Week eight of the Premier League season features big clashes and raises big questions wherever you look. Can Everton topple struggling Liverpool in the Merseyside Derby, can Arsenal halt Manchester United's stay at the summit and is Jose Mourinho able to turn around Chelsea's poor start to the campaign at home to Southampton.
As ever Andy Gray and Richard Keys, who front beIN Sports’ EPL coverage, discuss these games, the weekend’s other clashes and give their match predictions.
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Everton v Liverpool
AG: Ten days ago I would be confident of tipping my team but with Daniel Sturridge back in the Liverpool they have a real goal threat. That will worry Everton but they have a good mindset at the moment and with Romelu Lukaku’s power up front they can win this as long as they don’t default back to the passing game they sometimes play.
If they stay direct, play with pace and get the ball into Lukaku I think Liverpool will struggle to cope. 2-1.
RK: Liverpool’s draw with Sion on Thursday in the Europa Cup just about sums up how bad they are and I don’t agree with Andy
on Sturridge. There are too many times when he doesn’t turn up. 2-0.
Man Utd v Arsenal
AG: I would like to see Wayne Rooney up top a bit more because he needs goals and this is an important time in his career. He is still a fine footballer with an awful lot to offer but he should be the Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United, dominating games, That just isn’t happening for him at the moment so I really hope he can start putting the ball in the net again. He might get one today but I reckon Arsenal will win this simply because they are the better team. 3-1.
RK: I think Van Gaal has stumbled across a decent starting eleven but I agree with Andy on Rooney. He used to dominate games like this but we haven’t seen that for far too long. He is being overshadowed by Martial who has had a brilliant start to his EPL career and looks a top drawer player but for me there’s no legs in midfield and that is where Arsenal can get control of this game.
Wenger has been criticised this week for not playing Petr Cech against Olympiakos and he will know, if the player is not
injured, that he made a mistake because that was a must-win game as is this. Arsenal will bring United back down to earth by winning this one. 2-1.
Man City v Newcastle
AG: Forget about the defeat to Spurs, City will be far to strong for Newcastle. I would say they have the strongest front four in the Premier League with Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and David Silva and they will dismantle
Newcastle with ease. A very comfortable 2-0.
RK: City were dreadful against Spur last week but Newcastle’s draw with Chelsea was a freak result and if that game had gone on for another five minutes they would have lost. 3-0.
Chelsea v Southampton
AG: I thought Chelsea did ok against Porto who are a very good side and rarely get beaten at home.It was a bad result and there is no doubt Chelsea need to start playing well but it’s not all doom and gloom as some are trying to portray. Southampton are a good side and they might score but I think Jose Mourinho’s side will win his 2-1.
RK: I am fascinated by what’s happening at Stamford Bridge and I just feel something’s not right. I have no idea why Mourinho didn’t play John Terry against Porto so there is obviously an issue. Costa is still not right and I think Mourinho is scratching his head and saying ‘what’s happened?’ In the circumstances I think Southampton can get a draw. 1-1.
Crystal Palace v West Brom
AG: Palace are up against their old manager Tony Pulis who is organised, disciplined, tough to beat. However, West Brom still look a bit unsettled to me and Palace will have too much pace for them. 2-0.
RK: Nope, can’t see that because Pulis knows Palace inside out and that will worry Alan Pardew which, psychologically, puts him at a disadvantage. This could be a battle of set pieces. 0-1.
Norwich v Leicester
AG: It will be interesting to see how Leicester react after being thrashed by Arsenal last week. Norwich will fancy this but I have
learned never to write off Leicester. 2-2.
RK: Norwich have been playing well and they have home advantage. If they can get a bit of momentum going they can deliver
another blow to Leicester. 2-1.
Sunderland v West Ham
AG: West Ham are a very difficult team to predict but they have had some terrific results away from home and Sunderland are struggling. 0-1.
RK: I am still not convinced by the Hammers and Sunderland are desperate for points. 1-1.
Swansea v Tottenham
AG: Swansea have faded while Tottenham are going the other way and if they don’t get a performance on the back of beating Man City last week then they never will. 1-2.
RK: I don’t know where Swansea’s next goal is coming from and they are up against a side that has had three clean sheets in the last four games. 0-2.
Aston Villa v Stoke City
AG: Based on nothing more than the fact that Aston Villa are desperate for a win I’m going for 1-0.
RK: This is a serious test for Tim Sherwood against a Stoke side that will only get better after starting slowly. If Villa lose this they will be in real trouble. 1-1.
Bournemouth v Watford
AG: Bournemouth have lost their best player Callum Wilson to injury and Watford are well organised so I can see them getting a result here. 1-2.
RK: Can’t agree. Bournemouth will be hard to beat on home turf and even without Wilson they are a better side than Watford. 2-1.
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