The Premier League season so far hasn’t disappointed.
We knew it was going to be a special season, especially after the pandemic and what we’ve been through. Crowds are back, and teams are at full strength – we know it would be a classic, and it’s turning out that way.
After seven games, the cream is slowly rising to the top. I think we know Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City, and Manchester United were going to fight it out, and the rest were going to battle for the crumbs, and it seems to be working out that way. I wouldn’t say they’ve had it all their way the top four.
City lost on the opening day to Tottenham and dropped points to Southampton – and after the last weekend against Liverpool, it is apparent they spent £100 million on the wrong player in my eyes. I think they would have taken maximum points in those three games had they had a striker. I’m sure pep is scratching his head over how they didn’t get the Harry Kane deal over the line. It needs to be seen if that will hurt them come the end of the season; I think it possibly could. I think it’s their Achilles heel. They’ve got another transfer window. We’ll have to see what happens if they bring a striker in, but that’s what they need.
As for Chelsea, they’ve ticked along nicely. I think they’ve shown a little bit of inexperience, certainly against City at home. I think they should have gone for the jugular – I feel that City are sometimes there to be taken. I think Tuchel can mess around with things just a little too much. We’ll have to wait and see how their season pans out, but they’re certainly in a good position.
Liverpool, they’ve been the team in form for me. I know I always speak with a Liverpool hat on, but they’ve been outstanding – some of their performances have been different class. I would say that they did get away with one against City at the weekend; again, like Chelsea, maybe they did show them a bit too much respect. They didn’t get into the game in the first half and then rolled their luck slightly. Salah’s performance was outstanding.
As for Manchester United, well, I’ve always said it…I think Ole is their problem. I feel that they’ve got all the tools to put in a great challenge into winning the Premier League. I just feel like an experienced manager, someone who could handle all the egos in that dressing room, I think could get United over the line. I do believe Ole is too much of a soft touch, to be honest. I feel like he could be their problem.
As for the rest, you look down to the bottom of the table, which is intriguing. You find Norwich, Newcastle and Burnley sitting in the bottom three at the minute. Four teams still looking for a win, which hasn’t happened in the Premier League for a long, long time after seven games if you throw Southampton into the mix. They’re fighting it out down there.
I think the surprise is Everton. Rafa has done a fantastic job. Brighton up there, they’ve had some fantastic results. Brentford, of the teams that come up from the Championship, you always get one that really stands out early on in the season; the first ten games they’ll do really well; for me, that’s Brentford. They’ve been absolutely outstanding. Thomas Frank has certainly instilled some confidence, and they’re enjoying the Premier League ride. Hopefully, they can keep it up and sustain their position for next season.
I’m really enjoying the Premier League, but there haven’t been any real shocks at the minute.
Watford vs Liverpool
It’s always difficult to call fixtures after the international break because of the players that go away. Managers will have their hands over their eyes, hoping all their players return without any injuries – so we’ll have to wait and see what happens with all the clubs.
It’s a difficult game for Liverpool.
Watford have just sacked their manager, Xisco Muñoz, which has come as a big surprise, to be honest. I thought they were going really well. I know they’ve had a little bit of a tricky time, but I certainly didn’t see him losing his job. Obviously, Claudio Ranieri was in the pipeline. He was available, and the Watford board decided to take a leap of faith. Hopefully, he will do good things for them.
It’s a tough ask for Liverpool down there, but again, you know Liverpool’s quality away from home. They’ve been outstanding, and they’re unbeaten now in 17 Premier League games. Their away record is very strong, and rotation has been good. Although, Jurgen has stuck with the same team in the last three games – so a bit of consistency there. I think he will make changes after the international break, freshen it up a bit, and give some fringe players a runout.
Ismaïla Sarr is the standout player for Watford, but I still think Liverpool have enough. I’m going to go for a Liverpool win; I’m going to go 3-1 for Liverpool.
- A 3-1 Liverpool win is available at 10/1 (11.00).
Leicester City vs Manchester United
Ole’s got problems, hasn’t he?
Last game not playing Pogba and Ronaldo, having them on the bench and trying to change it up second half; they got away with it against Everton, but dropping vital points against the likes of Aston Villa has dropped them down to fourth place. They’re obviously still very much in it. As I said, they’ve got a very good squad, but Ole, I feel, is just the problem. Tinkers a little bit too much, maybe isn’t as strong in the dressing room as other top managers. He’s not getting the response he wants. Europe hasn’t been great for him either.
As for Brenden, difficult start to the season; in his defence, he’s had a few injuries; certainly, defensively, they’ve been rocked. Jonny Evans has been a big miss for them, so they’ve leaked a few more goals than they should have done. Europe hasn’t gone well for them either.
I think a draw in this one. Leicester are home, and they’ve managed to get a few players back in that defensive area. I’ll have to see what Ole goes with after the international break, but I’ll go with a draw. I’m going to go 1-1.
- A 1-1 draw is available at 21/4 (6.25).
Brentford vs Cheslea
I mentioned Brentford before; I think Thomas Frank has done a fantastic job there. They’re just rolling on confidence and momentum. They haven’t changed their tactics when the big boys come to town. They’ve faced Arsenal in the opening game of the season, they’ve faced Liverpool, and got a brave draw. They asked questions of Liverpool, which is a big thing to do. They fed off the stadium’s atmosphere, and they got their just rewards, to be honest.
I think they’ll do the same against Chelsea. I don’t think they’ll change tactically; I think, if anything, it’s Tuchel who likes to tinker and switch tactics, which has cost them in a couple of games this season.
It’s a tough ask, but I’m going to go with a Chelsea win. Chelsea 2-1 late winner. A late winner from Lukaku.
- A Chelsea 2-1 win is available at 15/2 (8.50).
Jason McAteer special
Liverpool and Chelsea to win and Man United vs Leicester to draw is available at 15/2 (8.50).
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