⛅️ Friday Forecast: Dynamite derby days and De Zerbi's difficult debut | OneFootball

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Dan Burke·30 September 2022

⛅️ Friday Forecast: Dynamite derby days and De Zerbi's difficult debut

Article image:⛅️ Friday Forecast: Dynamite derby days and De Zerbi's difficult debut

The international break is done and the Premier League returns to our lives this weekend with two massive derbies and a host of other interesting fixtures. What a treat.

Here are our predictions.

💪 Game of the weekend

Manchester City v Manchester United

It’s derby day in Manchester on Sunday, and it really could be one of the most interesting instalments of this rivalry we’ve seen for quite some time.

City did the double over United last season, with neither Ole Gunnar Solskjaer nor Ralf Rangnick able to bridge the gulf in class between the two sides during the 180 minutes they shared the same pitch.

April’s 4-1 victory for City was a particularly big mismatch and at the beginning of this campaign, United supporters were probably fearing similar bloodbaths in this season’s derbies.

But the red half of Manchester have reasons for optimism as they head to the Etihad this weekend. Erik ten Hag has more than steadied the ship over the last month or so, with victories over Liverpool and Arsenal at Old Trafford putting that poor start to the season firmly in the rearview mirror.

A trip to face Pep Guardiola’s Premier League champions will undoubtedly be the toughest test of Ten Hag’s tenure so far, but if United can hold their own and emerge with a good result, a genuine title challenge in the Dutchman’s first season suddenly won’t look beyond the realms of possibility.

However, after Alf-Inge Haaland’s career was effectively ended by a Roy Keane tackle in a Manchester derby back in April 2001, the question on everybody’s lips is: will his son Erling finally exact revenge?

📊 Fun fact: Each of the five previous United managers have lost their first Manchester derby in the league, with Sir Alex Ferguson the last to win his first, in March 1987.

🔮 Our prediction: Manchester City 3-2 Manchester United

😨 Potential upset

Crystal Palace v Chelsea

By the time Saturday’s match kicks off at Selhurst Park, almost an entire month will have elapsed since Chelsea’s last outing in the Premier League. The fact they won that match (2-1 against West Ham) but have since changed managers shows what a bizarre month it has been.

New manager Graham Potter might have been glad of the time away from the spotlight granted to him by the postponements and internationals, but especially after their underwhelming Champions League draw with Salzburg in his first match, there is a sense that the ex-Brighton boss needs a big result and performance to prove he can handle the demands of his new job.

And getting three points against Crystal Palace this weekend won’t be straightforward given the Eagles’ propensity to make life difficult for visiting opponents, especially in matches where they’re considered the underdogs.

Potter can take heart from the fact that Chelsea have won their last nine league games against Palace, but it will surely be in the back of his mind that a run like that has to end sometime.

📊 Fun fact: None of the last 22 Premier League meetings between Crystal Palace and Chelsea have been drawn.

🔮 Our prediction: Crystal Palace 2-2 Chelsea

👍 Big favourites

Liverpool v Brighton

Brighton are another team who haven’t kicked a ball in anger in almost a month and since their 5-2 win over Leicester, Graham Potter has left the club and Roberto De Zerbi has been brought in as his replacement.

The Italian seems like an intelligent appointment who can continue the good work Potter was doing with the Seagulls, but he could hardly have asked for a spicier first taste of English football than Liverpool away.

The Reds have made a poor start to the season by their standards and can’t let their malaise linger much longer if they are to haul themselves into the title race. Their victory against Ajax in the Champions League a couple of weeks ago suggests all hope is not lost yet.

Brighton are a good, technical team but Anfield will be hungrier than usual for a victory on Saturday, and we’re expecting a rude welcome to the Premier League for De Zerbi.

📊 Fun fact: Each of the previous five managers whose first Premier League game came at Anfield have lost.

🔮 Our prediction: Liverpool 3-1 Brighton

🤔 Too close to call

Arsenal v Tottenham

It’s also derby day in north London this weekend and like all matches between Arsenal and Tottenham, this one promises goals, excitement, drama and plenty of needle.

It feels like it’s been a while since both sides went into this fixture with such high hopes for their respective seasons. Arsenal remain top of the league after their strong start, while Spurs are just a point behind them after Heung-min Son’s hat-trick capped off an emphatic win over Leicester last time out.

The criticism levelled at the two teams so far has generally been along the lines of “Arsenal lost their hardest game of the season so far (Manchester United away)” and “Spurs haven’t been playing as well as their results suggest”.

Those two schools of thought will get thorough examinations at the Emirates on Saturday and while this meeting has come too early in the season to be in any way decisive, the outcome of it could set really set the tone for the weeks and months ahead.

Whether there will be any rousing pre-match team talks from club photographers this time around remains to be seen.

📊 Fun fact: This is the first Premier League meeting between Arsenal and Tottenham with one of the sides top of the league since December 2007, when Arsenal won 2-1 at the Emirates.

🔮 Our prediction: Arsenal 2-1 Tottenham

🔥 Your Fantasy Football captain should be …

Aleksandar Mitrović (Fulham v Newcastle)

Article image:⛅️ Friday Forecast: Dynamite derby days and De Zerbi's difficult debut

Newly promoted Fulham are yet to lose at home this season and on Saturday they welcome a Newcastle side to Craven Cottage who are winless in their last six matches.

And the Magpies will be coming up against a former player who is bang in form. Not only has Mitrović netted six Premier League goals already this term, but he bagged a four in two games for Serbia during the international break and looks to be enjoying the prime of his career.

We fancy him to come back and haunt his ex this weekend, because that tends to be how these things go.

📊 Fun fact: Fulham have won 12 of their 28 Premier League games against Newcastle – against no side have they won more in the competition.

🔮 Our prediction: Fulham 2-1 Newcastle

Other predictions