Mark’s tipping some toiling teams to get back on track this weekend but does snooker star Shaun Murphy agree?
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Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal
At one point or another both of these clubs have been in ‘crisis’ so far this season, even at this early stage. Chelsea have started the season poorly, but despite missing some first-team players, they managed a confidence-boosting 4-0 victory against Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Champions League.
Arsenal started the campaign believing they could win the league this term, but after an opening-day defeat to West Ham, things looked bleak. The Gunners have picked up ten points from the last four league games but their good run was halted after losing in Zagreb.
While Chelsea are toiling, Arsene Wenger’s only victory over Jose Mourinho was in the Community Shield in August, so I believe they will get back on track on Saturday lunchtime.
Shaun Murphy’s Prediction: Chelsea 2-2 Arsenal
Aston Villa 3-1 West Brom
A Midlands derby is one of the highlights of Saturday’s 3pm kick-offs as Aston Villa host West Brom at Villa Park. Last week ended badly for Villa; from cruising at 2-0 up, Leicester came back to win late on.
Tim Sherwood will be expecting more this weekend after being unhappy with how they struggled to hold onto their lead. That may well be helped with Scott Sinclair’s form.
A key man for Baggies could be Saido Berahino, who returned to action off the bench in last weekend’s 0-0 draw with Southampton. Tony Pulis will try to keep Villa’s pacey attack out but I reckon it will be the hosts with the bragging rights this time around.
Shaun Murphy’s Prediction: Aston Villa 0-2 West Brom
Swansea City 2-2 Everton
This should be an intriguing contest against two in-form teams, Everton and Swansea. Steven Naismith scored a perfect hat-trick as Roberto Martinez’s side came out 3-1 winners against Chelsea at Goodison Park last week.
The Toffees will hope to repeat their 3-0 thrashing of Southampton at Liberty Stadium, as Swans look to bounce back from their first defeat of the season at Watford. But last month’s big scalp over Manchester United will give them hope.
Keeping dangerman Bafetimbi Gomis – who has scored in four games out of five so far this campaign – quiet is key for the visitors. Both teams look capable of netting but a high-scoring draw looks on the cards, with both attacks potent.
Shaun Murphy’s Prediction: Swansea City 1-1 Everton
Tottenham 1-1 Crystal Palace
Spurs will be looking to build on their first win of the season last Sunday. Ryan Mason netted a late winner at Sunderland but the big concern for the hosts is that Harry Kane is yet to get off the mark this term.
Palace have three wins out of five, with their only two losses coming at the hands of Manchester City and Arsenal. Mauricio Pochettino’s may be tired after their Europa League 3-1 victory over Qarabag and Palace will believe they can take them on.
The Eagles earned a goal-less draw at White Hart Lane last season and I think they will grab a point against a weary Tottenham.
Shaun Murphy’s Prediction: Tottenham 2-0 Crystal Palace
Southampton 0-1 Manchester United
United’s Luke Shaw misses the trip to face his former club, Southampton, after his horror leg break. But one man who should be in line for a start on his return to St Mary’s is Morgan Schneiderlin, despite being overlooked against PSV.
Saints have had an indifferent start to the season with only one victory and it remains to be seen whether failing to qualify for the group stages of the Europa League helps or hinders their campaign.
I reckon the visitors will sneak this fixture with a narrow 1-0 victory. Southampton dominated the Red Devils last season but succumbed to two Robin van Persie goals in the end and Louis van Gaal will be expecting to overpower them this time out.
Shaun Murphy’s Prediction: Southampton 1-1 Manchester United
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