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Sunday 29 September 2019 17:38, UK
Charlie Nicholas is back with his Premier League predictions - but who is he tipping on matchday seven?
Manchester United and Arsenal meet in a hotly-anticipated Monday Night Football clash at Old Trafford to conclude the round of fixtures.
Who is Charlie backing to prevail on Monday?
I am laughing already because we have a tale of two bad defences. Man United have one of the best keepers in the world in David de Gea and the most expensive defender in the world in £80m Harry Maguire. They got picked apart against West Ham and were nowhere near to earning anything from the match. Arsenal have five captains supposedly! Let the games begin!
Hector Bellerin played a little bit against Nottingham Forest. Ainsley Maitland-Niles is suspended and though Unai Emery has been cautious about him, I think Bellerin should play. Kieran Tierney should be in, but Rob Holding will miss out I think. Arsenal will play two protectors - to my amazement, Granit Xhaka will still be in, but I would go with Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi. I would be happy with Dani Ceballos and then Bukayo Saka, Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. It is that easy and simple for Arsenal.
On the flip side, who is fit for Manchester United? Marcus Rashford is out; is Anthony Martial ready? If Arsenal can play a more structured game on the counter-attack, I think they will come away with all three points. Man United will try to dominate the midfield with aggression, with Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba. Aubameyang and Pepe had chances against Liverpool at Anfield and if they get these chances against Man United I think they will take them. It will make life easier for Arsenal's defence with Man United's depleted frontline.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 1-2 (10/1 with Sky Bet)
Charlie's earlier predictions...
Leicester are going well. James Maddison has grown in stature to be Leicester's go-to man. He was always brought off with the previous manager but Brendan Rodgers has embraced him. I was saying on Soccer Saturday last week that he has to make more of his gifts and what does he go and do? He scores the winner and has an influential game against Tottenham! He did some eye-catching things at Old Trafford but it was only done in small pockets. His potential is still growing, though.
Maddison is an injury doubt for this one but I can only see a Leicester win regardless. Newcastle dug in and were dogged in their draw against Brighton last week but Leicester will pass, probe and eventually score. Jamie Vardy needs the ball into gaps earlier if they are to break down a back three or five, and I think they will do that.
CHARLIE PREDICTED: 2-0
Liverpool are coming through these tests without playing brilliantly. The Sheffield United team I watched the other week at Everton impressed me with the energy and pace they play at. They do struggle for goals though. It has been quite a jump up for Oli McBurnie. He works hard and grafts, but you are looking for a goal return here.
The Blades are well drilled and organised - when I saw them at Goodison Park, their two wing-backs were going up - I even saw the centre-half in the box - and they didn't look like they were going to get caught on the counter-attack either. I can see Liverpool doing what they did at Chelsea here though. Sheffield United will be in their face and try to pin them back, but they need to worry about Roberto Firmino, and then the pace and skill of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah. Liverpool will gradually grind the game down.
CHARLIE PREDICTED: 1-3
I have talked for a while about Norwich. They are a good watch, with goals in them, but are a mismatch at the back. There is an aura of unpredictability about them. Crystal Palace do not score a lot of goals, but then again they should have nicked it last week against Wolves. It is time for Wilfried Zaha to get going and get his finger out. Gary Cahill has improved them but they do not have the runners or bodies through midfield. Roy Hodgson's side should still have enough to come away from this one with three points, though.
CHARLIE PREDICTED: 1-0
This is a great game but tough to call. Aston Villa should have got something from the Emirates but are too vulnerable at the back. When they go in front, they have Jack Grealish and John McGinn further forward. McGinn is great for his drive and energy - everything is done at such pace - but when it's not working, he should play a bit deeper for 15 minutes or so and let Grealish stay further forward.
Dean Smith still wants to play the game, even when his side are in front, which I admire. There is a difference at this level, and sometimes it is just small changes which are needed. They don't need to change the personnel, they just need to change a position around five to 10 yards. If Grealish plays further forward, McGinn and Marvelous Nakamba can sit in there. Chris Wood delivered last week and could be a handful for Aston Villa's backline. It might be more of a back-to-front job for Tyrone Mings and Bjorn Engels. This could be quite a physical game and one that is high in bookings.
CHARLIE PREDICTED: 1-1
The young stars are shining bright at Chelsea. They got a chance against Grimsby and Callum Hudson-Odoi got a new contract, played and scored too, so everything looks to be on the up. But you have to remember that they lost their last Premier League game, are mid-table so far and you don't know what will happen next. Graham Potter had a great start to the season and was in a bubble but reality has hit. Leandro Trossard is injured, Anthony Knockaert has gone and they don't have the width any more. Tammy Abraham's pace will be too much for them here.
CHARLIE PREDICTED: 3-1
This is the best group West Ham have had in the Premier League. Manuel Pellegrini has bought well; they are aggressive at the back, have a great balance across the park and have a very consistent goalkeeper in Lukasz Fabianski. Is it motivation for both these sides following their Carabao Cup exits? Despite the changes, that will wind them up for the weekend so we should get a good game. I like Sebastian Haller - he has got a great touch and looks a permanent goal-threat. I cannot separate these two.
CHARLIE PREDICTED: 2-2
Southampton got a great win at Portsmouth. You may say it's only Portsmouth, but it was a derby and a derby that they needed to win. I have said this and repeated it, but there are issues at Tottenham. Mauricio Pochettino, for the first time in his tenure, is thinking this is an unhappy camp. Tottenham need to win - to get at Southampton and get some service to Harry Kane.
There are lots of negatives around Tottenham but they will win here. I never thought they would be around Manchester City or Liverpool but I expect them to fight for the top four. Che Adams is struggling and Ralph Hasenhuttl will want to play him, but I would leave him out and play Nathan Redmond higher up, flooding the midfield in the process. There will be moaning and groaning but Tottenham will get the result. They could do with a goal in the first 20 minutes to calm things down.
CHARLIE PREDICTED: 2-0
This is another cracking game. I am still working out why Wolves are so slow out of the blocks. Spare me the nonsense about the fact they are playing in the Europa League too. They had games to get into the Europa League but they were not mentally draining, so I do not know what the excuse is. They are going about it in the wrong way. They are against a Watford team that don't know what they are. They should have been buried by Arsenal but they fought well and could have won, before being thumped by City. I see a tense game, with a mistake perhaps leading to a goal.
CHARLIE PREDICTED: 1-0
Although Marco Silva got a good result in the week against Sheffield Wednesday, he is under serious pressure. Their home form was good and then they bombed against Sheffield United. I don't know what their agenda is. They signed Moise Kean, who looks lively and decent, but has been given very little service, and then you have Richarlison, who sometimes doesn't look interested, and the talented Gylfi Sigurdsson behind. Idrissa Gueye going to PSG was a big blow. They brought on Theo Walcott and Cenk Tosun against the Blades and took Bernard off, who was their best player.
What is Silva's goal? If they concede first, what are they going to do? And what happened to Tom Davies? He is on the bench but isn't close to the first team. City will keep the ball and pick Everton off when they attack. Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus are all scoring. They recovered pretty well from embarrassment at Norwich.
CHARLIE PREDICTED: 1-3