Pep Guardiola has won 10 out of 10 at Manchester City so far but he still thinks the team can improve! Scary for the rest of the Premier League if the Catalan can get another 10% out of a side that are taking all before them. Their fixture at Spurs is one of the FreePlay6 games this week and if you want to test your knowledge at be in with a chance of the lottery-sized jackpot, make sure to stake a minimum of £2. Let’s start at the London Stadium…
West Ham v Middlesbrough
It’s only been two months yet the locals are already up in arms. The ‘soulless bowl’ that is the London Stadium is apparently not to everyone’s liking, no doubt more for the lack of atmosphere and teething problems as well as the dire excuse for football that’s being served up on the pitch.
It’s true that the Hammers have suffered from injuries to key players and as they come back, there’s every chance that they’ll start to climb the table again but the plain fact of the matter is that those players already in situ have done nothing to impress this season.
This will be a game where the pressure will very definitely be on the hosts from the first whistle.
Expectations will be high that the east Londoners will beat a Middlesbrough side in transition and one who will have had a long journey down to the capital.
However, the difference between the two sides is marked at this stage. Win, lose or draw, Boro are enjoying their time back in the top flight.
Aitor Karanka has bought well and his team have shown glimpses of quality throughout the early stages of the campaign.
Alvaro Negredo has been a thorn in the side of West Ham once before and given that the hosts have been poor at defending the high ball into the box all season long, expect the Spaniard to profit again.
Another nail in this particular coffin as the visitors go home with a deserved 1-2 victory.
Sunderland v West Brom
It could be a very long afternoon in the north east, make sure you bring your sleeping bags.
For those connoisseurs who like their football played the right way, this is not the game for you.
With the greatest of respect, this will be a real battle of Britain type 90 minutes with no quarter asked or give from either side.
However, moments of great skill or those that are aesthetically pleasing will be in very short supply.
Perhaps that’s what’s required sometimes, a good old scrap where your XI dig in and gives everything for the cause. Not pretty or entertaining necessarily, but this is a results business and there’s more than one way to win football matches.
The pressure is already mounting on David Moyes whose side are three points from safety after six games and have only scored five goals in that time. Hardly the type of impact Sunderland would’ve expected from a new manager.
Tony Pulis can point to a stunning victory over West Ham as a guide to just how well his West Brom side can play when on song, but he can’t expect the same here.
A real 0-0 bore draw.
Leverkusen v Dortmund
The hosts will be hoping that the visit of Real Madrid to the Signal Iduna Park will take a lot out of their visitors.
Leverkusen need to be clutching at such straws because Dortmund are only two goals behind Man City as the most prolific team in Europe at this point.
Thomas Tuchel’s side have ripped teams to shreds this season, scoring six twice, five once and three on another three occasions.
A joy to watch, Dortmund very definitely have Bayern’s crown in their sights, and unlike the previous few seasons, the Bavarians, now coached by Carlo Ancelotti, are just three points ahead at this juncture.
Bayer have struggled in a lot of games this season despite the best efforts of Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez and Hakan Calhanoglu.
Seventh position is about right and Roger Schmidt’s side are going to need to show a vast improvement to break into the top two or three.
It’s not going to come here, a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang inspired Dortmund side will walk to victory. ANY OTHER AWAY WIN is my selection.
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Tottenham v Man City
Game of the season so far in prospect.
The only two unbeaten sides in the Premier League face off and if things go the way of City and elsewhere, Pep Guardiola could be looking at a minimum five-point lead in the league at the conclusion of proceedings.
From what we’ve seen already, City are rejuvenated under the Catalan and are playing their best football for years.
Ditto Tottenham, which is why it makes this such an intoxicating fixture. The table-toppers have passed every test set them so far with aplomb, but they’ve not come up against a side that will match them in every department.
Although the season is still young, there is enough in Mauricio Pochettino’s side to note that they’ll be there or thereabouts at the business end of the season again.
De Bruyne, Sterling, Aguero, Alli, Lamela, Eriksen….Kane if fit. A mouthwatering prospect.
Sitting on the fence with this one. As good a 1-1 draw as you will ever see.
Leicester v Southampton
Hard to believe that Leicester have already lost as many games this season as they did in the whole of the last campaign.
Even taking into account Claudio Ranieri’s stance that things would be very much different in 2016/17, the Italian surely couldn’t have expected that it would happen so quickly.
The Foxes are a shadow of their former selves, confidence shattered. That said, they sit in a reasonably healthy mid-table berth and at least have the Champions League to take their minds off of Premier League drudgery.
Jamie Vardy could do with a goal or two to get him firing on all cylinders again because the front man continues to get first class service from Riyad Mahrez, he just isn’t at the races at this point.
Southampton too, are looking ragged and disjointed.
Losing Sadio Mane and Graziano Pelle can’t have helped matters, and Claude Puel is another foreign coach who is still finding his feet in the Premier League.
Trying to get his ideas across has become problematic and if they’re not careful it could turn into a long, hard season for the Saints.
Don’t expect a classic but the patrons of the King Power will at least go home happy with a 1-0 victory.
Burnley v Arsenal
With less than half a dozen goals scored this season, it’s obvious where the problem lies for Sean Dyche and his Burnley team.
The limitations of the Clarets can be overlooked if they would just put the ball in the onion bag.
Contrast that with their visitors who’ve score five times as many in the same time frame.
After a solid 3-0 victory over Chelsea, Arsene Wenger’s side are purring and maybe, just maybe if they can hold their nerve this time, they will be in with a genuine chance of silverware.
Yes, we’ve heard it all before but the addition of players like Granit Xhaka have given the Gunners the steel that they’ve been missing for far too long.
The north Londoners are bossing games rather than being bossed and the body language of every player speaks of a team that means business.
They won’t even need to get out of first gear as they play the hosts off the park with a comfortable 0-3 victory.