Well there’s a surprise. England qualified for the World Cup without really breaking sweat, Scotland proved too small to compete, Northern Ireland and Iceland proved they were not one-hit-wonders as Wales did precisely the opposite. Dick Advocaat won’t be getting any betting firm gigs anytime soon having not seen Sweden smashing Luxembourg 8-0 coming and Ronaldo plus Messi will be in Russia. But you knew all that, you are here to find out what rubbish I am spouting about this weekend’s fixture list!
Liverpool vs Manchester United
Now children, many many years ago this used to be the kind of match that decided where the title would go. Actually, that’s a load of rubbish really isn’t it. United were rubbish when Liverpool were good and vice-versa. Other than the two clubs not really liking each other, they’ve never really been at the top consistently at the same time. But hey, let Sky continue to brainwash you. Jurgen Klopp has said he will go when he doubts his ability to bring the title to Anfield. I presume he means longer term, and not this season otherwise its time to sling your hook Kloppo. This match will be built up to be massively exciting, full of interesting battles and all that but what we will mostly see is Jose happy to let the Liverpool firework burn out then pick them off quickly on the break. United are without Fellaini and Liverpool are without Mane, both injured in the line of international duty. And incredibly, United will miss the big Belgian.
Liverpool 0 – 1 Manchester United
Burnley vs West Ham United
Beautifully, a win for Burnley could see them end the 3pm kick offs in a Champions League place. As beautifully, defeat could see West Ham in the relegation zone. And can you really see West Ham going to Burnley and winning? Not me, which is why it will probably happen. Sean Dyche is doing bits at Burnley, Slaven Bilic is doing different bits at West Ham, namely picking his tactical plans out of a hat at random on matchday. Chris Wood to score again I reckon.
Burnley 1 – 0 West Ham United
Crystal Palace vs Chelsea
Sure, Chelsea don’t have Alvaro Morata but Michy has been in fine form on the international scene. And, let’s be honest, it’s Palace. Poor Roy has had two weeks to dread this match and it is finally here. Seven games with no goals and no wins is soon to become eight games with no goals and no wins and Palace will be well on track for a record that could conceivably never get broken. As for Roy, you keep flying the flag for the golden oldies with all your positive thinking my friend. As he said yesterday, “we are where we are and there is no magic wand, sadly”. It’s that kind of spirit that lifts a football club, Roy!
Crystal Palace 0 – 3 Chelsea
Manchester City vs Stoke City
Do you remember when Manchester City thought Mark Hughes was the man to lead them to European glory? I know, hilarious. It just showed the owners hadn’t really got their head around Premier League football. Now they have Pep, and Pep is firing on all cylinders having carefully spent the 500 billion pounds he’s been allowed to play with. Apparently, there is an outside chance Sergio Aguero might have made the fastest recovery from a broken rib ever and could play. Gabriel Jesus has spent most of the last week in the air, but will no doubt put Stoke to the sword on his own if needed. Yet, weirdly, this is the kind of game Stoke overachieve in, so a draw might not be out of the question. I’d still back City to score four though.
Manchester City 4 – 0 Stoke City
Tottenham Hotspur vs AFC Bournemouth
Of course, Mauricio. We know, we know. There is more to Tottenham than Harry Kane. Don’t let that Pep fella wind you up. Harry Kane has six in three against Bournemouth and managed to finally score at Wembley this season, albeit for England. Eddie Howe, as ever, will send his lambs out to the slaughter telling them to stick to their beliefs and play the game properly. Unfortunately for Eddie and Bournemouth, today is the day that the Premier League Wembley curse finally buggers off at Spurs will win easily.
Tottenham Hotspur 3 – 1 AFC Bournemouth
Swansea City vs Huddersfield Town
If either side realistically want to stay in the Premier League, this is the kind of game they need to win. Swansea look like the better side, though Huddersfield still strike me as a little bit of a wildcard that might pick up a few surprising results along the way. History tells us, in its dull kind of way, that shock wins away at big sides isn’t enough to not go down. You need to go to Swansea and win really. I think we might look back at the end of the season and see Huddersfield’s opening day massacre of Palace as their high point.
Swansea City 2 – 0 Huddersfield Town
Watford vs Arsenal
A win for Watford here is not inconceivable. And a win would see them leapfrog Arsenal. Arsene Wenger has openly worried about Alexis Sanchez after Chile failed to make it to Russia and has also suggested that both he and Mesut Ozil could leave in January. There’s nothing like saying stuff to give the fans confidence, eh Arsene? Watford still look like a decent side this season, whereas Arsenal are as unpredictable as ever – you could easily build a case for Wenger to pull off a 5-1 win here, or Watford to take it 3-2 or something. And, as it is always way more amusing to see Arsenal fail, I’m plumping for the latter.
Watford 3 -2 Arsenal
Brighton & Hove Albion vs Everton
I’m turning the TV off before this one even kicks off. Who wants to watch this? Brighton are awful to watch and Everton are arguably worse. Both managers really need the points – Hughton so they can start their season again and Koeman so he has a job come Christmas day. I’d like Brighton to win so Ronald gets the boot.
Brighton & Hove Albion 1 – 1 Everton
Southampton vs Newcastle United
It might get mentioned once or twice that the Southampton manager used to play for the Newcastle United manager. That will be the only highlight of this match which also guaranteed to get people questioning why they bother having a Sky subscription. Meh, 0-0 probably.
Southampton 0 – 0 Newcastle United