The Premier League is back and has taken no time to settle in. We have seen some thrilling games and plenty of controversy as VAR makes its Premier League debut. As it stands, Liverpool and Arsenal are the only 2 teams with a perfect record in the league, pretty shocking after just 2 games, after Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City all went 5-0-0 to start last campaign.
Manchester City and Tottenham had a thrilling 2-2 draw that saw City completely dominate but once again fall at the hands of VAR once again to their North London rivals. Chelsea are winless in their first 2 PL fixtures under new manager Frank Lampard and Aston Villa, Newcastle, Southampton and Watford are the only clubs without points. Wolverhampton Wanderers grabbed a 1-1 draw following a potential goal of the season contender from Ruben Neves and newly promoted side Sheffield United remain undefeated
With that being said, I bring to you my preview for Match-Week 3:
LIVERPOOL VS ARSENAL
The biggest game of the weekend will be Liverpool vs Arsenal, the only 2 teams with a perfect record thus far. Liverpool have recorded wins against Norwich and Southampton while Arsenal found victory against Newcastle and Burnley. Last season, the Gunners drew 1-1 to Liverpool at the Emirates before succumbing to a 1-5 defeat away from home. To put all of that into perspective, Arsenal have not beaten Liverpool since April 4th, 2015… a game in which Liverpool’s midfield that game consisted of Alberto Moreno, Joe Allen, Lucas Lieva and Jordan Henderson. Safe to say that Liverpool have slightly improved since Jurgen Klopp took over. Arsenal’s impressive transfer business has made them serious contenders for Champions League football this year and this fixture will be a good test, albeit without Kieran Tierney, Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin in the backline. Arsenal’s world class attack now can size up decently with Liverpool’s and I would expect a match with goals from both sides. I reckon a 2-2 draw.
CHELSEA VS NORWICH
Chelsea have not gotten off to the best of starts this season. A 0-4 battering at the hands of Manchester United before a heartbreaking penalty-shootout loss to Liverpool in the UEFA Supercup followed by a stale 1-1 draw with Leicester has got some Chelsea fans sweating. Norwich have started this season is surprising form, with frontman Teemu Pukki scoring 4 goals already (all of Norwich’s goals). His form coupled with Chelsea’s leaky defense lately makes this a big game and a crucial one in Frank Lampard’s short tenure as Chelsea manager. I predict a 3-1 Chelsea win.
ASTON VILLA VS EVERTON
Aston Villa find themselves 0-0-2 already despite being one of Europe’s biggest spenders this summer. To be fair to Villa, they have gotten a bit unlucky. They held a long early lead over Tottenham in MW1 before VERY late goals by Harry Kane sealed the win. Last week against Bournemouth saw a slow start cost them after conceding a 2nd minute penalty and a 12th minute goal by Harry Wilson following a mistake by Douglas Luiz before he hits an absolute screamer later on in the match. In this match, Villa will need to justify their big spending and get some points on the board before this season looks reminiscent of their 2015/16 relegation campaign. Everton will look to have their attack run smoother after scoring just once in 2 games. In what their attack is lacking, Everton have made up in some terrific defensive displays. Seamus Coleman, Michael Keane, Yerry Mina and Lucas Digne make up one of best PL defenses in the league. I predict a 2-0 Everton win
AROUND THE LEAGUE
Manchester United vs Crystal Palace Prediction: 3-0 Manchester United
Manchester City vs Bournemouth Prediction: 4-1 Manchester City
Brighton vs Southampton Prediction: 2-0 Brighton & Hove Albion
Sheffield United vs Leicester City Prediction: 2-1 Leicester City
Watford vs West Ham Prediction: 1-1 draw
Wolves vs Burnley Prediction: 2-1 Wolverhampton
Spurs vs Newcastle United Prediction: 3-0 Spurs
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
- Brighton & Hove Albion – have started very strong this season and expect a very disciplined performance against Southampton. Top half finish this year?
- VAR… enough said
- Chelsea – Should Lampard err on the side of youth or experience?
- Mason Mount or Christian Pulisic?
- Can they play together?
- Mason Mount or Christian Pulisic?
And that’s all I got for Matchweek 3, let’s see how many predictions I completely botched.
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Written by: Andrew Diefenderfer (@DiefDorf)