A feisty London derby is the pick of the action as the Premier League returns, while Huddersfield Town start life without David Wagner with a daunting visit from the reigning champions.
Here are our Premier League predictions for Gameweek 23…
PREMIER LEAGUE PREDICTIONS
Saturday’s games (all 15:00 unless stated)
Wolves vs Leicester, 12:30
Case for the home side: Nuno’s side managed to keep things respectable on Monday night against Man City despite playing over 70 minutes with 10 men. They have a strong opportunity to bounce back against an out-of-sorts Foxes side.
Case for the away side: Claude Puel almost seems to thrive best when the pressure on his shoulders really starts to mount. Leicester’s favourite party trick is snatching a surprise win just when critics are writing them off.
Bournemouth vs West Ham
Case for the home side: Like Puel, Eddie Howe is another manager who seems to chalk up a much-needed three points just when momentum looks to be going against his side. The Cherries’ performances haven’t been as bad as recent results suggest.
Case for the away side: An unhappy Arnautović? That’s no problem for Manuel Pellegrini who kept his Hammers side more than focused last weekend as they beat Arsenal. Even with a few blips thrown in, West Ham look like a side moving in the right direction.
Liverpool vs Crystal Palace
Case for the home side: For all their attacking verve, it’s Liverpool’s new-found ability to win ugly that could hand them a first ever Premier League title. Far from their best against a stubborn Brighton side, the Reds still found a way to win.
Case for the away side: Palace are this season’s headscratchers – moving from the sublime to the ridiculous within the space of one gameweek. Regardless, they are one of the few teams outside of the Top Six who can give the pacesetters a bloody nose if the mood suits.
Man Utd vs Brighton
Case for the home side: The win over Spurs – albeit with an outstanding performance from David de Gea – suggests the ‘Ole Effect’ is genuine. Man Utd look like a team that can relax and play with swagger again.
Case for the away side: Perennially hard-to-beat, Chris Hughton’s side won’t mind doing the basics well to keep a recently free-scoring Utd at bay. If they can keep them quiet for a half, expect them to grow in confidence.
Newcastle vs Cardiff City
Case for the home side: An meticulous organiser like Rafa Benítez leaves nothing to chance. He’ll have his Magpies well-drilled to counter the threat of a Cardiff side that will be more than happy to sit in and wait for an opportunity.
Case for the away side: Neil Warnock has been pro-active in the transfer market this week, signing Oumar Niasse from Everton on loan and likely new record signing Emiliano Sala set to follow him. Will that give the Bluebirds a boost against a side who can only dream of fresh blood this window?
Southampton vs Everton
Case for the home side: You never know which Toffees side might turn up – and that will be the message Ralph Hasenhüttl will be trying to get across to his players. A fast start against an Everton side that sometimes fail to look up for the fight could hand Saints a precious win.
Case for the away side: The Saints can be their own worst enemies – with the penalty defeat to Derby County during midweek being a microcosm of their season. Southampton’s leaky defence can always be trusted to provide an opponent with a way back into the game.
Watford vs Burnley
Case for the home side: These two sides both look to be back on track in terms of their respective aims for this season, but Watford’s extra firepower is likely to play its part against a Clarets side that struggle to prevent opponents from creating chances.
Case for the away side: Whisper it quietly, but Sean Dyche’s side look resilient and clinical again. If they can keep the game tight, a repeat of last season’s smash-and-grab victory at Vicarage Road isn’t out the question.
Arsenal vs Chelsea
Case for the home side: It’s been a testing week for Unai Emery at Arsenal as a result of several off-field issues, but Arsenal remain a force to be reckoned with at the Emirates once they build up a head of steam, and will be relieved Gonzalo Higuain will play no part for Chelsea in this one.
Case for the away side: It could be a good time for Chelsea to head to North London with their opponents this weekend currently firefighting their way through a rough patch. If Sarri can keep it cagey, the natives could get restless.
Huddersfield vs Man City, 13:30
Case for the home side: The shock therapy of David Wagner’s sudden disappearance on the dugout could shake the Terriers into life. Can caretaker manager Mark Hudson get his managerial career off to a dream start after a rocky week in West Yorkshire?
Case for the away side: Goals, goals and more goals. With City on a hot streak, it’s unlikely the shot-shy Terriers will have much in reply if the Citizens build early momentum.
Fulham vs Spurs, 16:00
Case for the home side: It’s a good time to play Spurs, unquestionably. Sometimes struggling teams need the rub of the green against the ‘Big Six’ and the absence of key duo Son and Kane hands the Cottagers a golden opportunity to re-boot their season.
Case for the away side: After a disappointing loss to Man Utd on home soil, Spurs won’t be complacent heading into this one. Expect them to try and exploit Fulham’s defensive frailties early as they look to bounce back.
All images sourced from PA Images
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