Kevin Doyle
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Kevin Doyle on the Premier League so far, Man United v Wolves & Spurs v Man City

| 31.01.2020

Which team do you think has made the most progress so far this season?

I believe this goes to Liverpool. They are top of the league and seem to be comfortably coasting to the title. Their first since the 1989-90 season!

I enjoy seeing how the team has progressed as a unit, and not by going out and spending a lot of money on new players. They have a similar group of players as they had last year. The Champions League victory gave the team a real boost of confidence. Jurgen Klopp has been a great manager and has given them the belief that they can go out there and win the title.

There’s been talk of Jordan Henderson getting Player of the Season which would have been laughed at last season! He’s never been seen a key player in years gone by, whereas now he’s a very consistent player and club captain. Henderson has really stepped up his game and shown his club what he is made of. He is a Champions League winner and soon to be a Premier League winner too.

There are other teams at the bottom of the table who have improved, but nothing compared to the leap of improvement we have seen in Liverpool this season. Having gone unbeaten in their first 23 Premier League games this season, they are going to comfortably win the league which no one could have predicted at the start of the campaign.

Which player has surprised you the most in a good or bad way so far this season?

Paul Pogba from Man Utd is a player who has surprised me this season, and unfortunately not in a good way seeing as he has been injured for most of the season so far.

I was fully behind him to do well and thought this was going to be his season. I think he is a fantastic player to watch and I love the way he plays. But he seems to only perform when he fancies a game whereas if he doesn’t fancy it, his performance drops.

There is a lot of untapped ability within him that we had seen when he played for Juventus. He has shown this in glimpses for Man Utd, but not enough for the hefty cost of £89.3 million that United spent on him! He is a player which people expected to be world class for United, but he just isn’t living up to that standard.

The drop in his performance shouldn’t come down to the change of coaches at Old Trafford. How many managers did Cristiano Ronaldo go through at Real Madrid when they weren’t performing?

This doesn’t excuse his individual form and why he cannot rise above this himself and be the stand-out performer for his club.

Man Utd v Wolves, Saturday, 17:30

United’s 6-0 win over Tranmere Rovers in the FA Cup last week was great for them. But looking at their overall performance this season, they seem to win a game and then their form drops the next. I feel this will be the case this weekend, I really fancy Wolves to go to Old Trafford and get a win.

You never would have imagined that Wolves starting 11 is stronger than United’s! Wolves are a club on the up and unfortunately Man Utd are stalling. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men have put in several good performances this season, but they can’t maintain the consistency the following week.

I can see Wolves being full of confidence heading into this game. When I was playing for the club, we wouldn’t have had much confidence heading to Old Trafford but would have fancied playing United at Molineux.

When you look at the strong team Wolves now have you can tell their players are clearly happy to be where they are.

Their club is going to spend money and invest which they have done over the past number of years which has paid dividends. Their manager, Nuno Espírito Santo, seems to be confident with his squad.

I can see Wolves winning this game and not just win it by defending well, having everyone behind the ball and hoping to get a lucky break – but winning it by playing good attacking football!

Prediction: 1-2 Wolves win

Burnley v Arsenal, Sunday, 14:00

Burnley have turned their season around and are going for their third win on the bounce which is a big deal at this time in the season. They had previously been down in the bottom three but have got themselves out of the danger zone. The Clarets are a hard-working, solid team and seem to have gone back to basics.

Arsenal have been struggling to win games, now on their third straight league draw. Turf Moor is a tough place to get a result and Mikel Arteta is still settling in and hasn’t got his managerial career off to a flying start.

My prediction for this game is a 1-0 win to Burnley with Jeff Hendrick scoring the goal. He hasn’t had a fantastic season and has been in and out due to injuries.

But he is a good midfielder who can get forward and scores important goals. Burnley don’t rely on a single striker to get lots of goals, everyone from their midfielders to their defender’s pitch in. They are a real hard working, solid team.

Prediction: 1-0 Burnley

Tottenham v Man City, Sunday, 16:30

Manchester City have really turned their season around since Christmas having had a bad spell in November and December last year. They are a team full of confidence, but I can’t see them coming close to catching Liverpool and I am sure deep down they know they aren’t going to win it.

City have a squad of really good players and are definitely in a better position than Tottenham.

Tottenham are back to the form they were showing when Mauricio Pochettino got sacked and there are rumours of players not enjoying training or Jose Mourinho’s methods. I thought they would have spent a lot of money in the transfer window and gave Jose Mourinho some players which I presume he was promised.

If you asked me a month ago when Mourinho was first in the job, I would have fancied Tottenham to get something from this game.

The club have just sold Christian Eriksen to Inter Milan, with the Dane rumoured to be a disruptive influence in the dressing room. But if you could draw one positive from losing such a talented player, it could see the team player with a bit more freedom going forward.

Jose Mourinho needs to do a good job at Tottenham now. This is his chance now to turn around what has been a bad number of years for him and claim some silverware at the club.

For such a top manager, he won’t be happy with how his CV has been looking over the last few years.

This new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is a fantastic place to play football. I can see Tottenham sitting back, counterattack and making it a difficult game for City.

However, Man City perform well against teams who have this style of play. They have enough technically gifted players to break you down in the final third. I see the Lilywhites sitting in with City having 70% possession or more and eventually breaking Tottenham down and winning the game.

Prediction: 0-2 Man City


My Five-Fold ACCA

Leicester v Chelsea: Chelsea win
Crystal Palace v Sheffield Utd: Sheffield Utd win
Man Utd v Wolves: Wolves win
Tottenham v Man City: Man City win
Burnley v Arsenal: 1-0 Burnley win


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Kevin Doyle

After a top-line career banging in the goals for Reading, Wolves and Colorado Rapids, former Republic of Ireland international Kevin Doyle now brings Ladbrokes his thoughts and opinions on the beautiful game.