Friday, October 29, 2021

Premier League Preview Match Week 10: Managers Under Fire As Red Devils Face Spurs; Liverpool Awaits Seagulls; Gunners On Fox Hunt; Wolves Out for Benitez; Villa Hope To Avoid Hammering; Hornets Head South

Two endangered managers face each other when Manchester United visits Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer likely can’t survive a defeat after last week’s Liverpool embarrassment. Manchester United’s play, capable of providing moments of individual brilliance, is unfortunately more often marked by disorganization and dispirited play in a clear indictment of the manager. A superior roster, however, versus a Spurs club with its own problems, may well extend Solskjaer’s run. Counterpart manager Nuno Espirito Santo, in his first season in charge for Spurs, is also under criticism, not just for table results and a derby loss to rival Arsenal but, for a style of play which elicits little excitement from fans. Harry Kane, however, has done his new manager no favors with his single goal contribution this season.

Unlucky Brighton heads to Liverpool just a week after the Seagulls were manhandled by Manchester City. Liverpool, meanwhile, was scintillating against Manchester United last week. Mohamed Salah is on fire for the Reds, leading the Premier League with 10 goals in just nine matches. Brighton has not scored more than a goal in its last five league matches against Liverpool.

Two in-form teams collide when Arsenal heads to Leicester this weekend. Arsenal is undefeated in six matches with only league leading Chelsea having taken more points over that six-match stretch. Leicester has won two consecutive league matches with a Europa League win as well during that same recent stretch. The Foxes’ Jamie Vardy has scored more goals against Arsenal than any other club.

Wolves look to extend their unbeaten run to five matches when they host Everton at Molineux Stadium. The Wolves will be hungry after a frustrating draw with Leeds ended a three-match winning run by the Black Country club. Everton, meanwhile,  stumbled badly against Watford, conceding four late goals in a 5-2 home loss. Preseason reservations about manager Rafa Benitez are resurfacing, at least some of the criticism being unjustified due to key injuries the Toffees have needed to overcome. The Toffees will need a strong performance at Molineux from Brazilian national forward Richarlison who returned from injury last weekend. Wolves have relied on the scoring prowess of RB Leipzig loanee Hwang Hee-chan who has four goals in his last six league appearances.

Struggling Aston Villa, losers of three straight league matches, face a West Ham squad that is rolling in league, domestic cup, and European competition this season. The Hammers and manager David Moyes have won three of their last four Premier League matches to sit fourth in the table, are undefeated in Europe and have advanced to the quarterfinals of the Carabao Cup. Aston Villa, despite retooling their squad, have been unable to find the magic this season after the departure of club captain Jack Grealish.

Newcastle hosts league leading Chelsea and the Magpies’ leaky defense will be tested from all directions by a Chelsea side which has seen 14 different players score goals this season. Defensively, Chelsea has allowed only three goals by its league opponents while only Norwich has conceded more goals than Newcastle. One bright spot for the Magpies is striker Callum Wilson who has scored in each of his last six league appearances.

Crystal Palace supporters will rue the points dropped with late concessions in a recent run of draws as the Eagles take a step up in class when they travel to powerful Manchester City this weekend. The Citizens have allowed only three goals over the course of an eight-match unbeaten run which has them third in the table. The Eagles have conceded second half leads against Brighton, Arsenal and Newcastle in recent weeks.

Watford host Southampton for what could be a telling match. It’s difficult to gauge the quality of a Watford club which shocked Everton last week, a week after being shellacked by Liverpool under new coach Claudio Ranieri. Southampton is more a known commodity. The Saints’ defense has largely played well but they have been unable to replace the departed Danny Ings’s scoring punch. This is an important matchup between two clubs trying not to get pulled into the relegation fight.

Brentford, facing winless Burnley, looks to rebound after suffering back-to-back losses for a first time this season. Unfortunately, Brentford face their first match without goalkeeper David Raya who will miss an extended run of games due to a knee injury. Raya has been a key factor in the Bees’ surprising success, displaying not just Premier League quality shot stopping but also a capacity for ball distribution which has helped fuel the club’s attack. Burnley is mired in the relegation zone despite some encouraging performances from striker signing Maxwell Cornet. 

Norwich hope for better things when they host Leeds at Carrow Road this weekend following last week’s 7-0 trouncing by Chelsea. The bottom dwelling Canaries have conceded 23 goals and scored but two as they remain in search of their first win. Leeds is hoping to have Rafinha back to help secure the three points and keep 17th place Leeds clear of the relegation zone. 

Carabao Cup

West Ham defeated Manchester City on penalties in the Carabao Cup’s Round of 16, eliminating the Citizens from a tournament they have won in each of the past four years. The victory further burnishes the growing perception of Manager David Moyes and the Hammers as a Premier League force to be reckoned with. The Hammers are currently fourth in the Premier League table and undefeated to date in Europa League competition. The Hammers now await Saturday’s Carabao Cup quarterfinal draw. Chelsea also won on penalties versus Southampton and Thomas Tuchel’s men will continue among the favorites, along with Liverpool, to grab the cup so long held by Manchester City. Sunderland is the only competitor not from the Premier League to advance following the Black Cats’ defeat of QPR in penalties.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave a comment: