Charlie's Premier League predictions: Chelsea to stumble against Sheffield United
10 July 2020, 13:53 | Updated: 10 July 2020, 20:42
Charlie Nicholas is back with his Premier League predictions for a full round of action this coming weekend.
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Norwich vs West Ham, Saturday - 12:30pm
I am sure West Ham will have been disappointed with the result against Burnley. A VAR decision went against them again, but Jay Rodriguez took his goal brilliantly.
Michail Antonio missed chances, but West Ham are creating chances. That is the difference. They are starting to do that, whereby if they put one or two away then they will win even more games. The players are now content with what David Moyes is asking them, and Sebastian Haller all of a sudden knows he is fighting for his place and needs to get his finger out.
Manuel Lanzini is back, while Tomas Soucek and Declan Rice are playing well, as does Mark Noble when he comes in. They do still play with too much of a risk at the back but these things all mean Moyes is not sitting back anymore. They must go and put personality into the game.
Brighton had Norwich last week, and if you score first against them they will be ready to accept the consequences. It could happen again in this match. Norwich will give another burst but West Ham will be ready for it.
West Ham, Watford and Brighton will have all pin-pointed this game as one where they must pick up three points, and both Watford and Brighton have done just that. It will be the case for West Ham too and I think they will get through it fairly well.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 0-2 (9/1 with Sky Bet)
Watford vs Newcastle, Saturday - 12:30pm
Newcastle could have conceded eight or nine against Manchester City. Steve Bruce realised you cannot go toe-to-toe with them, as they will rip you apart. You can try to squeeze them and leave yourselves a bit open, but it was the second half of the FA Cup tie where he had the luxury to do that. Newcastle went into the break 2-0 down on Wednesday.
They knew their night was over at that point, and under normal circumstances, Bruce would have parked the bus and made sure they would not have been embarrassed. By the time Newcastle had given up hope, their shape and discipline had gone, and City picked them off. Mistakes caused their own faults.
That was Man City though, and Norwich were the better team against Watford and should have got something from it. Nigel Pearson's team are not looking at performances - they just want to get over the line. I watched Newcastle at Bournemouth. Jonjo Shelvey was getting on ball and making things happen. Watford do not keep the ball like Man City and Newcastle will be able to express themselves.
Ismaila Sarr and Troy Deeney looked a bit better against Norwich, so for that reason, I think it could swing slightly back in Watford's favour. They cannot afford to wait on the results of other teams, and this is an awkward one.
Newcastle can be a burden. They do not need to sit in and force the play. Allan Saint-Maximin should be fit - I enjoy watching him and he really is such a handful. He loves getting on the ball and going at defenders. They will cause problems.
I was chuffed to bits for Danny Welbeck, who scored a great goal to win it against Norwich. It is so typical of him that he scores the harder chances, and sometimes the easier ones come his way and he rushes them, lacking composure. It was a spectacular goal, and he has been through a lot. Welbeck will not get back into the England set-up but it was lovely to see him back scoring goals.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 1-1 (11/2 with Sky Bet)
Liverpool vs Burnley, Saturday - 3pm
Burnley squeezed into the threat of Europe again with a great result at West Ham. They were fortunate enough to get a draw with Sheffield United but dug their heels in and picked up a point in the end when they were in front.
James Tarkowski's tackle was a red and it was not VAR's fault, it was the referee who got it wrong on that occasion. Despite the fact Ben Mee has been missing, Burnley have still done well without him. You can get at them though.
In terms of Liverpool, Sadio Mane got a rest and Roberto Firmino looks back to his bright self. Mohamed Salah was back in the goals. It will keep them on their toes, and even the normal starting line-up will be itching to start - Jordan Henderson could be out, so Nabi Keita may get a run, and Georginio Wijnaldum is always a threat.
No matter which full-backs Jurgen Klopp puts in, Liverpool will be dangerous. He could put Neco Williams in, but I always think he is tempted to put an extra few in, but because of the record everyone says he is going for, he may not.
I do not think it is that important to them, and this result will put them on track to beat it, but I think Klopp is caught in between. Does he go with the youngsters or does he go for the points total? The reality is that Curtis Jones scored last week and Takumi Minamino could still get game-time too, but I see Liverpool being fairly comfortable here.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 2-0 (6/1 with Sky Bet)
Super 6: Three of a kind?
One in three Super 6 players are backing a 3-0 Liverpool win as they welcome Burnley to Anfield, bidding to edge closer to the 100-point mark. Will you go against the grain, with £250k on the line? Play for free, entries by 3pm Saturday.
Sheffield United vs Chelsea, Saturday - 5:30pm, live on Sky Sports
I said that Sheffield United had missed Jack O'Connell. Their balance was not right despite playing the same system. Jack Robinson came in and was not comfortable in that position. O'Connell has a sweet left foot and loves to bomb forward. Just to get the whole balance of the team back would have been great for them, and it was another brilliant defensive display.
Chelsea could have got five against Crystal Palace but they could have conceded five too. There were mistakes all over the park, and Frank Lampard will be concerned by his defence.
Andreas Christensen makes mistakes, and so does Kurt Zouma. Is Lampard comfortable with Marcos Alonso? Reece James is good going forward but he has lots to learn defensively. I cannot separate them. There are mistakes and goals in Chelsea, but this will be a cracking game.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 2-2 (18/1 with Sky Bet)
Brighton vs Manchester City, Saturday - 8pm, live on Sky Sports
You can see how vital that Norwich win was for Brighton. This is a free hit for them.
Leandro Trossard has done well since coming back in, and they are a nice footballing team. They have come back better than I thought they would and have really gone after it. Brighton like to play out from the back, and they won't change that up against Manchester City. I love Graham Potter for doing that, but City will thrive off the back of this.
Pep Guardiola's side will be warming up for the FA Cup and the Champions League. I said Gabriel Jesus was due a goal and he got one, Raheem Sterling played well once he came on and then Kevin De Bruyne is strolling for fun at the minute too. This is going to be another one of those games for Manchester City.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 1-4 (16/1 with Sky Bet)
Wolves vs Everton, Sunday - 12pm, live on Sky Sports
This is another good game. Wolves have been disappointing after I believed they were in the mix for the top four. It was the first time I have seen them look cautious and they almost look unsure of the pressure. The games were winnable that came their way, and they did not play badly against Sheffield United but attacking-wise they were disappointing.
I don't know what goes on at Everton Football Club. They promise so much for three weeks and then it dwindles. What are Carlo Ancelotti's options? They do not have much.
You felt there was a small chance of Everton finishing in one of the European places. They have since lacked desire, been inconsistent, and there are still problems within the team.
It is an awkward game but it is one Wolves should win. I do not think they will make the top four now, but they have to be ready for any slip-ups. They could still close the gap and this is their last chance.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 2-1 (17/2 with Sky Bet)
Aston Villa vs Crystal Palace, Sunday - 2:15pm, live on Sky Sports
It is last-chance territory for Aston Villa too. Crystal Palace are so unpredictable and Gary Cahill will be out, so they could be weak at the back. Wilfried Zaha will cause problems - he scored a great goal against Chelsea, and Villa will get agitated by him.
I was expecting a result for Villa against Man Utd. They played OK in the first 20 minutes, but Villa are a side who do not make many chances of substance. Jack Grealish needs players to understand their position so he can play more of a killer pass, but if you do not release it early enough then chances will not come. Sometimes he can be easy to play against.
Other Villa players are trying their best but it is just not happening for them. John McGinn is not there with his control and speed, but it is a must-win scenario for Villa. I am tempted to say they are due a break, but you are unlucky when you are in these positions and they have had that with some of the VAR decisions. I still do not see them getting out of it here. I think they may be gone.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 1-1 (5/1 with Sky Bet)
Tottenham vs Arsenal, Sunday - 4:30pm, live on Sky Sports
This is a game where they will both look at each other and realise they have become average sides. From an Arsenal perspective, they are improving. It is slow and not overly attractive, despite playing decent going forwards.
Tottenham are going backwards. You look at Heung-Min Son, and I may regret this, but they look to be playing as individuals. There is no team pattern, but the defence changes and they keep a clean sheet. Harry Kane should have had a penalty but Bournemouth should have had a goal.
This is a team under Jose Mourinho which does not have any identity. It is hard work and they are grafting but it isn't working. Tanguy Ndombele is coming in for bits and pieces, Giovani Lo Celso is nice and neat, and Erik Lamela has lovely ability. Harry Kane is always a goal threat against Arsenal so I would not be surprised if he scored once again.
The back three of Arsenal looked more solid and in control, so for these improvements, alongside Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos, Arsenal have looked better. These two are not my favourites and they are weak defensively as a holding pair, but they have improved on the ball.
Tottenham could raise their game, but Arsenal will be dangerous on the counter-attack. Serge Aurier makes mistakes, and Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will both play as Eddie Nketiah is suspended, but I do think Arsenal could see them off.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 1-2 (9/1 with Sky Bet)
Bournemouth vs Leicester, Sunday - 7pm, live on Sky Sports
Bournemouth were a bit unlucky against Tottenham and probably should have won it. It was unlucky about the goal, but you can see there is a bit of fight. David Brooks and Callum Wilson are now back.
Jamie Vardy is going for the Golden Boot winner and he is always a threat. James Maddison may not be fit, but I still see enough problems with Leicester. They are not keeping the ball or moving it as well, but they do like an open game, and it does tend to favour Leicester when they get going like that. I think Bournemouth's fight and desire may get them over the line in this one.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 2-1 (16/1 with Sky Bet)
Manchester United vs Southampton, Monday - 8pm, live on Sky Sports
Man Utd were dominant after the initial 20 minutes at Villa Park, and it then became a walk in the park. Anthony Martial looked off it in parts, but he does look desperate to score goals, as does Marcus Rashford. It was a lovely strike by Mason Greenwood on his right foot.
Southampton are awkward, free-flowing, nice and tidy, but it is their defence that is looking much improved. Man Utd, the sheer size of the club and the momentum they have, have been building much quicker than I thought they would.
Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba are starring, but the penalty changes the game and they can be dominant after that, but the penalty was very debatable. A giant like Man Utd have to get the top four and they look like they will get it. They don't care about the top two at moment, they just need to keep winning games and make that top four their own. I expect United to win and nail the top four spot.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 3-1 (10/1 with Sky Bet)
(c) Sky Sports 2020: Charlie's Premier League predictions: Chelsea to stumble against Sheffield United