Tottenham vs Chelsea and More – Premier League Preview by K. Mancini

Welcome to week 14 of the Barclays Premier League season. Last week I got back to my old habit of going 2 and 2 with my picks. I was right in picking Liverpool over Manchester City as well as Chelsea over Norwich City. I was wrong to pick Watford to beat Manchester United as United pulled off a victory in extra time. I also was wrong to pick Arsenal to beat West Brom as West Brom pulled off the biggest upset of the weekend. There was some midweek Champions League and Europa League action, so let’s take a look at which big teams may have been affected by those games…

 

Manchester City vs Southampton

Details: Saturday 7:00 am EST / 4:00 am PST at the Etihad Stadium

TV: NBC Sports Network

Odds: bovada.com has Man City favored at -180 while a Southampton win is at +450. The draw is +330

Significance: Man City can temporarily jump from third to first with a win. Southampton can temporarily jump from 8th to 6th with a win.

Injury updates: City are missing Hart, Mangala, Kompany, Zabaleta, and Nasri. But their attack will be boosted with Silva and Bony back. Southampton will miss top scorer Pelle.

Player(s) to Watch: Aguero returned to action last week and what a goal he scored. Keep an eye on him again. Sadio Mane is one to watch for Southampton.

Mancini’s Take: City lost 1-0 in Italy on Wednesday against Juventus. Their defensive line is decimated. I will go with a 1-1 draw here.

 

Leicester City vs Manchester United

Details: Saturday 12:30 pm EST / 9:30 am PST at the King Power Stadium

TV: NBC

Odds: bovada.com has Man U to win at +130 while Leicester to win is at +215. The draw is +230.

Significance: Leicester and Man U are in first and second place respectively. No one would have guessed Leicester to be top of the table at this point, so they will want to keep that up. Man U will of course want to dethrone them.

Injury updates: Man U are missing Jones, Herrera, Carrick, Shaw, and Valencia. No big misses for Leicester.

Player(s) to Watch: Vardy has scored in 10 consecutive games for Leicester, watch for him to keep that streak going. Man U need more goals and they will rely on Martial and Rooney.

Mancini’s Take: Man U tied PSV 0-0 on Wednesday in Champions League. They are missing Herrera and Carrick which leaves two huge holes in the midfield. I say Leicester win 2-0.

 

Tottenham vs Chelsea

Details: Sunday 7:00 am EST / 4:00 am PST at White Hart Lane

TV: USA Network

Odds: bovada.com has Tottenham to win at +145 while Chelsea to win is at +185. The draw is at +235

Significance: Tottenham are in 5th so a win will help them break into the top four. Chelsea will try to go for two league wins in a row to get closer to the top half of the table.

Injury updates: Tottenham will miss Alli, Lamela, Bentaleb, and Chadli while they welcome back Walker, Dembele, and Rose. Chelsea will possibly be without John Terry while Falcao and Courtois are out. They should have Fabregas fit.

Player(s) to Watch: Tottenham’s Harry Kane loves scoring on London rivals. Diego Costa scored last week, can he do it again?

Mancini’s Take: Chelsea played a champions league game in Israel on Tuesday while Tottenham played a europa league game Thursday in Azerbaijan. I don’t think Tottenham will be as ready so I’ll pick Chelsea to win 2-1.

 

Liverpool vs Swansea City

Details: Sunday 11:15 am EST / 8:15 am PST at Anfield

TV: NBC Sports Network

Odds: bovada.com has Liverpool favored at -220 while Swansea to win is at +600. The draw is at +350.

Significance: Liverpool are showing real promise under Klopp and try to win to help reach their top four goal. Swansea have been poor this season and will want to win for their manager whose job is on the line.

Injury updates: Coutinho will be a gametime decision for Liverpool. They have Lucas Leiva suspended and Sturridge (the man made of glass) picked up a new injury in training this week. Swansea will be missing Shelvey due to suspension.

Player(s) to Watch: Firmino had his best game against City last week, let’s see if he can replicate that performance. Ayew has probably been Swansea’s best player this season.

Mancini’s Take: Liverpool may be fatigued from Europa League on Thursday and Lucas will be a big miss for them. I say this ends in a 1-1 draw.

 

Norwich City vs Arsenal

Details: Sunday 11:15 EST / 8:15 PST at Carrow Road

TV: NBC Sports Live Extra

Odds: bovada.com has Arsenal favored at -165 and Norwich to win at +400. The draw is at +315.

Significance: Norwich are just outside the bottom three spots, they will be playing to avoid relegation danger. Arsenal have recently dropped from first to fourth place, so they’ll be trying to get back to the top.

Injury updates: Sanchez has a tight hamstring for Arsenal but he’s expected to play. Arsenal have Ramsey and Ox back. They’re missing Wilshere, Arteta, Coquelin, Walcott, Welbeck and Rosicky. Norwich are missing Tettey, and Jarvis.

Player(s) to Watch: Ozil is the man to watch for Arsenal and Hoolahan for Norwich.

Mancini’s Take: Arsenal win 2-0

 

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Last week: 2-2

Season: 7-9

 

Aguero’s Back! – Premier League Guide by K. Mancini

Welcome to week 13 of the Barclays Premier League season. We’re back from another dreaded international break (I know, the Brazil vs Argentina game didn’t live up to the hype) and all is right in the world again. Week 12 was a rough one as I only got one of the four picks right. But have no fear, I’m feeling confident this week. So let’s get dig right into the big games…

 

Watford vs Man Utd

Details: Saturday 7:45 am EST / 4:45 am PST at Vicarage Road Stadium

TV: NBC Sports Network

Odds: bovada.com has Man U at even money and Watford at +300. The draw is set to +225

Significance: Watford have started off well for being a promoted team and can pass bigger teams like Liverpool and Everton with a win. Man U can start the weekend at the top of the table with a win.

Injury updates: Man U are missing big players in Martial, Rooney, Carrick, Feillaini, and Valencia. Only big concern for Watford is Ighalo who will be a game time decision.

Player(s) to Watch: Herrera and Mata will need to step up for Man U. Deeney and Ighalo (if he plays) are real goal threats to watch.

Mancini’s Take: Man U are missing too many key players, I’ll go with a Watford 1-0 upset.

 

Chelsea vs Norwich City

Details: Saturday 10:00 am EST / 7:00 am PST at Stamford Bridge

TV: NBC Sports Network

Odds: bovada.com has Chelsea favored at -240 while Norwich is at +600. The draw is set at +365

Significance: As surprising as it is (for Chelsea), this is an early relegation battle!

Injury updates: Courtois and Falcao are missing for Chelsea but they will have Ivanovic available again. Big misses for Norwich are Matt Jarvis and Wes Hoolahan (game time decision).

Player(s) to Watch: Willian and Pedro for Chelsea. If Hoolahan plays he will be the big threat from the Norwich side.

Mancini’s Take: Chelsea are so unpredictable it makes it hard for me to pick them. But I still can’t see Norwich coming up with the upset. Chelsea win 2-0.

 

West Brom vs Arsenal

Details: Saturday 10:00 am EST / 7:00 am PST at The Hawthorns

TV: USA Network

Odds: bovada.com has Arsenal favored at -190 while West Brom is at +500. The draw is set at +325

Significance: Arsenal will hope to go to the top of the table with a win. While West Brom will try to get even further away from the relegation spots.

Injury updates: Arsenal will evaluate French player Koscielny who was shaken up by the attacks in Paris. They will also be missing Ox, Ramsey and Walcott while Bellerin returns. West Brom will be missing Gareth McAuley and Ben Foster.

Player(s) to Watch: Giroud for Arsenal and Berahino for West Brom

Mancini’s Take: West Brom will be physical and try to throw Arsenal off their game but I tihnk Arsenal will grind out a 1-0 win.

 

Man City vs Liverpool

Details: Saturday 12:30 pm EST / 9:30 am PST at Etihad Stadium

TV: NBC

Odds: bovada.com has Man City at -160 while Liverpool are at +400. The draw is set at +300

Significance: Man City will try to stay at to top of the table while Liverpool keep trying to get back into the 4 Champions League spots.

Injury updates: Liverpool will have Sturridge, Ibe, Lovren, and Milner available while they still wait on Sakho and Henderson’s recovery. Kompany, Silva, Bony and Nasri will be missing for City while they welcome back their prolific striker Sergio Aguero after being sidelined for 7 games.

Player(s) to Watch: Coutinho always comes up with clutch goals against Man City. Sterling will be facing his old teammates for the first time in Man City colors and will surely get jeers and obscene hand gestures waved at him from the travelling Liverpool fans.

Mancini’s Take: City are missing a lot of players and it will take Aguero a few games for his left foot to be as strong as Holly Holm’s. Liverpool didn’t have too many players gone for the international break so they will be fresh. I’ll go with Liverpool taking it with a late winner 2-1.

 

——————–

Last week: 1-4

Season: 5-7

 

Brazil vs. Argentina World Cup 2018 Qualifier

It’s the international break this week and that means the English Premier League takes a break this week and so do we from it.   (Crummy idea this international break thing if you ask me.) But that doesn’t mean we can’t turn our attention elsewhere in the world of football.  Today I will focus on a very special international matchup: Brazil vs. Argentina World Cup 2018 qualifier. It doesn’t get bigger than this folks. Both teams will be looking to put a disappointing Copa America run behind them. Brazil was knocked out in the quarter finals by Paraguay from penalties. Argentina had their hearts broken by Chile in the finals by penalties. The game was cancelled yesterday due to the pitch being flooded by rain, hopefully the weather won’t effect the game negatively today.  Let’s get into the details…

Details: Friday 4:00 PM PST / 7:00 PM EST at in Buenos Aires, Argentina

TV: beIN Sports USA

Odds: The odds are pretty even on bovada.com with Argentina at +160 while Brazil is at +180. The draw is at +200.

Injury updates: Argentina will be missing their attacking stars Messi, Aguero, and Tevez.  That’s a lot of firepower out for the Argentinian side. They will also be without defenders Pablo Zabaleta and Ezequiel Garay. Brazil are missing defenders Marquinhos and Marcelo. But Brazil will welcome back Neymar after the 4 game suspension he got in the Copa America.

Player(s) to Watch: Attack attack attack! Hopefully we will see plenty of that in this match. Brazil will likely have an attacking front trio of Willian, Neymar and, Douglas Costa. The trio have all been in fine form lately for their respective clubs. Despite the big injuries for Argentina, they will still have a pretty damn decent front trio likely consisting of Di Maria, Higuain, and Lavezzi.

Mancini’s Take: Argentina is likely the slight favorite because the game is in Buenos Aires. Argentina typically present a stern test at home. However, Mancini’s take sides with the Brazil attack which should prove to be too much for Argentina to handle. I’m banking on Brazil going into hostile territory and coming out with a 3-1 victory.

North London Derby and More: Premier League Preview by K. Mancini

Welcome to week 12 of the Barclays Premier League season.  The trend continues, as once again I went 2/4 on my picks last weekend. Liverpool beat Chelsea 3-1 when I called for a 1-1 draw. And the rumors were wrong, because Mourinho is still in charge of Chelsea after the Klopp Chop! Manchester United drew 0-0 with Crystal Palace when I said Palace would win. I was right in picking Arsenal to beat Swansea guessing the 2-1 scoreline spot on. I was also right on Manchester City beating Norwich City. This week I’m on a mission to get more than 2 of the 4 picks correct; so here’s a quick roundup for the weekend.

 

Man Utd VS. West Brom

Details: Saturday 10:00 EST / 07:00 PST at Old Trafford.

TV: NBC Sports Network

Significance: Man Utd’s performances haven’t been convincing but somehow they remain in 4th place. They will need to do better to climb closer to the top. West Brom will try to spoil the party and stay away from the relegation zone.

Mancini’s Take: Man Utd win 2-1.

 

Stoke City VS. Chelsea

Details: Saturday 12:30 EST / 9:30 PST at the Brittania Stadium

TV: NBC

Significance: Chelsea need to start winning. Well, their manager (who is banned from the game) needs it more. Stoke will want to put more misery on Chelsea and keep climbing up the middle of the table.

Mancini’s Take: Chelsea are too inconsistent / hate their manager. Stoke is a hard place to travel to. So I say 0-0 draw.

 

Arsenal VS. Tottenham

Details: Sunday 11:00 EST / 8:00 PST at the Emirates Stadium

TV: NBC Sports Network

Significance:  This is the North London Derby. These teams truly hate each other and will want to nothing more than to punish each other. Arsenal want to win and keep their title momentum going. Tottenham will want to cement their spot in the top 4.

Mancini’s Take: Arsenal win 2-1

 

Liverpool VS. Crystal Palace

Details: Sunday 11:00 EST / 8:00 PST at Anfield

TV: NBC Sports Live Extra

Significance: So far Liverpool has been undefeated under their new manager and they started turning the draws into wins. So they will want to keep that going in their quest to reach the top 4. Crystal Palace are only 1 point behind Liverpool in the table, so a win will have them jump ahead.

Mancini’s Take: Liverpool win 2-0

 

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Last week: 2-2

Season: 4-4

Klopp to chop Mourinho? Premier League Preview by K. Mancini

Welcome to week 11 of the Barclays Premier League season.  There appears to be a trend developing, as once again I went 2/4 on my picks last weekend. I was wrong on the Manchester derby stating Manchester City would edge out Manchester United but it ended in a boring 0-0 draw (yeah we know, soccer sucks). I was right to pick Arsenal beating Everton which ended in 2-1 when I called for 3-1. I was also right on Liverpool and Southampton ending 1-1. However, enough reminiscing about last week.  There’s plenty to look ahead to this in week 11 starting with…

Chelsea VS. Liverpool

Details: Saturday 08:45 EST / 05:45 PST at Stamford Bridge.

TV: NBC Sports Network

Odds: Chelsea are currently listed as favorites on bovada.com at +105; +265 for Liverpool; and +240 for the draw

Significance: There are rumors going around that this will be the end of Jose Mourinho’s second spell at Chelsea if Liverpool win this match. Liverpool will be hoping to win and move up in the table from 9th to 7th.

Injury updates: Sturridge will likely miss out for Liverpool but Klopp said midweek that Benteke should be fit to play. Diego Costa limped out of the midweek cup match they lost by penalties so he will likely be a gametime decision for Chelsea.

Player(s) to Watch: Firmino had a man of the match performance midweek in the Capital One Cup for Liverpool, so let’s see what Brazilian magic he can produce. The Brazilian to watch on Chelsea would be Willian – easily their best player this season.

Mancini’s Take: This is a tough one. Chelsea are real inconsistent and Liverpool have yet to really impress anyone. I’ll go with a 1-1 draw.

 

Crystal Palace VS. Manchester United

Details: Saturday 11:00 EST / 8:00 PST at Selhurst Park

TV: NBC Sports Network

Odds: Man United is the favorite on bovada.com at +105; +270 for Crystal Palace; and +235 for the draw.

Significance: Crystal Palace are off to a good start and if they win they will only be a couple points outside the top 4 spots. Man United lost by penalties midweek in the Capital One Cup to a lower division side so they will be looking to bounce back in the league.

Injury Updates: Palace are hoping that midfielders Yohan Cabaye and Jason Puncheon will be fit for the game. Only McNair and Shaw missing for Man Utd.

Player(s) to Watch: Bolasie for Palace and Mata for Man Utd.

Mancini’s Take: It has been 24 years since Crystal Palace have beaten Man Utd. I say Palace will upset Man Utd 1-0.

 

Manchester City VS. Norwich City

Details: Saturday 10:00 EST / 8:00 PST at Etihad Stadium

TV: NBC Sports Live Extra

Odds: Man City is the heavy favorite on bovada.com at -360; +800 for Norwich City; and +475 for the draw

Significance: Man City will be trying to stay in first place while Norwich will try to avoid dropping into the relegation zone

Injury Updates: Manchester City will again be missing Aguero and Silva.

Player(s) to Watch: The attack for each team will be orchestrated by Kevin de Bruyne for Man City and Wes Hoolahan for Norwich.

Mancini’s Take: City win 3-0

 

Swansea City VS. Arsenal

Details: Saturday 11:00 EST / 8:00 PST at Etihad Stadium

TV: NBC Sports Live Extra

Odds: Arsenal is the favorite on bovada.com at -140; +355 for Swansea City; and +290 for the draw

Significance: Arsenal are tied on points with Man City for first so they will keep that fight going. Swansea can possibly move up from 12th to 7th with a win.

Injury Updates: Only injury updates are with Arsenal as they lost Ox and Walcott midweek in the Capital One Cup.

Player(s) to Watch: Ozil and Sanchez for Arsenal will make the attack happen. Jordan Ayew for Swansea has been on fire this season.

Mancini’s Take: Swansea will give a thin Arsenal squad a hard time but I think Arsenal still come out on top 2-1.

——————–

Last week: 2-2

Season: 2-2

The Manchester Derby & More – Premier League Weekend Guide By K. Mancini

Welcome to week 10 of the Premier League season. Last week I went 2/4 on my picks. I picked Liverpool to beat Tottenham and called for goals, but it ended in a 0-0 draw (insert typical American “soccer sucks” comment). It doesn’t help that Liverpool’s 1st choice striker Daniel Sturridge was ruled out with injury the day of the game and they had to play with their 4th choice striker. Manchester United beat Everton 3-0 when I called for a draw. Everton just didn’t show up. I was right in picking Arsenal to beat Watford and Manchester City to beat Bournemouth. Alright let’s get into the big games for week 10 now.

West Ham United VS. Chelsea

Details: Saturday 10:00 EST / 7:00 PST at Upton Park

TV: NBC Sports Live Extra

Odds: Chelsea is the favorite on bovada.com at -105; +270 for West Ham; and +260 for the draw.

Significance: Chelsea look like they may have turned the corner on a disappointing season start, let’s see if they can keep it up. West Ham are sitting in 4th place and will want to continue their great start to the season and stay in the top 4.

Injury Updates: West Ham will be missing Alex Song, Victor Moses, and Winston Reid. Chelsea will be without Loic Remy, Pedro, Branislav Ivanovic and Thibaut Courtois.

Player(s) to Watch: Last week I said to keep an eye on whether Diego Costa focuses on scoring goals or starting fights. Well he scored one goal and caused an own goal. Will he do the same this week? For West Ham, I will be watching playmaker Dimitri Payet. He currently leads the league in creating goalscoring chances.

Mancini’s Take: West Ham have had some good wins against top teams away from home so you would think they could do good at their home ground here. But I think Chelsea will have picked up some confidence after winning last week and will continue that. I’ll pick Chelsea to win 2-0.

 

Arsenal VS. Everton

Details: Saturday 12:30 pm EST / 9:30 am PST at Emirates Stadium

TV: NBC

Odds: Arsenal is the big favorite on bovada.com at -250; +600 for Everton; and +395 for the draw.

Significance: Arsenal are on a good run and a win will take them to the top of the table on Saturday. Everton slipped up the previous week and are now in the middle of the table, probably where most people expect them to stay all season.

Injury Updates: Aaron Ramsey got hurt playing for Arsenal in the Champions League midweek and it looks like he may be out for a month. They will also miss Arteta, Ospina, Wilshere, Welbeck, and Rosicky. Not much news for Everton as they seem to have a fit squad.

Player(s) to Watch: Alexis Sanchez can’t stop scoring for Arsenal and Mesut Ozil can’t stop assisting. But I’m curious to know if Giroud will start as striker for Arsenal or Theo Walcott. Wenger has seemed to prefer Walcott lately, but each time he subs him off for Giroud, Giroud comes through with a goal. I’ll keep my eye on Barkley for Everton as usual.

Mancini’s Take: I’m a believer in form and Arsenal have been in fine form lately. So I’ll go with Arsenal winning 3-1.

 

Manchester United VS. Manchester City

Details: Sunday 8:00 am EST / 5:00 am PST at Old Trafford

TV: NBC Sports Network

Odds: Manchester United are slightly favored on bovada.com at +160; +170 for Manchester City; and +240 for the draw.

Significance: This is the Manchester derby and it will be the big game of the weekend. This rivalry has gotten bigger and bigger as Manchester City have been finally able to complete in recent years with their Sheikh money. City are only 2 points ahead of United. Will they still be ahead after this game?

Injury Updates: United will be missing Luke Shaw and Paddy McNair. City have more injuries with David Silva, Sergio Aguero, Fabian Delph, Gael Clichy and Samir Nasri out.

Player(s) to Watch: Attacking midfielder Kevin de Bruyne for City has been on fire. And the manager hinted he might be played as a striker this game. Wayne Rooney scored a nice goal for United last week. I’m not sure he will score a bicycle kick like he did previously against City, but he’ll be keen on proving he’s not past his prime after just having his 30th birthday.

Mancini’s Take: There’s a lot of stats to read up on for this matchup. Even though City have a lot of injuries, I’m taking them to win 2-1 here.

 

Liverpool VS. Southampton

Details: Sunday 12:30 pm EST / 9:30 am PST at Anfield

TV: NBC

Odds: Liverpool is the favorite on bovada.com at -205; +150 for Southampton; and +245 for the draw.

Significance: Liverpool who have 3 former Southampton players will look for their first win under their new manager. Southampton lost their last two matchups against Liverpool, and will look to change that here.

Injury Updates: The Liverpool manager said that Sturridge might miss this game as well. But he should have forwards Benteke and and Firmino back as they played a few minutes midweek in the Europa League. Southampton don’t seem to have any injury worries.

Player(s) to Watch: If Benteke and Firmino are playing, they will likely be doing their best to impress their new boss. So I’ll be watching to see if they can kick start Liverpool’s offense and score some goals. For Southampton, I like Dusan Tadic and Graziano Pelle.

Mancini’s Take: Liverpool have only scored more than 1 goal once this season and I think it will take more time for their offense to find rhythm. I’ll go with a 1-1 draw here.

Premier League Weekend Guide By Mancini

Welcome to week 9 of the Barclays Premier League season.  Thanks for joining me on the Red Couch where I’ll be keeping you up to date on the most exciting league in the world throughout the rest of the season.  Last week was the dreaded international break.  The players are now back with their clubs and all order is restored in the BPL world. However, there were some unfortunate players who picked up injuries during the break which will be discussed below. Without further ado, here is your weekend guide to some of the big matches in the BPL brought to you by K. Mancini:

Tottenham Hotspur VS. Liverpool

Details: Saturday 12:45 BST / 07:45 EST / 04:45 PST at White Hart Lane.

TV: NBC Sports Network

Odds: Tottenham are currently listed as favorites on bovada.com at +140; +185 for Liverpool; and +250 for the draw

Significance: This is the beginning of the Jurgen Klopp era at Liverpool. This was a big coup for Liverpool considering the success Klopp had with Dortmund. The appointment of Klopp has brought a lot of hype and excitement from Liverpool fans. All eyes will be on Liverpool to see  how they progress. It’s time for Liverpool to show they are still a big club and let their game do the talking. Tottenham won’t be a willing participant at Liverpool’s party as they seek to extend their 7 game unbeaten run.

Key Player Injuries: Liverpool will miss striker Danny Ings who has been ruled out for the season after an ACL injury in his first training session under Klopp. This will be a big blow for both club and player as Ings was just starting to show promise in the absence of Christian Benteke who will also miss the match. Dejan Lovren and Roberto Firmino will also miss out for the reds. Tottenham will be missing Ryan Mason, Nabil Bentaleb and an in-form Heung-Min Son.

Player(s) to Watch: Expect to see some magic from Liverpool’s Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho as he’ll be keen to impress his new manager. Daniel Sturridge will also be one to watch for the reds as he will be trying to show that his injury woes are behind him and he can again be one of the most lethal strikers in the league. On the other side, Tottenham striker Harry Kane will also be trying to put the own goal he scored in week 8 behind him and show that he can reach the goal scoring heights he hit last season. Tottenham’s playmaker Christian Eriksen is always fun to watch.

Mancini’s Take: Despite Tottenham being favored, I’m going to go with Liverpool on this one. The new manager at Liverpool will have restored the feel good factor in the squad, and I believe they will do their best to impress and pull off a victory in this match. We should expect to see goals as there were 8 goals scored in the two matchups from last season (Liverpool winning both 5-0 and 3-0).  

 

Chelsea VS. Aston Villa

Details: Saturday 15:00 BST / 10:00 EST / 7:00 PST at Stamford Bridge

TV: USA Network

Odds: Chelsea is the heavy favorite on bovada.com at-300; +850 for Aston Villa; and +400 for the draw.

Significance: Villa will be battling to get out of the relegation spots while Chelsea will be fighting to avoid falling into a relegation spot.

Key Injuries: Branislav Ivanovic picked up an injury during the international break. This could be a blessing in disguise for Chelsea since it seemed like he was a part of every goal they have conceded this season.

Player(s) to Watch: Diego Costa returns from suspension for Chelsea, and we’ll be watching to see if he’s more focused on fighting players or scoring goals.

Mancini’s Take: Chelsea have surprised everyone by starting the campaign defending their title very poorly. No one saw this coming. But Aston Villa haven’t exactly been lighting up the league either. I’m picking Chelsea on this one, their squad is far too superior to Aston Villa’s.

 

Everton VS. Manchester United

Details: Saturday 15:00 BST / 10:00 EST / 7:00 PST at Goodison Park

TV: NBC Sports Network

Odds: Man Utd. is the favorite on bovada.com at +130; +220 for Everton; and +230 for the draw

Significance: Man Utd. can go to the top of the league table if they win and Man City don’t get a result in their game. Everton are currently in 7th but a win can get them into the top four.  (For those keeping score at home, the top of the league table is a good thing.)

Key Player Injuries: There were concerns about Carrick, Rooney and Schweinsteiger coming back from the break but it looks like they are all in contention to play for Man Utd.

Player(s) to Watch: Let’s see if Anthony Martial and Juan Mata can continue their good form for Man Utd. On the Everton side, I’ll be keeping my eye on Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku.

Mancini’s Take: I like the draw in this game. Man Utd. are favored, but I think Everton have been playing real well and will be a good challenge for them.

 

Manchester City VS. AFC Bournemouth

Details: Saturday 15:00 BST / 10:00 EST / 7:00 PST at Etihad Stadium

TV: NBC Sports Live Extra

Odds: Man City. is the heavy favorite on bovada.com at -350; +900 for Bournemouth; and +475 for the draw

Significance: Man City will be trying to stay at the top of the league while Bournemouth will be trying to climb to the middle of the table.

Key Player Injuries: Man City was the team most affected by the international break. They will miss the duo of leading striker Sergio Aguero who scored 5 goals in week 8 and David Silva, arguably the best playmaker in the league.  City will also miss Aleksander Kolarov. Bournemouth’s biggest miss will be their striker Callum Wilson who scored 5 goals in their first 7 games.

Player(s) to Watch: Kevin De Bruyne for City.

Mancini’s Take: City will win for sure here.

 

Watford VS. Arsenal

Details: Saturday 17:30 BST / 12:30 EST / 9:30 PST at Vicarage Road

TV: NBC

Odds: Arsenal is the favorite on bovada.com at -185; +500 for Watford; and +325 for the draw

Significance: Arsenal could be top of the league table by the end of the day with a win. Watford will be trying to climb to the middle of the table.

Key Player Injuries: Arsenal will be sweating the fitness of Alexis Sanchez. He could be rested this game.

Player(s) to Watch: If Sanchez plays, he will definitely be the one to watch for Arsenal. Keep an eye on Watford striker Odion Aghalo. He has scored each of his team’s last 5 league goals.

Mancini’s Take: Arsenal will win