Eric Toth & TJ Lovenduski
Everton v. Crystal Palace
After flying out of the gates, Everton fell to Bournemouth last week. They’ll be looking to get back to winning ways at home against a Palace side that’s scored 9 in their last 3. Everton clearly has the better team on paper, but have yet to be tested. Palace could offer that test, given their run of form as of late.
Matchup to Watch: Romelu Lukaku v. Dann and Tomkins
In order to extend their winning streak to four, Palace is going to need Scott Dann and James Tomkins to nullify Everton’s striker Romelu Lukaku. Palace have yet to record a clean sheet this season and with the firepower on offer from the Merseyside club, it would be a safe bet that it won’t happen this week. If Dann and Tomkins can keep Lukaku’s impact on the game to a minimum, then they have a chance of stealing a point, maybe even all three.
Eric: Everton 2-2 Palace
Everton struggled last week, while it looks like Benteke is fitting in nicely with the pace and directness offered by the Palace wingers. This one could be a bit of a surprise result as I think Palace will manage to take a point home from Goodison Park.
TJ: Everton 3-1 Palace
I think Everton will regain their form and show their stellar offense. They have a scary front when things are clicking. Palace has played well and have some offensive threats of their own, but I see Everton winning this one comfortably.
Swansea v. Liverpool
Swansea haven’t found much joy this season after losing two of their key men in the summer. They’ve found a bit of a bright light in Leroy Fer, but his goals seemed to have dried up in the last few weeks. The goals just keep on coming for Liverpool, though. I’m going to sound like a broken record here, but Mane, Firmino and Coutinho form one of the most clincal attacks in the league, add in an in-form Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge and they’ll nearly impossible to stop. After scoring 5 against Hull, they’ll be looking to keep hitting the back of the net in Wales this Saturday.
Matchup to Watch: Fernando Llorente v. Lovren and Matip
Llorente managed to get off the mark for Swansea against Manchester City and I expect his size and movement to cause problems for the Liverpool defense. Llorente is a big striker who has scored goals wherever he has gone, if he can get the service from Sigurdsson and Fer, he could have a big game against a disappointing Liverpool back four. Matip and Lovren are still getting familiar with each other, but their communication will have to be on point if they are going to stop Llorente from having a big day.
Eric: Swans 1-3 Liverpool
Liverpool just have too much going forward for this mediocore Swansea defense. However, Liverpool still haven’t shown me enough defensively, I think Llorente will bag his second for Swansea, but it won’t be enough.
TJ: Swans 0-2 Liverpool
While Liverpool hasn’t put it together defensively, I think they’ll be able to do enough to keep a clean sheet this week. Swansea shouldn’t be too much of a test.
Hull City v. Chelsea
Conte has his work cut out for him after a poor showing against Arsenal last week. Chelsea looked helpless as they watched the Gunners bang in 3 goals. I’m sure the fiery Italian manager will have the Chelsea side amped up and ready to redeem themselves this weekend against newly promoted side, Hull City. Hull started well, but only tallied one point from their last four matches. With Chelsea coming off the back of an embarrassing loss, they could be in for yet another big defeat.
Matchup to Watch: Diego Costa v. Himself
There’s no doubt that Diego Costa is one of the best strikers in world football, but his toughest opponent is often himself. Costa is easily wound up and get himself into trouble. He’s usually sly with his digs at his opponents, but if they get under his skin, he can easilly make a silly mistake and be sent off. The Spanish striker will have to keep his cool against Hull this weekend and if he manages to do that, he could grab himself a couple of goals.
Eric: Hull 0-2 Chelsea
The Tigers have lost their last two games by a collective score of 9-2 and I think Chelsea can and will add to that.
TJ: Hull 0-3 Chelsea
Chelsea is just too good for Hull.
Sunderland v. West Bromwich Albion
Same old story for these two. A struggling Sunderland hosts a resolute West Brom. Jermaine Defoe will have to carry the load if Sunderland hope to get their first win of the season against WBA. The tough Pulis defense will not give anything away easily, especially against a Sunderland side that has failed to create many chances. West Brom just managed to pull out a draw in the 91st minute last weekend against Stoke City.
Matchup to Watch: Nacer Chadli v. Jan Kirchoff
As important as Defoe is to their attack, Jan Kirchoff is equally important to the Black Cats defense. Kirchoff made himself undroppable as soon as he arrived at the Stadium of Light from Bayern Munich. The big German offers a cushion in front of the defense that was desperately needed. Kirchoff will have to cut out passes and keep Nacer Chadli from getting into the game to give his team a chance.
Eric: Sunderland 1-1 West Brom
Defoe will score a half-chance and Chadli will create something out of nothing in what will likely be a bore at the Stadium of Light.
TJ: Sunderland 1-1 West Brom
As Eric predicts this game will probably be boring. Both sides will score, but it will still lack excitement.
Watford v. Bournemouth
Bournemouth are coming off of a great victory against a previously unbeaten Everton team. The Cherries managed to keep Everton off the scoresheet, an impressive feat in itself and a fantastic strike from Stanislas propelled them to a 1-0 win. Watford will be looking to continue their good start offensively and try to record their first clean sheet of the season. The defense of Watford will be tested against Callum Wilson, Jordan Ibe and Josh King with Jack Wilshere creating behind them.
Matchup to Watch: Harry Arter v. Watford’s Attack
Harry Arter has been the unsung hero at Bournemouth for the past two seasons and he’ll have an important role to play as the club travel to Watford. Arter will be tasked with keeping the fierce Watford attack at bay. Troy Deeny, Odion Ighalo, Roberto Pereyra and Etienne Capoue have all been playing exceptionally well for Watford. The four will have to get past Harry Arter, however, if they plan to put the Bournemouth centerbacks under any duress this weekend, which is not an easy task. The Bournemouth man has been great at breaking up play this season and gives the Bournemouth defense some added protection from midfield.
Eric: Watford 1-1 Bournemouth
After an impressive win against Everton, I believe Bournemouth will keep up their form and hold Watford to a 1-1 draw.
TJ: Watford 2-1 Bournemouth
Bournemouth will play well, but I don’t think they’ll be able to fully contain Watford’s attack.
West Ham v. Middlesbrough
West Ham has continued to struggle this season. Last week they suffered a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Southampton. And a lot of that has to do with West Ham’s inability to defend. At the beginning of the season I would have never considered that Middlesbrough would be able to beat West Ham, but with how West Ham has been playing I’d consider it a possibility.
Matchup to Watch: West Ham v. Themselves
There is still time for West Ham to recover this season. But they’re going to need to start soon. They need to identify what’s happening and fix it. It’s themselves that are holding them back. If they do their part, they can certainly get some wins.
Eric: West Ham 1-0 Boro
West Ham has too many talented players to continue to play as poorly as they have been. They should be able to defeat ‘Boro this weekend.
TJ: West 1-1 Boro
West Ham will hold a lead for most of the match, but will once again show defensive issues when Middlesbrough gets a late equalizer.
Manchester United v. Stoke City
Stoke City has struggled to do much of anything this season. I’m expecting more of the same against a United side that looked much stronger last game. Mourinho finally elected to leave Rooney on the bench and they looked much better. Rooney is not a midfielder and he’s not better than Ibrahimovic. If they continue to leave Rooney on the sidelines they should win comfortably.
Matchup to Watch: Mourinho v. Rooney
This comes down to Mourinho haven’t the guts to truly relegate Wayne Rooney to the bench. It’s clear that United is a much better side without Rooney on the field. But he’s also been such a staple for the Red Devils that it could be difficult to keep him out permanently. We’ll have to see what Mourinho decides to do this weekend.
Eric: Man U 3-0 Stoke
Stoke have been dire so far and after dropping Rooney, United may have found the formula for success. The Manchester side will take this one easily.
TJ: Man U 3-0 Stoke
The way Stoke has been playing, they don’t stand a chance. United could start Rooney and still get a win.
Tottenham v. Manchester City
City has simply been on another level since the arrival of Pep. They’ve lost Kevin de Bruyne for the next few weeks, but still have the strongest squad in the league. Tottenham definitely has a formidable side though. They may be able to surprise Manchester City, but it’ll be more difficult without star striker, Harry Kane.
Matchup to Watch: Sergio Aguero v. Spurs Centerbacks
Aguero is one of the best strikers in the EPL, so Tottenham will have their hands full. Fortunately they have possibly the best center back pairing in the league. Toby Alderwierld and Jan Vertonghen will have to be on their game to keep Aguero from finding the back of the net.
Eric: Spurs 1-2 Man City
This should be a great match. Spurs managed to take all 6 points from their fixtures last season, but under Pep, City is a completely different side. Both teams have key players out, but I think City will scrape out a victory at White Hart Lane.
TJ: Spurs 1-2 Man City
This will be a tough test for City, but I think they win comfortably. The only reason I think that Spurs get on the board is due to the stellar play of Son Heung-min.
Leicester City v. Southampton
I expect this game to be tight. Leicester looked bad last week against United, but recovered in time for their Champions League game. I expect Leicester to come out firing. Southampton will have to be organized defensively to stop a side with that many offensive weapons. But Leicester will also have their hands full in stopping an in form Charlie Austin.
Matchup to Watch: Riyad Mahrez v. Ryan Bertrand
It’s no secret that Mahrez is the creative force for the Foxes. Bertrand will be tasked with keeping him in check. It’s going to be a tough battle and a necessary one for Bertrand if the Saints hope to come out with a victory.
Eric: Leicester 2-0 Southampton
It’ll be interesting to see who Ranieri puts out against Southampton. If Vardy and Mahrez wake up after a thrashing at the hands of Manchester United, the Foxes should take this one.
TJ: Leicester 2-1 Southampton
I think Leicester will have just enough to earn three points against Southampton.
Burnley v. Arsenal
I just want to say that I don’t think Burnley has much of a chance against the Gunners. Arsenal just has too much quality in too many positions. That being said, it should be a fun game to watch. Expect some quality attacking football from Arsenal.
Matchup to Watch: Arsenal attack v. Tom Heaton
I’m expecting Arsenal to dominate this game. They possess very well and will dominate the ball. I’d expect to see a lot of shots. Burnley’s keeper, Tom Heaton, will be getting plenty of work in this weekend.
Eric: Burnely 0-2 Arsenal
Arsenal return to action after beating their London rivals, Chelsea, convincingly by a score of 3-0. The Gunners should find it relatively easy keep on winning this weekend against Burnley.
TJ: Burnley 0-3 Arsenal
Arsenal will handle Burnley with ease.