EPL Week 8 Predictions: Players Likely to Score a Hat-Trick This Weekend
The Premier League has had almost everything this season—upsets, penalty controversies, ticked-off managers, sackings and an annual Luis Suarez suspension (albeit dating back to last term)—but there's been one notable thing missing: a hat-trick.
Who is most likely to score a hat-trick this weekend?
According to My Football Facts, there were 13 hat-tricks recorded last season, with Robin van Persie and Luis Suarez grabbing two apiece, but no player has yet managed to rattle the net three times in the one match this season.
With Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal facing opposition positioned in the bottom half of the table, there is a realistic possibility that the likes of Sergio Aguero, Fernando Torres and van Persie could end the drought this weekend.
But after scanning the record books, pouring over the stats and studying the opposition, here’s a look at the three players who have the most potential to do damage this weekend.
Rooney has scored three in his last four Premier League outings, but this Saturday threatens to be the day the Englishman stands out from the rest.
The forward has scored six league hat-tricks—per My Football Facts—over the course of his career and, while he is some distance off Alan Shearer’s record of 11, he boasts the highest number of hat-tricks among the current crop of players.
Remember this special one on his United debut against Fenerbahce?
Southampton’s defence has looked solid so far this season. Mauricio Pochettino’s side have leaked just two goals in their opening seven games, which is the best defensive record in the league, but this shapes up to be the week it all unravels.
Without taking anything away from the Saints, they have had a relatively comfortable start to the season in terms of opposition.
Six of their seven opponents to date reside in the bottom half of the table and they have lost to Norwich and drawn with Sunderland—two teams in the relegation zone. Rooney and Co. will provide an entirely different threat.
Rooney has looked in better form than his strike partner van Persie in recent weeks. While the Dutchman has managed just one goal in his last six league outings, Rooney has hit three in his last four, and he comes into the game with Southampton on a high after leading his country to World Cup qualification in midweek.
Suarez, one half of arguably the league’s most dynamic forward partnership, has looked really impressive since his return from suspension at the end of September.
He found the net twice against Sunderland and once against Crystal Palace and, with Newcastle to come this weekend, the Uruguayan has a great chance to increase his goal tally further.
Per LFC History, the last Liverpool player to score a hat-trick at St James’ Park was Michael Owen in 1998 and Suarez will relish the opportunity to update that stat.
Per My Football Facts, the 26-year-old has already scored three hat-tricks (check out the clip for his one against Norwich last season) since arriving in England two years ago, and he has the chance to add to that total against a Newcastle side who need to improve on recent defensive performances.
Alan Pardew’s team have conceded 12 goals in their opening seven games, and they were dealt another blow this week when it was announced that Fabricio Coloccini will miss out with a groin injury. The Magpies were left over exposed in defeats to Manchester City, Hull City and Everton—conceding three in each—and they will need to tighten up at the back for the visit of Liverpool.
The Newcastle rearguard struggled to contain Everton in Gameweek 6. In that 3-2 defeat, they were pulled apart by Roberto Martinez's side and it could be argued that their Merseyside rivals Liverpool will pose an even bigger threat in the attacking third.
Suarez, Sturridge and, to some extent, Victor Moses, have interchanged impeccably throughout games since they began playing together. The three switch roles, from centre to wing, with ease and they're extremely difficult for defenders to pin down.
Expect Suarez to be at his menacing best come Saturday.
Berbatov has looked out of sorts this season. In fact, out of sorts is probably putting it politely.
The Bulgarian has been a mere passenger as Martin Jol’s machine has spluttered down the table since their opening-day victory over Sunderland.
Having said that, it’s impossible to ignore him as a hat-trick threat this weekend, especially with the opposition tasked with stopping him. Crystal Palace have the second worst defensive record in the league, shipping 13 goals, and it is the type of game that Berbatov has the potential to thrive in.
The 32-year-old, who has yet to score this season, may not show up every week, but when he does, it tends to be dramatic. When it rains, it pours.
Berbatov has scored five Premier League hat-tricks—per My Football Facts—including five in one game against Blackburn, and if the former Manchester United man decides to bring his A game this weekend, there will be little the Palace defenders can do to stop him.
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