There’s only one left. Yes, everybody, we’ve made it through another international break, with one more to go until the calendar year 2021 comes to a close. We’re just seven games into the English Premier League season, but there’ll be plenty more in the coming weeks
The November break is only four weeks away, and then it’s a slog until the next set of international fixtures in March. Football is never off the field.
With 16 points, Chelsea leads the league, closely followed by Liverpool (15 points), Manchester City, Manchester United, Everton, and Brighton (!) (all on 14 points). After an exhilarating first two months of the season, the top and bottom half of the table are separated by only six points.
There’s still more to come, starting with an enticing slate of fixtures this weekend, highlighted by a showdown at the King Power Stadium that should be entertaining.
Have you missed us? 😏 pic.twitter.com/ZwjXmlSaMP
— Premier League (@premierleague) October 15, 2021
Leicester vs Manchester United
21st of September 2014. This may seem like a random day in the distant past, yet it was perhaps one of the defining matches of Leicester City Football Club’s current generation.
Leicester looked like it would return to the Championship after a lone season in the Premier League, led by hulking Jamaican centerback Wes Morgan, Kasper Schmeichel—son of Manchester United legend Peter—in goal, and a mohawked scamp of a center striker by the name of Jamie Vardy.
Do you still remember their opponent that day? The Might & Glorified Manchester United.
"What a stunning goal that is!" 🥵
— Leicester City (@LCFC) October 13, 2021
The Foxes went on to win 5-3, in one of the most unlikely but thrilling meetings in Premier League history. After falling behind 3-1, the home team rallied and went ahead 4-3 thanks to one of Vardy’s most memorable goals, the one that catapulted him into the footballing elite. Leicester would go on to win the Premier League the following season, capping off a really remarkable 2015-16 season.
Seven—yes, seven—years later, the Red Devils return to King Power Stadium for an early-season match in which the scales are slightly more evenly balanced than they were in 2014. Vardy, who adores scoring against the “Big Six,” will be out in force.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be without his two first-choice centerbacks, Harry Maguire (calf/heel) and Raphael Varane (ankle) (groin). Leicester is desperate for a win after going four games without one, and it will rely on Vardy—as well as Kelechi Iheanacho if Brendan Rodgers opts for a two-forward system—to deliver against a depleted opposition.
Fortunately for United, they signed a solid player in Cristiano Ronaldo over the summer. Fresh off a midweek international record-breaking 10th hat trick for Portugal against Luxembourg, the 36-year-old is showing no signs of slowing down in front of goal and has been instrumental in bringing his team through a difficult start to the season.
Match Prediction: Leicester City 1-1 Manchester United
Newcastle vs Tottenham
Is the Premier League entering a new era? One in which Newcastle United, famous for winning the FA Cup in 1955, crashes the elite and carves out a niche for itself with its newfound wealth? After the club was taken over by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, that appears to be the direction we’re headed (PIF).
If you’re not a numbers person, perhaps this graphic will help put the money that the club has just walked into into context. This is incredible. Obviously, the January transfer season is still a few months away, but names linked to the club have ranged from Timo Werner to Phillipe Coutinho to even Raheem Sterling, according to football journalist Christian Falk of the Spanish publication Sport.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) October 15, 2021
Newcastle, on the other hand, is in 19th place with just three points from its first seven games. None of which were wins. Yes, zero victories, three ties, and four defeats. This is not an ideal situation. Manager Steve Bruce’s future is all but assured as a result of the team’s dismal start to the season and the takeover.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s side finally ended their three-game losing streak (with only one goal scored) against Aston Villa before the international break. They’ll be looking for more on their trip north.
Spurs’ problem is something they haven’t faced with in recent years: a lack of goal scoring.
Expect a rowdy St James’ Park that is unconcerned about the outcome, which should favor the guests.
Match Prediction: Newcastle 1-2 Tottenham
Watford vs Liverpool
Claudio Ranieri has returned to the Premier League with Watford after a two-year absence. In 2016, Ranieri and Leicester City memorably won the Premier League against 5000-1 odds. The football fans will forever remember him.
Back in @premierleague action!
— Watford Football Club (@WatfordFC) October 16, 2021
What was his first order of business as Hornets’ head coach? Oh, just a straightforward visit from Liverpool, who are unbeaten and have the best offensive in the league. The Reds have drawn their past two games in thrilling fashion and, new manager or not, will be looking for more against a struggling Watford side.
Match Prediction: Watford 0-2 Liverpool
Other Premier League Fixtures & Predictions
Aston Villa vs. Wolves 2-2 Draw
Manchester City vs. Burnley 2-1 Man City
Norwich City vs. Brighton & Hove Albion 0-2 Brighton
Southampton vs. Leeds United (10:00 a.m. ET): 3-2 Leeds
Chelsea vs. Brentford (12:30 p.m. ET): 3-1 Chelsea
Everton vs. West Ham United 1-1 Draw
Arsenal vs. Crystal Palace 2-1 Arsenal