Southampton have the opportunity to bounce back from their EFL Cup disappointment against Watford this weekend. It is important that they start to climb the table as they are a few losses away from being dragged into the relegation fight. Although they are too good to go down, they need to record some wins to remove any doubt. Meanwhile, Watford are once again secure in mid-table and will be looking for another good home result this weekend.
The home side are one place above the Saints and they have the opportunity to climb as high as ninth position. Walter Mazzarri is an ambitious manager and he will be looking to get the most out of his squad. Last season, the Hornets collapsed somewhat during the second half of the season and it is important that they don’t make the same mistakes this campaign. They have a better record at home and they will be confident of taking the three points this weekend.
The Saints have a game in hand over their opposition this weekend, but their league form hasn’t been as impressive as in recent years. They enjoyed their EFL Cup run and were unlucky not to win the trophy. However, they must now refocus on the league and they will want to finish the season in the top half to maintain their positive momentum. Claude Puel’s men are currently in 13th place and supporters will be expecting the team to climb the table over the coming weeks.
The Hornets have lost only once in their last six matches, but they have failed to kill matches off. Their defence remains an issue as they haven’t kept a clean sheet in their last five league matches. This will provide Southampton with some hope, as their attack has improved significantly since the arrival of Manolo Gabbiadini. It is going to be a tough match for Watford, but they can beat anybody at Vicarage Road and they should be confident.
Southampton need to improve their league form, as they have lost six of their last eight. However, that was partly due to the team being focused on the EFL Cup final. Now that it has passed, they can completely focus on the league and that must start with a win this weekend. They won their last league match convincingly away at Sunderland and a similar performance at Watford is required.
Mauro Zarate was forced off last weekend with an injury, therefore he won’t feature this weekend. Isaac Success is one option to replace him and his dynamism could add something extra to the Watford attack.
Southampton aren’t expected to make any changes this weekend as the team that started the EFL Cup final performed excellently. They were the better team on the day and Claude Puel will be hoping that they can replicate that performance against Watford.
Costel Pantilimon and Daryl Janmaat should be fit to be a part of the matchday squad. Roberto Pereyra, Mauro Zarate, Ben Watson, Christian Kabasele and Nordin Amrabat are all set to miss out.
Virgil van Dijk, Charlie Austin, Matt Targett and Jeremy Pied are all injured, which means they won’t be available for the visitors.
This is a difficult match to call as there is only one place separating the two sides. Southampton will be keen to get back to winning ways and start to move on from their EFL Cup final defeat to Manchester United. They have a great opportunity to do so against Watford, as the Hornets are leaky at the back and have lacked the creativity to kill matches off. The Saints have a good defensive record and now have a quality striker in Gabbiadini. They should be considered narrow favourites for the match at Vicarage Road.
Score prediction: Watford 1-2 Southampton
Tottenham Hotspur vs Bournemouth: Premier League match preview, likely line-ups and score prediction
Tottenham Hotspur head into tomorrow’s clash with struggling Bournemouth still searching for their first Premier League victory at Wembley Stadium. Much as been made about Spurs’ hoodoo at the national stadium, where they are temporarily based while construction continues on their new ground.
Mauricio Pochettino’s charges have dropped more points at ‘home’ so far this season than in the entirety of the last campaign. However, they take on a Bournemouth outfit that have collected four points and are above only Crystal Palace in the league standings.
Despite their difficulties at Wembley, Tottenham are unbeaten in the top-flight since August and sit third in the table with 14 points from seven matches. Their demolition of Huddersfield Town before the international break, in which the in-form Harry Kane netted a brace, highlighted their ability to crush opponents.
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe will be acutely aware of the task facing his side. The Cherries have a terrible record against Spurs since being promoted to the Premier League and have yet to gain a single point on their travels this term.
Pochettino has no fresh injury concerns and could be boosted by the return of Mousa Dembele, who has recovered from a foot problem. Victor Wanyama is still sidelined with a knee injury, though. Harry Winks, who impressed on his England debut, is set to retain his place in the starting XI. Long-term absentees Danny Rose and Erik Lamela are several weeks away from first team action.
Howe’s line-up will depend on whether striker Joshua King passes a fitness test after suffering a tight hamstring for Norway. Ryan Fraser and Brad Smith are both poised to miss out, after suffering knocks during the international break. Callum Wilson has been continuing his recuperation by getting minutes under his belt for the Under-23s.
Match prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Bournemouth
Spurs have thrashed Bournemouth in the two fixtures between the clubs at White Hart Lane – and a change of venue is unlikely to bring the Cherries better fortune. If at their best, Howe’s side can at least give Tottenham something to think about and prey on the anxiety they have experienced at Wembley. However, with no away form to speak of, Spurs look set to be too strong.
Liverpool vs Manchester United: Premier League match preview, likely line-ups and score prediction
The two most successful clubs in the history of English football will resume hostilities tomorrow, when Liverpool welcome Manchester United to Anfield. It is a mouth-watering return to the Premier League following the international break, which sees Jose Mourinho’s side put their unbeaten start to the season on the line. The atmosphere is sure to be electric for Saturday’s early kick-off and victory for the hosts would bring them to within four points of their fierce rivals.
With only one win from their past four top-flight outings, Liverpool’s form has stalled somewhat after a bright start. Scoring goals has not been a problem for Jurgen Klopp’s men – but in contrast, no club in the top half has shipped more. It is these defensive shortcomings which have been to blame for too many dropped points.
United meanwhile, have been mightily impressive, taking 19 points from 21. For all their attacking flair, they have also been watertight in defence, with the only goals they have conceded coming in the 2-2 draw away to Stoke City.
Klopp has been left reeling from the news that key player Sadio Mane has been ruled out from up to two months after injuring his hamstring during the international break, which means Daniel Sturridge may keep his place in attack. Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne are edging towards a return, although no date has yet been set.
United have selection problems of their own and will be without Marouane Fellaini, who suffered damage to his knee while playing for Belgium. Paul Pogba, Phil Jones, Michael Carrick and Marcus Rojo all remain sidelined.
Match prediction: Liverpool 1-1 Manchester United
Mourinho is a master tactician whose game-plan will be to keep it tight and frustrate Liverpool. Klopp’s team are more than capable of ruining his approach however, although Mane’s absence is a huge blow. The first goal will be crucial in deciding the outcome.
Everton vs Burnley: Premier League match preview, likely line-ups and score prediction
Everton will look to record just their third Premier League win of the season when a high-flying Burnley take the short trip across the north west to Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon.
Sean Dyche’s side have started the year in impressive fashion, losing just once in their opening six matches, and they’ll provide another stern test for an Everton side that are struggling to grind out results.
Yet Ronald Koeman will hope his side’s comeback victory over Bournemouth last time out can add some inspiration around Merseyside and kick-start a season that hasn’t got going just yet.
Despite spending over £100million during the summer on some well-known names, Everton have found it difficult to convert that into results on the pitch with just two wins from their first six league games.
Consecutive defeats against Chelsea (2-0), Tottenham (3-0) and Manchester United (4-0) had dampened spirits around Goodison somewhat but they secured a much-needed win last week against the Cherries.
Their Europa League adventure hasn’t quite gone to plan either, losing heavily away at Atalanta before being held at home by Cypriot minnows Apollon Limassol to leave them at the bottom of Group E.
The visitors have fared a little better so far this season, only losing the once against West Brom, and they’ve already surprised a few by drawing with Liverpool and Tottenham and seeing off Chelsea.
They’ll arrive on Merseyside with a fine away record too, unbeaten in their first three matches – all three of which ironically were against these top-six contenders – and they’ll want to extend the run.
Ronald Koeman could be without the services of both Phil Jagielka and Michael Keane after the defensive duo missed out on the draw with Apollon Limassol through respective injury problems.
That could see young Mason Holgate drafted into the centre of defence alongside Ashley Williams, with Everton potentially reverting to a four-man defensive system to cater for their lengthy injury list.
There’s little to report for Burnley ahead of Sunday’s clash, although Jonathan Walters could be in contention for a spot on the bench after recovering from an ongoing ligament problem in his ankle.
Match Prediction; Everton 2-1 Burnley
Ronald Koeman will be desperate to see a reaction from his team after their disappointing late set-back against ten-man Apollon on Thursday, and he will want to make it two wins from two in the league.
But it certainly won’t be an easy task against a disciplined Burnley team, who have only conceded five goals all season despite facing a tough run of away games against Premier League title contenders.
Oumar Niasse is in-line for a start after his starring role in the win last weekend and his presence could lift a depleted Everton side, and whilst it won’t be a stroll in the park the hosts should nick a close affair.
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