Friday, November 27, 2020

Week 10 Preview: Return of Jose; Saints Duel with Devils; Villa Hopes to Avoid Hammering


Top of the Table

Jose Mourinho returns to Stamford Bridge as his Spurs take on Chelsea in the weekend’s most anticipated match. League leading Spurs have combined the deadly counterattacking of Son Heung-min and Harry Kane to devastating effect in combination with Mourinho’s pragmatic defensive discipline.  Chelsea are the only club to have has scored more goals than Spurs this season.  The Blues have also solved their early season defensive problems to post clean sheets against opponents in four of their last six league matches.  Christian Pulisic, who has missed all but three of Chelsea’s matches this year due to injury, should be available for the match with Spurs.  

Liverpool, trailing top club Spurs only on goal differential, travel to Brighton hoping to build on the Reds’ impressive victory against Leicester last weekend.  A midweek loss to Atalanta in the Champions League will likely put Liverpool in an aggressive mindset against the Seagulls.  Naby Keita and Thiago are expected to be missing for a Liverpool midfield which could see Jordan Henderson available for duty.  Forward Mohamed Salah should also be healthy for the match.  

Leicester host Fulham this weekend looking to bounce back from an underwhelming performance versus Liverpool.  Striker Jamie Vardy will look to add to his eight goals so far this season for the Foxes.  Vardy was held scoreless against Liverpool after scoring in his previous four league matches.  

Southampton welcome Manchester United to St. Mary’s as the Saints look to extend a current seven match league unbeaten streak. Only Spurs and Manchester City have accumulated more points than Southampton since the June restart of last campaign.  Theo Walcott and Che Adams will need continue their good form in the absence of injured striker Danny Ings.  

Everton will meet Leeds this weekend in what could be a goal fest with the Blues having already conceded sixteen goals this season, one less than attack minded Leeds.  Everton returned to winning form last week following three consecutive losses. The return of Richarlison from suspension was key to the win over Fulham.  The Toffees seemed to tire in the second half versus the Cottagers which could be ominous against the high-octane Whites of Marco Bielsa. 

Mid Table

Aston Villa, playing at West Ham hopes to continue a perfect away record this season. The Villans, losers now of three of their last four matches, come off a disappointing home loss to Brighton last week in which they lost midfielder Russ Barkley to injury. West Ham has lost only once in its last eight Premier League meeting with Villa. The Hammers are riding a two-match winning streak and could possibly see striker Michail Antonio return from injury for Monday's match.


Wolves, losers just once in their six matches, travel to Arsenal this weekend. Nuno Espirito Santo's team has been achieving results with a defense that has conceded fewer league goals than any team but Spurs this season. The Wolves' defense will be further strengthened this weekend with the return of center back and captain Conor Coady.

Manchester United will look to extend a current seven match road winning streak when they visit Southampton this weekend. The Red Devils are unbeaten in their last ten matches away from home. Midfielders Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay are injury doubts for United.

Crystal Palace will be without the services of Wilfried Zaha when they host Newcastle on Friday. Now would be a good time for forward Michy Batshuayi to step up and deliver his first goal of the season for Palace. The inconsistent Eagles have alternated wins and losses in their last four games.

Arsenal will be hard pressed to solve its scoring problems against a defensively superb Wolves team this weekend.  There is mounting pressure on Arsenal Manager Mikel Arteta as the Gunners have scored only one goal in winning just one of their last five games.  

Manchester City are just four places in the table above weekend opponent Burnley. The Citizen attack continues to sputter but fortunately may not need much more than a goal to defeat the Clarets.  City may see the return of oft injured striker Sergio Aguero who has scored the last nine times he has faced Burnley across all competitions.  

Leeds face Everton this weekend at Goodison Park, a ground where they have not won since 1990.  Patrick Bamford has scored in each of Leeds first four away matches this season.  

Newcastle hopes to end a two-match losing streak during which they have not scored a goal when they visit Crystal Palace Friday.  Magpie Striker Callum Wilson should be back against the Eagles. Newcastle managed just one shot on target with Wilson out of the line-up last week.

Bottom of the Table

Brighton will be without suspended defender Tariq Lamptey when they host Liverpool at the Amex. The Seagulls are winless in eight consecutive home matches and have never beaten Liverpool home or away. Forward Danny Welbeck has proved a welcome addition to the Seagull attack in recent weeks. 

Burnley, facing Manchester City this week, combine a solid defense with the joint worst attack in the league. The Clarets 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace last week marked a third clean sheet in their last five matches.

Fulham goes fox hunting at Leicester this weekend. The Cottagers will hopefully have practiced their penalty kicks this past week as missed penalties cost the Cottagers a point in each of their last two games. Amendola Lookman and Ruben Loftus-Cheek have been providing more threat in recent games for Fulham.

West Brom plays host to Sheffield United as both teams seek their first win of the season. The Baggies, two points ahead of the bottom dwelling Blades in the table, have conceded more goals this season than any Premier League club. Sheffield Unnited has scored the joint fewest goals in the league and thus the Blade attack presents a very resistible force versus the movable object of the West Brom defense.

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