Neutrals Backing Liverpool, Watford's Strange Stat & 10 Things To Look Out For In The Premier League This Weekend

1 Chelsea v Liverpool: Are Liverpool Good Enough To Finish Off Mourinho?

For the first time since that infamous title run-in of 2013/14, Liverpool will be embracing plenty of neutral support when they go to Chelsea on Saturday lunchtime – with the prospect of seeing Jose Mourinho dumped flat on his face by Jurgen Klopp an enticing one for many.

If you think that’s a little harsh then the likelihood is that you’re a Chelsea fan. No-one likes relentless, ruthless winners – as the Blues usually have been under the Portuguese – and the sight of the Stamford Bridge implosion has been a truly staggering thing to witness.

The concern for those who want to see Mourinho fail, though, is that an injury-hit Liverpool are still very much a work in progress under Klopp.

At least they’ll have Christian Benteke back for this one, and with the law of averages surely indicating that they can’t draw a ninth game in 11, backing both teams to net might just be the safest option.

Both Teams To Score - 1.82


2 Crystal Palace v Man Utd: Will Van Gaal’s Playground Words Ring True?

PFC CSKA Moskva v Manchester United FC - UEFA Champions League : News Photo

“Sticks and stones will break my bones, names won’t hurt me,” said Louis van Gaal, age 64, when he was confronted with Paul Scholes’ recent criticism of his ‘boring’ Manchester United side.

The Dutchman was being typically abrasive in quite a childlike manner, and at his age he’s unlikely to change what has undoubtedly become a slow, methodical United approach designed to grind down the opposition.

With Palace set to tighten things up following a midweek hammering by Manchester City in the League Cup and four Premier League defeats in six ever since the win at Chelsea, this might not be a classic.

Under 2.5 Goals – 1.74


3 Man City v Norwich: Time To Unleash Iheanacho?

A goal and two assists in what was his first full 90 minutes for Manchester City in that League Cup win over Palace in midweek was a further boost to the burgeoning reputation of the Nigerian youngster Kelechi Iheanacho, and there are now calls for the teenager to start upfront with Wilfried Bony on Saturday.

Called up for the full Nigeria squad for the first time this week, the 19-year-old is quick, direct and will pose problems for Norwich if he’s selected by Manuel Pellegrini, who is seeking to improve on an aggregate score of 12-1 to the hosts on Norwich’s last two visits to the Etihad.

Kelechi Iheanacho To Score At Any Time – 2.08


4 Newcastle v Stoke: Shawcross Returns At The Wrong Time For McClaren

Barclays Asia Trophy Training Session & Press Conference : News Photo

After having weekends to forget last week, it is the return of two defenders which should see Newcastle and Stoke spring into action at St James’s Park with smiles on their faces on Saturday.

Fabricio Coloccini is available for the hosts after his red card in the now customary dismal derby defeat to Sunderland was overturned, but it is the first Premier League appearance of the season for Ryan Shawcross which could prove more telling as Stoke seek to alleviate the errors they showed against Watford.

Steve McClaren won’t be happy to see him.

Stoke To Win – 3.25


5 Swansea v Arsenal: Will Injuries Catch Up With The Gunners?

It’s the end of October, so it’s time for Arsenal’s customary injury curse.

Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Aaron Ramsey and others are all out of the trip to Swansea, who will be buoyed by both that and the morale-boosting win at Aston Villa last weekend which saw off Tim Sherwood.

The Swans have won their last two against the Gunners, too, and this feels as though it could be a test that a weakened Arsenal need to pass if title ambitions are to remain realistic.

Swansea might just have got their mojo back, though.

Swansea To Win Or Draw – 2.15


6 Watford v West Ham: A First Half Trend Which Has To End

Watford v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League : News Photo

In Watford’s five Premier League home matches this season, the half-time scores have been 0-0 (v West Brom), 0-0 (v Southampton), 0-0 (v Swansea), 0-0 (v Crystal Palace) and 0-0 (v Arsenal).

That has to end somewhere, right?

Watford To Score In The First Half – 2.12

West Ham To Score In The First Half – 2.25


7 West Brom v Leicester: All Eyes On Vardy, But Baggies Have Rondon Calling

Can Jamie Vardy keep scoring? This continues to be the Leicester City forward’s world and we’re all just living in it, but at The Hawthorns both he and his team will come up against a forward who notched a goal of his own last weekend.

Both of Salomon Rondon’s two strikes in his brief West Bromwich Albion career have been the winning goals in 1-0 successes, and if Tony Pulis’s side can shackle Vardy and get the ball up to the big Venezuelan he could well make that three.

Salomon Rondon To Score & West Brom To Win – 5.40


8 Everton v Sunderland: Will Allardyce Ignore The Case For Defoe?

Sunderland v Norwich City - Premier League : News Photo

Last weekend’s Wear-Tyne derby was a perfect example of when injuries can actually help rather than hinder.

With Sunderland being overrun, the ineffective Ola Toivonen limped off to be replaced by Jermain Defoe, and instantly the hosts looked to have more thrust to their cut – Defoe playing in Steven Fletcher with the pass which led to the penalty and Fabricio Coloccini’s red card.

If Sam Allardyce starts Defoe against a weary Everton – who are missing the injured Phil Jagielka for the next two months – then the visitors may have a sniff at Goodison.

Both Teams To Score – 1.87


9 Southampton v Bournemouth: The Tough Games Just Keep Coming

Bournemouth are in the middle of a dreadful run of fixtures – their 1-0 defeat at Liverpool in the League Cup in midweek extending their winless run to five games now.

And it would be hugely surprising if five didn’t become six and a fully functioning Southampton, who also progressed in that competition and showed at Anfield last weekend that they are still one of the Premier League’s most impressive outfits.

The Cherries usually score, but this is a home banker.

Southampton To Win & Both Teams To Score – 3.25


10 Tottenham v Aston Villa: Harry Kane To Prove He’s Able

RSC Anderlecht v Tottenham Hotspur FC - UEFA Europa League : News Photo

There’s no Tim Sherwood sideshow here, but there is a player that he’s probably still taking the credit for discovering.

Harry Kane’s detractors were put in their place with the England forward’s second, third and fourth goals of the season in last weekend’s win at Bournemouth, and the Spurs sharp-shooter will now have Aston Villa in his sights on Monday night as he bids to really kickstart his season.

More goals could be on the way.

Harry Kane To Score & Tottenham To Win – 2.23