Premier League Preview
What a cracking week of action that was in Week 9 and probably the closest we have come to a perfect 10 so far. Wolves aside, Chelsea could have arguably beaten United after their first half performance. Add in Cardiff, who if they were going to beat anyone it was Fulham, yet we sat on the fence. Everything else was in the bag and three correct scores to boot. All in a all a very good week. Let’s try and improve again as SPORTSvox takes a look at some great fixtures this week in our Premier League preview.
Brighton v Wolves
Chris Hughton will assess the fitness of his talisman Murray, who had that serious collision last week in their win over Newcastle. They managed to grind out the result but will be hoping he is back to lead the line against Wolves.
For Espirito Santo, the loss at home to Watford definitely wasn’t in his plans. He will be looking for his side to bounce back straight away here. You could argue it was a crazy couple of minutes that cost them the game but overall their disappointing conversion stats continued in front of goal. Just one shot on target from ten attempts continues the story for Wolves being a little goal shy.
The stats would point towards Brighton, with only one loss in their last eight against Wolves. For me though I would be looking for a couple of changes from Wolves to freshen things up a little. It would be nice to see one of the fastest men in the league in Adama Traore get a run out for example.
I am going slightly against the grain here, if Murray doesn’t play, with Gross still out for Brighton, I fancy Wolves to get a result
Prediction: 0 – 2
Fulham v Bournemouth
Aside from Rafa Benitez at Newcastle, Slavisa Jokanovic must be the man under the most pressure in the league at the moment. You cannot go through a season conceding nearly three goals a game and expect to stay up. The tide needs to be stemmed quickly.
A very difficult task lies ahead of them with the visit of Bournemouth however. Just Arsenal are above them in the Goal conversion stats so far this season. Led by Callum Wilson and company, Bournemouth manage to convert 15% of their shots at goal ( Arsenal 19% ). This makes them very dangerous on their travels especially against a side like Fulham who like to push on.
Bournemouth as predicted struggled against a stubborn Southampton last week, but I see them causing many problems for Fulham in this one. Goals confirmed and three points returning to the south coast.
Prediction: 1 – 3
Liverpool v Cardiff
Not going to spend too much time on this one. Liverpool impressing again in midweek with their stars scoring the goals. i am sure Cardiff will try and make it difficult but I cannot see them adding to their tally of eight goals so far this season.
For Cardiff there may be more entertainment in the dugout between Warnock and Klopp than there will be on the pitch. I fully expect a bit of banter and maybe some heated exchanges in the technical areas.
Confident home win with Cardiff looking elsewhere to pick up points this season.
Prediction: 3 – 0
Southampton v Newcastle
Just 12 Goals between these two sides so far this season doesn’t bode well for a classic. Add in the pressure of this being an early season six pointer and I will not be expecting fireworks from this one.
Southampton will have a full squad to chose from and will see this as an opportunity for their first home win of the season. Surprisingly, they are actually 5th in shots at goal so far this season but their shots to goals scored ratio is down at just 5%. The story tells its own tale, but maybe the fact that they have only lost one in the last 24 games against Newcastle will stand them in good heart.
Newcastle welcome back a goal threat in Salamon Rondon, hardly prolific but he was West Brom’s top goalscorer last season. Rafa will be hoping he can work some magic in front of goal and give Newcastle a fighting chance.
Probably one to miss for the purists and I fancy Southampton to get off the mark in a grueling encounter.
Prediction: 1 – 0
Watford v Huddersfield
Watford will be upbeat after taking three points off a good Wolves side last week. Having lost their previous two at home they will feel more than capable of keeping their good start to the season going. The big loss however maybe the doubts over Troy Deeney’s fitness. Without him the goals maybe slightly harder to find as his all round game contributes so much to this Watford side.
Third lowest shots at goal tally and lowest shots to goals scored conversion at 4% says it all. Huddersfield struggle to score and although they have put in some good shifts they need to score to collect three points. They will feel buoyed by their recent record against Watford however and may see this as a game to focus on.
The longer the game goes on scoreless the more Huddersfield’s confidence will grow and they could potentially cause a slight upset here. I think they are good enough for at least a point but it would be no surprise if they sneak it.
Prediction: 1 – 1
Leicester v West Ham
Although they ran into a super second half performance from Arsenal in the Monday night game, Leicester were well in that game for 44 minutes. They showed some great defensive structure and really tried to play football and cause Arsenal problems when allowed. For me they are only a couple of players short of being a definite top eight side. Jamie Vardy will be a loss but they have enough in their squad to cause West Ham lots of problems.
For West Ham the season hasn’t really got going at all. Some of their summer signings are out injured before even completing a run of games and it doesn’t look positive for Pellegrini and the Hammers faithful. They are becoming more and more reliant on Arnautovic and haven’t scored since the victory over Manchester United.
West Ham are having their worst start for eight years and have lost 7 of their last 10 away games. I cannot see their season changing here and I fully expect Leicester to secure three points.
Prediction: 2 – 0
Burnley v Chelsea
Not quite the fortress of the last couple of seasons but it still takes a good performance to take anything away from Turfmoor. Sean Dyche will know however they have not beaten Chelsea at home since 1983. They do not create many chances, 19th in shots at goal so far this season. Efficiency is their main strength though and they have a 40% goals to shots ratio which is in the top in the premier League. They will need to continue this trend if they are to turn over a strong Chelsea side.
The Blues, unbeaten so far this season and Maurizio Sarri has a chance to become the first Chelsea manager ever, to go ten games undefeated at the start of a season. They will be however without the league’s top scorer Hazard. The competition for places is vast at Chelsea though and whatever eleven starts the game will be stiff opposition.
Chelsea will want to change the run of three draws in their last four games and I see them continuing their good run against Burnley in this one.
Prediction: 0 – 2
Crystal Palace v Arsenal
Only Huddersfield have scored less this season. With the likes of Benteke and Wickham still missing from the Palace side, it doesn’t look like improving anytime soon. Roy Hodgson knows he has a problem, but it’s another thing doing something about it. Overall Palace have a 5% Goals scored to shots ratio, the second worst in the league. Throw Wilfried Zaha into this equation who has had 15 shots, 6 on target and scored 3 goals ( a 20% conversion rate ) on his own, things look pretty bleak.
The dependency on Zaha has become a real problem for Palace. The weight of expectation is clearly telling and the January transfer window cannot come quick enough for Hodgson.
Get the tube across London and things couldn’t be brighter. Emery and his Arsenal team are flying. Everyone is talking about their attacking flair and Ozil’s sublime appearances. Its elsewhere on the pitch however where Emery has made the biggest difference. Transforming the likes of Xhaka who is third in the passing stats and bringing in Lucas Torreira has bolstered their midfield no end, allowing their more creative stars to shine.
I still think a couple of additions are required ta the back and against the top 5 sides they may still struggle. However at the moment, Arsenal fans ride that wave and enjoy the goals being scored. No Change this week for me.
Prediction: 0 – 3
Man Utd v Everton
Really not sure what to say about United. Another loss in midweek against Juventus, obviously a class opposition, but how long can the mediocre performances last at Old Trafford? Apart from a small rally at the end of the Newcastle game there really hasn’t been a lot to celebrate. With the catalyst in that game, Sanchez unlikely to play through injury, I really cannot see United turning their fortunes around against an in form Everton side.
For Marco Silva and his side, they are starting to get the momentum that we predicted at the start of the season. After a sluggish start, conceding too many goals, they seem to have found their stride. It was up for debate how Richarlison would get on following his move in the summer. So far he is proving his critics wrong, four goals with a 25% conversion rate is impressive. Throw in consistent performer Sigurdsson and Everton have managed to overcome their lack of goal threat from previous seasons.
Tricky one to call here, Everton have a shocking record at Old Trafford, just 2 wins in 26 matches. However given where both teams are at the moment, I would hope they would be good enough to pick up a point.
Prediction: 1 – 1
Tottenham v Man City
Last but not least, the game of the week is reserved for Monday night, where City travel to errr, where are Spurs playing at the moment agian? The off field stadium tribulations cannot be helping Pochettino and his side, but they are managing to dig out the results. These are the games that will define the title this season. Tottenham fans will find out on Monday night whether they are in the race, or set for another season of being the nearly men.
The return of Dele Alli will be a plus for Tottenham, Vertonghen who is still out is a bigger loss in our opinion though. Spurs are on a great run, winning their last 4 games but is their squad just strating to feel the effects of Champions League football already.
No such problems for Guardiola, scored 26, conceded just 3, flying in Europe. Cruise control and with the likes of De Bruyne itching to get back in the side, its business as usual for Manchester City.
Their record in London is also impressive, unbeaten in their last six, winning the last four. I fully expect them to continue that run at Wembley on Monday. The only thing they may actually halt that progress would be a poor pitch following the NFL at the weekend.
City will definitely be ‘touching down’ in London on Monday night and I expect some fireworks.
Prediction: 1 -3