The last round of Premier League action, which seems a lifetime away after the recent international break, served up plenty of drama across the board.
Adnan Januzaj's match-winning brace against Sunderland remains fresh in the memory, as does West Ham's 3-0 dismantling of London rivals Tottenham. As we head into the eighth round of fixtures, where is the drama going to come from this week?
Before analysing just that, be sure to check out the full schedule and list of predictions, as seen below.
|Premier League Week 8 Schedule and Predictions|
|Home Team||vs.||Away Team||Date, K/O Time and Location:||Prediction:|
|Newcastle||vs.||Liverpool||Oct. 19, 12:45 p.m. BST, St. James' Park.||0-2|
|Arsenal||vs.||Norwich||Oct. 19, 3 p.m. BST, Emirates Stadium.||3-0|
|Chelsea||vs.||Cardiff City||Oct. 19, 3 p.m. BST, Stamford Bridge.||3-0|
|Everton||vs.||Hull||Oct. 19, 3 p.m. BST, Goodison Park.||3-1|
|Manchester United||vs.||Southampton||Oct. 19, 3 p.m. BST, Old Trafford.||2-1|
|Stoke City||vs.||West Brom||Oct. 19, 3 p.m. BST, Britannia Stadium,||1-2|
|Swansea||vs.||Sunderland||Oct. 19, 3 p.m. BST, The Liberty Stadium.||3-0|
|West Ham||vs.||Manchester City||Oct. 19, 5:30 p.m. BST, Boleyn Ground.||1-2|
|Aston Villa||vs.||Tottenham Hotspur||Oct. 20, 4 p.m. BST, Villa Park.||1-1|
|Crystal Palace||vs.||Fulham||Oct. 21, 8 p.m. BST, Selhurst Park.||1-0|
|Info via premierleague.com.|
Games Guaranteed to Produce Drama
Manchester United vs. Southampton
Every time Manchester United take to the field this season there seems to be huge drama. The British press—who can’t quite get to grips with David Moyes replacing Sir Alex Ferguson—is largely to thank for this.
The Red Devils’ topsy-turvy form should also be held accountable. Having suffered defeats in three of their opening seven games, per WhoScored, United can’t afford to lose any more ground on those leading the quest to Premier League glory.
Old Trafford is no longer considered an impenetrable fortress, a notion underlined by West Brom’s terrific attacking display when they visited recently.
The likes of Stephane Sessegnon, Saido Berahino and Morgan Amalfitano ripped through United’s defence, powering West Brom to victory that day. Mauricio Pochettino will be looking to do the same with a Southampton side that is in terrific form right now.
The Saints haven't conceded in five matches. Although United rarely fail to score in front of their home crowd, Southampton have only let two goals in this season and will be confident of stifling the stuttering champions.
With signings such as Pablo Osvaldo, Victor Wanyama and Dejan Lovren settling into the team, the south coast side are more than equipped to cause an upset. Luke Shaw’s runs from the full-back position will also be key, as Moyes’ boys have plenty to worry about.
West Ham vs. Manchester City
Last season’s 0-0 in the corresponding fixture sums up all there is to know about West Ham and Manchester City right now.
Sam Allardyce’s team are solid at home and difficult to beat. Their physical style is galvanised with Mohamed Diame in the middle and is effective at breaking up the rhythm of a City side that has been out of tune away from home.
Manuel Pellegrini is yet to win a Premier League game away from the Etihad. Losses to Cardiff City and Aston Villa highlight a team that is still trying to make everything work. While new signings such as Alvaro Negredo and Fernandinho have performed well, the post-Roberto Mancini era hasn’t gone without a hitch.
Whether this fixture will be high-scoring is debateable. It will be physical, crammed with individual battles and certainly tiring for all involved.
West Ham fans need to find their voice if they are to stand any chance of winning, a feat made easier after the club’s recent 3-0 hammering of Tottenham at White Hart Lane.
Crystal Palace vs. Fulham
A good old-fashioned game that nobody can afford to lose.
Crystal Palace are 19th in the table with one win from seven games. Fulham are 18th with one win in seven games.
As reported at the end of September by Dave Kid of the Mirror, Martin Jol faced the sack after Jordan Mutch’s injury-time goal gave Cardiff a 2-1 win at Craven Cottage. Despite beating Stoke 1-0 in the game following this disaster, Jol remains firmly under pressure.
Fulham’s Dutch boss will hope the recent international break will have hushed calls for his head. Nothing but a positive result will do at Selhurst Park, especially as a win for Ian Holloway’s men will see them join Fulham on seven points.
Palace cannot afford to fall seven points behind their London rivals. That’s a chasm at this stage in the season, and should Fulham win, confidence is likely to hit an all-time low.
Holloway’s team just need an excellent performance to reinstate belief, something that has currently defined the seasons of Cardiff and Hull, teams Palace were promoted alongside.
Which matches will be dramatic this week? Let me us know in the comments section below and be sure to discuss the games with me on Twitter: