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As we inch ever closer to a winter World Cup — that still feels wrong, no matter how many times we address it — the Premier League action is still coming thick and fast. The Big 6 are playing on a compressed schedule, with European commitments every week and domestic obligations during the weekend, putting their depth and fitness to the test. Through that lens, each matchday is a major test: More than ever, there are no free wins in England’s top division.

With that in mind, let’s get into this weekend’s action. While Liverpool-Manchester City will steal most of the headlines, the likes of Leeds, Aston Villa, and Wolves shouldn’t be taken for granted.

A graphic showing picks for Premier League Matchday 11.
Sportscasting Big 6 Picks: Premier League Matchday 11 | Mike Calendrillo/Sportscasting

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Manchester United vs. Newcastle

Joe Kozlowski: Casemiro – After finally starting a Premier League match, the Brazilian midfielder will face a stern test against Newcastle. The Magpies have looked strong this year and boast a capable strike force. It will be interesting to see how Casemiro handles his compatriot Bruno Guimaraes. Can the veteran outsmart the in-form Newcastle midfielder?

Mike Calendrillo: Antony – Manchester United haven’t lost to Newcastle at Old Trafford since 2013. However, this is a much improved Magpies squad. Separated by just one point in the table, will manager Erik Ten Hag roll out Ronaldo from the opening whistle? It remains to be seen. But we should see Antony, who has all but made Jadon Sancho invisible. Should Antony find the back of the net yet again for the Red Devils, he’d become only the third player in league history to score in each of his first four matches. Mick Quinn holds the record with six. 

Tim Crean: Christian Erkisen – Erik ten Hag kept Eriksen on the bench for the team’s midweek Europa League fixture so he should be fresh for Newcastle. The veteran midfielder has been excellent this season, but with renewed Frenkie de Jong rumors hitting United, he needs to keep it up to keep his spot in January and beyond.

Liverpool vs. Manchester City

Joe: Joe Gomez – With Trent Alexander-Arnold sidelined, Gomez is the best bet to slot in at right-back (barring a formation change). While he’s filled that role before, no central defender wants to be shifted out to the wing, especially against Manchester City. It could be a long day for the entire Liverpool defense, but Gomez will have an especially large task on his hands.

Mike: Jurgen Klopp – Is this the match that truly marks the beginning of the end of the Klopp era at Liverpool? Not that many people are expecting the Reds to snatch all three points from Manchester City. However, even a draw at Anfield would do wonders for the psyche of a downtrodden club that seems to have prioritized Champions League this season. So, look for the German tactician to pull out all the stops, as Liverpool have won 22 league matches versus reigning champs – six more than any other side. If not, well, Klopp can always blame the wind. 

Tim: Mohamed Salah: Jurgen Klopp has hinted he’s going to be more creative with how he deploys his Egyptian star, and this week, against Manchester City, is a good time to try some things out. With the form both clubs are in right now, Liverpool has to take some chances if they hope to win, and that starts with doing everything they can to get Salah in scoring position. 

Arsenal vs. Leeds

Joe: Gabriel – Gabriel Magalhaes is the least attention-grabbing of Arsenal’s three Brazilian Gabriels, but he’ll be worth watching against Leeds. The defender plays a valuable role in Mikel Arteta’s back line, providing physicality, aerial ability, and a left-footed option, but he also has a mistake in his game. Against Leeds, he’ll be feeling the heat from an all-out press. Can he keep his cool and make the right decisions under pressure?

Mike: Gabriel Martinelli – Could this be a trap game for Arsenal at Elland Road? Well, Leeds are unbeaten at home so far, winning two and drawing two – and only twice have they ever begun a campaign undefeated at the friendly confines through five matches. Therefore, Arsenal will look for another stellar performance from Martinelli, who notched a goal and an assist last time out against Liverpool. The Brazilian winger has started each of the Gunners’ last 10 Premier League contests – his longest stretch of consecutive games. 

Tim: Takehiro Tomiyasu – Leeds United has a lot of quality in the attacking third with Jack Harrison, Rodrygo, and USMNT member Brendan Aaronson up front. With left-back Oleksander Zinchenko still out with an injury, Tomiyasu will likely get another start and have a tough day ahead of him. 

Chelsea vs. Wolves

Joe: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – The striker is a form player who usually plays well after changing clubs, and he’s coming off another Champions League goal. While there’s always the possibility of rotation, I want to see if Auba can continue to strike while the iron is hot, especially against a weaker opponent.

Mike: Raheem Sterling – The next goal Sterling scores away from home will be the 50th of his Premier League career. Still just 27, he’d become the fourth youngest player to the mark after Michael Owen, Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney – pretty good company. The fact that Sterling was extremely poor in Tuesday’s UCL match versus Milan, should be all the motivation for the Englishman to make some history at Villa Park. 

Tim: Christian Pulisic – The American Boy Wonder finally scored last week vs. Wolves! Let’s hope another bottom-of-the-table foe in Aston Villa gets Christian Pulisic another start and another goal as he builds towards the January transfer window and his USMNT duties in the World Cup. 

Manchester City vs. Liverpool

Joe: Joao Cancelo -While Liverpool and Mohamed Salah have looked short of their best this season, underestimate both at your own peril. That’s where Cancelo comes in. As City’s left-back, he’ll play a key role in marking the Egyptian, in addition to acting like a secondary creator while in possession.

Mike: Phil Foden – Erling Haaland gets most of the attention at City – and while he is magisterial, Foden is having himself a wonderful go of it on the pitch as well. Six goals and three assists in nine EPL games thus far, Foden has scored in both his trips to Liverpool. Only two visiting players have ever scored in three consecutive Anfield appearances – Andy Cole and Christian Benteke.

Tim: Manuel Akanji – Pep Guardiloa’s newest center-back seems to have become the manager’s favorite. So with injuries still an issue across City’s back line, he will get the start, likely with Ruben Dias. This will be Akanji’s first Liverpool match, so he’ll have to play well to keep his spot as CB1. 

Tottenham vs. Everton

Joe: Richarlison – With a Champions League tie in midweek and rotation becoming more and more essential, it’s not 100% clear who will start up front for Tottenham. Whenever Richarlison gets onto the pitch, though, he’ll be worth watching. The Brazilian always plays with emotion, and a date with his old club should get his competitive juices flowing, even if he left Everton on good terms.

Mike: Richarlison: WHEW! I’ll be honest, I was a bit nervous after Spurs gave up a quick first goal versus Frankfurt on Wednesday in Champions League. But Sonny seems to officially be back to his goal scoring prowess – which covered up some shoddy defense for the Lilywhites. With that being said, Richarlison faces off against his former club – and could become the fifth Spurs player to score his first goal against a side he previously played for.

Tim: Son Heung-min – With Dejan Kulusevski out for Everton, Son Heung-min should factor into this match. Son’s had an up and down (but mostly down) season but this should give him the opportunity to pick his play up. He needs to do that soon with the January transfer window and South Korea’s World Cup matches looming. 

Guaranteed Goalscorer

Joe (2-5 record): Roberto Firmino: While I don’t think Liverpool will win, the Reds have shown they’re still capable of scoring this season. With Luis Diaz out of the lineup, it’s safe to assume the Brazilian will be playing as something of a number 10/second striker, giving him a good chance to get on the score sheet.

Mike: (6-1): Harry Kane – I wanted to pick someone other than Kane, as to not be Erling Haaland reliant, but Kane has scored 13 goals in 14 league appearances against Everton. This includes six braces versus the Toffees – only Alan Shearer has scored more multiple goals in more different games against an opponent (7 versus Leeds, 6 braces and 1 hat-trick). So, chalk up another goal or two for the good guys!Tim: (6-1): Erling Haaland – The Manchester City striker’s scoring streak almost came to an end last week against Southampton, until Haaland netted the final goal of the game. This week, vs. Liverpool, City will need all the goals the big Norwegian has to beat its bitter Premier League rivals.