The Premier League is back!
Let's be honest—while the international break is all fine and dandy, a whole weekend without the Premier League was pretty brutal. What was I supposed to do on Saturday morning, watch cartoons? Sleep in? Do chores?
Please. Of course, this Saturday I won't have any such concerns, as the Premier League returns. Here, I'll predict some of this week's top performers and biggest surprises. No need for cartoons this week, folks.
Game of the Week: Newcastle vs. Liverpool
This one should be a thriller.
Both of these teams are in the top seven in goals scored, with Liverpool ranking third in the league in scoring (11 goals) and Newcastle tied for seventh (nine). The game features the league's two leading scorers, Daniel Sturridge (six goals) and Loic Remy (five).
Which team wins?
Add in Luis Suarez hitting the ground running since his return from suspension and Hatem Ben Arfa able to contribute moments of brilliance, and this matchup looks like the most entertaining of the weekend.
Add in the fact that this game is being played at St. James Park, and this one should be closer than people think. Liverpool will survive in the end, winning 3-2, but not before a thrilling spectacle breaks out for 90 minutes.
Sunderland have given up a shocking 16 goals in seven games, by far worst in the Premier League. Not only is Michu going to torch this squad, he's going to do it in such a shocking fashion I won't even tell you how many goals he will score until the bold predictions section.
That's what we call a teaser, folks. Get excited.
Newcastle may score their fair share of goals, but they've also given up 12. Only Sunderland and Crystal Palace have allowed more. Look for Suarez and Sturridge to combine for all three goals again in this contest.
We stay with that game and Mr. Remy, who will do all he can to will Newcastle to victory. It won't be enough, but his brace will continue his fine run of form.
Norwich City have scored just five goals in the Premier League this season. Only Stoke City have less. They won't add to that total on Saturday, as the Arsenal defense and keeper Wojciech Szczesny will earn a clean sheet.
Sergio Aguero was released by Argentina instead of being forced to play a meaningless game on Tuesday night, dramatically increasing the likelihood that he'll play this week. If he does, look for him to notch a brace against West Ham.
Bold Predictions and Surprises to Watch For
Remember that Michu tease? Well, I'm predicting a hat-trick—yes, a hat-trick!—against Sunderland this week. It's gonna be crazy, folks.
Speaking of the Sunderland vs. Swansea match, look for Jozy Altidore to, finally, open his account with the bottom-of-the-table side in Premier League play.
The struggles for Manchester United will continue, even at home, against a Southampton side that is currently fourth on the table. The upstarts won't add a sixth clean sheet in this one, but a Rickie Lambert goal will ensure a 1-1 draw.
Two of the worst offenses in the league, Crystal Palace and Fulham, also have two of the worst defenses in the league. In a surprising turn, the teams will explode for two goals apiece in a surprisingly exciting 2-2 draw.
It won't be a surprise that Arsenal beats Norwich City. But with the possible return of Santi Cazorla and Theo Walcott, eyes will be wide and mouths agape when the Gunners explode on offense, winning 4-0.
Winners: Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton, West Brom, Swansea City, Manchester City
Draws: Manchester United vs. Southampton, Tottenham vs. Aston Villa, Crystal Palace vs. Fulham