Friday, October 14, 2022

Match Week 11 Preview: Shine Off Liverpool v. Manchester City Matchup? Newcastle Chance To Prove It Belongs; Fulham and Bournemouth A Clash of Overachievers; Hammers Look To Continue Climbing

Manchester City travels to Liverpool this weekend to visit its wounded rival. Manchester City is chasing yet another Premier League title and has arguably become a better club after adding the prolific goalscoring of Erling Haaland. Liverpool, meanwhile, has fallen on hard times in the league and is looking up from 10th position in the table. Manchester City has outscored Premier League opponents by 24 goals in nine matches this season. Absent an anomalous 9-0 battering of Bournemouth, Liverpool would have a negative goal differential this season. While a mismatch on paper, the rivalry of recent years and the Anfield support for Liverpool should ensure a lively affair and perhaps a chance for the Reds to reverse their fortunes.

Manchester City, however, is still chasing Arsenal in the table and will be keen to avoid dropping points Sunday to its once most formidable rival. Arsenal holds a slim one-point lead over Manchester City as the league leaders head to Elland Road this weekend to face Leeds. The Gunners have responded with three consecutive wins after suffering their only loss of the season to Manchester United. Leeds, meanwhile, is reeling a bit after suffering a third loss in five matches last weekend versus Crystal Palace. Colombian winger Luis Sinisterra returns from suspension for Leeds. Arsenal rested Gabriel Jesus for its midweek Europa League match, but Arsenal’s leading scorer should again be leading the line at Elland Road this weekend.

Graham Potter is undefeated across all competitions as Chelsea manager as he takes his club to Aston Villa Sunday where opposing manager Steven Gerrard is under fire. Villa has been unproductive in the final third this season, scoring more than a goal in just one match. Chelsea has scored at least two goals in each of its three league matches under Potter and striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang seems to offer the consistent goal threat the Blues have been lacking in recent seasons. Chelsea has moved into the top four, just four points behind third place Tottenham Hotspur which has played one more match than Potter’s side.

Spurs are home to Everton on Saturday where Manager Antoinio Conte’s club will look to extend a current seven match winning run at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Richarlison will be anxious to put in a performance versus his former club, perhaps capped by his first Premier League goal for Spurs. Everton are squarely mid table with the Toffees four points removed from both the European places and the relegation zone. Manager Frank Lampard received criticism for the performance of his defense as Chelsea manager, but his Everton side has conceded the joint fewest goals in the Premier League this season.

Sixth place Newcastle will attempt to leapfrog fifth place Manchester United at Old Trafford Sunday. Newcastle has rolled its last two opponents by an aggregate 9-2 margin. Miguel Almiron has contributed three goals in those two matches while Bruno Guimares registered a brace in the Magpies’ last match. Manchester United responded to a crushing defeat at Manchester City two weeks ago by nipping Everton on a Cristiano Ronaldo goal last week.

Fulham and Bournemouth finished first and second in the Championship division last season and the two promoted clubs are both surprisingly now in the top half of the Premier League table. Eighth place Bournemouth visits Fulham this weekend with the Cherries yet to taste defeat under interim manager Gary O’Neil. A five-match unbeaten run has moved the Cherries one point ahead of Fulham in the table. The Cottagers have hit a rough patch, losing three of their past four matches after a strong start to the season. The fitness of Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic could be the deciding factor Saturday. Mitrovic is questionable for the match at Craven Cottage with a foot injury which caused him to miss the Cottagers’ loss at West Ham last week.

Brentford have won only one of their last seven Premier League matches as the Bees prepare to host Brighton in a Friday match. That lack of success has dropped Brentford to 11th in the table, but the Bees are still only four points behind seventh place Brighton. The Seagulls will be looking to win their first match in a third try under new manager Roberto de Zerbi. Ivan Toney leads the scoring for the Bees with a six-goal tally to date which includes a hat trick versus Leeds. Leonardo Trossard leads the Seagulls with five goals, including a hat trick against Liverpool.

West Ham has moved within four points of the European places after two consecutive victories have lifted the Hammers from the relegation zone. Manager David Moyes will expect his charges to continue to climb the table by capturing a result at Southampton this weekend. The Hammers’ attack, somnolent for much of the season, has awakened in recent weeks with improved performances from goal scorers Jarrod Bowen and Gianluca Scamacca. The Saints, meanwhile, have lost four consecutive matches to drift to within a point of the drop zone and allow Manager Ralph Hasenhuttl to make rapid strides in the Premier League sack race.

Crystal Palace has another opportunity to distance itself from the relegation clubs when the Eagles visit Leicester Saturday. Crystal Palace Manager Patrick Vieira saw goals from Odsonne Edouard and Eberechi Eze defeat Leeds last week for just the Eagles’ second win of the season. Production from players not named Wilfried Zaha is critical for the Eagles to keep moving up the table. Leicester risks losing to Crystal Palace for a first time under Manager Brendan Rodgers. The Foxes are bottom of the table and have conceded the most goals in the league.

The two clubs sharing the relegation spaces with Leicester are Wolverhampton and Nottingham Forest. Those two clubs face off on Saturday in a battle of resistible force versus movable object. Wolverhampton’s three goals from their nine matches make them the least dangerous club in the league. Nottingham Forest, meanwhile, has given up the second most goals, after Leicester, this season. Forest, however, is also less than offensive powerhouse as only Wolves have scored fewer times than Manager Steven Cooper’s squad. One can only fear for those supporters feeling obligated to view this Battle Royale between the relegation rivals.

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