After an exciting international break, league football returns across the world.
And in England, sub-plots abound on matchday 8.
Here are our brief previews. At the end of the article, check out our weekly prediction video with Joy Sports Gary Al-Smith and his wingman Nii Akwei!
Chelsea’s momentum had been checked impressively by Manchester City just before the break but this fixture should provide an opportunity to rediscover lost rhythm. Even in the absence of Álvaro Morata and N’Golo Kanté, they will travel south across the capital and confident Crystal Palace, pointless and scoreless to date, can be overcome. The hosts must do without Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Christian Benteke, but will at least be bolstered by the return of Wilfried Zaha and possibly Julian Speroni to their ranks. At some point they must revive. It may be too much to ask for the recovery to start against Chelsea.
Predict Palace v Chelsea here!
Manchester City resume with Sergio Agüero back in contention following the rib injury suffered in a car accident. Factor in how Pep Guardiola’s side beat Chelsea without the striker and they could not be rolling any smoother. A caveat can always be found though: in last season’s corresponding fixture Stoke achieved a creditable 0-0 draw so Mark Hughes knows how to gain a result at the Etihad.
Predict Man City v Stoke City here!
Watford and Arsenal are out of their comfort zones. Marco Silva’s side have not won yet at home and Arsène Wenger’s have not won away from the Emirates. However, it is surely Arsenal that should be more confident, despite in all likelihood missing Alexis Sánchez, of breaking their duck after not conceding a league goal in September. Petr Cech will need to be at his best to keep another clean sheet though as Richarlison is going to be eager to continue impressing.
Predict Watford v Arsenal here!
Burnley’s best start to a top flight season since 1975 has been fuelled mostly by points gained away from home, surprising considering their meagre haul on their travels last season. Sean Dyche will need to record his first Premier League win over West Ham to restore Turf Moor to the fortress it once was, Slaven Bilic’s side have won all four meetings in Burnley’s last couple of seasons at the top level.
Predict Burnley v West Ham here!
It is a big week for Tottenham Hotspur, with the glamour Champions League tie at Real Madrid on Tuesday and a visit from Liverpool next Sunday but Mauricio Pochettino will not look beyond Bournemouth – and the chance to win at Wembley in the league for the first time. Eddie Howe is not the type to park the bus, which is a good thing for Tottenham. The Bournemouth manager maintains his team can play their way out of trouble.
Crunch time for Swansea. Paul Clement’s side have lost all three home games, failed to score in five of their seven league matches this season and registered only 11 shots on target. Toothless barely does it justice. Clement said this week that it is too early to talk about a relegation battle but that statement will ring hollow if Swansea pick up anything less than three points against Huddersfield. David Wagner’s side are winless in five but will travel to south Wales with nothing to fear.
Predict Swansea v Huddersfield here!
Mauricio Pellegrino has endured an indifferent start at Southampton but begins a forgiving run of fixtures with the visit of Newcastle and Rafa Benítez, whom he worked under at Liverpool and Internazionale. Pellegrino has no new injury concerns after the international break, with Shane Long recovering from a hip problem. Newcastle are boosted by the permanent signing of the midfielder Mikel Merino while Jonjo Shelvey is available despite a finger injury.
Predict Southampton v Newcastle here!
Brighton sense a chance to make headway over the next month with West Ham United, Southampton and Swansea City their opponents after the visit of vulnerable Everton. Then again international breaks can sometimes provide timely punctuation and Ronald Koeman will hope his team come out refreshed after taking stock of a deeply unimpressive and troubling September. The television audience in India, who are the beneficiaries of this game’s switch to 1.30pm on Sunday, will doubtless be hoping for a rousing contest too. Everton’s travelling fans would be forgiven for focusing their attention on this latest demonstration of the Premier League’s priorities.
Predict Brighton v Everton here!
Leicester have had a tricky start to the season in terms of fixtures but their ambitious owners would still have hoped for more than five points from seven matches. The combination of Danny Drinkwater’s late departure and the embarrassing mix-up over the signing of Adrien Silva has left Leicester light in midfield, yet other areas of the team are also not clicking. West Brom, in contrast, were quick out of the blocks, picking up seven points from their first three matches, but have failed to win since.
Predict Leicester v West Brom here!
And now, here is this week's Premier League Weekly podcast.
Do you agree with Gary and Nii? Can you do better? Then predict here now!