Round 10 is here, and there are no friendly-fires. It is certainly, an unsurprisingly, bare-knuckle contest, with no margins of error.
The panic button has already been pressed in some quarters, and there would be no shockers if some key managers were dropped along the way, well before Christmas. Despite getting over City in midweek, the pressure is still on for Jose Mourinho.
Following last weekend’s 4-0 humiliation at the Bridge, coupled with a winless streak that stretches to three matches now, United must get to business and collect all points against a tricky Burnley side.
Burnley has served us some shockers already against the big boys. Stunning Liverpool and holding frustrating the Gunners in a controversial 1-0 loss. United knows this is banana skin, and they must tread carefully. Any errors, and United could be getting ready to send Jose out.
Arsenal’s run was stifled by Middlesbrough last weekend, with the Gunners surviving by a whisker. It was no surprise. Despite the Gunners showing some great potential thus far, the result was the type that puts their title credentials into question. Sunderland has not won any match thus far, and lost 3 of its past 4 home matches.
Avoiding defeat at home to Arsenal will do much in easing the pressure on David Moyes. Should he fail to win, Moyes will be as good as sacked. No time for errors for both managers.
The international break seemed to slow down Tottenham Hotspur’s pace. Mauricio Pochettino is yet to taste victory since defeating Manchester City 2-0. That run has put his side’s title credentials to question, and should they be complacent on the weekend, Leicester will certainly punish them.
Well, the team tasked with inflicting the first loss on Tottenham, Leicester, is having a terrible record at home. Infact, away from home, Leicester is the worst team. The Foxes have lost all 4 matches on the road, and conceded a staggering 13 goals! Should Harry Kane be part of the Spurs side, Leicester could suffer a shocker.
Both sides have a good forward line, and this could make it a goal-fest.
By its own standards, Bournemouth is doing well thus far. It is however, tricky business when Eddie Howe and his men travel to face Middlesbrough. The match has all the makings of a boring draw, considering the records shared between the two sides. Boro is winless at home while the Cherries are yet to taste victory on the road.
A revitalized West Ham faces off with an Everton side that is yet to win in 5 matches.
Everton has been guilty of missing sitters, and that has been their main undoing. Slaven Bilic has adopted a new tact, that has seen his side defend in numbers and catch their opponents on the break.
There is certainly little to suggest that Everton can get maximum points over West Ham.
Then, there’s the small rivalry that is simmering ahead of Liverpool vs Crystal Palace. After falling out of favour with Jurgen Klopp,Belgian Christian Benteke faces his former manager, in a tie that certainly has more at stake than just three points.
Benteke has proved to be a main man in the Palace forward, and he certainly shall be causing ripples coming up against an opposition he knows far too well.
Andy Townsend and Wilfried Zaha should up their game, jus incase Pardew expects the best out of Benteke. Jason Puncheon makes a return to the starting 11, and this should provide lots of scoring opportunities for Benteke.
Liverpool is playing some deft football. It is unlikely that Palace will triumph over the Kops with ease. It is certainly a tough fixture.
Chelsea has lots of critics to silence, coming up against a Southampton side that has shown so much potential this season.
After falling to West Ham in mid-week, Antonio Conte must ensure his side gets back to winning ways, to assert themselves as title contenders.
Saints are yet to lose at home, and boast the second best defense in the division. In 5 matches, they are unbeaten.
This is likely to be a really closely contested tie, with noone willing to make errors. This could end in a draw.
After a terrible month-long run without a win, Pep Guardiola must get back to winning ways.
City’s Cinderella start has been halted, and Pep must engineer a sudden turnaround. He faces a master spoiler in Tony Pulis and it shall not be an easy afternoon ride.
Sergio Aguero’s form is worrying, and after failing to find the back of the net in the last 6, something must change for City and Aguero to get back on form.
City is further struggling at the back, and most teams are exploiting that. West Brom will be focused on frustrating City and playing for a draw, which to Pep, will only serve to add to his side’s woes.
|JV De Pinte||