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EPL Week 3 Predictions: Premier League Picks, Key Players and Fixtures

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistAugust 20, 2019

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 17:  Dani Ceballos of Arsenal and Jack Cork of Burnley during of the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Burnley FC at Emirates Stadium on August 17, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Visionhaus)
Visionhaus/Getty Images

Early Premier League pacesetters Liverpool and Arsenal go head-to-head in Week 3, with one or both of the joint leaders set to drop points for the first time this season.

The two sides will meet at Anfield in Saturday's late kick-off, before which Manchester United host Crystal Palace hoping to get back to winning ways after their 1-1 draw at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday.

Aston Villa open Week 3 at home to Everton on Friday evening, while Chelsea travel to Norwich City in Saturday's lunchtime fixture in pursuit of their first competitive win under Frank Lampard.

Champions Manchester City have won in each of their four Premier League trips to Bournemouth since April 2016, and they travel to the Vitality Stadium on Sunday hoping that record continues after they drew 2-2 at home to Tottenham Hotspur in Week 2.

        

Premier League Week 3 Fixtures, Predictions

Friday, August 23

Aston Villa 2-2 Everton, 8 p.m. BST/3 p.m. ET

     

Saturday, August 24

Norwich City 2-3 Chelsea, 12:30 p.m. BST/7:30 a.m. ET

Sheffield United 0-1 Leicester City, 3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET

Manchester United 3-0 Crystal Palace, 3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET

Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1 Southampton, 3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET

Watford 1-1 West Ham United, 3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET

Liverpool 2-2 Arsenal, 5:30 p.m. BST/12:30 p.m. ET

      

Sunday, August 25

Bournemouth 1-3 Manchester City, 2 p.m. BST/9 a.m. ET

Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 Burnley, 4:30 p.m. BST/11:30 a.m. ET

Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Newcastle United, 4:30 p.m. BST/11:30 a.m. ET

      

Dani Ceballos, Arsenal

Arsenal midfielder Dani Ceballos couldn't have hoped for a better display on his home debut at the Emirates Stadium.

The Spain international—on loan from Real Madrid—assisted both the Gunners' goals in the 2-1 win over Burnley on Saturday and is sure to have cemented his place in Unai Emery's starting XI against Liverpool.

Commentator John Motson appeared on TalkSport and picked out Ceballos for praise:

talkSPORT @talkSPORT

“I must say, the player who caught my eye over the weekend was Ceballos.” “He’s replacing Aaron Ramsey. He’s is outstanding and can do the lot.” 👏 “He brightens up Arsenal’s season.” John Motson hails Dani Ceballos 🔥 https://t.co/roAK37lUr5

Jurgen Klopp's ever-changing midfield has already been a source of debate this season. Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, James Milner, Georginio Wijnaldum and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have each started games.

A playmaker of Ceballos' calibre would be well-placed placed to capitalise on any crossed wires in the Reds' engine room following his man-of-the-match performance on Saturday.

        

Erik Lamela, Tottenham Hotspur

Following another encouraging pre-season in Tottenham Hotspur colours, Erik Lamela has begun to repay the faith placed in him by manager Mauricio Pochettino.

The Argentina international has started both Spurs' league games this season and played a vital role in their draw at Manchester City, where he scored the first equaliser before setting up his side's second.

Dan Kilpatrick of the Evening Standard believed that display showed why he deserves to start during Dele Alli's injury absence:

Dan Kilpatrick @Dan_KP

Funny old game. Some of Poch’s calls were odd but one of his biggest - Lamela over Lucas - totally justified by their goals.

On Sunday, Tottenham host Newcastle United, a team who already have the second-worst average possession percentage of 41.2 this season, per WhoScored.com, and Lamela could be the man to exploit that lack of ball retention.

         

Philip Billing, Bournemouth

Defying Manchester City's marauding midfield must be one of the least favourable jobs in English football, but Bournemouth's Philip Billing will have to achieve that if his side are to stand a chance on Sunday.

The summer signing from Huddersfield Town has been Eddie Howe's choice of midfield partner for Jefferson Lerma this term, and the Denmark Under-21 international has excelled defensively.

Billing is averaging four tackles per game this season—failing with one attempt—a figure bested by only one other Premier League midfielder after Week 2: Leicester City's Wilfred Ndidi (5.5 tackles per game).

The Cherries will need Billing and Lerma functioning cohesively to interrupt City's midfield, but the new arrival looks likely to have the responsibility of muting the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Rodri.