Premier League Matchweek 5: Preview, Betting tips and Predictions - Moment of truth after the international break

Kevin De Bruyne all smiles as Man city players celebrate a goal in the Premier League

Welcome back from the international break, not as boring as always but nothing, absolutely nothing compares to the league football on offer especially in our coverage area… The English Premier League.

Just before the break, Arsenal and Spurs went head to head and shared the spoils, Liverpool maintained their 100% record and Manchester United and Chelsea stumbled again leaving the likes of Crystal Palace and Leicester City hanging around the top four.

While we were away, the league recorded her first managerial casualty, as predicted after results went south, Watford eased out Jarvi Gracia and rehired former manager, Quique Flores Sanchez, an interesting one there as they have fresh ideas going into their fixture with Arsenal.

Talking that particular fixture, the Hornets’ record against Arsenal isn’t pretty but they can look at their 2017 record, a year they beat Arsenal twice by an identical 2-1 scoreline although they haven’t scored a single goal against the Gunners since then.

Watford under Gracia consistently employed a narrow 4-2-2-2 formation which worked very well last season but has been found out, leaving them with just one point from a possible 12, they sit at the foot of the log and now have it all to do against an Arsenal side that is buzzing with speed and hunger… It will be a very long return to the Vicarage Road dugout for Quique.

Sheffield United host Southampton at Bramall Lane on Saturday with a view of continuing their impressive run in the premier league, the Blades stood sharp against Chelsea, fell behind and came back at the death, stung the Blues bluntly and inflicting yet another dent on Frank Lampard’s reigns at Chelsea.

The Saints on their parts did the same to Manchester United, they came back from a position of defeat and snatched a point with hard press and compact football, went expansive on the Red Devils and shut out every effort even when they went a man down with the sending off of Kevin Danso with well over a quarter of an hour left to play, a sign of grit and courage and something the Blades should be wary of as they go toe to toe on Saturday.

Speaking of Manchester United, their charismatic DNA merchant is under pressure after being held again last time out by ten men Southampton before the break and with unpredictable Leicester next in line, it’s now or never for Manchester United to get things right.

It’s hard to nail exactly what Manchester United’s game plan is from the inconsistence in their setups, they try to press but their passes hardly stick, they try to launch crosses that remind you of the Ferguson era even with no one in the middle to connect, and with fitness issues surrounding Pogba, Martial and a host of others, Youri Tielemans and James Maddison will have a filled day in the middle against Manchester United.

On the other side of Manchester, the champions are playing catch up but it’s not a new thing, they’ve been there before and they have absolutely nothing to fear apart from the fear of Liverpool.

Last time out, Sergio Aguero helped the Citizens past Brighton in fin fashions and Kevin De Bryune added the gloss to the outlook with sensational midfield displays, while all eyes were on Raheem sterling, it was David Silva that was sliding inefficiently, that tells you inspiration can come from everywhere in this amazing City side.

Norwich is next on the agenda for Man City, but they will visit Carrow road with an eye on their midweek engagement in Europe where their priorities truly lie this season.

Speaking of Norwich City, Teemu Pukki was on target for Finland in their European qualifiers last weekend and seems to be the driving force in this Norwich side, he will have it all to do against the Champions but he can take solace in the fact that Pep’s side is depleted at the rear, there’s always a space somewhere.

Tottenham went to Arsenal and snatched a point, they could have won it all as Arsenal had to dig deep and come from behind but they could have lost it all too as the gunners came really hard on them in the second half, the result leaves many wondering if Spurs will ever stop bottling advantages.

The team is good enough on paper although with injury worries here and there, should Harry Kane lose form, he’d be a huge minus because he won’t be benched, that leaves the team playing with ten men technically, in fact, him being injured pays the team more dividends of sending on an extra body instead of playing with tired legs of Harry.

In the middle, Le Celso limped off injured in Argentina’s win during the break, joining Ndombele on the sidelines, with Eriksen settling to life again in London after failed transfer bids, he’ll be the focal point again in a very erratic team with more responsibilities as European football kicks off in midweek.

Crystal Palace are buzzing at the moment, interestingly they aren’t on top because Wilfred Zaha is firing, their talisman is yet to get his groove back after the failed transfer drama, which means the days ahead are promising for the Eagles; on paper they’re not all that but they will go head to head with Spurs and offer something strong… It’s a banana peel and Spurs has to be wary.

Chelsea must win their next game, the hot and cold feeling has to stop, they must make huge statements and also show they can compete in Europe, at this rate, they won’t be taken seriously by anyone although the alibi remains the fact that they have a new manager at the helm at a time they couldn’t do business because of transfer ban, is that enough? Maybe not but with a visit to Wolves next, there is a huge fire, wildfire on the mountain and Frank Lampard has to dig deep at this crucial time.

Liverpool are on top of the log and not necessarily pressured, they look the part and they’re acting it, would take some monumental loss of form or a scandalous or a sensational act of epic proportions from more than three teams to knock them off, they’re home to Newcastle and that can only go one way although the Magpies already disgraced Spurs once this season, that will not repeat itself at Anfield on Saturday as Jurgen Klopp will have his European title defense on his mind.

Typically when teams return from international breaks, fatigue always set the tone for upsets but some are fresher than others and that should do just enough to settle some scores but with the big boys involved in European affairs during the coming week, expect priorities to rule to the advantage of brave lesser teams.

It’s good to be back and we’re buzzing, really buzzing as we head into the predictions for this weekend, it’s round five, the moment of truth where some early birds will begin to perch in their rightful positions and some sleeping giants would wake up at the sound of the league position alarms… Let’s do it!


Fixture
Verdict
Player to watch
Liverpool vs Newcastle
Straight win Liverpool
Roberto Firminho
Brighton vs Burnley
Burnley to win or draw
Ashley Barnes
Man United vs Leicester
Both teams to score
Youri Tielemans
Sheffield vs Southampton
Both teams to score
Che Adams
Spurs vs Crystal Palace
Spurs to win
Wilfred Zaha
Wolves vs Chelsea
Wolves to win or draw
Ruben Neves
Norwich vs Man City
Norwich to win
De Bruyne
Bournemouth vs Everton
Both teams to score
Richarlison
Watford vs Arsenal
Arsenal to win
Nicholas Pepe
Aston Villa vs Westham
Westham to win or draw
Seb Haller


Always remember it’s strictly the writer’s opinion and you must gamble responsibly.


Written  by @komptrolla

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