Last Season’s Title Rivals Do Battle, Pep Takes On Pulis – Premier League Preview

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With midweek League Cup excursions for a number of the top teams overcome, the Premier League returns this weekend.

Liverpool have sealed two more victories in the last week, beating both West Brom and Tottenham 2-1 in the Premier League and League Cup, respectively.

Last weekend was a perfect one for Jurgen Klopp, with Chelsea the only other top-four rival to walk away with all three points.

The Blues destroyed Man United 4-0, while Man City, Spurs and Arsenal could only draw. Everton, meanwhile, were beaten 2-1 late on at Burnley.

Liverpool face what could be a tough trip to Selhurst Park to take on Crystal Palace on Saturday – a ground where they have suffered plenty of misery down the years.

Among Liverpool’s odds for the game, the Reds are 7/10 favourites for the victory.

It is one of 10 top flight games to look forward – here’s a look at the best of the upcoming action.

Last Season’s Title Rivals Do Battle

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Boxing Day, Saturday, December 26, 2015: Leicester City's manager Claudio Ranieri before the Premier League match against Liverpool at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It still seems hard to believe that Leicester City are the current reigning champions, especially given their average start to this season.

Although Arsenal ended up finishing second in 2015/16, it was Spurs who were Leicester’s biggest rivals for much of the campaign, and they face each other at White Hart Lane on Saturday.

The hosts are still undefeated in the league this season, although back-to-back draws against Bournemouth and West Brom mean Mauricio Pochettino could do with a win.

Leicester, meanwhile, will have been buoyed by their 3-1 victory at home to Crystal Palace last weekend, as they look to find some much-needed momentum.

They have shipped 11 goals in away matches against Liverpool, Man United and Chelsea, however, so Spurs will fancy their chances.

Pep Takes On Pulis

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 28, 2016: Manchester City's manager Pep Guardiola during the FA Premier League match against West Ham United at the City of Manchester Stadium Lane. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

After a stunning start to life in England, Pep Guardiola is feeling the heat for the first time, enduring his worst run of results in management.

The Spaniard is reportedly surprised by the sheer intensity of managing a Premier League club, and his Man City side have not won in the league in three attempts.

On Saturday, Guardiola takes his side to the Hawthorns to do battle with Tony Pulis’ West Brom – a match that is never much fun for the opposing team.

The Baggies may well play the least attractive football in the division, but as they showed at Anfield last weekend, they never give up and they will always provide their opponents with a physical battle.

You would expect City’s quality to shine through in the end, but the longer they go without breaking the deadlock, the more frustrated they will get.

Saints Eye Another Upset

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 28, 2015: Southampton's Virgil Van Dijk in action against Manchester City during the Premier League match at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Southampton deserve enormous credit for the way in which they keep responding from losing a top class manager.

There were plenty who tipped them to struggle in 2016/17, having lost Ronald Koeman to Everton, but they have been excellent, and currently lie eighth in the table.

The football they play is intricate and aesthetically-pleasing, and as their 1-1 draw at Man City last Sunday showed, their game also possesses plenty of substance.

Virgil van Dijk and Jose Fonte are an excellent centre-back pairing, while the likes of Jordy Clasie, Steven Davis, Dusan Tadic and Nathan Redmond bring quality in midfield and attack.

The Saints host Chelsea this weekend, in what has the potential to be the most interesting match of Gameweek 10.

Antonio Conte’s men are flying after a rocky patch, and a win at St Mary’s would really suggest that they are right in the title mix.

Moyes’ Last Game At Sunderland?

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, March 29, 2014: Manchester United's David Moyes during the Premiership match against Aston Villa at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

David Moyes’ Sunderland have endured a disastrous start to the season, picking up just two points from their first nine matches.

It is their worst ever opening to a Premier League campaign.

Moyes is the firm bookies’ favourite to be the next top flight manager sacked, and things don’t get any easier, with Arsenal visiting the Stadium of Light on Saturday lunchtime.

Should they lose yet again, especially if the defeat is convincing, it may well prove to be the final nail in Moyes’ coffin.

Arsenal surprisingly drew 0-0 at home to Middlesbrough last weekend, and Arsene Wenger will have his side fired up against limited opposition.

The Gunners are usually experts at dispatching of the weaker teams, regardless of their slip-up against ‘Boro, and anything other than all three points would be a shock.

Must-Win Game For Mourinho

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Monday, February 3, 2014: Chelsea's manager Jose Mourinho before the Premiership match against Manchester City at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It has been a rather bizarre start to life at Man United for Jose Mourinho, and the 4-0 defeat at former club Chelsea was humiliation at its finest.

The Portuguese looks a far cry from the charismatic figure who arrived in England in 2004, and there are real question marks about the job he is doing at Old Trafford.

This Saturday sees United host Burnley, and it is a match that Mourinho’s men simply have to win, even though Wednesday’s League Cup victory over City eased the pressure somewhat.

Sean Dyche’s men have really struggled away from home this season, and for all their fighting spirit and team ethic, the quality they possess is lacking.

With United’s five biggest rivals at the top all looking strong, despite the odd dropped point here and there, they cannot afford to lose further ground.

Fixtures & UK TV Info

Italy manager Antonio Conte before the game

Sunderland vs. Arsenal – Stadium of Light, Saturday 12:30pm, Sky Sports 1

Prediction: 0-2

Man United vs. Burnley – Old Trafford, Saturday 3pm

Prediction: 2-0

Middlesbrough vs. Bournemouth – Riverside Stadium, Saturday 3pm

Prediction: 1-1

Tottenham vs. Leicester – White Hart Lane, Saturday 3pm

Prediction: 2-1

Watford vs. Hull – Vicarage Road, Saturday 3pm

Prediction: 2-0

West Brom vs. Man City – The Hawthorns, Saturday 3pm

Prediction: 1-1

Crystal Palace vs. Liverpool – Selhurst Park, Saturday 5:30pm, BT Sport 1

Prediction: 1-2

Everton vs. West Ham – Goodison Park, Sunday 1:30pm, Sky Sports 1

Prediction: 2-1

Southampton vs. Chelsea – St Mary’s Stadium, Sunday 4pm, Sky Sports 1

Prediction: 1-1

Stoke vs. Swansea – Britannia Stadium, Monday 8pm, Sky Sports 1

Prediction: 0-0

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