The international break is all well and good for cheering on your national team – or jeering on , depending on how well your country gets on – but it’s murder for fans of a full weekend of Premier League action. Okay, we got to see how Big Sam fared in his international debut (it turns out it doesn’t matter what initials are on the manager’s tracksuit, England are destined to frustrate). But now it’s time to get back to the real deal.
Another narrow victory last week in our Premier League prediction challenge saw Psychic Steve extend his overall lead a wee bit. And while he’s sill got a fair amount of work to do to convince the world he’s really gifted, he did predict nine out of ten results correctly last week. And now it’s time to pit him against another of our sporting experts…
Representing Team Rileys this week is:
Steve Thick – Team Coach
This is how the competing pair see this weekend’s Premier League action going down…
Both Manchester clubs have come flying out of the traps this season. What makes both clubs’ excellent runs so impressive is that they’re both still in the embryonic stages of their new leaders’ regimes. With 100% starts for both Jose and Pep, something has to give here. The two aren’t known to be the greatest of friends, so neither will tolerate a loss here. And I don’t see in the stars that either club are destined to lose here. The pair will cancel each other out. Stones & Co. will marshal Zlatan and Bailly will handle Sterling. This is a huge game and no football fan will miss it. But don’t expect fireworks here. Expect two sides determined not to let their fierce rivals win.
Rileys’ Steve says: 2-1
The Gunners turned on the style for the first time this season in their last game against Walter Mazzari’s relatively impressive Watford. Mesut Ozil shone and there’s no reason to think that him and Sanchez can’t carry on their decent form here in front of their home crowd. Southampton need to start turning draws into wins, but it ain’t starting here. We don’t even see them scoring. Not with Arsenal’s new signing (now there’s a phrase you don’t hear every day) Shkodan Mustafi at the back.
Rileys’ Steve says: 2-0
You don’t need to be Psychic Steve or Russell Grant to see this being pretty ruddy drab. West Brom’s game against Middlesbrough was one of the dullest ninety minutes this clairvoyant football fan’s ever seen. Which is really saying something, considering I watch Sky Sports News about six hours a day. Bournemouth, for their part, haven’t exactly set pulses racing either, have they? This has no score bore draw plastered all over it. It also has Bournemouth new boy Jack Wilshere’s debut being cut short by injury seven minutes in, doesn’t it?
Rileys’ Steve says: 2-1
I can see into the future as you know and can see your angry, angry face as you read me telling you this is ‘an early six pointer’. So I’ll stop short of that and just say that it’s a game both clubs will want to win. Hull can extend their excellent start and Mike Phelan can make the manager’s job his on a full-time basis here with a win. But we’ll keep backing Andre Gray to come up with the goods and bag the goal that makes the difference here.
Rileys’ Steve says: 0-1
Palace have made some shrewd signings in the transfer window and will improve sooner or later. They’ve got to. But the gelling is still happening. And as such we don’t see The Eagles ending Boro’s unbeaten run here. Clayton, Forshaw and Stuani are wily operators and Aitor Karanka seems to know how to get the best out of them. Cabaye, Townsend and Benteke are superior players, but can Pardew get them to perform? Not quite yet he can’t.
Rileys’ Steve says: 0-0
Spurs nearly won the title last season. And when you consider that Spurs dismantled The Potters 4-0 just five months ago, you’d be forgiven for assuming the North Londoners have this in the bag. But they’re slow starters and with both outfits being tough to break down and beat, I see neither team coming out of this with the three points. One apiece.
Rileys’ Steve says: 1-3
It’s not been a brilliant start for Slaven Bilic’s chirpy cockney lot, has it? Indifferent league performances, an early Europa exit and a disillusioned fanbase’s complaints echoing around a giant new stadium that no one likes. Watford have started well but can’t seem to translate performances into points. Mind you, they’ve played some top teams so far. The deciding factor here? I see it being the return of Euros star Dmitri Payet.
Rileys’ Steve says: 2-2
A first home game of the season for Jurgen Klopp and it sees him up against the champions. Now, usually, that’s a tough afternoon. But these aren’t regular champions. Leicester are champions expected by most to finish below Liverpool this season. Ranieri’s Dillydongers rolled Swansea over pretty convincingly last time out, but The Reds have no injury worries and always look like scoring. I see them picking up the three points here.
Rileys’ Steve says: 1-2
The victory against Burnley apart, Chelsea’s wins so far have come courtesy of last minute efforts. They’ve also shown that they’re able to ship the odd goal too. Adding David Luiz back into their ranks is quite a positive move. Positive for us, that is. The viewer. Ninety yard free kick shanks and oggies? I foresee a few this season… As for this game – another tight win is on the (tarot) cards.
Rileys’ Steve says: 0-3
Ronald Koeman’s Everton have impressed so far this season and they bought well in the summer. There are still question marks over the two goalies, but we don’t see Sunderland punishing them too much here. That said, although there are goals in the Merseyside outfit, I see a draw.
Rileys’ Steve says: 0-2
CURRENT SCORE: Rileys Experts: 22 – 24 Psychic Steve
He’s unbeaten. But only ‘thus far’ (as Clive Tyldesley would say). Could this be the week that Psychic Steve’s clairvoyant powers let him down? Non-Psychic Steve from Head Office is certainly hoping so…