Andre Villas-Boas and Jose Mourinho will face off for the first time when Tottenham host Chelsea at White Hart Lane on Saturday. Villas-Boas, who coached under Mourinho at Porto, Chelsea, and Inter Milan, will be hoping to earn a major scalp against his former teacher.
Spurs currently sit joint-top of the Premier League, largely due to their stingy defense which has only conceded one goal so far this season. Chelsea, on the other hand, has made a stuttering start by their lofty standards. The Blues have yet to produce the full flowing attacking football that was expected upon the return of Mourinho. Despite that, Tottenham have only won a meager three BPL matches out of 42 between these two London giants. The White Hart Lane faithful will be in full voice for this massive London derby, and I expect the apprentice to come out on top this time around.
Prediction: 1-0 Tottenham
Arsenal will be hoping for their fifth BPL win on the bounce when they travel to Wales to play Swansea. Michael Laudrup’s side will provide a stern test for the Gunners, the Swans are unbeaten in their last three matches in the league. Both teams play with an expansive attacking style, which could make this one of the most entertaining fixtures this weekend. Mesut Ozil will again look to pull the strings in the midfield, the German had a hand in all three goals against Stoke City last weekend. Arsenal are currently playing with confidence and drive and I believe they will prevail in what will be a hard fought contest.
Prediction: 1-2 Arsenal
Aston Villa will have to cope without star striker Christian Benteke when they welcome Manchester City to Villa Park. The Belgian goal scorer will be out for six weeks with a hip injury. Libor Kozak, who scored the winning goal against Norwich City, should start in attack. City will be hoping to build on their 4-1 thrashing over local rivals Manchester United last time out. Manuel Pellegrini’s Blues are starting to click into top gear, and the team looks to be thriving under the composed guidance of the Chilean. City’s immense strength in depth could be in display against Villa, Pellegrini may be tempted to shuffle his pack ahead of the UEFA Champion’s League clash against German giants Bayern Munich on Wednesday.
Prediction: 0-2 Man City
Manchester United looks to put their 4-1 derby day debacle behind them as they entertain West Brom at Old Trafford. The Champions have only won two of their first five BPL matches, and occupy 8th spot in the league.
They could also be without Robin Van Persie, who is still doubtful with the groin injury that kept him out of the Manchester derby. West Brom have struggled to score goals this season, but the addition of Stephane Sessegnon will add creativity in attacking areas. United need a strong performance to ease the anxiety around Old Trafford, and the players will be fired up to right the wrongs of last weekend.
Prediction: 2-0 Man United
Elsewhere on Saturday, Hull City host West Ham United at the KC Stadium. In my opinion, the Tigers have been the most impressive newly promoted side so far this season. Under Steve Bruce, they play with confidence and a “never say die” attitude, which was evident when they beat Newcastle United 3-2 last weekend. West Ham is poor away from home and I could see Hull City picking up another three points in this match. Fulham, will be hoping to record their first win since they beat Sunderland on opening day when they entertain Cardiff at Craven Cottage. A win for the Cottagers will see them move out of the relegation zone. Southampton are coming off the back of an impressive victory over Liverpool, and I think the Saints will continue that form against Crystal Palace.
2-1 Hull City
1-1 Fulham v Cardiff
On Sunday, Liverpool will be hoping to return to winning ways when they travel to the Stadium of Light to play bottom of the table (and manager-less) Sunderland. The home fans will be desperate for a response from the Black Cats, following the sacking of Paolo Di Canio last week. Liverpool could welcome back Uruguayan Luis Suarez, who is available for his first BPL action this season after completing his ten match ban for biting. Stoke City welcome Norwich City to the Britannia Stadium in Sunday’s other match. There is a real feel good factor around the Potters at the moment; the fans are really taking to Mark Hughes’ attempts to make them into an entertaining passing team. The Canaries have struggled recently, losing their last two league games without scoring a goal.
2-1 Stoke City
In Monday’s action, Everton host Newcastle United at Goodison Park. The Toffees are the only unbeaten team in the BPL, and beat Chelsea last time out. Newcastle, on the other hand, have been inconsistent thus far and lost to newly promoted Hull City last weekend. Goodison will be rocking for a Monday night game, and Roberto Martinez’s side should continue their great form.
Prediction: 2-0 Everton
Source: BBC Sport, sportsmole.co.uk