcastle. Dele Alli also looks likely to start ahead of Vincent Janssen while a struggling Harry Kane will retain his place as captain of the team in the absence of Hugo Lloris.
Bournemouth 1-1 West Bromwich Albion
Both sides have looked a bit sleepy and toothless to start this season so a draw could be a likely result. Jack Wilshere will be one to keep an eye on after making a loan move from Arsenal on deadline day while Nacer Chadli could also be a prominent figure for West Brom after his deadline day move from Spurs. West Brom’s defence as always could be nearly impossible to break down, but going the other way, Berahino isn’t going to be the answer to find the back of the net. A nil-nil or 1-1 draw is the most likely result.
Man of the Match: Gareth McAuley
Key Matchup: Joshua King vs. Jonny Evans
Bournemouth – Boruc, A. Smith, Francis, Cook, Daniels, Arter, Surman, Wilshere, Ibe, C. Wilson, King
Bournemouth look set to deploy a 4-3-3 with the addition of the always-exciting Jack Wilshere to their side. Josh King is one of just two Bournemouth players to score in the Premier League this season and will likely be the main man for the Cherries up front again.
West Brom – Foster, Dawson, McAuley, Evans, Galloway, Fletcher, Yacob, Phillips, Gardner, Chadli, Rondon
West Brom made a lot of new signings on deadline day and as a result could look a very different side from the one that featured last match against Middlesbrough. Hal-Robson Kanu is an exciting addition to West Brom’s lifeless attack but he may have to wait for a more permanent role in the side. Nacer Chadli should also feature after arriving from Spurs while another new-signing, Allan Nyom probably won’t earn a spot in the XI ahead of Craig Dawson.
Burnley 1-1 Hull City
Burnley vs. Hull City is probably the hardest match to call this weekend. Although Hull City have started incredibly brightly, Burnley are always very organized and disciplined at the back and always look a stronger side at home. This could be a high-pressure affair but the two sides might just cancel each other out and end up finishing with a draw.
Man of the Match: Curtis Davies
Key Matchup: Andre Gray vs. Curtis Davies
Burnley – Heaton, Lowton, Keane, Mee, Ward, Boyd, Hendrick, Defour, Arfield, Vokes, Gray
Jeff Hendrick looks set to start after arriving from Derby County on deadline day but other than that the side looks set to remain unchanged.
Hull – Jakupovic, Elmohamady, Livermore, C. Davies, Robertson, Mason, Huddlestone, Clucas, Snodgrass, A. Hernandez, Diomande
Hull City look likely to continue with a 4-3-3 under Mike Phelan with Ryan Mason coming straight into the side after arriving from Totenham Hotspur last week. Curtis Davies has made all three Mastermind team of the week’s so far and could be set to do so again with another strong performance against Burnley.
West Ham 2-1 Watford
Dimitri Payet is back and could be prepared to take West Ham United back up to their full potential this season starting with an inevitable win against Watford. Michail Antonio will also play a crucial role in the Hammers’ setup while if Winston Reid and James Collins can contain Troy Deeney, Watford will be unlikely to find the back of the net let alone win.
Man of the Match: Dimitri Payet
Key Matchup: Winston Reid vs. Troy Deeney
West Ham – Adrian, Byram, Reid, Collins, Masuaku, Kouyate, Noble, Antonio, Payet, Lanzini, Zaza
Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini could both come back into the side and will be essential to West Ham’s chances of winning this match. Simone Zaza could also play up top after arriving from Juventus towards the end of the transfer window.
Watford – Gomes, Kaboul, Prodl, Kabasele, Janmaat, Capoue, Behrami, Pereyra, Holebas, Deeney, Ighalo
Watford need a lot of help defensively and it’s possible that Darryl Janmaat can be the man to help them out a little more. Roberto Pereyra could also come into the side after scoring against Arsenal last match.
Liverpool 2-2 Leicester City
With Klopp, Mane, Coutinho and more all on Liverpool’s side they may look the more likely team to win this match but the foxes can be incredibly hard to break down and are very resilient in attack, never taking no for an answer. There will be plenty of star-power on show in Saturday’s late encounter and goals are certainly to be expected. If any team are going to come out on top in this fixture it will be the Reds. But, I predict a draw to be the most likely result instead.
Man of the Match: Sadio Mane
Key Matchup: Philippe Coutinho vs. Danny Simpson
Liverpool – Karius, Clyne, Lovren, Matip, Milner, Lallana, Henderson, Wijanldum, Mane, Firmino, Coutinho
Coutinho is doubtful but will likely be fit to start. Adam Lallana meanwhile has had a great start to the season so far and looked very impressive on international duty, scoring for England against Slovakia. Milner is also likely to continue as a left-back, while Matip secures a spot over Ragnar Klavan for the second week in a row. Loris Karius could also be prepared to make his Premier League debut in goal after recovering from a broken hand.
Leicester City – Zieler, Simpson, Huth, Morgan, Fuchs, Mahrez, King, Drinkwater, Musa, Okazaki, Vardy
Kasper Schemichel injured himself last time out against Swansea City but is back in training and could be fit enough to play on Saturday. However, the more likely scenario is that German goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler who is by the way a very good goalkeeper and is second choice for his national team to Manuel Neuer, earns himself a full debut in goal for the Champions. Ranieri may also decide to go with pace and power against Liverpool which could mean Musa features instead of Marc Albrighton while Shinji Okazaki is likely to edge out new-singing Islam Slimani up top with Jamie Vardy.
Swansea 0-3 Chelsea
Whenever Chelsea play Swansea, it’s pretty much a guaranteed win for the Blues. Eden Hazard will likely lead his side to another 3-0 victory just as he did two weeks ago against Burnley and Antonio Conte’s side will have no difficulty dealing with anything the Swans throw at them.
Man of the Match: Eden Hazard
Key Matchup: Eden Hazard vs. Kyle Naughton
Chelsea – Courtois, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Kante, Matic, Willian, Oscar, Hazard, D. Costa
Despite Marcos Alonso and David Luiz coming in the door Chelsea’s side look set to remain unchanged again. Diego Costa has scored 5 goals in just 3 appearances against the Swans and probably will have another good afternoon again this Sunday. N’Golo Kante will also be important for Chelsea in breaking up attacks as Nemanja Matic continues to keep Cesc Fabregas out of the side.
Swansea – Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Amat, Taylor, Cork, Fer, Barrow, Sigurdsson, Routledge, Llorente
Swansea continue with their normal 4-2-3-1 with Llorente up top instead of the still injured Borja Baston. Neil Taylor will hopefully be fit to start his first game of the season ahead of Stephen Kingsley who’s done decently well in his place.
Sunderland 0-1 Everton
Monday night’s encounter sees David Moyes’ struggling Sunderland side take on an unbeaten Ronald Koeman Everton team. Koeman has done exceptionally well to start his Everton career and probably won’t have any difficulty getting past a Sunderland who are seriously lacking cohesion to start this season.
Man of the Match: Mason Holgate
Key Matchup: Romelu Lukaku vs. Papy Djilobodji
Sunderland – Mika, Manquillo, Djilobodji, L. Kone, Van Aanholt, Rodwell, McNair, Gooch, Januzaj, Watmore, Defoe
Sunderland’s new goalkeeper, Mika, signed just yesterday (Wednesday) looks prepared to start in goal due to the injury to Vito Mannone. Players such as Paddy McNair, Adnan Januzaj and Lynden Gooch haven’t done anything impressive to start this season but remain likely to start.
Everton – Stekelenburg, Holgate, Jagielka, Williams, Baines, Gueye, Barry, Deulofeu, Barkley, Mirallas, Lukaku
Mason Holgate has been one of the most pleasant surprises to start this Premier League season and looks likely to continue told hold down a place in the XI due to the injury woes of Seamus Coleman.
So there it is! The Mastermind‘s Preview and Predicted Scores for Gameweek 4 in the Barclays Premier League. Be sure to check out our other articles under the Barclays Premier League heading for more from around the league. And be sure to be back after Gameewek 4 is over for another edition of Team of the Week.