Ordinarily, it's not in my nature to blow my own trumpet. However, calling Brighton & Hove Albion's first home win in the league was a particular nice call. In fact, recent predictions have been pretty good so you know exactly who to consult before jumping on any accumulators!
Anyway, the next set of matches are all on week nights and each of them is being broadcasted by BT Sport.
Game of the week
Tottenham vs Chelsea: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Thursday 20.00
Not many saw Spurs losing to Brighton on Sunday night! Jose Mourinho builds his entire attacking strategy around Harry Kane. Get the ball into Kane and he can score, create or simply link-up with his team-mates. Without Kane, Spurs look like a shell of themselves.
The injury to the Spurs striker presents Thomas Tuchel with an excellent opportunity to add to his unbeaten start as Chelsea manager. The German has four points from his first two matches and the performances of Callum Hudson-Odoi have caught the eye. Under Frank Lampard, Hudson-Odoi had become a peripheral figure but he has starred as a wing-back in Tuchel’s first two games.
Tuchel hasn’t had long to assess his players but it looks as though he is going to try and build from a back-three system. That shape allows him to bring in the likes of Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso, players who had barely featured this season under Lampard. Trying to implement a philosophy mid-season is an incredibly difficult task but Tuchel has the tactical nous and charisma to make things happen.
Mourinho will know of Chelsea’s attacking qualities. In the reverse match at Stamford Bridge, he set up with a deep-block with the view to taking a point. This time around, on the back of two defeats and an injury to Kane, those defensive tactics could be getting wheeled out once again. And, to be fair, the Portuguese manager is a specialist in making life difficult for opposition teams.
Sheffield United vs West Bromwich Albion: Bramall Lane, 18.00
Chris Wilder’s team is starting to turn a corner in the second half of this season. Whether it’s too little too late remains to be seen, but Blades fans can take a lot of heart out of recent matches. Morale isn’t particularly strong with their opponents, however, Sam Allardyce will be determined to build on their battling point against Fulham.
Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Arsenal: Molineux, 18.00
Nuno Espirito Santo must feel like he is rearranging the deckchairs on a sinking ship. He badly needs Raul Jimenez back because nothing is working at this moment in time. They have no focal-point and minimal goal threat, although the loan arrival of Willian Jose will hopefully help. With that in mind, welcoming in-form Arsenal is not ideal, especially with the nimble nature of their young attacking stars.
Manchester United vs Southampton: Old Trafford, 20.15
Another goalless draw in a big match for United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will feel both sides of that. They equalled the club’s longest unbeaten league run away from Old Trafford but, once again, they were unable to put another big-six team to the sword. Southampton is a tough game but they are a little depleted at this moment in time.
Newcastle vs Crystal Palace: St James’ Park, 20.15
Many would have said that Brighton’s win against Tottenham was the surprise of the weekend but, for me, it was at Goodison Park. Steve Bruce had almost forgotten what victory tasted like but his team were superb against Everton. This has gone from being a quite dull looking affair to a match that could produce a number of goals!
Burnley vs Manchester City: Turf Moor, 18.00
Pep Guardiola rested a number of players against Sheffield United, perhaps viewing Burnley as a tougher match before their big clash with Liverpool in the upcoming weekend. The Spaniard knows that, at Turf Moor, his team find it much more difficult to tackle the Clarets than they do at the Etihad. Expect lots of City possession and a narrow away victory.
Fulham vs Leicester City: Craven Cottage, 18.00
Fulham should have been 3-0 up in the first-half of their match against West Brom. In the end, they were happy to snatch a point, following Albion’s efforts after the interval. The game was symptomatic of their campaign: good performances but not clinical enough. Scott Parker has become a bit of a draw specialist and that seems the most likely result against a Leicester team who are missing some key individuals.
Leeds United vs Everton: Elland Road, 18.00
Leeds were expected to lose to Leicester while Everton were supposed to breeze past Newcastle. How wrong everyone was! Marcelo Bielsa’s team were full of beans and it was actually their opponents from Merseyside who looked short on energy. Everton have had mentality dips in recent seasons and Carlo Ancelotti will be hoping that he doesn’t witness another one. The Italian badly needs Allan to return to his midfield and restore a bit of bite.
Aston Villa vs West Ham United: Villa Park, 20.15
A clash of two in-form claret and blue wearers. Villa play prettier football but West Ham are effective with how they mix it up. David Moyes’ men can pass the ball on the deck but they’re also not afraid to pump it long and whip crosses in. Both teams can defend but they also look to be on the front-foot in games. It should be an entertaining watch but the hosts have a little bit more flair in forward areas.
Liverpool vs Brighton & Hove Albion: Anfield, 20.15
Jurgen Klopp will be delighted at back-to-back wins and this represents a great opportunity to make it three on the bounce. The mini-crisis is at an end! That being said, Brighton are a tough nut to crack and they have just beaten Tottenham. It’s tough to see this being a landslide, especially with the injuries that Liverpool have racked up.