After the international break, the English Premier League is back with loads more excitement and engaging matches. This weekend will include N’Golo Kante returning to his former side when the champions of last season, Leicester City, take on the champions of two seasons ago Chelsea, Arsene Wenger coming up against his bogey team Swansea City and a tasty battle between Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool and Mourinho’s Manchester United. This is The Mastermind‘s Preview and Predicted Scores for Matchday 8 in the Barclays Premier League.
Chelsea 2-1 Leicester City
Although last season’s Champions Leicester City have looked excellent in the UEFA Champions League, they’ve struggled to cope against the big sides in the Premier League so far this season. With massive losses against Arsenal and Liverpool, the Foxes have struggled to cope without their key man of last year N’Golo Kante and this match against Chelsea will illustrate once and for all how important the Frenchman was to their setup. If Kante plays a massive role in helping his new side claim victory and the Foxes continue to lose midfield battles without him, we’ll know for sure just how important he was to their title win of last year. Chelsea’s very slow and sluggish defense may struggle against the pacey Jamie Vardy but in the end with Diego Costa and surprise star Victor Moses firing on all cylinders and grabbing the goals, Chelsea will come out as 2-1 victors.
Man of the Match: Diego Costa
Chelsea (3-4-3): Courtois, Cahill, Terry, Luiz, M. Alonso, Kante, Matic, Azpilicueta, Moses, Costa, Hazard
Willian will not feature this weekend due to the sad loss of his mother. Victor Moses is likely to feature in his place. Meanwhile Antonio Conte is likely to stick with a three man defense and wing-backs as John Terry makes a return to the side.
Leicester City (4-4-2): Schmeichel, Simpson, Huth, Morgan, Fuchs, Mahrez, Amartey, Drinkwater, Albrighton, Slimani, Vardy
Daniel Amartey will continue as a central midfielder despite not doing anything of note in that position so far this season. His partner Danny Drinkwater on the other hand could be the key man to unlock Chelsea’s stagnant defence with a killer pass.
Manchester City 2-1 Everton
Manchester City’s defence is not perfect by any means and when under constant pressure from Romelu Lukaku and Yannick Bolasie they might find it hard to cope with the Toffees at times. However, the Citizens are still far too good going forward and if they can get Kevin de Bruyne fit in time for the match, they will have no problem at all at rolling over Ronald Koeman’s Everton.
Man of the Match: David Silva
Manchester City (4-1-4-1): Bravo, Zabaleta, Stones, Otamendi, Kolarov, Fernandinho, Nolito, Gundogan, Silva, Sterling, Aguero
Raheem Sterling and Kevin de Bruyne are both doubts for the game but the former is more likely to feature than the latter. Kompany was back only for a minute before getting injured again and doesn’t stand a chance at featuring in this one while Fernandinho continues to sit in the whole in between attack and defense and will undoubtedly be a key figure in this match.
Everton (4-3-3): Stekelenburg, Coleman, Jagielka, Williams, Baines, Cleverly, Gueye, Barry, Barkley, Lukaku, Bolasie
Ronald Koeman’s side has been ever-changing so far this season and it looks like it will change again as Tom Cleverly starts to get a run back in the side. Ross Barkley will also continue to start despite his poor stat to the season as Romelu Lukaku leads the line up front.
Stoke City 2-1 Sunderland
The only side that has been worse this season than Stoke has been Sunderland so it will be extremely interesting to see how these two do when they square off on Saturday. The Potters and the Black Cats are the only two teams to remain winless so far this season but Stoke might just finally grab their first win of the season due to David Moyes’ side being the new Aston Villa. Marko Arnautovic and Xherdan Shariqi both starred during the international break and if they can carry that form over to Premier League this weekend they may be able to lead Stoke to victory.
Man of the Match: Marko Arnautovic
Stoke City (4-2-3-1): Grant, Bardsley, Shawcross, Martins Indi, Pieters, Imbula, Cameron, Arnautovic, Allen, Shaqiri, Bony
Geoff Cameron is likely to start in midfield in place of Gianelli Imbula as he did at old Trafford while Lee Grant is likely to retain his place in between the sticks after an impressive showing against Manchester United last time out as well.
Sunderland (4-2-3-1): Pickford, Manquillo, L. Kone, Djilobodji, Van Aanholt, Ndong, Rodwell, Watmore, Gooch, Khazri, Defoe
Adnan Januzaj picked up an injury against Spurs and is unlikely to start with Wahbi Khazri his likely replacement. Jermain Defoe and Jordan Pickford will have to be on top of their games if Sunderland have any chance at beating the Potters.
West Bromwich Albion 0-3 Tottenham Hotspur
West Brom have started to look better ever since bringing Nacer Chadli in for the wasteful Saido Berahino but Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs are far too fluid to even concede a goal at the moment. Going the other way they’ve also been impeccable in front of net, scoring 9 goals in their last 4 matches. As a result Spurs will likely roll over Tony Pulis’ side and with Heung-Min Son, Alli and Lamela all in good form it could be another massive victory.
Man of the Match: Heung-Min Son
West Brom (4-2-3-1): Foster, Dawson, McAuley, Evans, Galloway, Fletcher, Yacob, Phillips, Chadli, McClean, Rondon
Nacer Chadli will have to pull off a masterclass against his former side if West Brom are going to have any shot at causing an upset while Chris Brunt still remains the only injury concern for Tony Pulis’ side.
Tottenham Hotspur (4-1-4-1): Lloris, Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose, Wanyama, Sissoko, Eriksen, Alli, Lamela, Min-Son
Moussa Sissoko is likely to start despite not doing anything noteworthy to start this season, while Harry Kane’s injury could mean Heung-Min Son continues as an auxiliary centre-forward.
Arsenal 2-1 Swansea City
Swansea City have proved to be Arsene Wenger’s bogey team in recent years and have come out victors the last two out of three times they have faced but with the way that the Gunners are going at the moment there is no reason to think that Bob Bradley’s side will come out on top again this time around. It will be interesting to see how Bradley sets up his team in his first match as Swansea manager and although he should be encouraged by the club’s recent success against Arsenal, with all of Wenger’s star men in form at the moment it will likely be another Arsenal win.
Man of the Match: Alex Iwobi
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Cech, Bellerin, Mustafi, Kosciely, Monreal, Cazorla, Xhaka, Walcott, Ozil, Iwobi, Sanchez
Nacho Monreal featured and assisted a goal in his first match for Spain in three years this past week in their 2-0 win against Albania and will likely be full of confidence in this match as well. Alex Iwobi and Theo Walcott have started the season very brightly and will be key to Arsenal’s attack as they link up with Alexis Sanchez who continues at centre forward.
Swansea City (4-3-3): Fabianski, Naughton, Van der Hoorn, Amat, N. Taylor, Fer, Cork, Ki, Routledge, Sigurdsson, Baston
With a new manager coming in, Neil Taylor is likely to return to the side after falling out of favour under Francesco Guidollin’s reign, while injuries to Fernando Llorente and Jefferson Montero should free up space for Ki Sung Yeung and Borja Baston in the side.
Bournemouth 1-0 Hull City
After a more than decent start to the season Hull City now look like one of the favourites for relegation and even despite finally appointing Mike Phelan as manager today they don’t look well-equipped enough to stop Eddie Howe’s team at home. Bournemouth’s solid defence should have no problem keeping a clean sheets against the toothless Tigers who have netted just 3 goals in their last 5 matches. Joshua King or Callum Wilson will score the goal as the Cherries ease to a 1-0 victory.
Man of the Match: Harry Arter
Bournemouth (4-2-3-1): Boruc, A. Smith, Francis, S. Cook, Daniels, Arter, Surman, Stanislas, Wilshere, King, Wilson
Joshua King might get the nod ahead of ex-Liverpool youngster Jordan Ibe who is yet to net a goal so far this campaign while Jack Wilshere continues as a number ten in front of the impressive Arter and Surman as his loan spell from Arsenal continues to be a stagnant one.
Hull City (4-3-3): Marshall, Elmohamady, Livermore, C. Davies, Robertson, Clucas, Huddlestone, Mason, Snodgrass, Mbokani, Diomande
The suspended Ahmed Elmohamady returns to the side, while David Marshall will continue in goal in place of Eldin Jakupovic who had a decent enough run at the start of this season. Livermore continues at centre half due to Michael Dawson’s injury as Diumerci Mbokani steals a place in the side away from Uruguayan Abel Hernandez for the second match in a row.
Crystal Palace 3-3 West Ham
In what is likely to be a tight and testy affair, London rivals West Ham and Crystal Palace will be at loggerheads all game long and will battle it out to a 3-3 draw. Both sides have a good mix of players in form and players yet to hit their full stride and even though Crystal Palace have been in excellent form lately they might find it hard to cope with the brilliance of Dimitri Payet and the pace and power of Michail Antonio, especially given that their captain Scott Dann is currently out injured. For Crystal Palace, Wilfried Zaha looks set to be all over this fixture as he has formed a formidable partnership with new singing Christian Benteke. In the end a draw is a likely result and we are long overdue this season for a high scoring crazy draw.
Man of the Match: Wilfried Zaha
Crystal Palace (4-2-3-1): Mandanda, Ward, Tomkins, Delaney, Kelly, Ledley, McArthur, Townsend, Puncheon, Zaha, Benteke
Pape Souare continues to recover from his horrendous car crash so Martin Kelly will continue at left-back in the time being while the front four of Townsend, Puncheon, Zaha and Benteke are all in formidable form at the moment and will do everything they can to trouble the Hammers.
West Ham (4-3-3): Adrian, Arbeloa, Reid, Collins, Ogbonna, Noble, Obiang, Kouyate, Antonio, Zaza, Payet
West Ham look out of ideas at times this season but now might be the time for someone like Simone Zaza to find his feet and put the ball in the back of the net. The main problem for the Hammers right now is of course their injury crisis and now Cresswell, Byram and Masuaku are all out injured at the exact same time so Angelo Ogbonna might have to play out of position at left-back.
Middlesbrough 1-2 Watford
Middlesbrough look really sluggish right now while Watford actually look fairly impressive. Troy Deeney will likely lead his side to another victory but the Hornets have a few other gems that could make a massive impact on this game such as Nigerian striker Isaac Success and French midfielder Etienne Capoue. In the end Walter Mazzari’s side should have enough to just edge out Aitor Karanka’s Middlesbrough by a marginal 2-1 scoreline.
Man of the Match: Troy Deeney
Middlesbrough (4-2-3-1): Valdes, Barragan, Ayala, Gibson, Friend, Forshaw, de Roon, Downing, Ramirez, Stuani, Negredo
There isn’t much to say about Middlesbrough at the moment, they honestly look really, really poor and Christhian Stuani is virtually their only player in good form at the moment. The Premier League honestly looks a bit too much for Marten de Roon and a few others to handle while their main man up top, Alvaro Negredo, doesn’t look half as good as he did at the start of the season.
Watford (4-3-3): Gomes, Zuniga, Prodl, Kaboul, Holebas, Pereyra, Behrami, Capoue, Amrabat, Deeney, Ighalo
Injuries to Daryl Janmaat and Craig Catchart mean that Juan Zuniga may be likely to start as a right-back as he did against Bournemouth while Isaac Success may have to bide his time on the bench for one more week as Nordin Amrabat continues to get the nod.
Southampton 2-0 Burnley
After a bit of a slow start for the Saints, Claude Puel’s side seemingly look up to the task again and even though his diamond formation still looks a work in progress, with Charlie Austin leading the line they look a much more fluid unit. As a result of this, Soutampton may trump to a 2-0 victory over the Clarets who have struggled to score at the best of times this season, particularly away from home.
Man of the Match: Dusan Tadic
Southampton (4-3-1-2): Forster, Cedric, Fonte, Van Dijk, Targett, Hojbjerg, Romeu, Davis, Tadic, Austin, Redmond
Claude Puel may have a problem at left-back this weekend as Ryan Bertrand picked up a knock against Malta whilst playing for England, but if Matt Targett can regain fitness in time there won’t be too much of an issue. Dusan Tadic looked unstoppable during the international break for Serbia and could play a massive role in this one while Austin and Redmond continue to lead the line.
Burnley (4-5-1): Heaton, Lowton, Keane, Mee, Ward, Gudmundsson, Hendrick, Marney, Defour, Boyd, Vokes
Steven Defour has been a shining star in Burnley’s side in recent times and with Jeff Hendrick and Dean Marney supporting him, he should be given more freedom to roam forward and help out Sam Vokes in attack. Andre Gray continues to sit out through suspension due to homophobic remarks made on Twitter.
Liverpool 3-1 Manchester United
In the juiciest encounter of the weekend, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool will take on Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United with the two managers meeting up for the first time since Borussia Dortmund smashed Real Madrid into the ground in the UEFA Champions League semi-final in 2013 on an aggregate score of 4-3. Liverpool are the team to watch this season and Manchester United’s relatively young side may not be up to the task against Klopp’s impeccable gengen-pressen. Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino will light up Anfield as Jordan Henderson runs the show from midfield. Manchester United don’t stand a chance especially with a few of their best players continuing to wrongly sit on the bench.
Man of the Match: Jordan Henderson
Liverpool (4-3-3): Karius, Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Milner, Can, Henderson, Lallana, Mane, Firmino, Coutinho
Adam Lallana and Georginio Wijnaldum are both doubts for this one so even though it’s a absurd match to throw him into, the reliable Emre Can might win his first start of the season. If Lallana isn’t fit enough to play, Klopp may revert back to Alberto Moreno at left-back and push James Milner back into the midfield or opt for youngster Jordan Stewart instead. Meanwhile the impressive Coutinho, Firmino and Mane will lead the line as ever.
Manchester United (4-2-3-1): De Gea, Valencia, Bailly, Smalling, Blind, Herrera, Pogba, Lingard, Mata, Rashford, Ibrahimovic
De Gea hasn’t had the best of starts to the 2016-17 campaign but he would be the last player that Jose Mourinho would drop from his team. Daley Blind will continue at left-back due to the minor injury to Luke Shaw while Marcus Rashford and Jessie Lingard look set to continue in the side instead of three more or less galactico players, Martial, Rooney and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
So what do you think will happen this weekend in the English Premier League? Comment below to share your thoughts! Can’t wait to see you back here after Monday night’s incredible encounter for another edition of Team of the Week and Get Him In Your Fantasy Team! See you then!