The 2013-14 Premier League slate is finally out of the beginning stages and into the meat of the season as Week 6 has rolled around.
Only five matches into the campaign, it's far too early to tell who has the upper hand at Manchester United's crown. But there still have been many telling developments on the pitch that give an indication of each club's stock and where they stand, thus far, in the season.
Here are my full Week 6 Premier League predictions, along with a breakdown of the marquee matchups.
|Tottenham vs. Chelsea||7:45 a.m.||Sat., Sept. 28||Tottenham, 2-1|
|Aston Villa vs. Manchester City||10 a.m.||Sat., Sept. 28||Manchester City, 3-2|
|Fulham vs. Cardiff City||10 a.m.||Sat., Sept. 28||Draw, 0-0|
|Hull City vs. West Ham United||10 a.m.||Sat., Sept. 28||Draw, 1-1|
|Manchester United vs. West Brom||10 a.m.||Sat., Sept. 28||Manchester United, 4-1|
|Southampton vs. Crystal Palace||10 a.m.||Sat., Sept. 28||Southampton, 2-0|
|Swansea City vs. Arsenal||12:30 p.m.||Sat., Sept. 28||Arsenal, 3-2|
|Stoke City vs. Norwich City||8:30 a.m.||Sun., Sept. 29||Stoke, 2-1|
|Sunderland vs. Liverpool||11 a.m.||Sun., Sept. 29||Liverpool, 1-0|
|Everton vs. Newcastle United||3 p.m.||Mon., Sept. 30||Everton, 2-1|
Steven Cook's picks
Note: All scheduling information courtesy of PremierLeague.com
Tottenham vs. Chelsea
Don't tell Tottenham Hotspur they just lost a star to a world-record transfer—they may not realize it after winning three in a row in Europa League, the EPL and Tuesday in a 4-0 road win over Aston Villa in the Capital One Cup.
Tottenham is tied atop the EPL table with Arsenal and will return home to a stiff test as Chelsea come rolling into town. The Blues could upstage Spurs in the standings with a win.
Chelsea have looked far from firing on all cylinders, thus far, in the Jose Mourinho era, dropping a 1-0 decision to Everton two weeks back before losing an all-important Champions League group-stage opener to FC Basel.
Expect momentum and a home-field advantage to allow Spurs to play a big role, as the Blues still look for that missing spark.
Swansea City vs. Arsenal
Arsenal join Tottenham at the top of the standings heading into this week, and that's something you shouldn't expect anyone to be typing a few months down the road. So cherish their battle for the top spot while you can.
I expect Tottenham to top Chelsea, but it's, unquestionably, a tough task to beat the Blues in any set of circumstances. Arsenal could very well be playing their way into a lone spot at the top of the Premier League—who expected that when a week was left in the transfer window?
A revamped offense by way of Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey—the latter of whom has scored in six of seven 2013-14 competitive matches—along with the implementation of Mesut Ozil has Arsenal rolling along offensively in a way they haven't seen since the Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie days.
Meanwhile, they'll have to go to Liberty Stadium to face Swansea—a surging club who recently topped Valencia, 3-0, in the Europa League and beat Crystal Palace on the road, 2-0, last weekend.
Swansea have been in form, but they also haven't recently faced an in-form club like Arsenal currently are. It'll be hard-earned, but the Gunners come out of this one with three big points.
Manchester United vs. West Brom
There's never been a better time for Manchester United to return home to Old Trafford.
The Red Devils were brutally beaten on the other side of town last weekend when they were topped, 4-1, by Manchester City, showing porous defense all 90 minutes and very little offensive firepower. The entire club was simply exposed.
The 2013-14 title defense hasn't quite started out ideally. Manchester United has already lost at Liverpool and at Manchester City this season, while tying Chelsea at home.
However, they return home to face West Brom who haven't had a peachy go of things lately. They opened up their 2013-14 EPL campaign with two losses and two draws, before turning things around at home against Sunderland last weekend in a 3-0 win.
The talent gap is far too wide in this matchup, and with the Red Devils playing at home, they'll be certain to light a fire. And boy, if they don't, then look out—the sky might start falling on their season.