Charlie Nicholas has given his predictions for all of this weekend’s Premier League fixtures and it’s fair to say there are some eye-catching scores.
The former Celtic, Arsenal, Aberdeen and Scotland footballer currently works as a pundit for Sky Sports and most every weekend appears on the Soccer Saturday show to commentate on games and get involved with debates.
See what he went with below and on the next few pages…
BURNLEY v LIVERPOOL
The score Charlie Nicholas has predicted for this game is: 1-3
He said on Sky Sports’ website: “They will squeeze Liverpool and drop off when they have it at the back, squeezing the midfield too. They need to stop the full-backs and the service to the front men. If it is rolled out from Liverpool they could even squeeze from the front. Liverpool will take risks and were exposed sometimes against Arsenal. The front three will be nice and fresh, with Mohamed Salah coming into this off the back of a brace, so I expect a Liverpool win.”
EVERTON v WOLVES
The score Charlie Nicholas has predicted for this game is: 1-2
He said on Sky Sports’ website: “Wolves have started well. They lost a lot of silly points last year against teams which they shouldn’t have. I expected them to beat Burnley but they managed to get a draw at the very end.
“What is Everton’s shape? They had to tidy the defence up – they needed to. You saw them last week and thought, what is the belief in this team? I did not see anything that told me this team would threaten the top six. I did not see this materialise.
“It is an awkward one, but I am going to go with Wolves. The only thing that tells me otherwise is their Europa League match on Thursday. I am hanging on to a Wolves win here.”
ARSENAL v TOTTENHAM
The score Charlie Nicholas has predicted for this game is: 4-2
He said on Sky Sports’ website: “I cannot say I expected any more from the Liverpool game last week. Arsenal played alright – David Luiz cost us with stupid mistakes, which is what he does at times. Arsenal did not deserve anything but they could have threatened.
“Unai Emery didn’t play Alexandre Lacazette and Dani Ceballos should have played further forward. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe had chances and I did not come away feeling overly disappointed. I do not feel like we got embarrassed.
“Emery does not trust his players enough. He always tends to leave Lacazette out and go with pace. Joe Willock did okay, but didn’t get on the ball much. You need to go into these games with the best attackers.
“I would always play Lacazette through the middle, Pepe on the right and Aubameyang on the left. Tottenham are nervous at the moment and mistakes always come from these matches. Ceballos needs to be closer to the front three too.”
SOUTHAMPTON v MAN UTD
The score Charlie Nicholas has predicted for this game is: 2-2
He said on Sky Sports’ website: “I had the Manchester United game last week. Everyone was saying it was a terrible result. When you first see them at the start of the season, you have to ask who they are keeping. They always have the talented Marcus Rashford, the energy of Jesse Lingard, alongside Anthony Martial too. I don’t know whether Martial will be fit as he was carrying a knock in the last 10 minutes.
“With that, they are down to the bare bones, especially with Romelu Lukaku out of the door. Not one of those forward players played well last week. You cannot get a rhythm with Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay in midfield. McTominay is a throwback to Darren Fletcher, who was a much better passer of the ball. He is young and rash, but his physical presence has got him there, which is not a bad thing and where I see the balance.
“Pogba has started playing deep again and forgotten where he wants to play. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is allowing him to do that and he says that he will be the main player if he does. He will have his good days and will have his bad ones. He gives the ball away cheaply.
“The balance at the back is unusual. Harry Maguire never covered Victor Lindelof for the first goal last week. Is he the type to do that? The full-backs are worrying and they could always have faith in David de Gea in the past. Now they don’t have that reliability.
“They could be too hot to trot one weekend and then poor the next two. Southampton have the energy, belief and confidence after their win at Brighton, and will get at Pogba and McTominay and see if they can hurt their defence. It will be an open game which may suit Southampton. This will be an entertaining and expansive match.”
CRYSTAL PALACE v ASTON VILLA
The score Charlie Nicholas has predicted for this game is: 1-1
He said on Sky Sports’ website: “Aston Villa got a big lift against Everton. Douglas Luiz, John McGinn and Jack Grealish can pull the strings. McGinn doesn’t need to hold as he has an abundance of energy. Luiz is technically decent, but I would want him to adjust to the English way and understand how his fellow midfielders play. Grealish needs to play higher up the pitch. Wesley is up and running now, so those are promising signs for them.
“So far, Crystal Palace have been unpredictable. Wilfried Zaha must have accepted the reality now he is back in the team. I saw them win at Man United, but where did that come from? Jordan Ayew was so composed with the first goal, and they will always be well-drilled under Roy Hodgson.
“I am amazed that Christian Benteke has been offered a new contract. Gary Cahill was solid with his position and took a yellow card rather than give away a penalty. Everything he did, he did with assurance and experience. He could be something they have been waiting for. I do not know what you will get from them coming forward, but because of the unpredictability I am going to go 1-1. I wouldn’t mind watching the game, as you do not know which way it is going to go.”
Take a look at more of his predictions on the next page.