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English Premier League – Matchweek 5 Preview

EPL Matchweek Previews

English Premier League action is back after a two-week break for international competitions. This was a perfect opportunity for EPL clubs to wrap up their transfers for the fall season, get settled and analyze the results from the first 4 weeks of EPL action.

There are only 3 teams left in the English Premier League with a perfect record. Liverpool, Chelsea and the surprise upstart Watford. EPL Champions Manchester City and the likes of Manchester United, Tottenham and Arsenal have already slipped in the title race, so this break was a great chance to regroup and create game plans for the Matchweek 5 of EPL.

This year’s title race is shaping up to be a 5-team race as Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham all look for their chance. Arsenal seem to be rebuilding and it is unrealistic to expect that they will be able to mount a serious challenge this year.

I have prepared a short preview for all of the Matchweek 5 games this weekend, along with some key info and storylines for each game. So, let’s get started!

Tottenham Hotspurs vs Liverpool

Time: Saturday, September 15th 2018, 13:30 CET (07:30 EST)

Venue: Wembley

Tottenham Hotspurs Provisional Starting XI

  • GK – Lloris,
  • Defense – Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Davies, Trippier
  • Midfield – Alli, Eriksen, Dembele,
  • Attack – Moura, Kane

Liverpool Provisional Starting XI

  • GK – Allison
  • Defense – van Dijk, Gomez, Alexander-Arnold, Robertson
  • Midfield – Milner, Wijnaldum, Keita
  • Attack – Salah, Firmino, Mane

Tottenham are coming off a surprise away defeat to Watford 2-1 and are looking to get back on track this week, as they host the league leaders Liverpool. This match will have early implications on the title race, as Liverpool seek to maintain their perfect record.

Tottenham have really struggled against Liverpool in recent history, winning only 1 out of the 12 last matches, with 7 Liverpool wins and 4 draws. What has really plagued them during that period has been their set pieces, where they have allowed 8 goals from them in those 12 games. The same story continues this season, as they have already allowed 3 goals from set pieces in 4 games.

Liverpool are on a roll. They are one of the undefeated teams in the EPL with 4 wins in as many matches. Even though they struggled to mount a title challenge last season, their late run of form in the UEFA Champions League has given the side a breath of confidence that reflects in their play and results. Jurgen Klopp’s side will be looking to continue their run of good results, as they dispose of one of their main rivals for the title this season.

It will be a close game with plenty of attacking soccer and potential for a lot of goals. Still, the recent history says that Liverpool have the edge in this matchup, especially at home. Yet, even Manchester United had a 12-game winning streak at Old Trafford versus Tottenham, but the Spurs managed to dismantle them 0-3 and finally win.

Newcastle United vs Arsenal

Time: Saturday, September 15th 2018, 16:00 CET (10:00 EST)

Venue: St. James Park

Newcastle United Provisional Starting XI

  • GK – Dubravka
  • Defense – Lascelles, Clark, Fernandez, Dummet, Yedlin
  • Midfield – Diame, Kenedy, Sung-yueng
  • Attack – Rondon, Perez

Arsenal Provisional Starting XI

  • GK – Cech
  • Defense –Sokratis, Monreal, Mustafi, Bellerin
  • Midfield – Ozil, Ramsey, Xhaka, Guendouzi
  • Attack – Aubameyang, Lacazette

Newcastle United will host Arsenal at St. James Park in a bid to pump some life into their otherwise awful EPL season. The Magpies have managed to win just a single point in their first 4 matches, with a bore draw 0-0 versus Cardiff City. Yes, their schedule has been extremely difficult as they had to face Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham in their first 4 matches but they have to perform better if they are to avoid a relegation scare this season.

Arsenal have had their own share of struggles as well. They have opened the season with losses to rivals Chelsea and Manchester City but have since then won two straight matches, beating West Ham 3-1 at home and Cardiff City 2-3 away. Has Unai Emery finally managed to get the Gunner back on track? It remains to be seen.

Arsenal are the better side in this matchup but have struggled so far this season, especially defensively, as they have allowed 8 goals in 4 matches. They will need to keep it tight at the back, as Newcastle will be looking to counter-attack and leave the possession to them. I think that the Magpies have an excellent chance to score at least a point at home against the side that is not playing with a lot of confidence so far.

Chelsea vs Cardiff City

Time: Saturday, September 15th 2018, 16:00 CET (10:00 EST)

Venue: Stamford Bridge

Chelsea Provisional Starting XI

  • GK – Arizzabalaga
  • Defense – Rudiger, Luiz, Azpilicueta, Alonso
  • Midfield – Kovacic, Kante, Jorginho, Willian, Hazard
  • Attack – Morata

 

Cardiff City Provisional Starting XI

  • GK – Etheridge
  • Defense – Bennett, Morrison, Bamba, Ecuele Manga
  • Midfield – Ralls, Camarasa, Hoilett, Arter
  • Attack – Ward, Reid

Chelsea are looking to continue their perfect start to the EPL season as they host Cardiff City at Stamford Bridge. The Blues have won all 4 matches to start the season and have been a revelation under the new manager Maurizio Sarri, who has rejuvenated the team.

Cardiff City, on the other hand, are having a difficult start to their EPL season and are one of the main favorites for relegation to the English Championship next season. They have scored only 2 points in their first 4 matches, dropping them into the relegation zone.

Chelsea have won their last 4 matches against Cardiff City and are an absolute favorite to win this one at home. Cardiff have really struggled to score this season, being held scoreless in 3 out of the 4 matches they have played this season in EPL. Chelsea should bag this one easily.

Huddersfield Town vs Crystal Palace

Time: Saturday, September 15th 2018, 16:00 CET (10:00 EST)

Venue: Kirklees Stadium

Huddersfield Town Provisional Starting XI

  • GK – Lossl
  • Defense – Hadergjonaj, Zanka, Lowe, Schindler, Kongolo
  • Midfield – Mooy, van La Parra, Diakhaby, Billing
  • Attack – Mounie

Crystal Palace Provisional Starting XI

  • GK – Hennessey
  • Defense –Kelly, van Aanholt, Sakho
  • Midfield – Schlupp, Wan-Bissaka, Milivojevic, Townsend, McArthur
  • Attack – Zaha, Ayew

Huddersfield Town are looking for the first win of this EPL season as they host Crystal Palace at Kirklees Stadium. They had a cruel opening schedule facing Chelsea and Manchester City in back-to-back matches in which they have allowed 9 goals and lost. Since then, Huddersfield Town have won 2 points in draws with Cardiff City at home and Everton away.

Crystal Palace had a strong season opener, where they defeated Southampton away 0-2. Since then the Eagles have been terrible, losing three straight games to Liverpool, Watford and Southampton. Despite having a potent attack, Crystal Palace are having trouble scoring this season, with only 3 goals in 4 matches so far.

It will be a tight match, as Huddersfield Town seem to have solved their defensive issues from the first two games and Crystal Palace has been underwhelming in the attack this season. This one could go either way, but I give a small edge to Crystal Palace who have at moments played well against quality sides like Liverpool and Watford.

Manchester City vs Fulham

Time: Saturday, September 15th 2018, 16:00 CET (10:00 EST)

Venue: City of Manchester Stadium

Manchester City Provisional Starting XI

  • GK – Ederson
  • Defense – Mendy, Stones, Laporte, Walker
  • Midfield – Fernandinho, Silva, Mahrez
  • Attack – Sterling, Aguero, Jesus

Fulham Provisional Starting XI

  • GK – Bettinelli
  • Defense – Odoi, Mawson, Fosu-Mensah, Le Marchand
  • Midfield – Seri, Schurrle, McDonald, Zambo Anguissa
  • Attack – Mitrovic, Vietto

The defending EPL champions Manchester City host the newly-promoted Fulham at the City of Manchester Stadium. The Citizens are having another strong start to the EPL season and would have a perfect record if it wasn’t for the slip up at Wolverhampton where they drew 1-1.

Fulham are slowly playing into the form that made them one of the most exciting teams to watch in English soccer last year. After losing the home opener 0-2 to Crystal Palace and getting demolished 3-1 at Tottenham, Fulham got back on track with a comfortable 4-2 win versus Burnley and drew 2-2 away at Brighton.

This one has the potential to be one of the highest scoring games of the season so far. Both sides prefer to play attacking soccer and Fulham have shown they are not afraid to attack the stronger teams in the past. Manchester City is the absolute favorite at home but I still expect an interesting match as both sides create a lot of chances.

Bournemouth vs Leicester City

Time: Saturday, September 15th 2018, 16:00 CET (10:00 EST)

Venue: Vitality Stadium

Bournemouth Provisional Starting XI

  • GK – Begovic
  • Defense – Ake, Francis, Cook, Rico
  • Midfield – Lerma, Ibe, Gosling, Fraser
  • Attack – King, Wilson

Leicester City Provisional Starting XI

  • GK – Schmeichel
  • Defense – Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell, Pereira
  • Midfield – Mendy, Ghezzal, Ndidi
  • Attack – Maddison, Gray, Vardy

Bournemouth are hosting Leicester City at Vitality Stadium this weekend, as they try to get back to winning ways after the 2-0 defeat to Chelsea in the last match. Otherwise, Bournemouth have enjoyed a strong start to the season, winning their opening games versus Cardiff City and West Ham and drawing against Everton.

Leicester City are once again playing well. Despite their difficult early schedule which saw them lose to Manchester United and Liverpool in close games, they have beaten Wolverhampton 2-1 at home and Southampton 0-2 away.

This match will be a joy to watch as two attacking sides go at each other. I find it impossible to pick between the two sides in this one, as the game might swing each way. One thing is certain though, there will be a lot of action to follow and hopefully goals.

Watford vs Manchester United

Time: Saturday, September 15th 2018, 18:30 CET (12:30 EST)

Venue: Vicarage Road

Watford Provisional Starting XI

  • GK – Foster
  • Defense – Cathcart, Janmaat, Kabasele, Holebas
  • Midfield – Hughes, Capoue, Pereyra, Doucoure
  • Attack – Gray, Deeney

Manchester United Provisional Starting XI

  • GK – De Gea
  • Defense – Smalling, Lindelof, Valencia, Young
  • Midfield – Pogba, Matic, Lingard, Fred
  • Attack – Sanchez, Lukaku

The surprise of this young EPL season, Watford are hosting the giants Manchester United at Vicarage Road this weekend. Watford have been perfect this season, with 4 wins in as many matches and an attractive style of play that has won the fans over.

Manchester United, on the other hand, are in the middle of a manager controversy, as rumors are flying around that Jose Mourinho might be fired. The Red Devils haven’t been playing well this season and already have lost twice in the EPL this season, an embarrassing 0-3 defeat to Tottenham at home and a 3-2 slip up to Brighton & Hove Young.

This match will be a meeting of two contrasting play styles, Watford who like to push the ball forward and overwhelm their opponents and Manchester United, who under Jose Mourinho like to control the middle of the field and preserve the clean sheet in the first place. Manchester United are a better squad but are currently not playing well, so this will be a tough outing for them.

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Burnley

Time: Sunday, September 15th 2018, 14:30 CET (08:30 EST)

Venue: Molineux Stadium

Wolverhampton Wanderers Provisional Starting XI

  • GK – Rui Patricio
  • Defense – Bennett, Coady, Boly, Doherty
  • Midfield – Jonny, Neves, Moutinho
  • Attack – Jota, Costa, Jimenez

Burnley Provisional Starting XI

  • GK – Hart
  • Defense – Ward, Lowton, Mee, Tarkovski
  • Midfield – Taylor, Westwood, Lennon, Hendrick, Cork
  • Attack – Wood

Wolverhampton Wanderers will host Burnley at Molineux Stadium this weekend, as they try to keep their winning streak alive. The Wolves are one of the teams that have invested the most into their roster this offseason and, so far, the results have been mixed, as they are in the 11th place in the EPL.

Burnley have paid a heavy price due to the congested early schedule, as they tried to balance their European matches in the UEFA Europa League qualifiers and the English Premier League. Burnley are winless this season. After drawing at Southampton 0-0 in the season opener, they went on to lose to Watford, Fulham and Manchester United.

Wolverhampton are the favorites to win this one at home and keep their winning streak alive. Burnley will be more focused on their EPL matches now, as they have been knocked out of the UEFA Europa League. It will be a tough match for the Wolves, but I expect them to win this one.

Everton vs West Ham United

Time: Sunday, September 16th 2018, 17:00 CET (11:00 EST)

Venue: Goodison Park

Everton Provisional Starting XI

  • GK – Pickford
  • Defense – Digne, Zouma, Kenny, Holgate
  • Midfield – Davies, Schneiderlin, Sigurdsson
  • Attack – Tosun, Niasse, Lookman

West Ham United Provisional Starting XI

  • GK – Fabianski
  • Defense – Cresswell, Fredericks, Diop, Balbuena, Sanchez
  • Midfield – Anderson, Wilshere, Snodgrass, Antonio
  • Attack – Arnautovic

Everton will host West Ham United at Goodison Park this weekend, trying to maintain their unbeaten streak. Despite being undefeated this season, Everton still have a lot of reasons to be unhappy with their season. Out of the 4 matches they have played, 3 were draws and their only win was a 2-1 defeat of abysmal Southampton at home.

West Ham United are having a terrible start to the season as they are dead last in the English Premier League. They have lost all 4 of their matches with a combined score of 10-2. It won’t be long before the fans and media start calling for the head of Manuel Pellegrini, if this run continues.

Everton would’ve been an absolute favorite in this one, if it wasn’t for the fact that they will be missing two key players in the attack. Richarlison is still suspended and Theo Walcott has a rib injury that will sideline him for the game. Everton should still win this at home but it will be a close one.

Southampton vs Brighton & Hove Albion

Time: Monday, September 17th 2018, 21:00 CET (15:00 EST)

Venue: St. Mary’s Stadium

Southampton Provisional Starting XI

  • GK – McCarthy
  • Defense – Bertrand, Soares, Hoedt, Vestergaard
  • Midfield – Medina, Hojbjerg, Redmond, Elyounoussi
  • Attack – Austin, Ings

Brighton & Hove Albion Provisional Starting XI

  • GK – Ryan
  • Defense – Montoya, Bong, Dunk, Duffy
  • Midfield – Propper, Gross, Stephens, March, Knockaert
  • Attack – Murray
  • Southampton will host Brighton & Hove Albion at the St. Mary’s Stadium on Monday, as they try to keep improving their form. They have barely escaped relegation last season in EPL and their start this year hasn’t been much better. After a 0-0 home draw versus Burnley in the home opener, they have lost 2-1 at Everton and 1-2 at home versus Leicester City. They did manage to win at Crystal Palace 0-2 in their last match though.

    Brighton & Hove Albion are having a solid start considering the difficulty of their early schedule where they had to face Liverpool, Manchester United, undefeated Watford and Fulham. Despite losing to Liverpool and Watford, they surprised Manchester United in a 3-2 home win and managed a 2-2 draw versus Fulham.

    I find this one impossible to call. Southampton’s foundation is their defense and a patient approach to the game, while Brighton tend to be more aggressive. Both sides have had their share of struggles in the EPL this season, so I think this one might go either way in a close, low-scoring match.

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