Another long international break is finally over, and we’re strapped in again for a roller-coaster ride in the form of Premier League game-week 13.
We start with the familiar face of Jose Mourinho in an unfamiliar place as he leads Tottenham against West Ham (confirmed lineups expected just before Fantrax deadline). Jose Mourinho and Spurs look unusual together, but let’s bank on team selections for this week of fixtures!
As the newly appointed manager, Jose Mourinho said that Tottenham do “not belong” down in 14th spot, but it still is a match between two teams close to the relegation zone. Tottenham desperately need to win following their disappointing run of results that forced the board to sack Mauricio Pochettino. The team will probably revolve around the usual starting XI in the near future, but it will be interesting to see what Jose has in his mind later down the road.
Mourinho has had only a couple of training sessions, but this manager brings a hard-headed winning mentality that this club needs, and this should enable Tottenham to prevail in a great London derby.
Sixth-placed Arsenal needs to earn all three points this week after home draws against Palace and Wolves plus losses to Sheffield and Leicester. Southampton has picked up just one point from their last seven games, and we all remember their 9-0 loss to Leicester in Week 10.
While the Saints have picked up five wins and three draws from their last 14 encounters with Arsenal, this is the perfect opportunity for the Gunners to grab the win and hope to climb into the top four.
Both teams will look to stay in the top 10. After a big win at Dean Court over the Red Devils, Bournemouth suffered a loss against Newcastle, only their second defeat in eight matches. On the other hand, Wolves are on a seven-game unbeaten streak coming off three straight draws with Southampton, Newcastle and Arsenal. This should be an entertaining game between two well-matched sides that should end up all square.
Leicester has reached the second spot in the table by stunned many teams this season so far. The Foxes have scored at least twice in six of their last seven fixtures, managing to keep an impressive three straight clean sheets as well. They have the right ingredients for a very balanced team, moving forward while remaining solid at the back.
Graham Potter’s side has impressed at times this season with wins over Norwich and Everton in their last two home games, giving the Seagulls plenty of confidence going into this one. However, Rodgers’ side is the team that has collected 26 points from its opening 12 fixtures and is likely to now win its sixth match in a row. Let’s just have Jamie Vardy in our minds for maximum points in our fantasy teams.
The Eagles looked solid earlier in the season, but they have slipped to 12th in the table following back-to-back defeats as part of a four-match winless run, and it certainly doesn’t look bright for them with Liverpool coming to town.
The Reds lead by eight points at the top of the table after striking a massive blow in the title race with their 3-1 victory over title-holders Manchester City. Interestingly, it was Klopp’s first win by more than one goal since Week 5. Palace can be tough at the back, but Liverpool are full of confidence and fire, which is why they will continue to build pressure for the rest of the 19 teams below them.
While a clean sheet always seems due, ‘Pool seem to find a way to leak exactly one goal in nearly every match this season, so a spotted road victory is the call.
Everton vs Norwich
Everton are beginning to gain some confidence with two wins and a draw against Spurs in their previous four meetings. They had lost five of their first eight fixtures, which is why they sit back in the 15th spot. Norwich is rooted to the foot of the table, rock bottom and four points adrift in horrible form. Remember the Puki party? Well it’s hangover time, the Canaries picking up just one point and scoring only two goals from their last seven games. Fun fact: They’ve not won a Premier League game at the Goodison Park since 1993.
Watford is full of confidence after a 2-0 victory over Norwich. It was a decent performance by a team that had scored only six goals in its previous 11 matches. Burnley also earned three points in their last game over West Ham, buoying the Clarets up to ninth position. However, Burnley has won just one of their last six at Watford.
Manchester City vs Chelsea
This is certainly the game of the week. It must be seen as a table-changing winning opportunity for each team, so draw for either will be felt as a loss. The 3-1 defeat to Liverpool saw Guardiola’s side slide to the fourth spot, nine points adrift of the Reds, while Chelsea has taken third place with six straight wins, scoring 15 goals and keeping three clean sheets. The Citizens have won five of their last six fixtures against Chelsea and will likely aim to demolish Frank Lampard’s young side to catch up with the European champions.
Sheffield United are one of the surprises of the season so far, now sitting in fifth place with four wins and five draws, going unbeaten in their last five and picking up a win over Arsenal and a draw with Tottenham. Interestingly, they have conceded just nine goals which is second best in the league. The Blades have not conceded more than one goal in any of their past nine games.
Due to Marcus Rashford’s three goals in four games, United sit seventh but are still eight points from the top four. It’s a should-win game for the Red Devils who hope to challenge for the automatic Champions League spots. However, they have lost three of their last four away fixtures and remain without Paul Pogba who won’t return until December.
Aston Villa vs Newcastle
Aston Villa against Newcastle on Monday Night is important as both sides are aiming for crucial points in their respective survival bids. The Villans have slipped to 17th due to three straight losses to Man City, Liverpool and Wolves. Newcastle had won only two of its first ten games but has recently climbed to 13th with a draw against Wolves and wins over West Ham and Bournemouth. The Geordies are unbeaten in their last 12 matches against Villa, with four of the last six ended up as draws.
Do you think Mourinho’s Spurs will continue with a setback against West Ham? Will you have players from City or Chelsea this week? What attackers appeal to you? Where do you think the clean sheets will be? What decisions are you planning as the deadline is around the corner? Please share your thoughts in the comments section!