Will José Mourinho's time at Old Trafford end at the hands of his former employer?
It seems like we back Hazard to score every week – but he keeps scoring, so what’s the big deal? We appreciate we may sound like a broken record when talking about Eden Hazard, but Maurizio Sarri has seemingly taken his game to another level, and barring injuries, I think we already know our Premier League Player of the Season.
Until he starts letting us down, I’m going to keep backing Hazard to score until the cows come home, and this fixture is no different. United’s problems at centre-back have been very well documented – Mourinho playing centre-midfielders there, unsuccessfully, is particularly worrying – and considering only Fulham, Cardiff and Huddersfield have conceded more than United, Hazard will be licking his lips with glee.
Watford’s barnstorming start to the season has quickly been forgotten. Since their 2-1 victory over Spurs at the start of September, the Hornets have earned just a single point from their subsequent four matches. Their most recent outing ended in an embarrassing 4-0 home defeat against Bournemouth, and their trip to the Black Country is likely to cause further misery.
As many predicted at the start of the season, Wolves have been brilliant. Four wins in their last five – all of which accompanied by a clean sheet – and one defeat all season has torpedoed Nuno’s side into 7th place, and it looks like they are in the top half of the Premier League to stay.
Manchester City’s four home matches have all been won against significantly weaker opposition – with Newcastle the only side to genuinely force City out of second gear – and although Burnley were brilliant last season, much of that defensive resilience has vanished.
City eat most sides for breakfast at The Etihad, and though I don’t see a Huddersfield-style annihilation coming, this one should be won at a canter.
Spurs’ away record has been strong this season: five wins out of six, while West Ham have won just a single home game. It’s safe to say Manuel Pellegrini’s side won’t be in any relegation danger, but there are still question marks at the back: Glenn Murray’s winner exposed some truly woeful Hammers defending, and they cannot afford to give another world-class English striker the same time and space on Saturday.
It’s the sort of game where there could easily be an upset, but barring a small blip at the start of September, Mauricio Pochettino’s men have been unerringly consistent. I’m backing a narrow, dogged Tottenham win.
Liverpool won’t be phased by the fact that they are winless in four matches – especially considering who they played – and this is a fantastic opportunity to get back on track. The Terriers haven’t scored a home goal all season, which is pretty pathetic, and although Liverpool come into this without too much goalscoring momentum of their own (they have two goals in their last four matches), they should dispatch Huddersfield relatively comfortably.
Rather than backing Liverpool to win with a -2 handicap, I’m going to pile into -1 instead; Huddersfield’s 2-0 home defeat against Spurs showed me the Terriers have a resilient side, so Liverpool -1 is what I’m going for.