Friday, October 23, 2020

Week 6 Preview: Could Be Tough for The Toffees; Red Devils Try Again at Home; Arsenal Hope to Partey

Top of the Table

By David Ingham from Bury, Lancashire, England

Top Dog Everton travels to Southampton protecting a one-point lead at the top. Dominick Calvert-Lewin remains atop the league, with Son Heung-min, in goals scored while James Rodriquez is second in assists. James, however, is questionable due to an injury picked up last week. If he is out, he joins the suspended Richarlison on the sideline and their absence could put the brakes on Everton.    

Aston Villa defends its unblemished record Friday against Leeds.  Villa has the league’s stingiest defense, allowing only two goals the entire season. Former Arsenal goalkeeper Emi Martinez leads the Premier League with three clean sheets for the Villans.  

Liverpool will be missing goalkeeper Becker, center back Van Dyck and potentially newly acquired midfielder Thiago and defender Matip due to injury.  It likely will not matter against struggling Sheffield United.  Fabinho is key for the Reds in filling the gap in center defense.  

Leicester Manager Brendan Rogers indicates Jamie Vardy to be a game time decision for the game versus Arsenal as the striker recovers from his calf injury.  If Vardy’s out, Kelechi Iheanacho will likely need step up for the Foxes.  The former Manchester City man may bring some confidence from his goal and an assist in Thursday Europa League play.  Thomas Partey started in Arsenal’s Europa win during the week and should be a fixture from the opening whistle versus the Foxes.

Home has been sweet for the Gunners against Leicester as the London team is undefeated in 27 matches when hosting the Foxes.  

Wolves look to continue their recent table ascent when they host Newcastle at Molineux Stadium.  The tactically proficient Wolves have needed only four goals to eked out their three wins this year.  

Spurs face little likelihood of another defensive collapse when they take on offensively challenged Burnley this weekend.  The London team could be frustrated though by a Burnley defense which will sit back and try to negate space for Harry Kane and Son-Heung-min to exploit.  

Chelsea goes to Old Trafford to face a Manchester United team which has yet to win at home this year.  Frank Lampard’s men have scored the third highest number of goals in the league this season.  Unfortunately, they have proven vulnerable on defense in two of their last three games which resulted in 3-3 draws.  The Blues will hope for a better defensive performance with goalkeeper Edouard Mendy once again healthy.

Mid Table

West Ham, unbeaten in their last three, host Manchester City.  It will be the first time in over a decade that West Ham has been above Manchester City in the table when the two sides have played.  Striker Sebastian Haller is expected to be available as he returns from injury for West Ham.  Newly acquired winger Said Benrahma may be brought along slowly by David Moyes. Manchester City sustained another key injury with Fernandinho joining the walking wounded. The Citizens back line and goalkeeper Ederson, though, have impressed the last two weeks and are unlikely to play the nail to the Hammers this weekend.  The fitness of midfielder Kevin De Bruyne looks to be a game time decision.  

Leeds, scorers of just two goals in their last three matches will face another stiff challenge against Villa’s stout defense.  Winger Raphinha, who made his Leeds debut in a brief appearance on Monday, can hopefully add a spark for Marco Bielsa’s attack.  Defender Kalvin Philips will be an injury miss for Leeds.  

Southampton rides a three-game unbeaten streak when they host league leaders Everton.  Striker Danny Ings has four goals on the season so far and four goals in his five career appearances for the Saints versus Everton.  Southampton is playing well after early season stumbles and could test the Toffees.  

An up and down Newcastle team will hope goalkeeper Karl Darlow, injured in last week’s loss to Manchester United, is available against Wolves or they are down to their third choice between the sticks.  

Crystal Palace has a short trip to face league bottom dweller Fulham in a London Derby.  The Eagles will hope to put up a third win of the season despite the absences of forward Jordan Ayew and defender Gary Cahill.  

Manchester United will be without the suspended Anthony Martial in looking to register their first home win of the season when they face Chelsea.  Edinson Cavani could see his first action for the Red Devils.  Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will hope the tide has turned for his team following last week’s win at Newcastle and a midweek Champions League victory over PSG.

Bottom of the Table

Brighton and Hove Albion could take a big step in their search for safety if they can dispense with the defensively generous Baggies of West Brom this weekend. The Seagulls have taken a dip since their impressive week two win at Newcastle. West Brom has shown little this season but for a surprising first half in their match against Chelsea in week three.

Burnley and West Brom treated Premier League fans to the first scoreless draw of the season last week. The Clarets will need to add to their season's three goals if they are to remain competitive with an offensively gifted Spurs team on Monday.

Sheffield United, with only two goals on the season, will hope to capitalize on the injury problems in back for Liverpool.

Fulham host Crystal Palace in a game that might have prospects to deliver the league's second goalless draw of the season.


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