Brad Smith thriving with regular football in MLS

Very few mid-season signings are able to seamlessly slot into their new sides starting lineup but Brad Smith looks completely at home in a Seattle Sounders shirt despite only arriving at the beginning of August. The left-back who joined the club on loan from Premier League side Bournemouth has hit the ground running on the West Coast and has already made a big impression at CenturyLink Field.

Smith needed some convincing to leave the south coast of England and head coach Brian Schmetzer personally phoned the 24-year-old in order to help sell the opportunity. Following the chat, the Perth-born full-back didn’t take long to make his mind up and it would appear that he made the right decision.

His immigration paperwork came through swiftly and he made his debut earlier than expected. His first appearance helped the Sounders beat high-flying FC Dallas 2-1 as they made it eight games unbeaten. At the time of writing, Smith is yet to taste defeat for his new club and has played an integral part in each of those four successes. His superb crossing set up a goal for Raul Ruidiaz on September 1st as Schmetzer’s side came from a goal down to beat Sporting Kansas City 3-1 in a potentially decisive Western Conference clash.

Smith’s cross also led to a penalty for the home side and his attacking style of play has impressed the passionate Sounders fans. His pace is a huge attribute and although his defensive play is a potential area of improvement, his penchant for getting forward tends to disguise those shortcomings.

Most importantly, Smith looks happy to be at the club. He appears to have bonded with the current squad and seems to be taking it all in his stride. He admits that he almost rejected the opportunity due to becoming a father for the first time. But despite the significant upheaval, he’s delighted that he snapped up the chance to play in MLS.

His opportunities have been extremely limited at Bournemouth as he has rarely featured for Eddie Howe’s side since joining from Liverpool. Across four seasons in the Premier League, he has made just nine appearances and admits that he is now “focusing on football” but remains philosophical about the future. His parent club have made a decent start to the 2018-19 season despite many pundits tipping the Cherries to struggle this season. Next year Premier League predictions from Betting.Betfair have them at 7/1 after picking up seven points from a possible 12. Cardiff remain the 4/11 favourites to drop straight back down to the Championship.

Smith’s future remains uncertain but he appears to be relishing the chance to play regular football and he’s helped the Sounders continue their quest for a playoff spot in the Western Conference. He has taken a gamble in a bid to get his stalling career back on track and it appears to be paying off. The attack-minded left-back could have a big say in the MLS playoffs at the end of this season and that experience is likely to be invaluable for the Aussie. His move to the US appears to have benefited both parties and Bournemouth fans will be delighted to see their loanee excelling at CenturyLink Field.

Advertisements

Premier League Predictions: Week 12 – Domestic action returns, North London Derby the standout fixture

Premier League Predictions: Week 12 – Domestic football is back following the international break. Many fans will be delighted that there are no more interruptions until March.

The top six are all in action on Saturday, with the North London Derby kicking things off at 12:30. League leaders Man City travel to Leicester, while Chelsea are also on the road at West Brom. Liverpool and Man United return with home fixtures against Southampton and Newcastle respectively.

Just the one game on Sunday as Watford and West Ham face off in another London Derby. Week 12 is finished off on Monday evening when Brighton host Stoke.

Read on for predictions to all ten of this weekend’s Premier League predictions: Week 12 could see plenty of change at the top…

Arsenal 2-3 Tottenham

Easily the biggest game of the weekend. The North London Derby usually doesn’t disappoint. Arsenal put in a poor display against Man City before the international break, losing 3-1. Arsene Wenger needs a response from his players, a loss to their bitter rivals could see them slip down to 7th. Spurs won 1-0 at Wembley against Palace last time out. A result that in years gone by they may not have been able to grind out. They look a strong force at the moment and confidence is high. Harry Kane and Dele Alli should be refreshed following his exclusion from international call ups, expect them to be at the forefront of the Spurs attack.

Embed from Getty Images

Crystal Palace 1-1 Everton

The Premier League’s bottom side welcome out of form Everton to Selhurst Park. Palace fans may well have been looking forward to the international break in hope of their side having a chance to rebuild and get ready to face Everton. The Toffees really haven’t had anything to shout about. Their loss to Watford last time out meant that they have now conceded as many goals as Palace (22) this season. Both sides are desperate for a win, a scrappy score-draw could be on the cards.

Embed from Getty Images

Liverpool 3-0 Southampton

Jurgen Klopp’s side have got their season on track again. They are sitting 5th in the league and that 4-1 thumping against Spurs seems a long time ago now. However, they are going to have to make sure they do not slip up this weekend. Sadio Mane is ruled out through injury once again, so the pressure for the inform Mohammed Salah to deliver has increased. Southampton have hardly set the world alight so far this season. Their home loss against Burnley before the internationals has left them loitering just four points above the relegation zone. A home win looks likely.

Embed from Getty Images

Bournemouth 1-1 Huddersfield

Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth are in desperate need of a run of form. They have been unlucky in stages so far this season but it cannot be used as an excuse for their league position. The Cherries are just one point outside of the relegation zone and if results were to go against them this weekend they could be second bottom by Sunday evening. Huddersfield are still progressing well. They won 1-0 before the international break and are more than worth the place bang in the middle of the table. They will no doubt see this as a winnable fixture so expect an energetic game. Score draw.

Embed from Getty Images

Leicester 1-4 Man City

Leicester City may think they were unlucky not to take all three points last time out. But it’s the same inconsistency that cost them. They are creating plenty of chances but are not clinical enough. They are unbeaten in their last five Premier League games, so there is reason to be optimistic ahead of this game. Man City have looked on a completely different level to the rest of the league so far this season. Pep Guardiola’s men are already being spoken about as one of his best ever sides and there is even talk about whether they can go the season unbeaten. Goals are free flowing for the Citizens, so don’t expect anything less this weekend.

Embed from Getty Images

West Brom 1-3 Chelsea

West Brom are in trouble. Tony Pulis reportedly has two games to save his job. One of those is at home to the reigning champions here. The other sees the Baggies head to Wembley to take on Spurs. If the West Brom squad want to show they are behind the manager, now is the time. But they haven’t won in nine-straight league games and have slipped to 16th in the table. Chelsea impressed in their 1-0 win over Man Utd before the international break. Now Antonio Conte’s men need to kick on and keep the pressure on the three sides above them. Expect the Blues to prove too strong.

Embed from Getty Images

Burnley 1-0 Swansea

Swansea have a 100% record against Burnley in their four previous Premier League meetings. But don’t expect that to continue beyond the weekend. Burnley are flying and Sean Dyche’s men are picking up plenty of plaudits for their strong start to the season. The Swans are 19th and seem to be struggling for goals and creativity. Paul Clement will find himself under serious pressure if results don’t improve, but they are unlikely to find at joy at Turf Moor on Saturday in what should be a tight game.

Embed from Getty Images

Man United 2-0 Newcastle

This is a big game for Jose Mourinho and Manchester United. They could be 11 points behind Man City by the time they kick off on Saturday evening and they will have to get that gap back to eight, if City indeed win. They failed to score at Chelsea without properly threatening over the 90 minutes but they will have to take the game to Newcastle here. Rafa Benitez’s men will be setting up to contain the hosts and try and hit them on the break and from any set-pieces. It might not be pretty, but United should be able to get it done.

Embed from Getty Images

Watford 2-2 West Ham

David Moyes starts life as West Ham manager with a tricky trip to Watford. Hornets boss Marco Silva looks like he’ll be staying put for now, and that’s a major boost for the home side considering their impressive start to the season. It’s unclear how much the speculation will have got to the Watford players but they’ll have a chance to show they are focused when the Hammers arrive on Sunday. Moyes has a tough job on his hands but he’ll set the visitors up to be solid and try and play as a unit. If they try and impress the new manager they could well come away with something positive.

Embed from Getty Images

Brighton 1-1 Stoke

The fact that Brighton come into Monday night’s game three points ahead of Stoke highlights what an excellent start to the season they’ve made. Chris Hughton’s men have established themselves and have made the Amex Stadium a bit of a fortress so far. They’ve picked up eight points from a possible 12 since losing to Manchester City on the opening weekend of the campaign. They will fancy their chances here, especially with the whole nation’s eyes on them for Monday Night Football. Stoke showed signs of much-needed improvement before the break, beating Watford away before drawing 2-2 at home to Leicester. Mark Hughes has a talented squad of players but is not getting the best out of them. If they show up, they can cause anyone problems, but Brighton will be resolute and hard to break down.

Embed from Getty Images

Premier League Predictions: Week 10 – 2nd vs 3rd as Man Utd take on Spurs, while Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool expected to win

Premier League Predictions: Week 10 – The Premier League weekend kicks off with an absolutely huge clash. It’s 2nd versus 3rd as Manchester United welcome Tottenham Hotspur to Old Trafford. Expect plenty of goals across the ten fixtures this week, while there is the potential for upsets in must-win games for the top sides.

The three o’clock action comes thick and fast after the early kickoff. Struggling Crystal Palace face off against West Ham in the only London Derby of the weekend. Pace-setting Manchester City travel to West Brom, while Arsenal and Liverpool have home ties. Chelsea complete Saturday’s action with the late kickoff away at Bournemouth.

Sunday has a couple of interesting fixtures, Brighton welcome Southampton, before Claude Puel begins his reign as Leicester City manager at home to Everton, who have recently sacked Ronald Koeman. The weekend’s action is completed with Monday Night Football as Newcastle visit Burnley.

Read on for all of this weekend’s Premier League predictions: Week 10 will be an interesting one…

Manchester United 2-2 Tottenham 

Easily the biggest fixture of the weekend. Man Utd vs Spurs has provided some classic fixtures through the years. Both sides are coming into this one needing to bounce back. United’s loss at Huddersfield last weekend was a shock result and Jose Mourinho needs a reaction like his side showed in their midweek Carabao Cup clash. Spurs were emphatic last time out in the league. Their 4-1 win over Liverpool sent out a message to the rest of the league, however their dismal loss against West Ham in midweek was unforgivable and they owe it to their fans to pick up a positive result here. Expect goals as Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku go head-to-head.

Embed from Getty Images

Crystal Palace 1-1 West Ham

This is a big game. Make no mistake about that. Some reports suggested that failure to win this one would result in the sacking of Slaven Bilic as West Ham manager. However, Wednesday’s Carabao Cup win over Spurs may change that. Either way, Premier League points are the priority for both. Palace have struggled but did win their last home game. Another home win here would be a major boost. However, they haven’t scored in 9 of their last 10 games, losing each. West Ham haven’t been much better, failing to win 11 of their last 12 away games. Don’t expect this to be pretty.

Embed from Getty Images

West Brom 0-3 Manchester City

Tony Pulis, like every West Brom fan was devastated not to have picked up at least a point last weekend. However, they have to hold their hands up to accept losing at the hands of one of the goals of the season. West Brom are sitting in and around mid table but they won’t be looking forward to a visit from league leading Man City. Pep Guardiola’s side didn’t have it all their own way in midweek, yet they sealed their place in the next round of the Carabao Cup, despite his displeasure of the ball. Normal service resumes with a ‘normal ball’ here and we expect City to continue their early title charge.

Embed from Getty Images

Watford 2-0 Stoke

They might have lost 4-2 at Chelsea last weekend but Watford are undoubtedly this season’s surprise package so far. The Hornets are enjoying their best ever start to a season in the top flight. They beat Arsenal in their most recent home fixture and should prove too strong for Stoke here. The visitors are in trouble. Last week’s home loss to Bournemouth left them down in 17th. They’ve not won away from home yet this season. Don’t expect that to change here.

Embed from Getty Images

Arsenal 3-0 Swansea

Arsene Wenger & co. have reason to be in high spirits. They took apart a very sorry Everton side last weekend keeping them at pace with the top four. Following up from that a much changed side secured progression in the cup in midweek. Arsenal should be looking to take three points in what has the makings of a routine home game this weekend. Swansea are sitting 15th but are only outside the relegation zone on goal difference. They cannot afford to take a drumming here as we all know how important goal difference can be in the Premier League. A win to ‘nil looks likely for the hosts.

Embed from Getty Images

Liverpool 2-1 Huddersfield

The fact that Liverpool come into this game just one point ahead of Huddersfield tells you all you need to know. The Reds have been inconsistent and have not solved their defensive problems. Last week’s 4-1 loss to Spurs further highlighted their vulnerabilities and they now need to bounce back. They will fancy their chances at home, but the visitors are riding high in confidence. Their 2-1 win over Man Utd was arguably the shock result of the season so far. Don’t rule out another surprise result at Anfield, although Liverpool should edge it.

Embed from Getty Images

Bournemouth 1-2 Chelsea

Bournemouth remain in the bottom three. They picked up a much needed win last weekend away against Stoke and made it a week with plenty to cheer about having progressed in the cup. This is going to be another big test for them but they’ll be relishing a visit from Chelsea. Antonio Conte’s side are coming through a rough patch with promise. Despite being a way off the top of the Premier League their squad depth stood the test of three games in a week. Last weekend’s win at home to Watford showed they have the resilience to fight back and if they go behind here, don’t expect them to let it phase them. Narrow victory for the Champions.

Embed from Getty Images

Brighton 2-2 Southampton

Neither of these sides have really set the world alight yet this season. They have showed some signs of promise but inconsistency has prevented either side from making a statement. Brighton will be pleased with their start to life in the top flight. They are unbeaten in three-straight home league games and will now hope to keep that form going. The Saints picked up a first league win in four last weekend. It’s hard to tell which Southampton side will turn up. But goals could be on the cards here.

Embed from Getty Images

Leicester City 1-1 Everton

The battle two sides who have recently sacked their managers. Leicester have acted promptly to replace Craig Shakespeare with Claude Puel. They picked up an impressive win away at Swansea last weekend and also reached the quarter-final of the Carabao Cup in midweek so things are on the up. Everton’s woes continue, they sacked Ronald Koeman after being demolished by Arsenal last weekend and were knocked out the cup by Chelsea on Wednesday evening. Their poor run of form has to come to an end soon, but we don’t expect them to win here. Score draw.

Embed from Getty Images

Burnley 1-1 Newcastle

The weekend is rounded off with an intriguing matchup. Burnley have been a better side away from home so far but will still see Monday’s game as one they should be winning. Their only home win so far this term came against Palace. For Newcastle, they’ll be looking to keep picking up points. They’ve only lost one of their last seven and look like they’re all pulling in the same direction as Rafa Benitez. It might not be the most entertaining game, but expect it to be interesting.

Embed from Getty Images

Premier League Predictions: Tough away trips for Arsenal and Chelsea, huge six pointer at the Etihad

Seven Premier League matches take place on Saturday including tough away trips for Arsenal, who kick things off at West Brom at lunchtime and then league leaders Chelsea travel to Stoke, which is always a tricky fixture. Sunday sees the standout game of the weekend as Liverpool lock horns with Manchester City at the Etihad in a tie which could have a huge impact in the race for the Champions League places come the end of the campaign.

Before that on Sunday, Mauricio Pochettino welcomes his former employers to White Hart Lane as Tottenham face Southampton and Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United will be expecting to take all three points when they visit Middlesbrough. Read on for all our Gameweek 29 predictions…

West Brom 1-3 Arsenal

This is going to be a tough one for Arsene Wenger’s side but they are helped by West Brom’s position in the table. Tony Pulis knows his side are safe for another Premier League season and they have little left to play for. However, the Baggies cannot afford to play like they’re already on their summer holidays and risk finishing the season on a poor run. Arsenal haven’t been setting the world alight and West Brom will fancy their chances of getting at the Gunners. Wenger will expect three points, but they’ll have to work for them.

Embed from Getty Images

Crystal Palace 2-0 Watford

Palace have won three of their last five games and have finally climbed out of the bottom three as Sam Allardyce’s magic is starting to get through to his players. The Eagles will have marked this fixture as a very winnable one and will be expected to take three more vital points from a Watford side that haven’t won in three. The Hornets have lost seven of their last nine away games in the Premier League and are unlikely to take anything from a hungry Palace team this weekend.

Embed from Getty Images

Sunderland 1-2 Burnley

Sunderland look like a side who are already preparing for life in the Championship. There are only so many occasions a team can fight off the drop and with just 19 points, six away from safety it, looks like their Premier League time is nearly up. Burnley are sitting fairly comfortably in mid table but they cannot afford to lose games like this for the risk of being dragged into the relegation scrap. Although they’re in 12th they’re just seven points above the bottom three. Sean Dyche’s men to pip Sunderland to the post.

Embed from Getty Images

Everton 3-1 Hull City

Everton’s hopes of finishing in the top six are slim, although given their run of form since the turn of the year, they won’t be giving up on anything. Seventh place will earn a Europa League spot unless Leicester win the Champions League and so Everton know they are on the right track. They have won five on the bounce at home and face a Hull team who struggle badly away from home. The Tigers earned three huge points at home to Swansea last week but have lost 11 of their 12 league games away from home and are up against it here.

Stoke City 0-2 Chelsea

The Premier League leaders have to win, it’s as simple as that. Antonio Conte’s side will be buoyed by the fact they reached the FA Cup semifinals on Monday night but this is going to be a test for them. Stoke are going to give Chelsea a run for their money and will push hard to take points from the game. Mark Hughes will be looking for his side to press the Blues and not allow them time on the ball. Given Chelsea’s form and the players at Conte’s disposal they should win, how comfortably they do is a different question.

West Ham 2-2 Leicester City

Leicester have turned their season on its head since Craig Shakespeare took control, winning back-to-back league games before advancing into the quarter-finals of the Champions League. They will be in high spirits but might be fatigued after putting so much into their game on Tuesday night. West Ham will hope to take advantage of that with a first win in five. They fell 3-2 to Bournemouth last week and have now lost back-to-back games. There should be goals here but it’s tough to pick a winner.

Embed from Getty Images

Bournemouth 2-2 Swansea City

Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth welcome the inform Swansea to the Vitality Stadium on Saturday afternoon. This could be one of the most important games of the weekend in terms of the fight for survival. Just two places and three points separate the clubs ahead of this one and a draw is the result those around them will be hoping for. Swansea have struggled away from home, they’ve lost their last three but Paul Clement has been improving things at the club and he will hope to have done enough to stop that rot here. Score draw.

Embed from Getty Images

Middlesbrough 0-1 Manchester United

Middlesbrough start life without Aitor Karanka in very tricky fashion as they welcome Manchester United on Sunday. Boro have only scored two goals in the Premier League in 2017 and look certain to get relegated if they cannot fix their problems in front of goal. United beat Rostov 1-0 on Thursday night to advance to the Europa League quarter-finals but will be concerned by how many fixtures they have coming up in quick succession now. Mourinho might rotate his squad but the visitors should still be strong enough to get the win, even if Zlatan is suspended…

Embed from Getty Images

Tottenham 3-1 Southampton

Tottenham will have to make do without talisman Harry Kane for the first of a number of games. Pochettino does have options for his replacement with Heung Min Son the likely candidate to lead the line following his FA Cup quarterfinal hat-trick last weekend. The Saints have had a relatively quiet season, they’re comfortably in 10th but should be capable of finishing in the top eight. Expect this one to be entertaining but anything than a Spurs win would be a surprise.

Embed from Getty Images

Manchester City 2-2 Liverpool

This is an enormous games for both clubs at a pivotal stage of the season. Liverpool enter the weekend one point behind Man City but have played a match more, so they know they must take three points here to stay on course for a top four finish. They tend to perform to their best in these huge games and have already won at Arsenal and Chelsea this term. For City, they must bounce back from Wednesday’s crushing Champions League exit to Monaco. Pep Guardiola knows this has not been the season he expected but falling out of the top four just days after being knocked out of Europe would give them a real problem, especially if they fail in front of their own fans.

Embed from Getty Images

Premier League Top Six Predictions: Wins for Chelsea, Arsenal and the Manchester clubs

There are some huge games in the race for the title and top four this weekend as leaders Chelsea travel to Burnley, Tottenham Hotspur take on Liverpool at Anfield, Manchester City visit Bournemouth, Arsenal host Hull and Manchester United welcome Watford.

Burnley vs Chelsea: 

Sean Dyche’s side will be relishing the chance to give another top side the run-around at Turf Moor on Sunday. Burnley have won their last five home matches and have the third-best home record in the division. This is going to be a really tough game for Antonio Conte’s Chelsea, but they are one side the Premier League you’d back to take a win here. Expect a tight affair.

Prediction – Burnley 0-1 Chelsea

Embed from Getty Images

Liverpool vs Tottenham Hotspur:

Liverpool have not lost to Tottenham in the last nine meetings between the sides in all competitions and they have lost just once in their last 19 home games in the Premier League. Spurs travel to Anfield in great form, they have to win this game to keep their title hopes alive. But both sides have squads riddled with injury. Score draw.

Prediction – Liverpool 2-2 Spurs

Bournemouth vs Manchester City:

Eddie Howe has the tough task of welcoming Manchester City to the Vitality Stadium. City have just hit some form and look to have their season back on track. Bournemouth are without a win in their last five Premier League outings, a run that looks unlikely to come to an end here, with relegation still a concern for the Cherries.

Prediction – Bournemouth 1-3 City

Embed from Getty Images

Arsenal vs Hull City: 

Arsene Wenger’s side have to win this game, it’s a simple as that. They face Hull who are now only one point away from being out of the relegation zone after a strong run of form under Marco Silva. Arsenal need to bounce back from their defeat to Chelsea last weekend and a big win here would calm some of the nerves around the ground.

Prediction: Arsenal 3-0 Hull

Manchester United vs Watford:

Jose Mourinho’s United side are now unbeaten in their last 15 Premier League games and it would be surprising to see that run ending this weekend at home to Watford. United’s main problem has been taking their chances, if they hit the ground running here it could be a big win. Watford are no pushovers, they’re sitting comfortably in mid-table and will look to frustrate here.

Prediction – United 3-1 Watford

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Bournemouth vs Liverpool

Competition: Premier League – Bournemouth vs. Liverpool

Venue: Vitality Stadium – Sunday, December 4 – 13:30 GMT (08:30 ET)

Match Odds: Bournemouth 16/5 – Draw 29/10 – Liverpool 3/4

Match Preview

Bournemouth welcome Liverpool to the Vitality Stadium on Sunday afternoon in a game that has the makings of one-way traffic.

Eddie Howe’s side are in a respectable 12th position, they’ve picked up 15 points already this season but have struggled over the last five games.

Bournemouth come into this one having played another title contender last weekend. Their 3-1 loss against Arsenal had plenty of talking points and the result may have been very different on another day.

The Cherries need to get back to picking up points on a regular basis. They’ve only taken four points from the last 15 on offer to them and despite being six places above the relegation zone, the gap is just four points.

Embed from Getty Images

Liverpool have been on a superb run of form of late. They trail top spot by just one point and will be hoping results go in their favour this weekend so they can force their way into first place.

Jurgen Klopp has a selection headache ahead of this tie. His squad has been hit by an injury crisis, but he is not phased, and believes in any players he is selecting.

Liverpool come into this tie having progressed to the semifinal of the League Cup with their midweek win over Leeds.

The Reds are unbeaten in their last 11 league games and have picked up 13 points from the last 15 on offer. This is a winnable game for Liverpool, but they will be worked hard by an energetic Bournemouth side.

Embed from Getty Images

Team News

Howe is expecting to be without Lewis Cook and Andrew Surman, while both Artur Boruc and Charlie Daniels are doubts for the visit of Liverpool.

Klopp’s side has been hit with an unenviable injury list. Philippe Coutinho, Danny Ings and Daniel Sturridge are all out, while Adam Lallana, Roberto Firmino and Joel Matip are all doubts.

Key Points

Bournemouth’s last five: D/L/L/W/L

Liverpool’s last five: W/W/W/D/W

Key Stat: Liverpool have scored at least two goals in eight of their last ten Premier League games.

Key Player: James Milner – Liverpool will be looking for Milner to bring a calming presence to the side as they head into the Christmas period with a squad riddled with injuries. The Englishman has plenty of experience and he will be a key figure once again this weekend.

Embed from Getty Images

Score Prediction

Bournemouth 1-3 Liverpool – Bournemouth to become the latest victim of an impressive display from Klopp’s Liverpool. If history is anything to go by Bournemouth will struggle here, they have lost their last five games against Liverpool in all competitions.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Arsenal vs Bournemouth

Competition: Premier League – Arsenal  vs. Bournemouth

Venue: Emirates Stadium – Sunday, November 27 – 14:15 GMT (09:15 ET)

Match Odds: Arsenal 2/5 – Draw 19/5 – Bournemouth 6/1

Match Preview

Arsenal welcome Bournemouth to the Emirates Stadium for an important Premier League clash on Sunday afternoon.

The Gunners come into the game after a 2-2 draw at home to Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday night – their last two Premier League games have also ended in draws.

Arsene Wenger has called upon his side to start turning those draws into wins and they can’t afford a slip up here if they have any serious aspirations of challenging for the title.

Embed from Getty Images

Recent performances have been below par for Arsenal, who’ve looked flat, albeit they’ve faced tough opposition in PSG, Manchester United and Tottenham, while still managing to remain undefeated since the opening day.

Bournemouth arrive in London in high spirits after their impressive 1-0 win away at Stoke last weekend ended a run of three games without a win in the league.

Eddie Howe is continuing to work his magic, steering his side to tenth in the table with 15 points at this early stage of the season – an excellent start.

Embed from Getty Images

The Cherries have struggled for points on the road, so they’ll be hoping the first away win of the season at Stoke will give them confidence.

The only two previous league meetings between these two sides came last season with Arsenal winning 2-0 on both occasions.

Team News

Arsenal will be without the injured Santi Cazorla (heel) and Hector Bellerin (ankle), while Lucas Perez won’t be fit to make the squad despite returning to training this week following an ankle problem. Per Mertesacker and Danny Welbeck (both knee) are long-term absentees.

Bournemouth goalkeeper Artur Boruc (back) is a doubt, as is Andrew Surman (hamstring). Loanee Jack Wilshere is ineligible to play against his parent club, but Adam Smith (ban) and Jordan Ibe (illness) should return to the squad.

Key Points

Arsenal’s last five: W/D/W/D/D

Bournemouth’s last five: W/D/L/L/W

Key Stat: Dominance – Arsenal have a 100% winning record against Bournemouth in all competitions (P3, W3).

Key Player: Olivier Giroud – It would be a huge surprise if the Frenchman doesn’t feature at some point on Sunday afternoon. His goalscoring form has been incredible since his return from injury, with five goals in five games in all competitions.

Embed from Getty Images

Score Prediction

Arsenal 2-1 Bournemouth – The Gunners haven’t performed well recently, and they can’t allow the dip in form to go on any longer, although they’ve still managed to churn out results – it could be a similar story here. Bournemouth will provide tough opposition and Eddie Howe will set out his side to try and win the game, but home advantage could be the key.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Bournemouth vs Tottenham

Competition: Premier League – Bournemouth vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Venue: Vitality Stadium – Saturday, October 22 – 12:30 BST (07:30 ET)

Match Odds: Bournemouth 11/4 – Draw 13/5 – Tottenham 19/20

Match Preview

Bournemouth host unbeaten Tottenham Hotspur in this weekend’s early kickoff on Saturday lunchtime in the Premier League. Both sides will come into the game optimistic as Bournemouth picked up a 6-1 win last weekend, while Spurs are yet to lose in the league.

The Cherries started the season slowly with no win in their first three fixtures but have picked up recently, winning three of their last five. Each of those wins have come at home, which serves as a good omen heading into the weekend.

Embed from Getty Images

Eddie Howe has added strength in depth to his squad and additions such as Jordon Ibe from Liverpool and Jack Wilshere on loan from Arsenal could see them challenging for a top half finish this year, especially with results such as last weekend’s.

Spurs on the other hand, have their sights firmly set on the title. With a win on Saturday they would climb to the summit, if only for a few hours.

Playing in the Champions League midweek may affect their performance at the weekend, as historically, Spurs have suffered in league games that follow a European game midweek.

Embed from Getty Images

There is a feeling there is still more to come from this exciting side under Mauricio Pochettino and a solid start to their season puts them in good stead going forward as they look to go better than last year’s third-place finish.

Spurs beat Bournemouth in both of last season’s meetings and thumped the Cherries 5-1 on the South Coast last October, so they are favourites for victory here again.

Team News

Bournemouth are waiting on Marc Pugh’s availability as he tries to shake off a hamstring injury. Harry Arter, Brad Smith, Max Gradel and Lewis Cook are all out and will not feature.

Spurs are without three key men as it stands. However, Danny Rose is a doubt with a foot injury picked up in the midweek champions league trip to Leverkusen. Toby Alderweireld and Harry Kane are out with knee and ankle injuries respectively.

Key Points

Bournemouth’s last five: W/L/W/D/W

Tottenham’s last five: W/W/W/W/D

Key Stat: Dominance – Tottenham have been winning at both half time and full time in their last four matches against Bournemouth in all competitions.

Key Player: Dele Alli – The English attacking midfielder has become a hugely influential player for both club and country in the last year and his equaliser last weekend against West Brom illustrated that he can turn up when it matters. We expect him to be influential once again here.

Embed from Getty Images

Score Prediction

Bournemouth 1-2 Tottenham – As mentioned, Bournemouth come into this one off the back of a 6-1 win last weekend and will take confidence into the game. However, this Spurs team should be too be too much for Bournemouth. They are unbeaten and have one of the most exciting teams in the country. Away win.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: West Ham United vs Bournemouth

Competition: Premier League – West Ham United vs. Bournemouth

Venue: London Stadium – Sunday, August 21 – 16:00 BST (11:00 ET)

Match Odds: West Ham 17/20 – Draw 13/5 – Bournemouth 3/1

Match Preview

West Ham United make their long awaited London Stadium Premier League debut this weekend as they welcome Bournemouth, this should be an exciting day for the Hammers.

West Ham lost their opening game of the season in controversial fashion against Chelsea as they conceded a late Costa strike, who should have been sent off for a second bookable offence earlier in the game.

The Hammers struggled offensively in that tie, only touching the ball seven times in the opposition penalty area.

This is a chance for West Ham to give their fans a day to remember and get off to a winning start at their new home in the league, there will be a huge buzz around the ground as they hope to make it a fortress.

Embed from Getty Images

Bournemouth come into their first away game of the season having already conceded three goals. Their fans will be hoping their opening weekend loss to Manchester United isn’t a sign of what is to come.

Eddie Howe insists he is happy with his Bournemouth squad and isn’t planning to make anymore signings in the transfer window.

He will be hoping their ‘Sunday curse’ can come to an end here, as he has not yet seen his side win a Premier League game on a Sunday.

Bournemouth have work to do to improve, they haven’t kept a clean sheet in the league since March, a run which has stretched to 11 games.

Embed from Getty Images

Team News

West Ham United five injury concerns ahead of this tie. Record signing Andre Ayew requires surgery after suffering a thigh injury on his league debut for the Hammers, while Manuel Lanzini, Aaron Creswell, Diafra Sakho and Sofiane Fegholi remain out.

Bournemouth have four injury concerns heading into this one as Junior Stanislas, Tyrone Mings, Emerson Hyndman and Baily Cargill are still unavailable.

Key Points

West Ham’s form: L

Bournemouth’s form: L

Key Stat: West Ham have scored at least one goal in their last 14 Premier League outings.

Key Player: Mark Noble – The Hammers captain struggled to influence the game in their league opener, he will be hoping to provide good balance to the midfield in this one and supply his creative teammates with the ball throughout.

Embed from Getty Images

Score Prediction

West Ham United 2-1 Bournemouth – West Ham to open their Premier League account at London Stadium with a win. Bournemouth will work them hard in this tie, but their Sunday struggles are set to continue.

Jordon Ibe completes £15m move to Bournemouth – but should Liverpool have sold?

Jordon Ibe has completed his move to AFC Bournemouth from Premier League rivals Liverpool, for a fee believed to be in the region of £15 million, according to Sky Sports.

The 20-year-old winger is regarded by many as one of English football’s brightest young prospects, so his departure from Anfield will have left some Liverpool fans slightly confused.

Bournemouth, on the other hand, will be delighted with the acquisition of the England Under-21 international, who becomes Eddie Howe’s fifth signing of the summer.

Embed from Getty Images

“We’re delighted to bring Jordon to the football club,” AFC Bournemouth chief executive Neill Blake said.

“He played plenty of football with Liverpool last season and we’re looking forward to seeing him to continue to grow now with us, he’s a huge prospect.”

Blake is not wrong. Ibe is a huge prospect. He penned a five-year contract at Liverpool as recently as last May and is a player with a really bright future ahead of him.

His growth slowed slightly under Jurgen Klopp last season, as he fell out of form following the German coach’s arrival, but he hasn’t necessarily played his last game in a Liverpool shirt.

The Reds have ensured that as part of the deal with Bournemouth, they retain a buy-back clause for the youngster, as well as a sell-on clause in case Ibe moves elsewhere.

That is a vital piece of information, as Liverpool aren’t simply allowing one of their best young stars to leave without making plans for the future.

https://twitter.com/Turner_LFC/status/753669170588446720

A loan move may have made more sense if Ibe remained a key part of the club’s plans moving forward, but at the same time it would have been impossible to turn down the money they have received from Bournemouth for a man who started just 20 of his 41 first-team appearances last term.

Ibe only played 90 minutes in six matches last season. He is a player with a lot of talent, but there were others ahead of him in the pecking order at Anfield.

A move to Bournemouth will give the Wycombe Wanderers academy product the chance to shine on a more regular basis under the guidance of Eddie Howe.

Embed from Getty Images

Ibe is a versatile attacking player, but is best deployed as an out-and-out winger on the right side of midfield. Howe’s system at Bournemouth should allow him to play in exactly that role in a team with plenty of pace in the final third.

Cherries supporters will be eagerly anticipating seeing their new man in action once the new season begins next month. But fans on Merseyside will have good reason to keep one eye on the youngsters development, as they may not have seen the last of him yet…

How good a signing is Jordon Ibe for AFC Bournemouth? Should Liverpool have sold their young star?