Friday, November 10, 2023

Premier League Preview: Match Week 12

Manchester City is now back atop the table, winning three consecutive matches after a brief two match stumble had given hope to the rest of the league. The Citizens travel to London on Sunday to face a Chelsea side which may, or may not, have turned a corner at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Monday. The game against Manchester City will provide an acid test as to whether Chelsea was just enjoying  the fortune of a two-man advantage versus Spurs or whether supporters saw the first signs of their club returning to competitive respectability. Stamford Bridge has been the scene of too many poor matches by Chelsea of late, the Blues having won only one of their last 13 home matches.

Spurs, knocked from the top of the table and the ranks of the unbeaten by Chelsea, could be vulnerable at Wolverhampton on Saturday due to missing players. Three starting defenders will be absent for the match at Molineux. Cristian Romero and Destiny Udogie are suspended. Mickey van de Ven is injured. Worse news was received Friday when Manager Ange Postecoglou revealed that James Maddison, the architect of so much of Spurs’ creative play, will be out for the remainder of the year with his ankle injury. The hope remains that midfielder James Maddison can shake off the ankle knock he suffered on Monday and take the pitch versus Wolves. Wolverhampton is coming off its worst performance of the season after losing to previously winless Sheffield United last week.

Brentford will try to hand Liverpool its first home defeat of the season when the Bees visit Anfield Saturday. Manager Thomas Frank will have his men well drilled to stop the potent Liverpool counterattack. The Bees narrowly fell 1-0 at Anfield last season while downing the Reds 3-1 at home. Third place Liverpool is three points behind Manchester City. Brentford is ninth in the league and on a run of three consecutive victories.

West Ham has lost three matches in a row after last week’s defeat to the Bees and are home to Nottingham Forest on Saturday. The Trees, one point behind 12th place West Ham in the table, ambushed Aston Villa last weekend at the City Ground. Only Sheffield United, however, has lost more away matches this season than the Tricky Trees.

Sheffield United will try to make it two consecutive victories when the Blades visit Brighton on Saturday. The more likely outcome, however, is that Brighton wins for the first time since September 30th as both clubs perform closer to  their true potential this weekend. 

Aston Villa will be back at Villa Park this weekend hoping to put the shock road loss to Forest behind them when Fulham visits Sunday. The Cottagers have the fewest goals of any club not currently in relegation zone as they have been hard hit by the transfer loss of striker Aleksander Mitrovic. The Villans, meanwhile, have no such problems with only Manchester City and Newcastle finding the net more often than Emery’s sharpshooters.


Newcastle might normally be expected to bolster its goal total on Saturday’s visit to Bournemouth as only Sheffield United has conceded more often than the Cherries. The Magpies, however, are struggling with injuries right now. Callum Wilson could join forward Alexander Isak in the stands after hurting a hamstring against Borussia Dortmund during the week. Harvey Barnes remains out and Bruno Guimares is suspended for the match on the south coast. Gambling man Sandro Tonali, of course, is suspended until next season for the Magpies.

Burnley’s miserable season is unlikely to get any better on Saturday. The Clarets, losers of nine of their 11 Premier League matches this season, will be at the Emirates to face Arsenal which lost for the first time last weekend. Good luck, Vincent Kompany.

Luton Town can deal a historic blow to Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday. A win by the Hatters would mean six Manchester United losses in its first 11 home matches across all competitions this season. That’s never happened before. Hopefully the Hatters will not play with too big a head after drawing Liverpool last week.

Everton have played better in recent weeks as the Toffees travel to Selhurst Park to face Crystal Palace on Saturday. Selhurst has proved far less than a fortress for the Eagles as they’ve won just one of their five home matches this season. 

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