Bournemouth v Tottenham @ Vitality Stadium

Spurs have the chance to go top of the table, if only for a couple of hours, as they visit a rejuvenated Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium in the early kickoff on Saturday Afternoon. Spurs were left frustrated last week where, despite dominating the game, they only managed to salvage a 1-1 draw against West Brom at White Hart Lane courtesy of a last minute equaliser. Spurs have the best defence in the Premier League having only conceded 4 goals in their 8 matches to date, and, under Mauricio Pochettino, are building a balanced side that can challenge for the Title. Bournemouth will be looking to build on their best performance of the season after they annihilated Hull City 6-1 at the same ground 7 days earlier. Under promising young English Manager Eddie Howe, Bournemouth have risen to 11th on the table courtesy of winning their last 3 matches at home. In the same fixture last season Bournemouth were given a football lesson as Spurs cruised to a 5-1 victory despite Bournemouth taking the lead in the first minute of the game. 

Verdict - Spurs 2 Bournemouth 1

Expect the home side to start this game with plenty of energy in their boutique home ground that has become a grave yard for visiting teams. However, Spurs are a resilient side and I think they can soak up that pressure and secure a victory courtesy of a couple of second half goals. 


Arsenal v Middlesbrough @ Emirates Stadium

Arsenal can add to Middlesbrough's woes with a victory on Arsene Wenger's birthday on Saturday at the Emirates Stadium. The Gunners have the chance to occupy sole possession of first place on Saturday night if they beat struggling Middlesbrough, with joint leaders Manchester City not in action until Sunday. Arsenal are in a rich vein of form having won their last six Premier League matches after earning just one point from their first two fixtures. Arsenal were at time scintillating against Swansea in their 3-2 win at the Emirates, however defensively they showed familiar frailties which suggests a genuine title challenge remains a question mark. Aitor Karaoke's men are on a terrible run of form having registered just 2 points from their last six matches. Middlesbrough can count themselves a little unlucky to be sitting in 17th spot with a goal difference of just -4, having already lost 4 matches by just a single goal. The sides last met two seasons ago with Arsenal running out comfortable 2-0 winners in an FA Cup match. 

Verdict - Arsenal 4 Middlesbrough 0

It will be party time at the Emirates I feel as Arsenal are set to crush the struggling Teessiders here. The Gunners are good front runners and this is the sort of game that if they break open early, they can really show off their full array of attacking talent. 


Burnley v Everton @ Turf Moor

Everton will be looking to keep their spot in the Premier League Top 6 when they face a tricky test at Burnley on Saturday Afternoon. Everton are enjoying a resurgence under new manager Ronald Koeman, holding title favourites Manchester City to a 1-1 draw at The Etihad Stadium last week, to remain just 2 points off the Champions League places. In Romelu Lukaku, Everton have one of the form strikers in world football with Lukaku banging in 6 goals in 8 Premier League games to start the season. The imposing hit man was the subject of bids from Chelsea and Italian Clubs in the off-season, however Everton managed to resist all bids and are reaping the rewards with Lukaku's fine form. Burnley are rooted in 14th spot on the table having won just one of their past six matches since their famous 2-0 win over Liverpool back in Week 2 of the season. Burnley are a far tougher proposition at home having beaten Liverpool and in their last home game being desperately unlucky to go down to Arsenal to a stoppage time goal. Everton have won their last three Premier League games against Burnley, winning 3-1 at Turf Moor last season. 

Verdict - Everton 1 Burnley 0

Everton have looked a far happier side under Ronald Koeman this year than they did in the dark final months of Roberto Martinez's regime last year. I think this game will be tough and low scoring at a ground in Turf Moor where Burnley do not give an inch. Everton to edge it through another goal to in form hit man Romelu Lukaku. 


Hull v Stoke @ KCOM Stadium

The stakes are already high when Stoke visit Hull in a battle of two teams desperately in need of a victory. With Stoke sitting in the Relegation Zone in 18th and Hull having slid to 16th after a promising start, the loser of this clash will no doubt be engulfed in a shadow of gloom as we reach the quarter way mark of the Premier League Season. After winning their first two games, Hull are in free fall having registered just a single point from their last 6 matches. Manager Mike Phelan will be rapt to have club captain and central defender Michael Dawson back for the first time this season to a leaky defence which shipped 6 goals at Bournemouth last week. Stoke finally registered their first victory of the season at their 8th attempt last week with a 2-0 home victory over Sunderland. Coming off a battling 1-1 draw at Old Trafford, Stoke are starting to build a little bit of momentum after enduring a nightmare start to the campaign. The corresponding game in the Premier League last season resulted in a 1-1 draw. The sides met just over a month ago in the League Cup with Hull claiming a 2-1 victory at the Britannia Stadium. 

Verdict - Stoke 2 Hull 0

I feel like things are starting to fall apart for Hull after a dream start to the season. Mark Hughes' men have made a slow start to the season, however there have been encouraging signs in their last two starts and I think they can add to the gloom around the Tigers.


Leicester City v Crystal Palace @ King Power Stadium

Champions Leicester City will be desperate to kick-start their stuttering campaign when they host 9th place Crystal Palace on Saturday Afternoon. With Jaime Vardy out with a groin injury, the Foxes need a win to  stay above the drop zone, currently sitting on 8 points in 13th place just 2 points off Stoke in 18th.  The Champions have registered just two victories from their opening eight matches, having been blown off the park in visits to Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea. This form has come despite Leicester enjoying a similar fairy tale Champions League campaign as they experienced in the Premier League last season, winning their first 3 matches and on the brink of qualification for the last 16 already. The Foxes have two wins and two draws from their 4 home fixtures,  while they have failed to register a single point away from home. Crystal Palace will be looking to rebound from a 1-0 loss to bitter rivals West Ham at Selhurst Park last week. Transfer wIndow signing Cristian Benteke has led the line well for Palace, scoring 3 goals and looking a rejuvenated footballer after a miserable stay at Liverpool. The sides played the corresponding fixture on the same weekend of last season, with Leicester holding firm for a 1-0 victory. 

Verdict - Leicester City 1 Crystal Palace 1

I think the Foxes will be much tougher here at home against a Palace side above them in the table. Hard to split the teams with a hard fought draw a potential outcome here. 


Swansea v Watford @ Liberty Stadium

New Swansea manager Bob Bradley will take his home bow as the Swans host Watford on Saturday Afternoon at the Liberty Stadium. Whilst Bradley would have been encouraged by his debut match in charge, the Swans left with nothing as they went down 3-2 to Arsenal at the Emirates despite having a chance to snatch a point late. Despite being just eight games into the new season, this game is of desperate importance for the Swans  who are cast adrift in 19th spot on the Premier League table with just 4 points and one victory to their name. Watford have made an encouraging start to life under new Italian manager Walter Mazzarri, sitting in 10th spot with three victories and two draws from their opening eight matches. Many were surprised when Watford dispensed with former manager Quique Sanchez Flores after he led the club to a respectable 13th place finish after they were promoted from the Championship. However the Hornets have displayed great energy and look a side on the rise this year with already a signature win over Manchester United at home and being desperately unlucky to lose to Chelsea. Watford already have two away victories this year, however were defeated 1-0 when they visited the Liberty Stadium last year. 

Verdict - Swansea 2 Watford 2

The Swans will come out fired up in front of their new Manager in a game they need to win at home. However Watford are playing well and I think this game will be an open affair with plenty of goals on offer.


West Ham v Sunderland @ London Stadium

Sunderland go in search of their first Premier League victory of the season in their 9th attempt as they head to the London Stadium to take on West Ham. West Ham supporters are struggling to come to grips with the realities of their new stadium with in fighting and poor results at London Stadium leading to a turbulent start to the season for the Hammers. With supporters a long way from the action, and with the team registering just one win from four attempts, West Ham have appeared a club at war with itself early this season. Slaven Bilic's men got a much needed 1-0 victory over rivals Crystal Palace in their last start, registering just their 2nd win of the season to move up to 15th spot. However their troubles pale in relation to Sunderland who, under new boss David Moyes, have just 2 points from 8 matches and are in last place, in danger of losing touch this early in the season. While Sunderland have started the past three seasons in similar fashion, they need to get going quickly as they cannot rely on late season surges year after year to narrowly avoid the drop once more. For manager Moyes it's been a rocky few years. After so many years of steady achievement at Everton, Moyes lasted less than a year at Manchester United, and just over a season at Spanish club Real Sociedad. 

Verdict - West Ham 0 Sunderland 0

Hard to tip Sunderland given their terrible form, however the Hammers are no sure thing here at a home ground they are finding hard to love. I expect this game to be tight and tense and if the Hammers don't get the verdict here expect fans' tensions to rise even more. 


Liverpool v West Bromich Albion @ Anfield

Liverpool will be looking to continue their strong start to season 2016/17 when they take on West Brom in the late game on Saturday Afternoon at Anfield. Despite being held to a 0-0 draw by bitter rivals Manchester United at Anfield on Monday, Liverpool remain just two points off the top having already travelled to Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea this season. Jurgen Klopp's men have otherwise been in fine fettle at Anfield banging in nine goals in their previous two fixtures at the revamped Anfield. West Brom have been typically hard to beat under Tony Pulis, this season losing just two of their eight fixtures to date. West Brom have conceded just 8 goals in 8 games, however have struggled up front scoring just 9 goals themselves. West Brom have been a thorn in Liverpool's side of late, drawing their last matches in the Premier League including a 2-2 draw in the corresponding game last season.

Verdict - Liverpool 3 West Brom 1

I fancied Liverpool this year so I think they can get back to winning ways with a dominant win at home here. West Brom under Pulis are never easy pushovers, however Liverpool should have far too much pace and power given their home form.