It’s been a rough international week for fans of Congo, Greece, Honduras, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Northern Ireland, and New Zealand. Your international hopes may have been dashed, but there’s always Premier League action to comfort you! (And yes, fans of the United States feel your pain.)
All Things Being Equal
It’s the North London derby! Things have been tight between the two squads in the table these past few seasons, and while third place Spurs currently hold the advantage compared to a disappointing sixth for Arsenal, you’re really looking at a toss-up considering the locale. As it turns out in that respect, the sides are basically mirror images of each other.
The Gunners are perfect at home with five wins in five matches, outscoring their visitors 13 to 4. Meanwhile, Spurs are road beasts with four wins in their five away games, scoring 12 to their hosts’ 3. The past three league fixtures at the Emirates between these two teams have all finished in 1-1 draws. I’m sure most fantasy managers have plenty of players in this fixture, but given what I’ve just written, are you getting a little queasy? For those of you thinking that Christian Eriksen would follow up his wondrous hatty for Denmark against Ireland, are your hopes quashed?
17th place welcomes 10th, but things are very similar — in a bad, depressing way — with respect to goal differential (-7 for Bournemouth, -5 for Huddersfield). As it happens, Bournemouth (three goals scored, six allowed at home) and Huddersfield (three and seven, respectively on the road) are also even when considering the site.
It’s the inverse of the North London derby, with two teams evenly matched, but dismally so. Five other games are occurring at the same time, and there’s absolutely no doubt that every single one of them will bring much more interest to the impartial observer, so don’t get stuck on this channel.
Pardon me if you’ve read this one before, but all signs point to a tense, low-scoring affair at Turf Moor. Burnley ties for the fewest goals and has allowed the third-fewest at home. At the same time, the Swans tie for the fewest goals and for the third-fewest scored on the road. Anything higher than 1-1 would be quite a shocker, with nil-nil or perhaps 1-0 being more probable.
It’s always strange to see a match-up as early as GW12 between two teams featuring replacement managers, but here we go. Following a rousing comeback victory over Watford — Everton’s first win since the opening weekend — the Toffees go on the road where the squad has scored only two goals whilst allowing ten. With attempts to land Marco Silva and Sam Allardyce seemingly rebuffed, caretaker skipper David Unsworth continues.
Despite being in last place, Palace has improved and shown fight under Roy Hodgson, boasting a win and a draw in the past four games, the other pair being narrow 1-0 defeats. Yet again, it looks like this one could go either way. As for the score line, it could be interesting, though. I wouldn’t be surprised with anything from 0-0 to 3-2.
Separate and Definitely Unequal
Finally, a game that looks like a blowout on paper! That may be an exaggeration, but you have to expect at least a comfortable victory by the high flying Citizens. As always, anything can happen, especially since this one’s at King Power Stadium, and new-ish manager Claude Puel is defensive-minded. But if you’re wondering how Puel fared at home against Manchester City last season, the Sky Blues beat Southampton 3-0 at St. Mary’s.
Liverpool v. Southampton
Another mismatch here? Maybe, maybe not. Southampton has had success keeping things close and low-scoring on the road thus far, but the Reds have been a buzzsaw at Anfield, scoring nine times and only conceding once. If I had to bet a few simoleons on it, I’d look for Liverpool’s home fun to continue with a rampaging Mohamed Salah teaming up with a mended Philippe Coutinho.
Albion has only beaten the Blues once in its past nine tries, so the visitors will certainly be expected to take the three points... especially with this West Brom side looking worse than its recent predecessors, currently mired in 16th place. Things have been so bad that Albion has one win at home compared to four on the road for Chelsea.
Manchester United v. Newcastle (late game)
This looks almost like a carbon copy of Liverpool v. Southampton, with Newcastle generally playing defensively oriented games on the road. But with the Red Devils notching five wins in as many tries at Old Trafford with 15 goals for and none against, it’s going to be an uphill battle for the Magpies. All eyes will be on Romelu Lukaku to see if he can end his goalless streak.
There you have it, the first four games look like nail biters with the remaining quartet expected to bring comfortable wins. Of course, for some strange reason Premier League games don’t always turn out as expected, so be sure to tune in!
Which games are you watching, and how are you expecting them to turn out? Do you see any surprises are in the works? Who are you relying on for your fantasy teams? Let us know in the comments!