Liverpool vs Newcastle
To this humble analyst, this fixture is one of those ones that always feel bigger than they actually are in the modern era. Sky Sports will be bound to play goals from one of those 4-3 thrillers in the 90s over and over again, but more recently this fixture has been a slightly more dull affair - and you can blame one man only for that: Rafael Benitez.
Arguably the most futile comeback ever.
It doesn’t look good for Newcastle - but when does it, really? Liverpool are unbeaten in the last 23 matches against Steve Bruce’s lot at Anfield. They’ve scored 58 along the way whilst keeping 12 clean sheets - and yes, Karius was in goal for some of them.
If Liverpool score three (and let’s be honest, they will) they will become only the third club since Sky invented football to score 100+ goals against a fellow Premier League side - Arsenal have scored 107 against Everton and United have a round 100 against, well, Everton.
Liverpool’s victory-in-waiting would see them become the third club to win 14 Premier League matches in a row - but if they get more than one, they’ll be the first to do it by scoring at least twice on each occasion. Seriously, it does not look good for Newcastle.
You want another reason why Jamaal Lascelles et al may as well call in sick? Newcastle have lost their last 27 away matches against teams starting the day top-of-the-top-flight-table. The last time they beat one was in 1972 against Brian Clough’s Derby County. Yeah, you might want to swerve this one Magpie fans…
Here’s a shocking shout - Liverpool to win 4-0 and Steve Bruce to have to answer more questions about his ability to keep Newcastle up after the match. Beating Spurs will feel like a decade ago.
Norwich vs Man City
Why would a TV company do this to Norwich? Nobody wants to see an execution on live television, do they? Giving Chelsea a bit of a scare at Carrow Road is one thing - playing open, expansive football against City is a very quick way to shorten your relegation odds.
Norwich just don’t beat City - once in the last 14 Premier League attempts, in fact. Norwich don’t beat reigning Premier League Champions, either - they’ve lost 11 of the last 12.
City chew up and spit out newly-promoted sides like a baby discovering lemon for the first time. They are unbeaten in the last 25 fixtures against sides fresh from the Championship and they’ve won 20 of them.
Sergio Aguero is looking to join Jose Antonio Reyes and Wayne Rooney in a very special club - no, it’s nothing to do with ropey jeans circa 2004. Reyes and Rooney are the only two players to ever score in the first five Premier League matches of a season and wee Sergio is on four.
Back to Norwich’s willingness to let the opposition have a crack at their goal - they’ve let the other team have 54 shots at Tim Krul this season. Even I know that’s not a very good idea and if I was Sergio Aguero I’d be fuming that Pep is going to leave me on the bench this weekend.
I am not sure if I have enough fingers or toes to add this one up, so I will do the best I can and leave it at City outscoring Liverpool this weekend by winning 6-0.
Bournemouth vs Everton
I mean, seriously - some of these literally get pulled out of a lucky dip, don’t they?
I’ve seen more of Everton on TV this season than I have of Love Island contestants, and that is saying something.
Eddie Howe’s men are not known for their levels of consistency but, to give them some credit, they are consistent against Everton at home where they are yet to be beaten.
Add to that the fact that Everton have only kept one clean-sheet in the last eight against the Cherries and Bournemouth fans might start to get a little excited.
If you like goals, and if you don’t do you even like football?, then this is the match for you - in the eight matches these two have played against each other there have been 39 goals. That’s 3.9 per outing for you Countdown lovers.
But there is some hope for Everton - Marco Silva is yet to lose against Bournemouth (though that might be because he keeps getting sacked before they play them). Richarlison is also on a three-game scoring streak which might well continue on the south coast.
Oh, and Everton haven’t lost on a Sunday in 2019 - that swings it massively, doesn’t it?
Therefore, I am putting all that into analytics lucky dip machine and it is telling me it will be a 2-2 draw and with the son of Richarl to snaffle at least one of them.
Watford vs Arsenal
Welcome home Quique! Make the most of it before they tell you they want the spare bedroom back again.
Will Watford get the same amount of “new manager bounce” because they’ve appointed a new manager that is very similar to one of their old managers in the sense that he is actually one of their old managers?
Probably not - Watford have lost five of the last six against Arsenal and haven’t scored in the last three matches against the Gunners. There hasn’t been a Premier League draw between these two sides yet either - further decreasing the hope of at least a point for Sanchez Flores on his return.
It could be a day of bad records for Watford and no, Elton is not booked to make an appearance - it could be the first time they’ve lost their first three home matches since 1991-92 when, in a cheeky quirk of fate, The Rocket Man was at number one with “Sacrifice”. Defeat would also equal the first time they’ve lost five home games on the bounce since the Zola era.
Considering that Watford are bottom of the table and nowhere near the top six, you can imagine Yo-Pierre is getting ready to fill his no doubt terrifically snazzy boots.
Watford’s revival will have to wait another week as Arsenal win this one 2-0 - Aubameyang at the double!
Aston Villa vs West Ham
Ah, the long-awaited return of the David Cameron derby - we’ve missed you, welcome back.
Villa will still be spitting blood over the decision that cost them a point last time out but can take heart from the fact that West Ham have only beaten them twice in the last 18 attempts at Villa Park.
But, the Hammers are bound to know that a win would give them their first back-to-back run over Villa since January 2006 - and if that doesn’t fire the players up then I think Pellegrini may as well call it a day.
West Ham’s start this season is their best since 2012-13 when Sam Allardyce was skillfully managing them to seven early points.
Villa will be far more concerned by two key facts here - they don’t win in the Premier League on a Monday and they don’t win that often in the Premier League regardless of the day. They’ve lost 15 of their last 17 Premier League matches and won just once on a Monday in the last 16 - smashing Sunderland 6-1 in 2013 which barely even counts as it was Sunderland.
Predictions - West Ham to win with Haller scoring from a Lanzini assist but maybe have a look at Grealish and McGinn (the two most fouled players in the Premier League) getting lumps kicked out of them by Mark Noble. 1-0 West Ham!