Friday, November 4, 2022

Match Week 15 Preview: Arsenal Face Revenge of Aubameyang; Liverpool Tries To Get Back On Track Versus Decimated Spurs; Premier League Return of Unai Emery; Forest Is Home To Bees

A familiar face awaits Arsenal when the Gunners visit Stamford Bridge on Sunday. Former Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang now plays in a blue shirt for Chelsea after an epic fallout with Arsenal Manager Mikel Arteta saw the club’s captain depart north London last season.

Aubameyang scored 92 goals over four years at Arsenal before Arteta found the practice habits and overall game of the Gabon international to be lacking. Arteta prefers more versatile and hardworking forwards while Aubameyang’s tardiness to not only practice but games themselves was a bad fit for the culture Arteta was building. Aubameyang was first stripped of his captaincy and then shipped to Barcelona. He is now back in the Premier League and looking to settle a score with his former manager and club. Arteta, meanwhile, has no regrets and his dynamic group of young players sits atop the Premier League table. Arteta will be managing his 150th match for Arsenal on Sunday and already has more wins than any Arsenal manager in history to that point in their managerial tenure. Arteta’s 86 wins exceed those of luminaries such as Arsene Wenger and George Graham in their first 150 contests as Gunner managers.

Tottenham Hotspur hosts the other mega match this weekend as Spurs is home to Liverpool. Spurs are a full ten points ahead of Liverpool in the table but suffered a blow during the week when Son Heung-min suffered facial fractures in the club’s Champions League win. The injuries require surgery and the South Korean international is sidelined from league play and is a doubt for the upcoming World Cup. Conte was already missing Richarlison and Dejan Kulusevski to injuries on a rapidly thinning front line. Every league match, meanwhile, is massive for Liverpool as the Reds try to climb out of their ninth-place position in the table after two consecutive losses.

Manchester City have won 14 consecutive matches at home as they prepare to host Fulham this weekend. Two more home victories would tie the club record of 16 consecutive wins which was set more than 100 years ago. Erling Haaland’s participation for Saturday’s match is uncertain which is casing consternation for Fantasy Football players globally. Surprising Fulham is unbeaten in its last four Premier League matches.

Newcastle United has won five of six matches to climb to fourth in the Premier League table. The Magpies travel to Southampton Sunday to face a Saints side which hovers just a point above the relegation line. Needless to say, Eddie Howe is the toast of Newcastle supporters while Ralph Hasenhuttl is barely hanging on to his job on the south coast. Miguel Almiron will be missing for this match, but Newcastle striker Callum Wilson has three goals and an assist in his last four matches at St. Mary’s, the home of the Saints.

Unai Emery makes his Premier League return when he manages Aston Villa against Manchester United Saturday. Emery could have a rough afternoon in front of the home supporters as he has had little chance to work with players who have lost three of their past four matches prior to his arrival. He faces a Manchester United side which has lost but once while winning seven of its last ten matches.

West Ham United are home to Crystal Palace on Sunday where a victory could propel the Hammers ahead of the 10th place Eagles. Three of the Hammers’ four wins this season have come at London Stadium while the Eagles have yet to win a match away from their Selhurst Park home. Crystal Palace will have difficulty breaking their losing run on the road if Odsonne Edouard and Cheik Doucoure are unable to play. The club’s best striking option and most dependable midfielder are both questionable with injuries for this weekend’s match.

After notching his first Premier Leage win last week, Brighton Manger Roberto De Zerbi takes his Seagulls to Wolverhampton on Saturday. Wolves are a sorry sight and reportedly will be bringing former Sevilla manager Julen Lopetegui on board as manager following the World Cup break.

Nottingham Forest is the only club to have fewer points in the table than Wolves as the basement dwelling club prepares to host Brentford on Saturday. Disappointing transfer Jesse Lingard has yet to score or provide an assist this season for Forest. Manager Steve Cooper, meanwhile, has bad memories of facing Brentford, having lost twice to the Bees in the Championship playoffs while Cooper was managing Swansea. Brentford should have a golden opportunity Saturday to capture their first win on the road this season.

Leicester will be trying to climb out of the relegation zone when the Foxes travel to Everton Saturday. The Foxes are 18th in the table but only three points removed from the 12th place Toffees in the congested lower half of the Premier League table. Contrasting styles will be on display at Goodison Park. Everton has conceded fewer goals than any club outside the top four this season while only Liverpool and Fulham have scored more goals than the Foxes outside of the top four clubs.

Bournemouth travels to Leeds on Saturday. The Cherries have fallen from eighth in the table to 14th during a winless run which has seen Bournemouth lose its last three matches. Leeds snapped a four-match losing streak of its own by shocking Liverpool last weekend.

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