Premier League Round Four Preview

Evan Hatmaker, 23 Sports Reporter

Each week millions of fans have the privilege of watching as some of the best teams in the world compete against each other, trying to end the season on top of the most competitive league in the world. The struggles and upsets that make up this league are historic, and this week is no exception. This is, 0f course, the Premier League.

The top match this week lies with Liverpool as they face rivals Manchester City. This top of the table clash will undoubtedly help to decide the leaders of the table early on, as both teams are only two points below Manchester United, who currently lead the table. For this match Sadio Mane will be a key player to watch as Jurgen Klopp has excluded Philippe Coutinho from the line up in light of his recent transfer drama with Barcelona. Mane will have to break down one of the best defenses in the game. Roberto Firmino will be an influential component in this contest by working his way through the compact ranks of Manchester City. As he works his way through into the center of the field the pace of Mane and Salah will become increasingly important to beat the last defender. Up until this point, as long as Manchester City play as they have utilizing a compact defense, this pace will be rendered almost entirely useless. From this point it is David Silva who will become essential to the Manchester City attack. He can move around the field wreaking havoc on Liverpool’s defense. All the while leaving chances open for players such as Jesus and Sterling to score. Despite Manchester City’s impressive attach, I believe Liverpool will prove the better team, getting an important early victory against a strong opponent. 

Leicester City play Chelsea this weekend and while Leicester City have had moments of greatness in both their form and in recent history with their 2015-2106 Premier League Title, I believe they will lose this match to defending champions Chelsea. Chelsea seem to have found their groove after the club’s standoff with Diego Costa, one of the best strikers in the league, and now they have the potential to compete for another league title. 

Everton will play Tottenham in this mid- table clash, and I believe Tottenham, led by Dele Alli and Harry Kane will be more than successful. Everton is still trying to replace Romelu Lukaku after his transfer earlier this season to Manchester United, and without the Belgium’s pace and incredible finishing they will struggle against top tier teams.  

Stoke City will play Manchester United this weekend, and Manchester United look like the strong favorites for an easy win. They remain unbeaten while Romelu Lukaku and Henrikh Mkhitaryan remain some of the best players in their position with Lukaku leading the league in goals scored and Mkhitaryan leads the league in assists. Manchester United also boast one of the strongest defenses in the league, while currently Stoke City lack almost any attack. Manchester United should be able to increase their winning streak. 

Arsenal will play Bournemouth this week, which should finally allow them to gain a little momentum after a slow start. After losing two out of their last three matches, The Gunners find themselves in the uncomfortable position of having world class talent stuck in the bottom half of the table. This match against Bournemouth should, theoretically, allow them to coast through an easy win and back into good form, but in light of their recent defeats which include the 4-0 thrashing that occurred when they faced Liverpool, nothing is certain. 

Southampton take on Watford this week in this close contest between two evenly matched teams. Despite this, Southampton should be able to win because Watford has played 21 different players in their first three matches. This should disrupt player chemistry and performance, and Southampton is more than capable of taking advantage of such a large Achilles’ heel. 

West Ham United face Huddersfield Town in what may be one of the most influential matches of the season. Huddersfield Town are currently in 3rd, and with West Ham United’s recent string of losses to bring up the bottom of the table, Huddersfield should prove the better team. This isn’t why the game is peculiar, however. This Huddersfield’s first season in the Premier League and they have started it off with a roaring testament to their will power. After this game they will be in a very good position to push to the top of the table. They are the team to watch as I predict they will soar towards the top of the table and finish among the top 8 spots. 

Brighton & Hove Albion v West Bromwich Albion. These are two evenly contested teams and it will be a very close game, probably ending with a draw as the two offenses cancels out against evenly matched defenses.  

Burnley face Crystal Palace, with Crystal Palace looking the weaker side, starting the season with a string of stinging defeats. Crystal Palace also look like the likely team for relegation, but it is too early in the season to know for sure. 

Swansea City face evenly matched Newcastle United, but Swansea City should be able to find themselves a close win. Wilfried Bony will be the man to watch in that match, as he returns to Swansea after his transfer fell through. Despite any ill feelings he may have for the team he tried to leave, I believe he will still play an influential role as a spearhead for Swansea’s attack, to which Newcastle won’t have an answer.  

August has closed, leaving the decision for player of the month open for debate. While several players throughout the league have made noticeable contributions to their sides and their team’s success, one man stood out in particular, at least to the judges. Sadio Mane has been a man on a mission. With the season still fresh he has stepped up in the absence of Philippe Coutinho, who has been out of the line up during his transfer talks for Spanish super club Barcelona. The young forward has carried his team through this first leg of the season, earning himself a player of the month award in the process. Liverpool players and fans alike will hope he can carry out this impressive form especially in their upcoming fixture vs. Manchester City, which will be an influential match in forming the early top teams of the season.