Thursday, October 15, 2020

Week 5 Preview: Merseyside Derby; Gunners Head to Etihad; Villa Goes Fox Hunting; Pointless Games at The Bottom

Top of the Table

Everton and Liverpool square off at Goodison Park in one of their most anticipated derbies in years.  The top of the table Toffees take an unblemished record into the match with their crosstown rivals.  A proud Liverpool team will be looking to reassert themselves after an embarrassing loss to Aston Villa. Mohamed Salah is one removed from his 100th Premier League goal.  If Salah, or anyone else scores, it will break a string of three consecutive scoreless draws between the teams in Goodison based league matches.  Yerry Mina could be questionable for the match which would create potential concern on Everton’s backline against Liverpool’s attack.  

Aston Villa, off its dominating performance before the break against Liverpool, faces another strong opponent this week in third place Leicester.  A win by the Villans would mark their best start to a topflight season in ninety years.  The Foxes hope to climb out of the 3-0 hole they dug versus West Ham last game.  

Arsenal head to Manchester City hoping to maintain their current top four standing.  The debut of Thomas Partey could go a long way to help that cause.  

Chelsea could see Hakim Ziyech make his premier league debut against Southampton as Frank Lampard continues to piece together his best line-up.  

Spurs fans may finally witness the second coming of Gareth Bale who appears fit and willing to join Jose Mourinho’s already impressive attack options versus an in-form West Ham squad in their London Derby.

Mid Table

Manchester City hopes to answer some questions versus Arsenal following a run of poor outings by the Citizens. Raheem Sterling remains their top goal threat in the continuing absence of both Aguero and Jesus.

Southampton step up in competition this week, following two recent wins against lesser lights, when they face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Theo Walcott should be available to make his debut for the Saints, fifteen years after he last wore their jersey.

Newcastle hope to take three points at home versus a struggling Manchester United team. The Magpies have taken two of the last three league games at St. James Park versus the Red Devils.

Crystal Palace hosts Brighton and Hove Albion to renew the leagues oddest and least geographic rivalry. A head scratcher to all but their fan bases, the two teams are intense rivals. The Eagles need to get Michy Batschuayi more involved to energize a sluggish attack.

West Ham travels to Tottenham Hotspur hoping to continue its recent excellent run of play. Hammer coach David Moyes though has never won a Premier League match against Jose Mourinho. 

One of the weekend's better games could unfold at Elland Road where Leeds will play host to Wolverhampton. Both teams employ an attacking style. Newly promoted Leeds, winners of two of four matches, has also battled bravely in non-winning efforts against Liverpool and Manchester City. Wolves, while also winners of two matches have been generally unimpressive given the talent on their roster.

Bottom of the Table

Brighton's visit to Selhurst Park features the league's oldest team (based on average player age) in Crystal Palace versus the youngest team in Brighton. Both teams are losers of their last two matches and Brighton has lost only once in five previous Premier League visits to Palace.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's job security could definitely benefit from a win at Newcastle this weekend but Harry Maguire's performance for England during the break does nothing to eliminate growing defensive worries for the Red Devils who will also be without strikers Anthony Martial and Edinson Cavani for the match.

Sheffield United and Fulham face each other in a match between two pointless clubs. A so far dull Blade attack could finally find some joy against a poor Cottager defense. At least one of these teams is guaranteed not to lose for the first time this seasonl.

Burnley will also try to get off the schneid this week when they visit The Hawthorns to face West Bromwich Albion. Burnley forward Jay Rodriguez could return from injury to face his former employer. Numerous other Burnley injuries, however, provide West Brom ample opportunity to at least double its single point earned to date.

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