Title challengers to punch their weight

Man City 3 Everton 1
Ten-man Man City showed real mettle in disposing of Southampton last weekend. Yaya Toure’s return to form has more than compensated for the absence of David Silva from Sky Blue’s creative engine room. Despite not getting onto the score sheet, Sergio Aguero cemented his reputation as the league’s most valuable player at the moment by creating all three goals.

Newcastle 1 Chelsea 2
In recent years, leaders Chelsea have not found trips to St James Park easy to negotiate. Last year’s 2-0 victory for the Magpies was Chelsea’s worst shift under Jose Mourinho’s second spell. The Portuguese gaffer normally likes to set the record straight and I think the Londoners will come out all guns blazing. Watch out for Diego Costa.

Hull City 1 West Brom 1
Winning is alien to both these sides. West Brom’s 1-2 revere at home to West Ham was the fourth match in a row they have lost. Hull have the quality but they are losing games on thin margins. It is about time for signings Abel Hernandez, Gaston Ramirez and Hatem Ben Arfa to prove their worth.

QPR 1 Burnley 0
Queens Park Rangers have manned up to the task of retaining their English Premier League status. Although Sean Dyche’s Burnley are in good form, I think the home side will take full aantage of their home status to emerge tops of a tight encounter. Charlie Austin, Eduardo Vargas and Leroy Fer have the skills to break down what should be a determined Burnley outfit.

Stoke City 1 Arsenal 1
Stoke competed well against giants Liverpool and Man United despite failing to garner any points in their last three fixtures. Keepers David de Gea and Simon Mignolet pulled off a number of spectacular saves to deny Bojan Krkic, Mame Diouf and Arnautovic what should have been a share of the spoils at Anfield and Old Trafford. They will be third time lucky against Arsenal.
Tottenham 3 C. Palace 2
Spurs’ indifferent home form makes them a punters’ nightmare. However, the win over Everton will have restored confidence ahead of the London derby. Mauricio Pochettino should stick to the strike partnership of Harry Kane and the rejuvenated Roberto Soldado if he is to reap maximum points. Stylish Yannick Bolassie will run at that suspect Spurs defense all afternoon.

West Ham 2 Swansea 1
Two of the three early contenders for manager of the season, Sam Allardyce and Gary Monk square off at Upton Park. Monk has built on the firm foundations laid by Roberto Martinez and Brendan Rodgers, while Allardyce’s transformation of West Ham from strugglers to contenders for Europe has been nothing short of spectacular.

Aston Villa 1 Leicester 0
Aston Villa are well poised to turn their season around. A first victory in eight games away to Crystal Palace sets them up for a home win over clueless Leicester. Nine games without victory have drained the confidence out of the visitors with Leonardo Ulloa a pale shadow of the striker who terrorised defenses in the opening five games.

So’ton 1 Man Utd 1
Louis van Gaal’s transitional Man Utd have now won four games in a row but the victory over Hull was the only game in which they dominated. Without talismanic pair Wayne Rooney and Angel Di Maria, I can’t see how they are going to dispose of Ronald Koeman’s hurting Southampton side. David de Gea may prove the difference yet again.

Liverpool 1 Sunderland 0
Liverpool have put six points on board with victories over Stoke and Leicester without reaching the dizzying heights of last season. Dejan Lovren’s relegation to the bench has been a key factor in the former record champions’ mini recovery. I expect Gustavo Poyet’s well drilled Sunderland to make life difficult before succumbing to the odd goal.

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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