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Man City tested at Chelsea, as Liverpool reunite with Rafa – Premier League Preview

The Premier League serves up some inviting fixtures this weekend, with Liverpool travelling to Newcastle United and Man City taking on Chelsea.

The Reds got back to winning ways with a crucial 3-2 victory at Leicester City last weekend, with Simon Mignolet‘s penalty save from Jamie Vardy helping earn the Reds all three points.

Elsewhere, Man City and Man United stayed neck-and-neck at the top of the table after respective 5-0 and 1-0 wins over Crystal Palace and Southampton.

Chelsea cruised to a 4-0 triumph away to Stoke City, Tottenham won at West Ham and Arsenal saw off West Brom at the Emirates.

Palace remain without a win or a goal this season after being drubbed by City, while Bournemouth‘s defeat at Everton leaves them 19th.

There are 10 matches to look forward to this weekend—make the most of it, with an international break looming ominously on the horizon.

 

Heavyweight Contest at Stamford Bridge

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 3, 2016: Chelsea's Eden Hazard celebrates scoring the third goal against Manchester City during the FA Premier League match at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by Gavin Trafford/Propaganda)

There have only been four high-profile matches between the top six so far this season—Liverpool’s clashes with Arsenal and City, and Chelsea‘s against both north London sides—as the league takes shape slowly.

Saturday’s much-anticipated clash between Chelsea and City is a genuine heavyweight contest, however, and one that will tell us plenty about both sides.

Antonio Conte and Pep Guardiola are very different managers when it comes to playing styles, and the former’s more defence-minded approach will be tested to the hilt by the latter’s attacking brilliance.

City look comfortably the most exciting side in the country right now, with an aggregate win of 16-0 in their last three Premier League matches.

Their quality in the final third is frightening, but if any side can thwart them and hit them on the counter-attack, it’s Chelsea.

A victory for Guardiola’s title favourites would be a huge statement of intent, but don’t be surprised if Chelsea prove that they will be right in the mix, too.

 

Liverpool Reunited With Benitez

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 23, 2016: Newcastle United's manager Rafael Benitez before the Premier League match against Liverpool at Anfield. (Pic by Bradley Ormesher/Propaganda)

Rafa Benitez was adored by the majority of Liverpool supporters during his six-year stay at Anfield, with his 2005 Champions League triumph ensuring him legendary status.

The Spaniard is now held in similarly high regard by Newcastle fans, having guided them back to the Premier League and held his own against controversial owner Mike Ashley.

Benitez will come up against his former club on Sunday afternoon, and he will be hoping to remain undefeated against the Reds.

Jurgen Klopp‘s side picked up a much-needed win at Leicester in their last league outing, and three more points at St James’ Park would be huge.

Trips to Newcastle haven’t been too successful in recent years for Liverpool, with just one win in their last five attempts, but the hope is their attacking quality will earn them a victory.

Benitez is renowned for making his teams organised and disciplined, so the visitors will have to play well to break down the Magpies’ stubborn rearguard.

 

Palace Set For More Misery

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 29, 2011: West Bromwich Albion's manager Roy Hodgson before the Premiership match against Liverpool at The Hawthorns. (Pic by Vegard Grott/Propaganda)

There are bad starts to the season, and then there’s Palace’s start to the season.

The Eagles have endured the worst opening six matches in Premier League history, losing every one and failing to score a single goal.

After a mauling at City last Saturday, things don’t get much easier this time around, with United licking their lips at Old Trafford.

This league remains one of the most unpredictable in European football, but despite this, it is almost impossible to see Palace getting anything from this game.

United have the bit between their teeth at the moment, unfortunately, and their ruthlessness at either end of the pitch could well mean Palace remain both pointless and goalless going into the international break.

 

Spurs to Keep Ticking Along?

Tottenham Hotspurs' Davinson Sanchez during the Premier League match at Wembley, London. (Adam Davy/PA Wire/PA Images)

With the Manchester clubs receiving widespread praise, and the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal making headlines for their unpredictability, Spurs have gone quietly under the radar of late.

They are unbeaten in 10 games in all competitions, since losing to Chelsea at Wembley last month, and while a few sloppy draws have been thrown in, they look a very impressive outfit.

The balance that they possess could well be the best in the division, with a rock-solid defence accompanied by a classy midfield and bordering-on-world-class striker in Harry Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino’s team visit Huddersfield Town on Saturday lunchtime, and as was the case at West Ham a week ago, Spurs should have too much quality for their opponents.

The Terriers have only lost once in the league this season, it should be stressed, so David Wagner certainly won’t be ruling out a shock. An away win feels very likely, though.

 

Fixtures, UK TV Info & Predictions

HUDDERSFIELD, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 26, 2017: Huddersfield Town's manager David Wagner before the FA Premier League match between Huddersfield Town and Southampton at the John Smith's Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Saturday

Huddersfield vs. Tottenham – 12:30pm, Sky Sports Main Event
Prediction: 0-2

Bournemouth vs. Leicester – 3pm
Prediction: 1-2

Man United vs. Crystal Palace – 3pm
Prediction: 3-0

Stoke vs. Southampton – 3pm
Prediction: 1-1

West Brom vs. Watford – 3pm
Prediction: 2-1

West Ham vs. Swansea – 3pm
Prediction: 2-1

Chelsea vs. Man City – 5:30pm, BT Sport 1
Prediction: 1-1

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 23, 2017: Liverpool's manager J¸rgen Klopp celebrates after the 3-2 victory during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Sunday

Arsenal vs. Brighton – 12pm, BT Sport 1
Prediction: 3-1

Everton vs. Burnley – 2:15pm, Sky Sports Main Event
Prediction: 1-1

Newcastle vs. Liverpool – 4:30pm, Sky Sports Main Event
Prediction: 1-3

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