Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Match 5 Week Preview

The young Premier League season sees its first scheduled midweek fixtures with games Tuesday through Thursday. Crystal Palace welcomes Brentford to the Eagles’ Selhurst Park Tuesday.

Rumors early this week indicated Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha could be a target of Chelsea, particularly if the Blues are unable to procure Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Zaha was absent from the Manchester City clash due to a minor injury and remains a question versus Brentford.

Another London derby takes place on Wednesday when Spurs take on West Ham at the Hammers’ London Stadium. West Ham will hope to build on its initial win of the season over the weekend but faces a stiff challenge from third place Spurs and an in-form Harry Kane.

Arsenal will try to maintain its table leadership when the Gunners host struggling Aston Villa on Wednesday. Heat will build further on Villa Manager Steven Gerrard if his squad is outclassed by the streaking Gunners.

Liverpool will try to continue its momentum form the weekend when the Reds host a stubborn Newcastle side at Anfield.

Striker Darwin Nunez remains out on suspension but there was no shortage of attack options as Liverpool humiliated Bournemouth.

Bournemouth limps home to face Wolverhampton Wednesday. Only West Ham has scored fewer goals than Wolves this season, but Bournemouth has allowed a ridiculous 16 balls into its net after four matches. Scott Parker will not be on the touchline for Wednesday’s match after the Bournemouth manager was sacked on Tuesday. Parker’s team was pummeled by nine Liverpool goals and was on a three-match losing run though the schedule was not kind for a newly promoted club with the three losses coming against Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool. Parker likely sealed his fate with post-match remarks after the Liverpool debacle which intimated that the Cherries’ cause was hopeless without further investment by ownership. Parker will be an attractive candidate for jobs at the second level of English football after taking both Fulham and Bournemouth to the topflight in recent years.

Manchester City will be looking to leapfrog or at least stay on the heels of table leading Arsenal when the Citizens host Nottingham Forest Wednesday. The letdown by City in the first half versus Crystal Palace is unlikely to be repeated by Pepp Guardiola’s men against newly promoted Forest.

Fourth place Brighton heads to London Tuesday to face Fulham. Newly promoted Fulham has played well this season, but Brighton is a deeper club and tactically astute under Manager Graham Potter.

Chelsea, meanwhile, will head out of London for a south coast matchup with Southampton Tuesday. The sixth place Blues are a difficult club to gauge until the transfer window closes as new ownership led by Todd Boehly continues to pursue several targets as the window winds down towards its Thursday deadline.

Manchester United seeks a third straight win when the Red Devils visit struggling Leicester in the only Thursday game. Casemiro could play a bigger part for United after his debut as a substitute last weekend. The Red Devils continue to be active in the transfer window with Ajax winger Antony announced on Monday as the club most expensive signing since Paul Pogba. The outlay for Antony raises eyebrows as the Brazilian has yet to score as many as 10 goals in a league season for Ajax and former club Sao Paulo. Bottom of the table Leicester will be trying to avoid a fourth consecutive loss. Leicester Manager Brendan Rodgers could be nearing the end of his reign for the Foxes. A sacking, however, would be expensive for seemingly cash strapped Leicester. Rodgers may thus hit the door of his own accord should other sackings create an opening of interest for the former Liverpool and Celtic manager.

Leeds are home to relegation bound Everton Tuesday. The Whites are looking to register a third consecutive home win in the topflight for the first time since 1973-74 while Everton are off to their worst start in 12 topflight seasons. Leeds have surprised this season in generating the joint third highest point total in the league after four matches. Everton’s attack has been anemic at best with winger Anthony Gordon responsible for 11 of the club’s 23 shots on target to date. Striker Neal Maupay, acquired from Brighton, could be in line for his first appearance with the Toffees.

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