Michael Owen has delivered his predictions for an enthralling round of Premier League action, including Manchester City’s clash against Chelsea and the north London derby between Tottenham and Arsenal.
League leaders City have the chance to extend their lead at the top of the table when they welcome the Blues to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
Pep Guardiola’s side are currently 10 points clear of Chelsea and on a run of 11 successive wins in England’s top flight.
Former England and Liverpool striker Owen is expecting City to keep up their fine form with a victory this weekend.
‘Man City have had a brilliant last month or so, and are now firmly in control of the title race and, I can’t see them slipping up now. Even when they don’t play at their best, such as the game against Arsenal, they still find a way to win,’ Owen told BetVictor.
‘The Cup win on Wednesday over Spurs should give the Chelsea squad a bit of a boost. Chelsea have shown under Tuchel how dangerous they are in Cup Competitions, and I would never rule them out of winning silverware.
‘City were fantastic when they went to the Bridge and won 1-0 earlier in the season. They looked like the team to beat in the league that day and that’s proven to be correct. I can see another win for them here. 3-1 City.’
Manchester United FC
Aston Villa will have new January signings Lucas Digne and Philippe Coutinho available for selection against Manchester United on Saturday at Villa Park.
Owen is backing Steven Gerrard’s side to beat the Red Devils, who are currently languishing in seventh place in the table.
‘What a week it’s been for Steven Gerrard and Aston Villa in the transfer market. Lucas Digne should prove to be an excellent signing at left-back, he’s experienced and has superb delivery. Who would have thought that Philippe Coutinho would end up playing for Aston Villa That’s a brilliant signing for Villa and a signal of intent by the club,’ Owen added.
‘Performances haven’t been great at Old Trafford since Ralf Rangnick took over. United start an easier run of fixtures now but there has to be a lot of improvement shown.
‘I can see Villa edging this. Villa were probably a little unlucky in the Cup game last week and with the home crowd behind them, should win here. 2-1 Villa.’
Owen's Premier League predictions
Brighton 2-1 Crystal Palace
Man City 3-1 Chelsea
Norwich 1-2 Everton
Wolves 1-0 Southampton
Newcastle 2-1 Watford
Aston Villa 2-1 Man Utd
West Ham 3-1 Leeds
Liverpool 2-0 Brentford
Tottenham 1-1 Arsenal
Third-placed side Liverpool play Brentford at Anfield on Sunday, and Owen is predicting a win for his former club.
‘It will be interesting to see how this Liverpool side can cope with the absences of Mo Salah and Sadio Mane. Obviously, people will need to step up and the likes of Jota and Firmino will be expected to get the goals. I wouldn’t be shocked if the man for the big occasion, Divock Origi, scores in the next couple of games though,’ Owen continued.
‘That was a disappointing defeat for Brentford away to Southampton. They pride themselves on their defensive organisation, so to concede four was alarming. It could be a tough couple of weeks for them, with games against Man United, Wolves and Man City to follow this.
‘I think Liverpool will take a while to get going here but should have enough quality, even without Salah and Mane. 2-0 to Liverpool.’
On Sunday’s north London derby at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Owen said: ‘Antonio Conte must have been disappointed with the performances against Chelsea in the League Cup semi-final. They didn’t threaten Chelsea enough and Chelsea dominated for large spells of both games. They’ll need to improve if they want to have hopes of a top four finish.
‘It’s been a strange couple of weeks for Arsenal. They were outstanding for a half against Man City but then lost that game and lost in the FA Cup to Forest. This is a big game for them, they don’t want to lose any more momentum.
‘I don’t see much between Spurs and Arsenal. I can see a draw here, 1-1.’
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