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Bruised Man City have no time to lick European wounds

The English Premier League title race continues to ebb and flow nicely, with four genuine contenders pushing vigorously to become champions of England. A few surprise packages have even jumped into the fold, and the usual suspects are fighting for their lives at the bottom.

The last of three successive away matches against Europe’s elite awaits Pep Guardiola and Manchester City when they travel to Anfield to face Liverpool on Sunday (Photograph by Rui Vieira/AP)

Fantasy owners must be careful over the coming weeks with their premium choices, especially the top forwards, as a few of the challengers meet each other over the next month or so. However, West Ham striker Michail Antonio is an excellent mid-price option up front, while Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka and Brentford’s Ethan Pinnock are good options for midfield and defence respectively.

There was cause for celebration in the Kiwi household after Ivi Kiwi racked up 71 points in Gameweek 6 to swoop to the top of standings and claim monthly honours. IviKiwi accumulated 215 points in September’s three gameweeks to finish two clear of Robert Richardson’s KloppsKop. Temar Richards, who led the month going into the weekend, slumped to third on 206 after an underwhelming 45-point performance.

In the overall race, Dennis Lyelu and Tanzanite have a healthy 27-point lead. The next ten in the standings are separated by a mere ten points.

Saturday

Manchester United v Everton

8.30am

United have suffered three defeats in their past four games in all competitions, including their most recent 1-0 home loss to Aston Villa, where Bruno Fernandes missed a penalty in stoppage time. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under immense pressure with the quality of squad at his disposal.

Everton come off a comfortable 2-0 home victory over struggling Norwich City on Saturday. The Toffees have started well, earning 13 points through six matches.

Prediction: 3-1

Burnley v Norwich City

11am

Burnley pushed Leicester City hard to earn a 2-2 away draw. New signing Maxwel Cornet scored a fantastic volley on his full Premier League debut, but the Clarets remain winless and sit nineteenth.

Norwich are the only side in the league yet to earn a point after their 2-0 away defeat by Everton. The Canaries have scored just twice while conceding 16.

This is a relegation six-pointer, and the winner of this could build some confidence for the rest of the season.

Prediction: 1-1

Chelsea v Southampton

11am

Chelsea suffered their first setback of the season in their 1-0 home loss to Manchester City. Manager Thomas Tuchel lost to Pep Guardiola for the first time last Saturday.

Southampton lacked finishing touch in their 1-0 home loss to Wolves last Sunday. Midfielder Moussa Djenepo missed their best chance to salvage when he dragged his effort wide seven minutes from time.

This could be an open and entertaining affair, as the sides battled to a thrilling 3-3 draw last time Saints came to Stamford Bridge.

Prediction: 2-0

Leeds United v Watford

11am

Leeds were made to pay for their profligacy in front of goal in their 2-1 home loss to West Ham last week, despite a dominant start. They missed key striker Patrick Bamford and versatile player Pascal Struijk.

Watford rode their luck a few times to earn a 1-1 home draw with Newcastle United, winger Ismaïla Sarr scoring his third goal of the season to cancel out Sean Longstaff’s first-half rocket.

The Yorkshire side need to find their first win of the season, and this is a good match-up to do so, as they have won both previous meetings.

Prediction: 2-0

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Newcastle United

11am

Raúl Jiménez scored the only goal in Wolves’ 1-0 away win over Southampton. Goalkeeper Jose Sá also made six saves in the shutout last Sunday, their second win of the season.

Newcastle were pegged back by an Ismaïla Sarr header in their 1-1 away draw with Watford. Sean Longstaff opened the scoring with an absolute screamer midway through the first half for the Magpies.

Wolves have yet to win at home this term. The past three meetings, and nine of their 12 overall, have ended in draws.

Prediction: 1-1

Brighton & Hove Albion v Arsenal

1.30pm

Brighton striker Neal Maupay scored with a well-weighted lob in stoppage time to secure a 1-1 draw away to Crystal Palace on Monday night and keep them in the chasing pack through six matches.

Arsenal came out with intent and capitalised on that in their 3-1 home win over rivals Tottenham Hotspur. Emile Smith Rowe met Bukayo Saka’s quick low cross with a sweeping finish to open the scoring in the twelfth minute, and the Gunners never looked back from there.

A huge test this for Mikel Arteta, against one of the most organised and highest-tempo teams in the division.

Prediction: 1-1

Sunday

Crystal Palace v Leicester City

10am

Palace could not preserve a slender lead, but still managed a 1-1 home draw with rivals Brighton in the A23 derby. The Eagles still have the solitary win to their name, the 3-0 home win over Spurs a few weeks ago.

Leicester striker Jamie Vardy scored a late equaliser to salvage a 2-2 home draw with Burnley, his fifth goal already this term. The Foxes have scored only seven goals and must find some attacking form soon to push the European places.

Palace must make Selhurst Park a fortress, but the firepower of the Foxes could be their kryptonite.

Prediction: 1-2

Tottenham Hotspur v Aston Villa

10am

Tottenham showed no desire in a 3-1 defeat away to Arsenal in the 190th North London derby. Despite Son Heung Min scoring late on, Spurs have simply been found out under manager Nuno Espirito Santo.

Aston Villa cut off all passing lanes and crossing areas in their shock 1-0 away victory over toothless Manchester United. Kortney Hause scored a bullet header two minutes from time to snatch the upset.

The visitors could snatch a surprise result from this, as Ollie Watkins scored a first-half winner to dent Spurs’ slim European chances last season.

Prediction: 0-2

West Ham United v Brentford

10am

Michail Antonio came up clutch late on to earn West Ham a 2-1 comeback win away to Leeds. They are in Europe as well for the first time, beating Dinamo Zagreb in Croatia on opening week and following up with a 2-0 defeat of Rapid Wien last night.

Brentford went toe-to-toe with giants Liverpool and earned a brilliant 3-3 home draw with the Merseyside outfit. Striker Yoane Wissa scored the equaliser for the Bees eight minutes from time.

Both sides have started really well, with the promoted Bees one of the surprise packages.

Prediction: 2-2

Liverpool v Manchester City

12.30pm

Liverpool dropped two critical points in their quest to regain the title in a 3-3 draw away to Brentford. Despite going ahead twice in the second half, the Reds defended poorly and allowed rivals to gain ground on them.

City dominated Chelsea in a 1-0 away victory, which would have been more convincing had Aymeric Laporte and Jack Grealish taken their chances. They then lost away to Paris Saint-Germain 2-0 on Tuesday night, thanks to a brilliant effort from Idrissa Gueye and a lovely goal from Lionel Messi.

This battle between the last two Premier League champions will be intriguing, yet probably very low-scoring.

Prediction: 1-1

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Published October 01, 2021 at 7:41 am (Updated October 01, 2021 at 7:41 am)

Bruised Man City have no time to lick European wounds

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