Friday, November 6, 2020

Week 8 Preview: Battle of Titans; Foxes & Wolves; Toffees and Devils; Gunners & Villans

Top of the Table

The league’s last two season titlists square off when top of the table Liverpool travels to Manchester City.  Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool squad has won its two Premier League games, and its two Champions League games, since losing captain Virgil van Dijk to injury.  Diogo Jota has been on fire since joining the Reds with seven goals in ten matches across all competitions.

Second place Leicester hosts sixth place Wolves on Sunday. Leicester striker Jamie Vardy has seven goals for the season, joint second in the league. Midfielders James Maddison and Cengiz Under have been making increasing contribution to the Foxes' lethal counterattack.

Spurs travel to West Brom having won five and drawn one in a six-match unbeaten streak following their season opening loss to Everton. The Spurs lead the league with eighteen goals scored, fourteen combined from Son Heung-min and Harry Kane.

Everton should have both James Rodriguez and Lucas Digne available when they host Manchester United. Richarlison remains suspended for Saturday's match. The Toffees, whose torrid start to the season was followed by a current three match winless streak, have only lost one of their last fifteen matches at Goodison.

Fifth place Southampton have exploded for nine goals in their last three games but will be without the injured Danny Ings when they welcome Newcastle to St. Mary's on Friday. The scorer of five goals this season is expected out 4 to 6 weeks. Che Adams and James Ward-Prowse are two will will need to step up for the Saints.

Wolves head to Leicester boasting their best ever Premier League point total after seven games. Wolves are winners of three in an undefeated four match streak.

Mid Table

Chelsea will be looking to post a fourth clean sheet in five games when they host the anemic Sheffield United attack on Saturday. Kai Havertz will be a COVID-19 related absence for a Blues attack which remains without the injured Christian Pulisic. Chelsea though has seemingly unlimited attacking options. 

Aston Villa visit Arsenal Sunday hoping to snap a two-match losing streak following their opening four victories. A tight contest may loom as Arsenal have scored only three goals in their last five matches while Villa have yet to concede an away goal this season. An Arsenal win would see them leapfrog the Villans in the table. 

Striker Gabriel Jesus should be available for Manchester City's match with Liverpool. The depleted City attack has managed no more than a goal in its last four matches. An improved defense featuring center back Ruben Dias though has helped the Citizens go undefeated during that low production stretch.

Newcastle are undefeated in their last four Premier League away matches as they travel to Southampton Friday. Striker Callum Wilson has been transformative for the Magpie attack, scoring six goals in his first seven games for the club.

Leeds travel to Crystal Palace Saturday following their worst loss of the season versus Leicester last week. The aggressive Leeds attack has somewhat surprisingly failed to score more than one goal in four of their last five games. Crystal Palace will have three defenders unavailable due to injury (Ward, Tompkins, Mitchell). Eagle forward Michy Batshuayi has had goals disallowed in three consecutive games and is yet to have one count this season.

West Ham hosts Fulham in a London derby in Saturday's late game. The Hammers have been impressive in some recent performances against more high-quality competition than they will face this weekend. West Ham striker Michail Antonio remains an injury scratch, likely providing another opportunity for disappointing striker Sebastian Haller.

Bottom of the Table

Manchester United are at Everton for Saturday's early game. Manager Ole Gunnar Solskiaer is winless in four previous trips to Goodison Park as the bedeviled manager is firmly in the hot seat for his fifteenth place club. Anything less than a win this week would leave Man United with its lowest point total after seven games in more than thirty years.

Brighton will have Neal Maupay back for Friday's match with Burnley after the striker was absent for rumored disciplinary reasons last week. The striker's goal production, four on the season, is critical for a team where no other seagull has swooped for more than a goal. Brighton defender Lewis Dunk remains on suspension. 

Fulham travel to London Stadium having lost ten consecutive away matches to West Ham. The Cottagers are winless in their last sixteen Premier League derbies against all London clubs in the Premier League. The Cottagers did earn their first win of the season last week.

West Brom fields a team which has conceded the most goals in the league this season when they face the league's highest scoring team in Spurs this weekend.

Sheffield United bring the joint lowest scoring attack in the league to Stamford Bridge on Saturday. The Blades are currently riding an eleven-game winless streak in all competition.

Burnley striker Chris Wood has eight career goals versus Friday's opponent Brighton, his most versus any Premier League opponent. Captain Ben Mee could be available for the Claret back line after a long injury absence.

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