Friday, November 20, 2020

Week 9 Preview: Anfield Streak at Risk; Jose v Pep; If Arsenal can’t score this weekend…

Top of the Table

Leicester sees Liverpool at the perfect time with the Foxes flying of late and injuries plaguing the Reds.  Former Liverpool and current Fox manager Brendan Rodgers would love nothing more than to end Liverpool’s sixty-three game home unbeaten streak in what would be Rodgers’ first win over his former club since his return to the league.  Ironically, it was Leicester who ended Liverpool’s last sixty-three home unbeaten streak in 1981.  The fitness of defenders Wesley Fofana and Tim Castagne could be key for the Foxes.  Liverpool hopes to have Fabinho back to reinforce their beleaguered center back corps.  Full back Trent Alexander Arnold and midfielder Jordan Henderson are also injury scratches.  Forward Mohamed Salah will also miss the game due to COVID.  The Reds will need Diogo Jota, having scored in each of his first three Anfield appearances for Liverpool, to continue his electric run.  

Spurs put their league best seven game unbeaten streak on the line when they host Manchester City.  This weekend’s game marks a year since Jose Mourinho took over Spurs.  During that time only Liverpool and Manchester City have accumulated more points than the north London club.  Harry Kane and Son Heung-min may be joined by a healthy Gareth Bale to harass the Citizens on Saturday.  Defensively, the play of center backs Eric Dier and Toby Alderweireld will be key versus a City team which should see the likely return of Striker Sergio Aguero.  A win by Spurs coupled with a Leicester loss would see Jose and Spurs top of the table.  

Southampton are riding a three-match winning streak as they head to Molineux to face Wolves.  The Saints are without Danny Ings and will need continued production from Che Adams who has three goals in his last four matches.  

A goal by Timo Werner on Saturday versus Newcastle would make him the first Chelsea player to score in five consecutive matches across all competitions since Didier Drogba.  Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech has been involved in four of Chelsea’s seven goals in the two league games he has started.  

Jack Grealish is looking forward to Aston Villa’s match versus Brighton as he has scored more career goals against the Seagulls than any other Premier League opponent.  Only Chelsea and Tottenham have scored more goals than Aston Villa this season while no team has conceded fewer goals than the Villans.

Mid Table

Everton hopes to have Richarlison back versus Fulham after his three-game suspension during which the club lost all three games and fell to seventh in the table.  The Toffees have never won a match with Richarlison out of the starting line-up during his Everton career.  

Crystal Palace travels to Turf Moor to face Burnley on Monday.  The Eagle attack soared in their 4-1 win over Leeds before break.  Goals should prove scarcer against a packed in Burnley defense, particularly if exciting new winger Ebereche Eze is unable to play after an international duty injury. 

Wolves welcome Southampton in Monday’s final game of the weekend.  While lacking bite in attack, Wolves have posted clean sheets against half their opponents this season.  The club’s offensive production has seen reduced contribution from Adama Traore who has not started a game since September while involved in contentious contract discussions with the club.  

Manchester City hopes to have Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling fit for their match against Spurs.  The Citizens have failed to score more than one goal in every game since a 5-2 September loss to Leicester.  Manager Pep Guardiola signed a new two-year contract with City ahead of this week’s match versus long time managerial rival Jose Mourinho.


Arsenal travel to Leeds hoping the Whites’ defensive frailties are just the remedy for the blanks the Gunners have been firing of late.  Arsenal has failed to score in three of their last four games. 

West Ham visits Sheffield United on Sunday.  The Hammers have lost only once since two season opening defeats and could possibly see striker Michail Antonio return from injury.  

Newcastle, facing a high scoring Chelsea team at St. James Park this weekend, have conceded nine home league goals this season, more than any league club but Manchester United.  

Man United hope for their first home win of the season when West Brom visits Old Trafford on Saturday.  The Red Devils had failed to score in two games before their three-goal outburst versus Everton before the international break. 

Bottom of the Table

Leeds will hope to shore up its defense when hosting Arsenal on Sunday.  The Whites have conceded four goals in each of their last two matches.  

Brighton travel to Aston Villa where they have never won a match.  The sixteenth place Seagulls are winless in their last six games. 

Fulham winger Ademola Lookman would love to redeem himself versus Everton after last week’s embarrassing penalty miss.  A good performance against his former Toffee employers would be doubly satisfying.  Fulham also need to see more from Chelsea loanee Ruben Loftus-Cheek.  

West Brom head to Old Trafford with the Baggies only hope being that the mysterious Red Devil home curse this season continues.  The Baggies are not unfamiliar with success at Old Trafford, having won three of their last five league visits there.  

Burnley go into their game with Crystal Place having failed to score a goal in their last four league games.  

Sheffield United will try to climb from the league cellar when they welcome a West Ham team which has interestingly never won a Premier League game at Bramall Lane.  

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