EPL Week 3: Can an American do any better?

Last Week

My predictions went 4/10 on correct result, and 1/10 on correct score. Can get worse, but can it get better? Here we go!

Aston Villa v Everton

Villa came out and underwhelmed me last week. After their performance against Spurs week one, I thought they would come out and put in a shift against Bournemouth. Going down 2-0 within the opening 12 minutes does completely alter the complexity of the match, but it still doesn’t change a lackluster performance at home. They are again home against Everton and hopefully come out with more grit and determination. Everton won but should have done better. The 1-0 result flattered Watford. If Everton had been more clinical it could have been a real drubbing. Everton will be aided by the return of Schneiderlin and being more clinical this should be a comfortable game for them. Score I am going for is 2-0 Everton.

Chelsea v Norwich City

Chelsea has looked all over the place in the first two league games this year. Against United, they had good spells but could not find the back of the net and were sloppy in defense. Against Leicester, they again looked fluid in the first half but could only convert one opportunity and being sloppy in the back almost cost them again. Rudiger should come into the side for either Christianson or Zouma (I am hoping Zouma) which will help marshall the backline. They need the strikers to click and find the back of the net against a Norwich side that has looked pretty open at times. Norwich has been an appealing team to watch. They continued the success they saw in the second half against Liverpool to a solid 3-1 victory over Newcastle. Teemu Pukki has been prolific with 4 in his first two games in the EPL and can trouble Chelsea’s backline. I imagine this will be an exciting game to watch. Recommend getting up early to watch. Final whistle Chelsea 2 Norwich 1.

Brighton v Southampton

Brighton has gotten two good results to start their season, surprising me as I picked them for the drop. The team seems to be playing well and taking to their new coaches ideas. Watford was a simpler game than anticipated, but the draw against West Ham was a test they passed. If they can continue this vein of form then there is no reason they couldn’t pull a result this week as well. Southampton has not looked a good side so far this campaign. Their goal against Liverpool was a fluke situation, and they just looked poor for most of the game against Burnley. They have the talent on the roster to rebound but are they willing. Final result 1-1, honors even.

Manchester United v Crystal Palace

Manchester United has started this season strongly. The 3 points over Chelsea was an early marker for this season. Against Wolves, they looked very bright in the first half before slipping in the second half. United could have walked away with all 3 or none of the points with how the game finished. Anthony Martial has looked the part wearing the number 9, which bodes well for them. Crystal Palace did not look good against Sheffield United. The attack looked lost, including Zaha. I am not sure how they will find goals against United’s backline. I think this game is going to be testing, especially in the Theater of Dreams. They need to show some resolve or this match could be over by half time. Final Score United 3-0.

Sheffield United v Leicester City

Sheffield has gotten off the mark with a gritty draw and good victory. They were able to contain Benteke and Zaha while keeping a fluid attack. While the stats may not completely back them having outperformed Palace last week, the eye test has me believing they can get something out of this match. Vardy and Maddison are a different test and will push their backline. Leicester have looked the part through two weeks, with European places a possibility if they continue with this run of form. James Maddison put on a masterclass in the second half against Chelsea. They could have, and some will say that they should have walked away from the bridge with all 3 points. Final Leicester 2-0 over Sheffield, Maddison gets one.

Watford v West Ham

Watford needs a performance, no two ways around it. They have looked poor over the opening two weeks of the EPL season and have looked good for the drop. The back three does not seem to be working for them. At home against West Ham in years past, I would expect at least a point. Trying to find a silver lining, they have an experienced squad. Front to back they have EPL talent, it’s just finding some form that is needed. West Ham could have dropped all three against Brighton. They did not look great in the first half, got their goal, and then immediately gave it back. They need to find some better movement, and Watford might be the opportunity for them to find it. Might be the first drab affair of the EPL this year. Share of the points 0-0.

Liverpool v Arsenal

Liverpool and Arsenal will both be tested for the first time this season. Liverpool is coming off a mediocre result by their standards. Adrian almost gifted Southampton a point and should worry them against a very potent Arsenal attack. The front three seemed slightly off the mark throughout the whole of the game coming off a rough Wednesday Super Cup. Fresher legs and minds should lead to more clinical finishing and giving the Arsenal back four something to worry about for the first time this season. Arsenal has had two easier opening game, which has helped them get through some injury troubles and work in some of the new players. Dani Ceballos looks to be a great addition and extremely capable of opening up defenses for Aubameyang and Lacazette. My biggest concern for them is can the CB pairing of David Luiz and Sokratis keep up with the front three of Liverpool. Should be a barn burner, final 3-2 Liverpool. Looking forward to the bruised banana remakes coming out.

Bournemouth v Manchester City

Bournemouth side came out and got a result that they needed last week. 2 goals in the opening 12 minutes, helped by the penalty allowed them to coast through the match. They gave up a sloppy goal to Villa, one that could make things interesting against City. They will need a tremendous performance from the members of the backline. With the rumors that came out in the transfer window about Nathan Ake, he is the main one to watch in the back. Manchester City will feel incised after the first two weeks and VAR calls. Sadly both calls were correct by the new laws governing the game. Feel like they will come out and just run riot over Bournemouth. I do not expect this to be close. The final score 4-0 to City.

Tottenham v Newcastle

Tottenham got saved by a new VAR rule. They showed some fight in coming back twice against City and playing against a Newcastle side that has yet to look good bodes very well for them this week. WIth Son Heung-Ming back from suspension, their attack will only get stronger. He was an outstanding performer for Spurs last year and should be ready to get off the mark against Newcastle. Newcastle continued to look poor last week. Norwich put three by them, one a worldie from Pukki. They were carved open at times, which is worrying since they were facing a side just coming up. They are looking very good to drop back to the championship if they cannot figure out how to fix the leaky backline. Spurs come out on top 4-0.

Wolverhampton v Burnley

Wolves pulled out a gritty performance in the second half against United earning themselves a point. The character that they showed is something that they will be able to continue after seeing the results from last year. With a proven strike partnership that can threaten any team, it should make for an entertaining game against Burnley. Burnley suffered a loss to a very potent Arsenal side while getting a goal. Aaron Barnes has gotten off to a fast start this year with 3 in the opening 2 games. Continuing this form while helping to bring Chris Wood into play could see a Burnley side challenging for top 8. Sean Dyche is a manager who I am very high on and feel like deserves a shot with a “bigger” club. Should be an entertaining one with shared spoils, 2-2.

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