EPL Predictions: Picks, Top Players for Week 4 Premier League Fixtures

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistAugust 26, 2019

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 24: Nicolas Pepe of Arsenal reacts during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC at Anfield on August 24, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur meet for the first north London derby of the campaign in Week 4 of the 2019/20 Premier League season on Sunday.

The Gunners are aiming to rebound after losing 3-1 to leaders Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday. Spurs were also on the wrong side of a 1-0 scoreline at home to previously winless Newcastle United the following day.

As for Liverpool, the leaders face a tough trip to Turf Moor to take on a rugged Burnley side in Saturday's late kick-off. Manchester City need to stay within two points of the Reds and should record a third win of the season at home to struggling Brighton & Hove Albion earlier in the day.

It's a different story for Manchester United, who won't find things easy in Southampton after stumbling to a shock 2-1 defeat at home to Crystal Palace on Saturday.

       

Week 4 Fixtures and Picks

Saturday, August 31

  • Southampton vs. Manchester United: 12:30 p.m. BST/7:30 a.m. ET (Draw)
  • Chelsea vs. Sheffield United: 3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET (Chelsea)
  • Crystal Palace vs. Aston Villa: 3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET (Palace)
  • Leicester City vs. Bournemouth: 3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET (Draw)
  • Manchester City vs. Brighton & Hove Albion: 3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET (City)
  • Newcastle United vs. Watford: 3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET (Draw)
  • West Ham United vs. Norwich City: 3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET (West Ham)
  • Burnley vs. Liverpool: 5:30 p.m. BST/12:30 p.m. ET (Liverpool)

      

Sunday, September 1

  • Everton vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers: 2 p.m. BST/9 a.m. ET (Draw)
  • Arsenal vs. Tottenham Hotspur: 4:30 p.m. BST/11:30 a.m. ET (Arsenal)

        

Roberto Firmino, Liverpool

It's hard to look past Roberto Firmino as the player who makes Liverpool tick. The Brazil international's movement, vision and flair play a vital role in creating space and chances for fellow forwards Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.

Firmino is the creative heartbeat of Liverpool's  prolific attack.
Firmino is the creative heartbeat of Liverpool's prolific attack.BEN STANSALL/Getty Images

A typically classy touch by the 27-year-old helped Salah draw a foul from David Luiz and win a penalty against the Gunners. The fluid rotation of positions along Liverpool's front three is only possible thanks to how effectively Firmino operates as a false nine.

His guile and technique will be key to unlocking a well-drilled Burnley defence. The Clarets buckled at the back last season, conceding 68 goals in the league.

Things look more solid this term, though, with Ben Mee and James Tarkowski performing well in the middle. Meanwhile, left-back Erik Pieters is already proving an astute signing from Stoke City as a tough tackler who has provided two assists in three matches.

The Dutchman will be kept busy trying to track Salah's movement. If he loses discipline early—as he did when giving away a stoppage-time penalty to Raul Jimenez during Sunday's 1-1 draw with Wolverhampton WanderersBurnley will soon be playing catch-up against the table-toppers.

Prediction: Burnley 0-2 Liverpool

          

Nicolas Pepe, Arsenal

Arsenal took another beating on Merseyside at the weekend, but the Gunners did at least glimpse the potential of club-record signing Nicolas Pepe.

The former Lille winger kept Liverpool defenders on their heels with his pace, direct running and ability to break from deep.

Had his finishing been better, Pepe would have had at least one goal to mark his first full start for his new club:

More than just speed, the 24-year-old proved he can beat markers at close quarters with skill:

Pepe is giving Arsenal a dimension the team has lacked in recent seasons. The Gunners now pose a greater threat on the counter with the Ivory Coast international in the lineup. Plus, they can break down a deep defensive block with a player who can trick his way through multiple defenders and take them out of the game.

It's a different problem for Spurs to handle. Tottenham could operate with a back three to help deny Pepe and striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang space.

Deploying an extra centre-back would also make room for another man up top. Putting Lucas Moura alongside Harry Kane would help Spurs drag Luiz out of position and possibly force the Brazilian into a few more costly mistakes.

Arsenal won this fixture 4-2 last season, and the Gunners will triumph again, albeit by a smaller margin.

Prediction: Arsenal 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur

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