After a midweek set of fixtures which saw a bagful of goals, this weekend looks like it could potentially be another cracker.
Saturday 12:45 – Tottenham Hotspurs vs Sunderland
On paper this looks like a home win banker. After a disappointing defeat midweek Tottenham will be looking to bounce back with a convincing win. The last time Spurs lost at home was to Newcastle, 2-1, and the next fixture was against Norwich where they blitzed the East Anglian club 3-0.
However, they come up against a Sunderland side and an in form Jermain Defoe. Under Sam Allardyce, Sunderland have only failed to score in one match away this season, which includes fixtures vs Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal.
The stats say it will be a Spurs win with both teams to score so you may have to avoid defenders for either side. However, if you were going to pick a defender Toby Alderweireld should definitely be considered.
The Belgian defender has been an ever present and has formed a formidable partnership with Jan Verthongen. His tackling efficiency is very high due to Spurs playing such a high line and battling one on one vs strikers, which gains bonus points. As well as his defensive ability, his distribution from the back has been great too. His link up play with Dele Alli has created many chances too.
Dele Alli – Cheap and very, very cheerful.
I think this man has to go into your team this weekend. Sunderland concede goals away from home, and they usually concede against attack minded midfielders making runs from deeper areas.
De Bruyne, Ramsey, Pedro are all players who have all scored at home to Sunderland. Allardyce plays a very deep line and strikers usually find it difficult to gain space in the box. So, Alli appears to be the main goalscoring threat based on form.
Jermain Defoe – The diminutive forward is against his old club and usually has a habit when scoring against previous employers. He is in great form and the recent addition to N’Doye to the Stadium of Light, Defoe will show that he isn’t the man to be sat on the bench and will be looking to build on his hat trick against Swansea midweek.
Saturday 15:00 – Manchester City vs Crystal Palace
A tough game to call. Manchester City are usually very efficient at home in the Premier League but then again Crystal Palace are better at home than away this year.
Their lacklustre midweek performance against bottom of the table Aston Villa must be some cause of concern for Alan Pardew. No Yannick Bolasie and Yohan Cabaye is still a doubt despite playing midweek but looking far from his best.
Yaya Toure – The midfielder has come under a lot of criticism this year but the midfielder has got City out of plenty of trouble this year with key goals. Palace will look to shut up shop and play on the break and Toure always seems to come up with the goods in times of struggle when breaking a team down.
Scott Dann – The central defender has been solid for Palace this season and I can imagine, following conceding their first goal from a corner midweek, that Keith Millen (assistant manager and in charge of set pieces at Palace) will have just gone through set pieces at training for the past couple of days. Manchester City are unbelievably vulnerable when defending set pieces so Dann will fancy his chances with no Vincent Kompany in the side.
Saturday 15:00 – Chelsea vs Everton
Everyone thought the rise of Chelsea was upon us but a draw at home to West Bromwich Albion in midweek means another setback for Hiddink’s team.
This won’t be an easy task for Chelsea as Everton have only lost one away game in the Premier League in their last eleven keeping five clean sheets. A midfield battle appears to be the likely outcome here but I think Chelsea will just snatch a victory.
I’d avoid putting in any Everton players due to heavy fixture congestion with FA Cup and League Cup commitments but Branislav Ivanovic is the in form player in this game.
The right back seems to have found his form from last season notching up goal and assist points since the arrival of Hiddink. Without Jagielka, Everton look unconvincing from crosses into the box and Ivanovic will be looking to take advantage with his bullish style.
Saturday 15:00 – AFC Bournemouth vs Norwich City
A crucial game for the two newly promoted sides. Both aren’t in the best of form results wise, but performance wise, Bournemouth have been performing above themselves these past few weeks.
Eddie Howe’s men will score at home to Norwich but it’s who is going to score the goal or create the chance.
New signing Benick Afobe looks likely to build on his debut and so does Juan Iturbe. I think both will be looking to impress this weekend and it wouldn’t be a surprise if either of them has a real influence on the game, with the attack minded players being able to play their natural game under influencial boss Eddie Howe.
Saturday 15:00 – Southampton vs West Bromwich Albion
All the makings for a 0-0 draw. Southampton’s inability to score consistently appears to be a real problem and the reason why they are not replicating the success of last season. And with a Tony Pulis side you know what you are going to get.
The positive in midweek for Southampton was the return of Fraser Forster and he seemed to be a massive influence in a 2-0 win against Watford.
Southampton definitely have the ability to keep a clean sheet this weekend against a West Brom who aren’t renown for their goalscoring power. At 4.8m as well he could be one that makes you money in the long term too.
Saturday 15:00 – Newcastle United vs West Ham United
West Ham are currently on the longest unbeaten run in the Premier League going eight matches unbeaten winning their previous three league matches. Newcastle are in polar opposite form who haven’t won in five premier league games.
Dimitri Payet is the obvious choice with the playmaker coming back from injury and returning straight to form.
Newcastle have players in their side who have the ability to be rash around the box too. Jack Colback, Fabriccio Colocinni and Paul Dummett are all suspect to giving away needless free kicks around the box and Payet’s quality will punish them this week.
Saturday 17:30 – Aston Villa vs Leicester City
All the stats show that goals shouldn’t be on the cards down at Villa Park this weekend. With Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez’s goalscoring form drying up Leicester aren’t the free scoring outfit like they were in the first half of the year.
The most likely player to have the key to score against Leicester City is forward Jordan Ayew. Brother to Swansea’s Andre has scored 5 goals in 16 appearances and is almost certain to lead the line for an Aston Villa side who need to win to stand any chance of staying up.
Sunday 14:05 – Liverpool vs Manchester United
This is a game that could go either way and for me all depends on team selection. As crazy as it seems, if Juan Mata plays I think Liverpool will win the tie and win impressively.
With Mata in the side, United do not possess pace down both flanks to move up the pitch quickly. If Juan does play, United’s build up will be slow and methodical and Klopp’s “gegenpress” will catch out weak links in possession such as Marouane Fellaini or Chris Smalling to win the ball back high up the pitch.
With Liverpool’s defensive problem in terms of personnel and with Wayne Rooney hitting good form, and no other striker in great form other than Giroud and Lukaku, this could be the player to gain points on your competitors in your league. Rooney loves to play against Liverpool and you will guarantee he will put his heart and sole into the performance.
For Liverpool there are no real stand out players who produce points on a consistent basis. Maybe not for this weekend but players like Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana could be put in this weekend as after the United game they have an easy four game run where they should be able to score plenty of goals.
Sunday 16:15 – Stoke City vs Arsenal
Not a great place for Arsenal over the years and this is an opportunity for Arsene Wenger and his men to show how serious their title push is. The standout performers have to be Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud.
The pair have been outstanding through the current Arsenal run of form. Stoke are the big team killers though this year and Arnautovic and company will be looking to cause the upset of the weekend.
Monday 20:00 – Swansea City vs Watford
After the double award of manager of the month and player of the month for Quique Sanches Flores and Odion Ighalo – Watford will be looking to rectify their terrible midweek performance. As will Swansea, both teams will be looking to bounce back. A lack of goals looks like it could be the most likely outcome for both these teams. I think you are better off choosing players in the previous nine Premier League fixtures.