We are three weeks into the season and, remarkably, there have been just six home wins so far. But Mark’s tipping that all to change this weekend and former Manchester United and Manchester City man Peter Barnes is the guest for the final round before the international break.
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Aston Villa 2-0 Sunderland
Aston Villa and Sunderland came through epic Capital One Cup games in midweek, with the Black Cats netting six and Villa going to extra-time against Notts County. Tim Sherwood’s side scored five times in 120 minutes, with Adama Traore and Scott Sinclair looking particularly potent in front of goal, with the latter netting a hat-trick.
Sunderland’s Jermain Defoe also scored a hat-trick in their win, but they have been struggling in the Premier League.
Villa have had a couple of losses on the bounce, but the raw pace of new signing Adama Traore looks to be able to unlock teams. That should be helpful against a Sunderland defence that have been static for most of the season. It could be a long afternoon for away fans.
Peter Barnes Prediction: Aston Villa 2-0 Sunderland
Manchester City 3-0 Watford
Newly-promoted Watford face the tough task of trying to unlock Manchester City on Saturday afternoon. The Hornets have had back to back 0-0 draws since they grabbed a superb point at Goodison Park on the opening day, but that run of draws could come to a crashing end at the Etihad on Saturday.
Sergio Aguero, David Silva, Vincent Kompany and Yaya Toure all look back to their best as City have become the early pacesetters. The Citizens have scored eight goals without reply so far and should get into double figures with at least two goals on Saturday.
Raheem Sterling has given the side an extra outlet, with natural width down the left and a terrific understanding with Aleksandar Kolarov. If transfer stories are to be proved right, they are only going to get stronger.
Peter Barnes Prediction: Manchester City 3-0 Watford
Newcastle United 1-1 Arsenal
Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off is one of the most intriguing games of the weekend. The Gunners were lucky to get out of Monday’s clash with Liverpool with a point and thankful for a rock between the posts in Petr Cech. Arsenal were without Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny, but it was the players further forward who failed to protect their young defence of Calum Chambers and Gabriel Paulista.
Newcastle had a goalless draw of their own last weekend, but will be much more satisfied with their point at Old Trafford. The Magpies looked as though they could be hit for two or three, but grew into the game and could have almost won it late on.
Georginio Wijnaldum looks an inspired signing by Steve McClaren and Florian Thauvin could be a matchwinner on his day. Arsenal have only scored twice in their opening three games and a low-scoring draw here may lead to more questions over their side’s attack.
Peter Barnes Prediction: Newcastle United 2-2 Arsenal
Swansea City 1-2 Manchester United
The Swans opened their season with a draw at Stamford Bridge and followed that up with a home win against Newcastle and a draw away at Sunderland. Bafetimbi Gomis has scored in every game in the league so far and is looking a real physical threat up top, whilst Jonjo Shelvey is showing form that should have him at least considered for England duty.
Manchester United have played five games, including a two-legged Champions League qualifier, scored nine goals and only conceded one own goal, but there seems to be discontent at the club. The lack of a star signing could be a factor in that, however, Radamel Falcao and Angel Di Maria were brought in last summer and did not work out.
United’s defence may well be breached by the in-form Gomis on Sunday, but they should have enough – especially with Wayne Rooney bursting back into form in Europe on Wednesday with a hat-trick – to see off the Welsh side.
Peter Barnes Prediction: Swansea City 0-2 Manchester United
Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Everton
Everton and Tottenham are two of the hardest teams to predict in the Premier League. The Toffees started the season with a draw at home to Watford and then a smashing 3-0 win away at Southampton. The 2-0 defeat at home to Manchester City can be forgiven.
Spurs are doing their usual; letting leads slip at home to Stoke and away at Leicester and lost to a Kyle Walker own goal against Manchester United. The hosts do look like they could get a win at home to Everton though, especially after the Toffees were forced to play 120 minutes of a Capital One Cup tie at Barnsley in midweek.
Harry Kane is yet to score this season, but has looked lively and should get chances to test Phil Jagielka and the want-away John Stones.
Peter Barnes Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 Everton
Follow Mark at @markyoung1988