Sunday 20 October 2019

Liverpool too strong, a Pogba goal and Man City cruise: Midweek Premier League verdicts

Paul Pogba of Manchester United
Paul Pogba of Manchester United
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

There is a full round of Premier League fixtures this week - here is our verdicts.

ARSENAL v CARDIFF

Arsenal manager Unai Emery will be in the midst of a challenging final few hours of the transfer window by the time his side take on Cardiff at Emirates Stadium, with the exit of transfer guru Sven Mislintat highlighting splits behind the scenes in the club's hierarchy.

This game will be played under a cloud as this will be Cardiff's first match since the plane carrying their club record signing Emiliano Sala went missing last week.

Verdict: Arsenal to stroll to victory.

FULHAM v BRIGHTON

We have yet to reach February, but this already looks like a must-win game for Fulham manager Claudio Ranieri in his battle to steer the Cottagers away from the drop zone.

Chris Hughton's Brighton have won just two away games in the Premier League this season and should provide Fulham with a chance to get three points they badly need as they look to close a seven-point gap that has opened up between them and fourth-from-bottom Newcastle.

Verdict: Fulham will get a much-needed victory.

HUDDERSFIELD v EVERTON

Pressure will begin to mount on Everton manager Marco Silva unless he can inject some consistency into his team, with their two away wins in the Premier League highlighting travelling blues that they will need to solve.

Huddersfield's increasingly desperate bid to beat the drop say them replace David Wagner with Jan Siewert, yet it will need more than a change at the top for the sit cut adrift at the bottom of the table to climb the table.

Verdict: Everton to win on the road.

WOLVES v WEST HAM

A mini-league has developed outside of the top six in the Premier League and Wolves have moved into pole position to top that and possibly secure a place in next season's Europa League as a result.

West Ham are also in the mix to finish seventh, with Manuel Pellegrini's side looking for a fifth away win of the campaign when they travel to Molineux.

Verdict: Ruben Neves to star in a Wolves victory.

MANCHESTER UNITED V BURNLEY (8pm)

Ole Gunner Solskjaer will look to secure a seventh successive Premier League win as United's interim boss, with the gap between his revived side and fourth placed Chelsea now down to just three points.

Burnley will use familiar tactics away from home, with manager Sean Dyche making no excuses for deploying defensive tactics designed to frustrate top sides into submission. United are due a Premier League slip-up, but it won't come in this game.

Verdict: Paul Pogba to score again in a United victory.

NEWCASTLE V MANCHESTER CITY (8pm)

Speculation over Rafael Benitez's future as Newcastle manager has heightened in recent days, with the club's refusal to back the Spaniard in the transfer market fuelling rumours he will walk away from the club next summer.

His defensive tactics against top six opponents have occasionally frustrated high profile opponents and they did well to push Manchester City in the reverse fixture last September, only losing 2-1.

Verdict: A comfortable away win.

 

WEDNESDAY

BOURNEMOUTH v CHELSEA

Gonzalo Higuain's arrival needs to give Chelsea a cutting edge after manager Maurizio Sarri ripped into his ‘under-motivated' side following their defeat at Arsenal last weekend.

Chelsea's hierarchy are unsure whether the veteran Argentine striker is a long-term fix for their attacking woes and the same uncertainty will hover over Sarri after a challenging few weeks that has undermined his own position at the club.

Verdict: A 1-1 draw for battling Bournemouth.

SOUTHAMPTON v CRYSTAL PALACE

Ralph Hasenhuttl has had an instant impact since he replaced Mark Hugh as Southampton manager, with his high energy training sessions resulting in a dramatic upturn in results.

Wilfried Zaha will be the prime threat for a Palace side capable of ruffling the feathers of the Premier League's finest, but Southampton have to go into this game as favourites.

Verdict: Another win for a review Southampton

LIVEPROOL v LEICESTER (8pm)

Both of these side have had a ten-day break since their last match, with their early FA Cup exits offering time for managers Jurgen Klopp and Claude Puel to revive their squad after a hectic run of fixtures.

The pressure will continue to mount on Puel in the coming weeks and a heavy defeat against title leaders Liverpool could be the trigger that signals his departure, with Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers the bookies' favourite to replace him.

Verdict: Liverpool to blow Leicester away.

TOTTENHAM v WATFORD

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino will be required to produce a few more rabbits from his magic hat in the next month, as he attempts to keep his side's season afloat in the absence of the injured duo of Harry Kane and Dele Alli.

Exits from the Carabao Cup and FA Cup in the space of four damaging days have hit Tottenham's season hard and this is now a massive game against a side that beat them at Vicarage Road in September.

Verdict: Watford to pile the pressure on Spurs with an away win.

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