VAVEL's Gameweek 8 Premier League Predictions
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It's the final set of Premier League fixtures before the international break. The return of the Nations League and international fixtures seems ludicrous amid the state of the world. It also hinders club teams across the whole of Europe with players being denied the opportunity to rest.

Pay-per-view has also in the dock with many fans complaining that the £14.95 fee per-match is simply too much money. As a result, the system has been scrapped and games will now be distributed for free to customers of Sky Sport and BT Sport. Fan power!

On the pitch, Gameweek 8 promises to be an exciting affair, although, one match does stand out above the rest.

Game of the week

Manchester City vs Liverpool: Etihad Stadium, Sunday 16.30 (Sky Sports)

This is the game that both of these teams will look for when the fixtures are released. A clash of the titans!

Manchester City feel as though they are under new management. The swashbuckling attacking football has been replaced with a more disciplined and defensively aware style of football. 

Liverpool sit at the top of the Premier League, despite dropping points against Everton and losing heavily to Aston Villa. Their recent 5-0 Champions League annihilation of Atalanta illustrated their attacking prowess; a hat-trick for Diogo Jota will have given Jürgen Klopp a selection dilemma for Sunday's big match. 

The hosts may start with Gabriel Jesus after the Brazilian's goal-scoring return to the fold against Olympiacos. In the absence of a recognised striker, Pep Guardiola has played around with Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden and Ferran Torres as a false-nine, but nobody has looked entirely comfortable in the role. Jesus' return from injury is massive. 

The visitors have had big issues at the other end of the pitch. Injuries to Virgil van Dijk, and Fabinho have crippled a defence that was already struggling to keep clean sheets. Joel Matip has also been injured but he could be fit for this clash. Again, this would be a timely boost to the manager. 

Klopp will want to ensure that his patchy defence is not left exposed. Guardiola will not want to overcommit in attack in fear of Sadio Mane and Mohammed Salah on the counter. 

My initial instincts, pre-midweek, was a scoreless draw, however, the goal-scoring return of Jesus and the form of Jota has altered my thinking. Still, it probably won't be a game with many goals.  

Prediction: 1-1

Friday

Brighton  & Hove Albion vs Burnley: AMEX Stadium, 17.30 (Sky Sports Box Office)

Brighton & Hove Albion illustrated resilience in their recent match against Tottenham Hotspur. Form suggested that the Seagulls could be on the end of a heavy defeat but Graham Potter placed more emphasis on defensive organisation. 

Burnley were unfortunate to lose against Tottenham but they were beaten more resoundingly by Chelsea. Sean Dyche will be desperate to record his first victory of the campaign with talks of a takeover looming in the background. 

The hosts gained a lot of plaudits for their free flowing football in the opening weeks but that style has struggled to generate points. A possible fallout with Neal Maupay would compound Potter's miseries; the Frenchman is their main goal-threat. 

The game is there for either team but Burnley will hope that this is their time. They're due a spot of luck! 

Prediction: 0-1 

Southampton vs Newcastle United: St Mary's Stadium, 20.00 (Sky Sports)

Southampton's 4-3 win over Aston Villa was married by an injury to the brilliant Danny Ings. Although not as bad as first feared, the striker will be out of this clash. 

Newcastle United have been the luckiest team in the Premier League. At what point do we credit Steve Bruce for consistently picking up results? Last weekend, Everton were without four key players. This weekend, Southampton are missing their best player. 

Simply put, Southampton don't carry the same impetus without Ings. He's more than just a goalscorer. He links-up play well, he leads the press and he stretches defences. The Magpies are in a spell where they seem to keep getting out of jail; there is something to be had at St Mary's. 

Prediction: 1-1

Saturday

Everton vs Manchester United: Goodison Park, 12.30 (BT Sport)

Everton's superb start is quickly eroding. Last weekend, absences for Seamus Coleman, Lucas Digne, James Rodriguez and Richarlison left the Toffees with very little attacking spark. Digne, however, will be back, after having his initial three-match suspension reduced to one.

Simply put, Everton are a real force when their first eleven is on the field. But the depth behind that isn't at the same standard. 

Manchester United are symptomatic of a crazy season. Champions League wins against Paris Saint Germain and RB Leipzig are countered by their inability to win a Premier League match at Old Trafford. An embarrassing 2-1 defeat to Istanbul Basaksehir has compounded fan frustrations. 

This game could be make or break for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The Norwegian has faced the axe on several occasions in his managerial stint at Old Trafford but, on every occasion, he has found a response. Everton are a team that will want to attack United, especially at their home stadium, and that could play into United’s hands. 

Prediction: 1-3

Crystal Palace vs Leeds United: Selhurst Park, 15.00 (BT Sport Box Office) 

Crystal Palace are incredibly effective when they hold a lead. Contrastingly, they are not set up to turn games around when they fall behind. Just like Newcastle, Burnley and, to an extent, Wolverhampton Wanderers, they build with a defence-first strategy and build from that. 

Leeds United are the opposite. They attack at all times, playing a high risk style of football. Nonetheless, they yield results playing in this way, simultaneously winning the hearts of many neutral supporters. 

Both teams suffered defeats last week; Leeds were annihilated by a the counter attacks of Leicester City. Technically, Leeds should find it tough against Palace but Marcelo Bielsa will demand an improved display from his men; he will probably get it. 

Prediction: 1-1 

Chelsea vs Sheffield United: Stamford Bridge, 17.30 (Sky Sports)

Frank Lampard is steadily anchoring Chelsea's push for Champions League football. If has been solid, if unspectacular, for the Blues so far. However, recent performances have illustrated that their expensively assembled attack is starting to find its feet. 

Sheffield United are toothless when they attack. Rhian Brewster has been signed for his goal-scoring instincts but the striker has been starved of service. Their build-up is too slow and it allows opponents to get back into shape.

It's tough to look beyond Chelsea. Edouard Mendy and Thiago Silva have transformed the fortunes of Chelsea's horrendous backline. Their attacking talents still need time to gel but recent signs suggest that they are slowly getting into their stride.  

Prediction: 2-0

West Ham United vs Fulham: Olympic Stadium, 20.00 (BT Sport Box Office)

West Ham United's unbeaten run was ended at Anfield but their resurgence after all the talk of toxicity has been amazing. The loss of Michail Antonio is a big blow, however. He had been working wonders as an auxiliary striker

Fulham are playing this London derby on the back of their important 2-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion. Must win is perhaps a stretch but Scott Parker will be delighted to get his first league win of the season. 

David Moyes has masterminded some excellent results against the big boys but this is a different kind of match. Fulham will be happy to sit deep and patiently work attacking openings. The Hammers will now have to take the game to their opponents, making this match much tougher than some would suggest. 

Prediction: 2-2

Sunday

West Bromwich Albion vs Tottenham Hotspur: The Hawthorns, 12.00 (Sky Sports Box Office)

It has been tough for West Brom. They set up to be compact but lack a coherent attacking strategy. The Baggies have given a good account of themselves in difficult games against Everton and Chelsea but they have been unable to pick up a victory against teams in and around them. 

Tottenham have had to grind out victories against Burnley and Brighton. Quite a different feel to their successes against Southampton and Man United. Anybody competing in Europe, this season, will have little time to prepare for specific matches. 

Slaven Bilic could be sacked or, more likely, he might walk. Allowing Ahmed Hegazi to leave after the end of the transfer window has left a bitter taste in the mouth. His squad are already well up against it. They will fight hard against Tottenham but the visitors should find a way to win. 

Prediction: 1-2 

Leicester City vs Wolverhampton Wanderers: King Power Stadium, 14.00 (Sky Sports)

How often is this clash goalless? This Midlands derby is often tightly fought because both teams are very evenly matched. Last season, Leicester finished 5th and Wolves finished 7th; European pedigree. 

Leicester are navigating their injury crisis by deploying a back-three and playing on the counter. Those tactics served them wonderfully well in the 2015-16 title winning season but Brendan Rodgers prefers a possession-based game. However, his arm has been twisted and the tactical adjustments have helped his team to pick up points in a challenging period. 

Wolves have started the season well. There have been signs of a hangover from last season's excursions but a questionable performance has usually been followed up with a more convincing one. That has been the story of the season for a lot of teams!

A team that has shifted back into a counter-attacking unit against a team that has always thought with a defence-first mindset. Stalemate. 

Prediction: 0-0 

Arsenal vs Aston Villa: Emirates Stadium, 19.45 (Sky Sports Box Office)

Arsenal needed that win at Old Trafford but, in all honesty, it was coming. Mikel Arteta is steadily building the foundations for something great at the North London outfit. There are always going to be some bumps along the road but greatness comes to those who wait. 

Aston Villa had the best defensive record in the top flight. Three clean sheets in their opening four league matches. Unfortunately for them, the Villains have shipped seven goals against Leeds United and Southampton. Sucker punch. 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had been asleep since signing his lucrative new contract at the Emirates. However, he was lively against Man United and his penalty proved to be the decisive strike. Arteta deploys him from the left in order to maximise his attacking output. Both player and manager will want to see some open-play goals in a fixture that looks to be favourable on paper. 

Prediction: 2-0

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