The Premier League is just warming up nicely, so obviously this is the perfect time for an international break. Hull and Manchester United have probably had the two most eye-catching results so far, both winning their opening two games. And they meet in a game at the KCOM on Saturday evening where at least one 100 per cent record is going to disappear.
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TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR v LIVERPOOL, Saturday 12.30pm
LAST WEEK’S RESULT: Tottenham 1 Crystal Palace 1; Burnley 2 Liverpool 0
LAST MEETING: April 2, 2016 – Premier League; Liverpool 1 Tottenham 1
PLAYED FOR BOTH SIDES: Ray Clemence – One of the legends of the Liverpool team of the 1970s. He was terribly unlucky to play just 61 times for England, with Peter Shilton around at the same time as him. He moved to Spurs from Anfield and played well over 200 times for the White Hart Lane men, maintaining his high standards although the trophies did not flow as freely.
VERDICT: Steady Spurs take on a Liverpool side that look to be really exciting, even if the results look set to be a little unpredictable. Four points represents a solid start for Mauricio Pochettino’s side but there hasn’t quite been the spark of a side that wants to make the top four – at least not in a season where standards have improved in three of the main contenders. Jurgen Klopp’s men could be a side that can beat anybody on their day, certainly they look a side well suited to playing away from home and I think they can show that at White Hart Lane.
PREDICTION: Tottenham 1 Liverpool 3
WATFORD v ARSENAL, Saturday 3pm
LAST WEEK’S RESULT: Watford 1 Chelsea 2; Leicester 0 Arsenal 0
LAST MEETING: April 2, 2016 – Premier League; Arsenal 4 Watford 0
PLAYED FOR ONE CLUB, MANAGED THE OTHER: Eddie Hapgood – A legend at Arsenal, where he won five league titles and two FA Cups as a player before World War II, though he left the club on bad terms and had a short spell as manager at Watford just after the resumption of football following the war.
VERDICT: One point from two games is not a stellar start for the Gunners and they really need a win here. Watford gave Chelsea a good game last week after their draw at Southampton on opening day, but Arsenal have another gear and they need to show it at Vicarage Road or the question marks about Arsene Wenger will return. I think this will be an away win.
PREDICTION: Watford 1 Arsenal 2
EVERTON v STOKE CITY, Saturday 3pm
LAST WEEK’S RESULT: West Brom 1 Everton 2, Stoke 1 Manchester City 4
LAST MEETING: February 6, 2016 – Premier League; Stoke 0 Everton 3
MEMORABLE MEETING: December 28, 2016 – Everton 3 Stoke 4; One of many exciting games at Goodison Park last season, two goals apiece by Xherdan Shaqiri and Romelu Lukaku had this finely poised after 64 minutes. Gerard Deulofeu put the hosts ahead, but Joselu and a late Marko Arnautovic penalty gave Stoke an amazing win.
VERDICT: Ronald Koeman has already got Everton nearer the top of the table than Roberto Martinez managed last season but this will be a good test of how far they have really come – a game they are favourites to win at home. Stoke have not yet fired up this season and they were easily second best against Manchester City last week. Mark Hughes will expect more and they could well come away from this one with a point.
PREDICTION: Everton 1 Stoke 1
HULL CITY v MANCHESTER UNITED, Saturday 5.30pm
LAST WEEK’S RESULT: Swansea 0 Hull 2, Manchester United 2 Southampton 0
LAST MEETING: May 24, 2015 – Premier League; Hull 0 Manchester United 0
MEMORABLE MEETING: December 28, 2016 – Hull 2 Manchester United 3; A Christmas meeting in which Hull raced to a 2-0 lead, but were eventually undone as James Chester, formerly of United, scored at both ends as the Tigers fans went home disappointed.
VERDICT: Jose Mourinho has made a flying start as United boss and his magic touch seems to have returned. Having Zlatan Ibrahimovic about the place helps as well of course and the Swede looks set to lift last year’s Red Devils up to his standard and even Wayne Rooney has lifted his game a notch. Hull have won their first two games under caretaker Mike Phelan but his chances of stopping his old side in their current form could be limited.
PREDICTION: Hull 0 Manchester United 3
VIDEO: Hull2 Manchester United 3