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.

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Is the “Premier League manager” becoming a thing of the past?

Well, some might feel a bit surprised at the title, others might feel intrigued at the idea of the Premier League managers turning into remnants of the past. However, for the ardent football fans this title – rather, this trend – might ring a bell and remind them of some instances in past which justify putting forth the bold question. This would be all the more true for gamblers and punters who follow Premier League betting odds, and keeping a track of how the manager’s role is being side-lined. In this article, we have made an attempt to see why and how exactly that change is being brought about.

A Shift in the Trend

As recently as May, Unai Emery was given the baton at Arsenal, but in the capacity of head coach rather than in the capacity of a manager. He replaced Arsene Wenger, who was labelled as the manager of the club for the last 22 years. Another example can be taken by Maurizio Sarri stepping into the shoes of Antonio Conte as the leader of Chelsea. Though he leads the team, he has retained the tag of head coach.

Out of the top rung of English football clubs, Emery and Sarri are among the six head coaches, and 14 other clubs have retained the position of “manager”, for now. Though the number are a minority, it does represents a shift and a trend that the official boss of the team is now moving away from an overarching role of overseeing every activity of the club.

Is there any actual difference?

Mauricio Pochettino changed his title from head coach to manager in 2016 when his contract with Tottenham was extended. He commented that since the time he had been associated with the club, he was more of a manager than just a coach. Well, the difference in the role of coach and a manager might arise in terms of dealing with affairs such as recruitment and transfers. A manager is responsible for various issues of the like nature, as opposed to simply coaching. One rumour behind why Antonio Conte stepped down from his position of manager is because of him not being given the autonomy that a manager wields.

This can also be seen in how Arsenal have created two divisions – head coach (Emery) and head of football relations (Raul Sanllehi), with the two dealing with the different aspects of the game. This rift in managing power and coaching players is also seen at teams like Everton and West Ham, where major decision such as transfers are not taken by the manager or any single person.

Is the Premier League actually witnessing a change?

In light of the above incidents it can be said without a doubt that Premier League football is definitely witnessing a change. Garry Neville, the former Manchester United and England defender, has spent a considerable time studying the different models being employed by football clubs, and he too believes in this changing dynamic of football. He opines that coaches minds are preoccupied with pressing matters such as choosing their teams, training sessions, etc. Hence it becomes taxing for them to take care of matters such as future signings and contract negotiations on top of this.

How the Europa League could decide Arsene Wenger’s future

After nearly 22 years at the helm, Arsene Wenger has earned the right to a certain amount of power in north London. The Arsenal boss helped to drag the English Premier League into the modern era while transforming the Gunners into a team that was admired far and wide for their expansive and entertaining brand of football.

In the eyes of many fans, he should be one who decides when he steps down and it seems those in charge are reluctant to break this unwritten agreement. After all, if they fire him in the summer, they will bear total responsibility for the club’s immediate future. But if they wait until he walks and things don’t work out, they can claim their hand was forced. Wenger has another year to run on his contract and has insisted that he will honour those terms.

This impasse at the Emirates has been blamed for the club’s recent stagnation, which has seen them slip down the Premier League pecking order. They currently sit in sixth-place in the table, 30 points behind champions-in-waiting Manchester City and 13 points outside of the top four. However, they have won three of the last four FA Cup finals and are currently 5/2 at William Hill to win the Europa League, having already put one foot in the semi-finals with that 4-1 win over CSKA Moscow.

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This steady if unremarkable accumulation of silverware has so far been enough to keep the wolf from the door for the Frenchman. If he can add a European trophy to his haul, leading the club back into the Champions League in the process, there is no reason to suggest he will not continue his role.

While it may not be enough for some fans, a Europa League victory would once again put the board in a very difficult position. After all, how can you sack a loyal servant who is still delivering major silverware on a regular basis while running the club on a relatively strict budget? Last year, the North London club were one of only five Premier League teams to record a profit in the transfer window and this shrewd financial management has been a feature of Wenger’s tenure since the club moved into its new stadium 12 years ago.

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There has been speculation that if Arsenal win the competition, Wenger might still decide to step down, leaving the club with a major trophy and Champions League football to look forward to. It would certainly be a fitting way to end his time at the club – walking away on his own terms. However, much of this seems to be wishful thinking from those who are desperate for change at the club.

Wenger himself seems content in the role and has shown in the past that he is capable of proving his doubters wrong and will be keen to do so again. If he can lead the Gunners to European glory, the power to choose his destiny would remain in his own hands.

Liverpool putting their house in order before summer

The recent reports suggest that Liverpool FC are keen on further strengthening their backline after having signed Dutch international Virgil Van Dijk for £75 million in January this year. They are very keen on making a move for Dani Carvajal, the Real Madrid right-back.

He has emerged as the first choice everywhere for that particular position on the field, and has already appeared almost 200 times for the Galacticos. The attacking defender has also become a part of the Spanish national team, and his current contract runs until 2022.

Beyond the pros themselves, many people might also actually be punting on that possibility that Carvajal will join Liverpool on online betting sites like the Paddy Power football betting portal. The key to the ever-lucrative online sports betting industry is, as you may expect, all about making sure as many of the odds are in your favour as possible. And when it comes to a sport like football, where a single player could make all the difference between a smashing success and an embarrassing failure, putting your money on a win for your team can become entirely reliant on your team’s star players.

Jurgen Klopp is keenly looking forward to strengthening the right-back position of the Reds, as he prepares for a busy summer this year. This is mainly because of the ongoing injury problems surrounding Nathaniel Clyne. Owing to that, Klopp has had to resort to calling upon the young pair of Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Carvajal hails from Leganes and has been in Madrid for quite some time after becoming the first-team regular, so the deal seems like a little way off right now. He joined Madrid from Bayer Leverkusen in 2013 after one season in the Bundesliga.

The chase for Emre Can

In terms of one potential outgoing, Juventus need to wait until the summer to figure out if they have successfully managed to tempt Emre Can from Liverpool to Turin. The midfielder is out of contract this summer and everyone is expecting him to join Juventus on a free transfer. Some reports have suggested that the Reds are contemplating an extension, but Can has been insisting on a release clause, which is proving to be a roadblock in the deal.

Reports suggested the 24-year old midfielder already signed a pre-contract agreement with a foreign club in January, but is nevertheless keeping his options open.

Talking to the press Emre Can said: “Of course I have to think about my footballing future. I haven’t signed for any other club, I’m just focused on this season.

“We want to finish in second place in the Premier League, we’re in the Champions League quarter-finals and we want to progress. That’s all I’m focused on now. My agent has blocked all the negotiations, I’m thinking only of football.”

Can has so far scored 14 goals in his 162 appearances since joining Liverpool in 2014.

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Incoming Thomas Lemar?

Going by the French press, Liverpool could be all set to finalise a highly important transfer of midfielder Thomas Lemar. Le10Sport, a France-based popular sports portal reported that the 22-year old midfielder from Monaco is expected to move to Anfield. All signs suggest that Liverpool have finally won that race.

Apparently, Monaco had been holding out and were expecting a bid in the vicinity of £88 million. As per the French publication, the deal is almost final.

Hazard leaving Chelsea? – Star set to go after top four failure

After a performance that has been heavily criticised by pundits, Chelsea’s loss to Manchester City has made finishing in the top four look extremely unlikely for the Blues. Champions League football is a must for attracting and keeping top players. Missing out could be a catalyst for Eden Hazard leaving Chelsea.

The Belgian is arguably one of the best players to represent the club. Since joining in the summer of 2012 he has been a key performer for Chelsea. But the possibility of him staying with the Blues for the long haul has been constantly questioned.

Hazard has made no secret of his admiration for current Los Blancos boss Zinedine Zidane and Real Madrid. The temptation for any player to pull on that famous white shirt is enough to worry adoring fans that their current favourites could move at any time.

This summer seems the most likely yet that Hazard leaving Chelsea is a real possibility. Hazard is yet to pen a new deal. Now he may be looking to move on after six seasons in the capital.

When taking a look at Hazard’s Chelsea stats, his potential departure is a major concern for the club.

Is Eden Hazard leaving Chelsea?

It’s easy to see how influential Hazard is for Chelsea. He has been directly involved in 160 goals in his 287 games in all competitions. His two Premier League titles, Europa League and League Cup is an impressive haul of trophies so far.

Hazard has successfully completed 940 dribbles in the Premier League and European competitions since joining Chelsea. That is bettered by Lionel Messi (1045), but not Cristiano Ronaldo (388) or Neymar (861).

Hazard leaving Chelsea – Title defence failure

Although City have taken the league by storm this season, Chelsea’s title defence has been poor to say the least. It’s the second title defence in a row where Chelsea have not been up to the races.

For Hazard to continue his growth as a player and to be recognised as one of the elite he needs to be winning or challenging consistently for a league title every season. That is not happening for him at Chelsea, which will be increasing his frustrations.

Hazard leaving Chelsea – New challenge & Ballon d’Or

A new challenge may be on the Belgian’s mind. As mentioned, he has been with Chelsea for six seasons now. In the modern game longevity is becoming a less frequent feature of a career.

At 27, Hazard is now in his prime years and he arguably has six seasons at left in him at the very top of his game. He will want to be challenging to win the Ballon d’Or year-on-year during that time. While Messi and Ronaldo are still dominating European stats, Hazard is a name that is constantly thrown into the ring for those who are expected to hit the highest levels.

Winning the Ballon d’Or while playing in the Premier League is not a very frequent occurrence. The last time it happened was in 2001. So even with the domination of Messi and Ronaldo from 2008 onwards – it seems unlikely for anything to change any time soon.

Hazard leaving Chelsea – Champions League desire

Winning the Champions League is at the top of the list for every player in Europe. Hazard is facing the prospect of not playing in the competition for the second time in just three seasons. While Chelsea are still in the current round of the competition, they aren’t being backed by many to advance.

His desire to win the competition is natural. It’s all to apparent how difficult it is to win the Champions League while playing with the pressure of what is known as the toughest league in the world.

While doing no discredit to the strength of the remainder of Europe’s top leagues, they are seen as easier routes to having a better chance of winning the Champions League, which may be a factor in Hazard’s decision to move on.

Is Hazard leaving Chelsea this summer?

The Premier League’s best player is already planning a move to MLS

Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne is at the peak of his powers and is the frontrunner for this season’s Premier League Player of the Season award. He has taken the league by storm but it turns out he has eyes for MLS and a move to America in the future.

The 26-year-old Belgian midfielder loves the culture of American life and is seemingly planning to make the move to Major League Soccer once his time with Manchester City comes to an end.

He has only recently signed a huge contract extension with City that ties him down until 2023, so don’t expect a move anytime soon. But his agent, Patrik De Koster, has revealed that De Bruyne has already spoken about a potential MLS move.

“I think Kevin will end his career in the USA rather than in Belgium,” De Koster said. “He has already been to America many times on holiday, and he loves the country and its culture. We have often spoken about him ending his career in the MLS.”

“He hasn’t yet had any offers from American clubs, because they know it is not worth bothering as he is at the peak of his career. Clubs in China will probably look longingly at him, but I can’t see him going over to play there.”

De Bruyne has been in incredible form for Man City this season, picking up 14 assists. The Citizens look certain to seal a first Premier League title since 2013/14, with De Bruyne heavily tipped to be named as the league’s Player of the Season.

If he were to move to MLS in the future, it’s likely that New York City FC would be frontrunners for his signature, given their ties with Manchester City. Although the league is growing at an alarming rate and so there will be no shortage of options for a player of De Bruyne’s talent, if and when the day arrives that he is looking for an MLS move.

Do you think Kevin De Bruyne will end his career in MLS? Which club do you think he’d join?

NYCFC losing Jack Harrison to Man City in £4m deal ahead of loan move to Middlesbrough

Jack Harrison’s time with New York City FC looks to be over. The talented young English winger landed in the United Kingdom on Tuesday morning ahead of a £4 million dealthat will see him join NYCFC’s parent club, Manchester City.

But Harrison’s travels don’t stop there. He is expected to immediately be loaned out to Championship side Middlesbrough, who are now managed by Tony Pulis. Harrison will remain at the Riverside until the summer, when he is expected to join up with the Man City squad for preseason training.

The loss of Harrison will be a major blow to NYCFC. The 21-year-old winger has developed incredibly well under the guidance of Patrick Vieira and has learnt an enormous amount from teammates such as David Villa, Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo.

But his impressive displays have come at a price for New York City FC fans. And that price is £4 million. Harrison will no longer be preparing for what would have been his third MLS season. Instead, he will be thrust straight into the middle of Middlesbrough’s Championship campaign.

Boro are currently eighth in the second tier of English football but are in the playoff race, as they sit just four points outside the top six with 18 games to play. They will be hoping the addition of Harrison can help to inspire them to a Premier League return at the first time of asking following last season’s relegation.

Harrison was also a target of Stoke City, but the Potters weren’t prepared to match NYCFC’s valuation for the player this month. As a result the former Manchester United academy attacker will join Manchester City after seven years in the United States.

In total, Jack Harrison scored 14 goals in 59 MLS games for NYCFC, assisting a further 13 goals over the past two seasons. He was a key part of the New York City squad but they will have to now prepare for life without the exciting young Englishman.

Can anyone stop Manchester City this season?

With 11 wins and one draw from 12 Premier League games, Manchester City have been on another level this season. Pep Guardiola’s men are on the verge of something very special at the Etihad Stadium and they are now red hot favourites to win another Premier League title in the coming months. On current form, it would take a brave man to back against City – the Blues are eight points clear of closest rivals Manchester United.

City have been by far and away the strongest team in England’s top flight this season and it is difficult to look past Pep’s men in the race for the Premier League title. Have a peek here at odds via Sportsbet.io and you’ll notice that City are as short as 1.120 for the crown. Next up is United but Jose Mourinho’s side may struggle to make up the eight-point deficit if star midfielder Paul Pogba suffers another serious injury.

Defensively, City have silenced most of the critics so far. Guardiola’s side have conceded just seven goals this campaign, only United (6) have conceded fewer. Kyle Walker has enjoyed a solid start to life at the Etihad after commanding negative attention due to the transfer fee whilst Ederson Moraes has offered a consistent pair of hands between the posts. If City maintain their current defensive stability, they will cruise to the title.

Kevin de Bruyne and David Silva have been simply sublime in recent months, leading City to victories on a weekly basis. The latter has been doing it on the big stage since moving to the Premier League but it is De Bruyne who has attracted the bulk of the praise in the 2017/18 campaign. Widely tipped to win the PFA Player of the Year award, De Bruyne has been Pep’s standout performer for the most part of the season.

Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero have been the two main beneficiaries upfront, though you could argue that Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane have also stepped it up this year. With 40 goals so far, City are on course to break various records and that is a testament to Pep’s style of attacking football. You’d be hard-pressed to find another offensive unit in world football that can match the Blues in terms of quality on a consistent basis.

You can’t even criticise the other clubs for their sub-par efforts; City really have been that good. According to Goal, City have made the best start to a season in Premier League history and United are already up against it in the top flight title race. If anyone can mastermind the Red Devils to a shock triumph, it is Mourinho but Guardiola is a wily old fox and City will take some stopping.

There’s even talk of City emulating Arsenal’s “Invincibles” side from the 2003-04 campaign, although it may be a little early for that comparison. We’re not even halfway through the Premier League season and backing Pep’s side to go unbeaten may be a little foolish. For now, winning the title is the primary objective and City look well placed to do just that. Pep’s side are, both on paper and in practice, the best team in English football.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Premier League Predictions: Week 11 – Huge weekend in title race as City face Arsenal before Chelsea vs Man Utd

Premier League Predictions: Week 11 – Another huge weekend of Premier League football is upon us. The international break is looming and so all 20 clubs will be hoping to head into the break in high spirits.

There are ten games to enjoy this weekend but there’s no doubt what the two standout fixtures are. Sunday will see a colossal double-header in the title race as Man City host Arsenal before Chelsea face Man Utd straight after. Spurs face Palace in the earlier game on Sunday, while Everton entertain Watford at the same time as the Chelsea vs Man Utd game.

Before all of Sunday’s action, there are six matches on Saturday. The weekend begins as Stoke welcome Leicester to the Bet365 Stadium at 12:30. Then on Saturday evening, Liverpool travel to West Ham looking to put pressure on the rest of the top six ahead of Sunday.

Read on for predictions to all ten of this weekend’s Premier League predictions: Week 11 isn’t one you want to miss…

Stoke 2-2 Leicester

The lunchtime kick off has the makings of a tight one. Both sides are sitting in and around mid-table, separated by just one point. It’s all very tight in the middle of the pack and there are plenty of goals flying in. We expect there to be goals in this one. Stoke and Leicester’s fixtures have seen the ball hit the back of the net a combined 59 times. The Potters won 1-0 last time out, while Leicester extended their unbeaten run to five in all competitions with a comfortable 2-0 win over Everton. Score draw.

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Huddersfield 1-1 West Brom

Despite promising starts to the season, both Huddersfield and West Brom have tailed off in recent weeks. Huddersfield did shock everyone with that stunning win over Man Utd a couple of weeks ago, but that is their only win in eight in all competitions. They need to avoid defeat to West Brom here, and will fancy their chances at home. The Baggies aren’t playing well and haven’t kept a clean sheet in five. That’s uncharacteristic of a Tony Pulis side. This one might not be pretty.

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Newcastle 3-0 Bournemouth

The belief around St James Park is there for all to see. Players and fans alike are behind Rafa Benitez despite some inconsistent form of late. The Toon Army come into this one having narrowly lost 1-0 away at Burnley and now a response is needed. Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth have been out of luck for the majority of the season so far and are the second lowest scorers in the league. They lost to Chelsea last weekend and a trip up North probably wouldn’t have been the next fixture they would have picked given the choice. Newcastle to take all three points.

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Southampton 1-1 Burnley

Burnley are flying high as they come into the weekend in seventh, level on points with Liverpool. Sean Dyche is further highlighting how good a manager he is and so there’s no wonder why he’s being linked with the vacant position at Everton. But for now, his focus will be on Burnley and getting as many points as possible every week. They will go to Southampton looking to hit them on the break and can expect to come away with a point. The Saints have been better in recent weeks but still lack a clinical edge. Both should score but the points look set to be shared.

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Swansea 1-1 Brighton

Swansea are sitting just above the relegation zone. On just eight points so far this season there is reason for concern. However, they probably considered themselves unlucky last weekend to lose away at Arsenal having held the lead. That made it three losses on the bounce in all competitions and they’ve won just one in their last seven in the league. By stark contrast, Brighton are on a three-game unbeaten run. They are sitting 12th in the league but a loss here would show them just how quickly things can change as it would put 17th placed Swansea just a point behind them. An important fixture that neither can afford to lose.

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West Ham 1-3 Liverpool

This is a big game for both sides. For West Ham, they need to show they are behind Slaven Bilic as he remains under intense pressure. For Liverpool, they need three points to make up ground on the sides above them ahead of Sunday’s games. West Ham carelessly threw away a win at Palace last week and had to settle for a point. They did beat Spurs in the League Cup before that, but in the Premier League, they have only one win in six. Liverpool have been inconsistent all season but looked good against Huddersfield last week. Expect them to prove too strong for a West Ham side that look to be in trouble.

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Spurs 3-0 Crystal Palace

What a rollercoaster week it has been for Mauricio Pochettino’s men. The low of losing narrowly to Man Utd last weekend in what wasn’t a pretty fixture, to their midweek heroics of taking apart Real Madrid. But, and it’s a big but – Spurs must stay grounded. The media frenzy which has surrounded them in such a positive light will very quickly turn with a poor result this weekend. If results go Tottenham’s way they could be within five points of top spot as the other four in the top five go head-to-head. There isn’t much to say about Crystal Palace’s league form this season. They remain bottom despite picking up a point last weekend. If Spurs play at their usual tempo, expect goals and a relatively easy win.

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Man City 4-1 Arsenal

At this stage of the season, it doesn’t look like anyone can stop Manchester City. Pep Guardiola’s team are full of confidence and are brushing aside anyone in their way. Arsenal arrive at the Etihad as the underdogs but they are unbeaten in five in all competitions. The problem for Wenger’s men is they are still vulnerable at the back. They conceded two at Everton and then fell behind to Swansea last time out. Man City are ruthless and will exploit any weaknesses. Unfortunately, this looks like it will only end one way. And that’s with a convincing home win.

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Chelsea 1-2 Man Utd

Chelsea’s title defence has been far from convincing. The Blues are unconvincing and only just overcame Bournemouth last weekend before being torn apart in their midweek clash in Rome. If reports are believed to be true, all is not well behind the scenes for Antonio Conte and his side. Key players are missing for both Chelsea and Man Utd but Jose Mourinho will be eager to get one up over his old employers. Don’t expect a repeat of this fixture from last year. United will be difficult to breakdown and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them take all three points back up to Manchester. Is the clock ticking for Conte?

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Everton 2-2 Watford

Everton are in trouble. They’ve sacked their manager. They’ve spent a lot of money on a squad that haven’t clicked. And they’ve already been knocked out of Europe. They have lost five in a row in all competitions and Watford will arrive confident they can add to the Toffees’ woes. The Hornets have lost back-to-back league games for the first time this season but have enough about them to respond with a better performance at Goodison Park. The challenge for Everton is trying to rally and avoid dropping more points as a result of that Europa League hangover.

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