Leeds United v Chelsea
With almost identical starts the season, Chelsea and Leeds battle it out at Elland Road, in a game that has had plenty of goals in recent meetings. 2002 was the last time Leeds were victorious against The Blues – with James Milner finding the scoresheet in the 2-0 victory. In more recent times, Chelsea have found the net 3 times in 3 out of the last 4 meetings. After letting a 2-0 lead slip last week against Southampton – stopping them from having back-to-back wins to start a league campaign, something they’ve only managed 7 times since the turn of the millennium. Both teams will feel disappointed with their 2-2 draws last week – more so Chelsea as both of their goals they conceded could/should have been disallowed. Mike Dean came out this week and admitted he was ‘wrong’ to not ask Anthony Taylor to review Romero’s hair pull on Cucurella which led to Harry Kane’s 96th minute equaliser.
Patrick Bamford hobbled off midway through the first half, give Leeds fans flashbacks from last season where the Leeds forward missed majority of the season through an ankle injury, he picked up last September. Rodrigo stepped up to the mark scoring both goals early in the second half showing his capability in front of goal… which is something Chelsea are lacking this season, all 3 of Chelsea’s goals so far this season have come from defenders or midfielders which is something new signing Raheem Sterling will want to change come Sunday evening.
Leeds injury list and Chelsea’s impressive record on the road makes it look as though the points could be heading back to London. Chelsea have picked up 19 points from a possible 24 points away from home since February. With Leeds United’s inability to keep clean sheets (5 in the last 40 PL games) and Chelsea determined to bounce back from last weeks disappointment, while Tuchel watches from the stands serving his touchline ban, we’ll be looking at Chelsea victory here. I anticipate an energetic end-to-end encounter here.
Newcastle v Manchester City
A clash between two clubs that in recent times has only gone one way! Manchester City have dominated this fixture, winning the last 6 meetings in all competitions against Newcastle. This is set to be a much tougher task than in the past though for the Citizens. The Saudi backed club are now on the up and with a few additions to the squad this summer look a much stronger proposition. I believe it is a work in progress up in the North East at the moment and although they’ve started their season well, it is a completely different ball game facing the Sky Blues.
Both defences are in tip top form coming into this one, with neither side conceding a goal in the opening two games. This particular statistic enabled me to lean on the under 4.5 goal line to be couple up with the City win. I find it hard to imagine that this game will be littered with goals, the last 14 matches in a row at St James Park have seen 4 goals or less. The Newcastle defensive unit is now streets ahead from previous years and I see this game being a tighter affair than what many may expect.
The sheer quality of Manchester City across the board is what leads me to believe they’ll pick up all three points. Erling Haaland, Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez are just 3 names off the top of my head who I know can all cause serious damage in this fixture. If they have an off day, there are numerous other players who can pick up the pieces which is why I believe the blues will win this one. With 13 wins out of 16 away from home in the Premier League, this excellent record is not to be sniffed at and my pick is City to win and under 4.5 goals.
Manchester United v Liverpool
The two most decorated English clubs come head-to-head once again in what can only be described as a ‘must win’ for both teams. Who would have thought we’d be discussing these two teams and the potential of one of them or both, potentially winless after the opening 3 Premier League fixtures. Manchester United sit rock bottom of the table after conceding 6 times in two games and only finding the net once, courtesy of an own goal on the opening day. Erik Ten Hag wants to see a ‘fighting spirit’ which he says he ‘didn’t see that from minute one’ in United’s disastrous 4-0 defeat to Brentford last weekend. The speculation surrounding Cristiano Ronaldo’s future and also the future of The Glazer family is only adding more pressure to Ten Hag but the imminent arrival of Casemiro from Real Madrid will help paper the cracks for a short period of time, the highly decorated Brazilian is hopefully the answer to all United fans prayers by filling that holding midfield position – something United have been struggling with for years now. Unfortunately, the 5-time Champions League winner won’t be available in time for Monday night.
As for Liverpool, it hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows for the Merseyside club, two draws and now their big summer signing Darwin Nunez serving a three-match ban for his headbutt on Joachim Andersen against Crystal Palace last Monday. This gives Jurgen Klopp a slight headache with Sadio Mane now plying his trade in Germany and this fixture has come to early for Diogo Jota to play any part, it’s a race against time for Roberto Firmino to get fit in time to play a part. The Brazilian has played against the Red Devils 16 times during his 7-year association with The Reds scoring 3 and assisting 3 and being on the losing side 4 times.
Both teams will be desperate to use a positive result in this game to ignite their season and previous meetings have favoured the away side, Liverpool who managed to find the net 94 times in the previous campaign, 9 of those coming against Manchester United with the fans still having nightmares of this fixture last season as many of them didn’t even stay to see Salah complete his hattrick in the 50th minute and score the final goal in the 5-0 thrashing.
Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 5 games against Monday’s opponents and I fancy them to make it 6. If this is the case, it will be United’s 5th consecutive Premier League defeat. If Liverpool are up for this game it could be another dangerous score line for Ten Hag, Luis Diaz who scored a wonderful solo equaliser for Liverpool last Monday will want to continue his impressive displays in a red shirt and the constant threat of Mohammed Salah who loves a goal against United scoring 9 in 10 games providing 2 assists in all competitions, I strongly believe Liverpool will have too much for Manchester United.
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