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Fantasy Football: a bore draw awaits

It was the biggest swindle since Antonio Conte declared his perfectly arranged moptop was real.

Television channels promised a football match on Monday night but instead we got one world-class save, a lot of posturing and police reports of a missing person (Daniel Sturridge).

Thankfully, the Champions League proved a nice distraction and before you know it we have another round of Premier League games to sink our teeth into.

Wait. What? Manchester United go to Chelsea? José Mourinho insists it's a match they can't lose? Sticks Marouane Fellaini in front of the back four again?

Here's hoping United lose just a little of that pragmatism and try to win this one.

11am kick offs unless stated
Bournemouth v Tottenham


Spurs have lost just two of their past Premier League matches and remain unbeaten this season. They have the chance to go top, albeit temporarily, with victory.

Bournemouth smashed Hull for six last weekend but the fear is the South Coast team may be too open for this ruthlessly efficient Tottenham side.

Prediction: 0-2

Arsenal v Middlesbrough

A 6-0 thumping of Ludogorets on Wednesday night means Arsenal have now won their past seven matches and are unbeaten in 11.

Middlesbrough, who I thought had invested well (more fool me), are all at sea and struggling to adapt to the step up in quality.

Prediction: 3-0

Burnley v Everton

Romelu Lukaku is in great form and he goes up against a Burnley side who are much more solid at home. However, this Everton side should have the quality and drive under Ronald Koeman to get a result.

Prediction: 0-1

Hull City v Stoke City

Another chance for Joe “The Welsh Pirlo” Allen to add his goal tally at Hull, who despite their freshly stamped takeover have had all optimism punctured by the 6-1 hammering at Bournemouth.

Stoke have finally woken up, which is bad news for the home side.

Prediction: 0-2

Leicester v Crystal Palace

Leicester have more points in the Champions League than they do the Premier League and have made no bones about where their priorities are this season.

They need to be careful, though, or a relegation battle awaits. Palace have got their act together despite the defeat to West Ham and if Christian Benteke can realign his right foot, will be dangerous opponents.

Prediction: 2-1

Swansea City v Watford

Bob Bradley will have been encouraged in part by the 3-2 defeat at Arsenal but it's these more winnable games where he will be judged. Four straight defeats must be reversed.

Watford's away form has been good — they've lost just once — and come into the game off the back of a win at Middlesbrough.

Prediction: 2-2

West Ham v Sunderland

It's hard to predict anything other than defeat for Sunderland despite West Ham's dislike of their new home and stuttering performances. So I won't.

Prediction: 2-0

Liverpool v West Brom

Liverpool face some questions ahead of West Brom after their failure to catch light against United.

Without even factoring in their opponents, who are unbeaten in four and earned two draws against Liverpool last season, Jürgen Klopp must decide what to do with Daniel Sturridge, who was off the pace on Monday night.

The striker could be on the bench with Roberto Firmino preferred through the middle.

Far from a home banker, Klopp's men will have to play well to win.

Prediction: 2-1

Man City v Southampton


Southampton were hugely unlucky not to get something from the San Siro yesterday and appear a well-drilled unit. They've won the three of their past four games.

City, though, despite being winless in four have played well and Sergio Agüero will have a point to prove after being left out against Barcelona.

Prediction: 2-0

Chelsea v Manchester United

The question is whether United will come out of their defensive shell after the drab 0-0 at Anfield. The midweek win in the Europa League should help but emotions will run high as Mourinho heads back to the club he used to call home.

This is another tough away Premier League fixture as Mourinho tries to bed down his way of playing. Chelsea, having reverted to three at the back, are a more physical team than Liverpool, and could pose this United team more problems.

Prediction: 1-1

Found his shooting boots: Paul Pogba scores Manchester United's third against Fenerbahçe at Old Trafford in the Europa League. United won the group A game 4-1 (Photograph by Dave Thompson/AP)
<p>Top bosses</p>

Damon Thompson, in charge of ChivasFC, wins the $100 prize for top manager in September.

Thompson scored 250 points, five clear of Bramy FC, led by Christopher Bramwell, and six ahead of Sam Butler’s Bda Wanderers.

Thompson joins Lee Williams, manager of Expected Toulouse, in the monthly winners’ circle so far this season.

Both are encouraged to get in touch to find out how to claim their prize by e-mailing jburton@royalgazette.com

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Published October 21, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated October 21, 2016 at 7:47 am)

Fantasy Football: a bore draw awaits

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