Traditionalists and the old school might not know what to make of the demise of Upton Park and White Hart Lane. For many years they were the home grounds of West Ham and Tottenham Hotspurs. Saturday’s live meeting takes place at the London (former Olympic) Stadium where the Hammers now play and Spurs have a temporary home at Wembley while their own ground is being upgraded.
This long-standing London Derby brings together teams from the east and north part of the capital and north can get the better of east because Tottenham are fancied to win this match. They are a better footballing team with a settled line-up including Harry Kane who is a proven goal scorer at this level. West Ham are average at best and home advantage at the new ground will not be enough to avoid defeat.
In assessing the likely outcome of Liverpool’s second fixture at Leicester in a week you have to get into the mind of Jurgen Klopp. The sides met in the EFL Cup on Tuesday and Klopp made 8 changes for the trip from the starting 11 that could only draw with Burnley at Anfield last weekend. The manager will revert to his best team but that may not be good enough to avoid defeat. Liverpool miss loads of chances and are susceptible at the other end.
Some of their fans are rationalising the Cup defeat by pointing out that Leicester are a decent side who won the league two years ago. However, that’s clutching at straws as the 2015-16 season was a freak when the team massively overachieved. Leicester are now a decent mid-table outfit but these are matches Liverpool should be winning if they have aspirations to win the Premier League. They can’t hit a barn door and are porous at the back which is not a title-winning recipe and Leicester can profit.
Brighton and Newcastle meet on the south coast on Sunday. This fixture brings together two of the promoted teams from the Championship last season. They earned a place in the top division by finishing first and second with Newcastle on top but only by one point. Both clubs are adjusting to the Premier League but Newcastle have more money and are getting their act together. They have won their last three league matches and that run can continue on the road this weekend.
Brighton won a match in the Premier League for the first time in their history at home to West Brom earlier this month. Since then they have lost to Bournemouth in the EFL Cup and league. Bournemouth have lost their other four matches this season and are in the bottom three. If Brighton can’t beat their coastal neighbours picking up anything against Newcastle will be tough and an away win is the prediction.
Ahead of their match at home against West Brom on Monday Arsenal could be described as the enigma of the Premier League, losing at Liverpool with something to spare and then not long after holding Chelsea at Stanford Bridge. One week Arsene Wenger is on borrowed time and the next week he’s the best thing since sliced bread. He needs some stability but the owners and senior managers seem to be making a pig’s ear of running the club. Wenger must feel massively offended about Arsenal playing on Thursday nights in the Europa League.
West Brom are West Brom and nothing much changes at a club when Tony Pulis is in charge. They already seem destined for mid-table safety having won 2, drawn 2 and lost 1 of their first five matches, scoring 4 goals and conceding 4 goals. Pulis has never been relegated as a manager and one of his sides finished in the top half of the Premier League for the first time last season but West Brom overachieved. His sides generally don’t beat Arsenal away from home and even sharing the points in this fixture looks beyond them.