Premier League Week 3 Fixtures: EPL Picks and Predictions

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistAugust 20, 2019

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 29:  Sadio Mane of Liverpool goes past Lucas Torreira of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC at Anfield on December 29, 2018 in Liverpool, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Liverpool host Arsenal at Anfield when the top two in the Premier League meet on Saturday. The Reds lead the way on goal difference and have a psychological edge having beaten the Gunners by four goals at home in each of the last two seasons.

Manchester City will be hoping Arsenal take some rare points from Merseyside. The champions were held by Tottenham Hotspur last time out and may find Sunday's trip to Bournemouth trickier than expected.

Tricky is just how things have gone for Frank Lampard so far in the Chelsea dugout. He's yet to win in three competitive games, despite some solid performances.

Lampard and the Blues must not take a trip to Carrow Road to face newly promoted Norwich City for granted, given how well they have started in the top flight. The Canaries beat Newcastle United 3-1 on Saturday thanks to a Teemu Pukki hat-trick, and the division's in-form striker will fancy his chances of adding to his tally against a suspect Chelsea back four.


Schedule (Fixtures, Picks and Predictions)


Friday, August 23

  • Aston Villa vs. Everton: 8 p.m. BST/3 p.m. ET (1-2)

Saturday, August 24

  • Norwich City vs. Chelsea: 12:30 p.m. BST/7:30 a.m. ET (1-3)
  • Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Southampton: 3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET (2-1)
  • Manchester United vs. Crystal Palace: 3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET (2-0)
  • Sheffield United vs. Leicester City: 3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET (1-2)
  • Watford vs. West Ham United: 3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET (1-2)
  • Liverpool vs. Arsenal: 5:30 p.m. BST/12:30 p.m. ET (3-1)

Sunday, August 25

  • Bournemouth vs. Manchester City: 2 p.m. BST/9 a.m. ET (2-3)
  • Tottenham Hotspur vs. Newcastle United: 4:30 p.m. BST/11:30 a.m. ET (2-1)
  • Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Burnley: 4:30 p.m. BST/11:30 a.m. ET (1-0)


Lampard to Experience a Turnaround

Chelsea were held 1-1 by Leicester City at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, but the Blues still produced enough eye-catching football to suggest a turnaround is imminent.

Lampard's midfield is brimming with technical quality thanks to Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic and Mason Mount. The latter is beginning to excel in an advanced role:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Mason Mount's game by numbers vs. Leicester: 91% pass acc. in the opp. half 62 touches 5 crosses 5 shots 3 tackles made 3 shots on target 1 goal Nearly the perfect home debut. https://t.co/XakTXORKl4

Mount's daring and Chelsea's ability to boss possession in the middle will keep the ball away from a Norwich team also geared to create chances stylishly.

Pukki has been making the most of those chances by netting four goals in two starts. It's already meant a piece of history for the prolific Finn:

OptaJoe @OptaJoe

4 - Teemu Pukki has become the first player in Premier League history to score as many as four goals in his first two appearances in the competition. Party! https://t.co/QsJ1HvDWgt

Expect the Norwich forward to strike again against a Chelsea defence missing the athleticism and aggression of Antonio Rudiger.

The Germany international returned to action for the under-23s ahead of schedule on Monday night in a bid to build up his match fitness, per James Gray of The Sun.

If Andreas Christensen and Kurt Zouma are still in the middle, the Canaries will likely take an early lead. Eventually, though, the Blues will create enough chances to reward Lampard's bold strategy and give him a first win.


Liverpool's Home Dominance of Arsenal to Continue

Arsenal should make things closer than last season's 5-1 defeat at Anfield after some smart recruitment this summer.

Head coach Unai Emery is still trying to get club-record signing Nicolas Pepe up to speed, but he did hand full starts to David Luiz and Dani Ceballos in Saturday's 2-1 win over Burnley.

The Spain international particularly caught the eye with a cultured display from the heart of midfield. His quick feet and neat and intelligent distribution helped the Gunners play with a flair seen too seldom towards the back end of last season.

WhoScored.com @WhoScored

Dani Ceballos' full Premier League debut: ⏱️ Mins played -- 8⃣3⃣ 🎯 Key passes -- 4⃣ 🅰️ Assists -- 2⃣ 🤤 Successful dribbles -- 4⃣ 💪 Tackles -- 2⃣ 🌡️ Rating -- 8⃣.2⃣8⃣ ⭐️ For more player stats -- https://t.co/I8SK6nPOup https://t.co/iYJFD9xpCD

If Ceballos can help Arsenal move the ball quickly and beat Liverpool's high press, the Gunners have the firepower to rattle the leaders early on.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored two goals in as many matches, while Pepe showcased some impressive touches and pace during his 45-minute cameo against the Clarets.

Liverpool's own firepower may concern Emery more, especially considering Sadio Mane's fast start to the campaign. He followed the brace he bagged against Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup with a goal and an assist to beat Southampton 2-1 on Saturday.

OptaJoe @OptaJoe

20 - Sadio Mane is one of only two Premier League players to have scored at least 20 goals across all competitions in 2019 (also Sergio Aguero). Hot.

Mane scored in this fixture last season while strike partner Roberto Firmino, who was also on target against Saints, helped himself to a hat-trick.

The Brazil international has a record against the Gunners that Emery will fear:

SPORF @Sporf

🇧🇷 Roberto Firmino vs @Arsenal: 🏟 7 Games ⚽ 8 Goals 🎯 3 Assists 🎩 1 Hat-Trick 🔥 Unstoppable. https://t.co/pdXPv5fh15

Arsenal will push Liverpool closer this season, but the Reds will still have their number at Anfield.