After week 5, the 2nd through 12th place teams were separated by only three points. After week 6, not much has changed, as now it’s 3rd through 12th place who are separated by only three points. (And 13th through 19th are also separated by only three points.)
Three points are awarded for a win, so all it takes is a loss for a good team to break bad, or a victory for a poor side to make a big move up the ranks. Right now, all we really know for sure is that Liverpool and Manchester City are great, and that Watford is terrible. Can week 7 finally bring some sense of order to the rest of the table, or will the muddled mess merely continue? I can’t wait to find out!
Sheffield United v. Liverpool (early game)
Bramall Lane will be absolutely abuzz for the visit of the league leaders. And coming off a 2-0 victory last weekend at Goodison Park, the Blades have reason for optimism.
Liverpool’s Champions League game against Red Bull Salzburg is not until Wednesday, affording plenty of rest time. Chelsea put them to the test last weekend at Stamford Bridge, but the Reds just keep winning and winning, no matter the locale.
The Cherries boast two straight 3-1 league wins (v. Everton, at Southampton), as Callum Wilson has raised his form a notch. The visiting Hammers are in even better form, unbeaten in their past five (three wins, two draws). What does that mean? Should be a good one!
Red alert! A red card has been issued in each of Villa’s past three league affairs (one to Villa, two to their opponents). Can that streak continue? Another story line will be keeper Tom Heaton facing his former team. Otherwise, it’s tough to get too excited about this game given there are so many other seemingly more appetizing tilts on hand at the same time. But with John McGinn, Jack Grealish, Tyrone Mings, Ashley Barnes, Chris Wood, Johann Berg Gudmundsson, and Nick Pope featuring, you could do worse.
Like Liverpool, Chelsea can enjoy a good amount of rest time before its next Champions League game comes Wednesday in Lille. Chelsea is technically a Big Six side, but currently it sits in 11th on only 8 points, the worst spot of any of those teams. Meanwhile, Brighton is in 15th with 6 points.
Not much of a difference between the two teams in that respect. So the Seagulls have a chance, right? Maybe at home, but probably not at the Bridge. The Blues have conceded the third most goals (13) in the league, but Brighton ties for 4th fewest scores (5), so how this game ends up will likely turn on that end of the pitch.
Palace has conceded only one goal at Selhurst Park so far, while Norwich has scored only once away from Carrow Road. Hope everybody loaded up on Palace defenders for the flurry of clean sheet bonuses! (Or not, since almost certainly I just jinxed that.)
Tottenham v. Southampton
Tottenham is coming off both a league loss last weekend at Leicester and a shock midweek Carabao Cup exit at 4th tier Colchester United in penalties where Christian Eriksen and Lucas Moura failed to convert. Now Spurs will have to avoid thinking back to those recent failures, but they must also not think too much ahead to Tuesday’s Champions League meeting with Bayern Munich.
After losing two straight to open the season, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Saints have improved with two wins and a draw (plus a loss) since. Week in, week out, you don’t know what you’re gonna get from Spurs or Southampton, so anything could happen.
At the start of 2018-19, plenty of prognosticators (including many of us here at NMA) predicted that Wolves and Watford would be in the mix for relegation. Naturally, neither came close to suffering that fate, impressively and unexpectedly finishing 7th and 11th, respectively.
Now Wolves are 19th and Watford 20th, neither earning a win yet. It may be early in the 2019-20 campaign, but I still think we can fairly call this a six pointer!
Everton v. Manchester City (late game)
Manchester City is coming off a joyously swashbuckling 8-0 evisceration of Watford at the Etihad, even though Raheem Sterling rested on the bench with central defenders Aymeric Laporte and John Stones missing through injury (along with winger Leroy Sane, of course). It warrants mention that the Citizens are not nearly as dangerous away as at home. Even so, the Sky Blues when traveling are still far more brilliant than nearly every other EPL team is at home.
On top of that, Everton is floundering at the moment. Following a strong start to the season, particularly on the defensive end, the Toffees are coming off successive losses at home to Bournemouth and away at Sheffield United by a combined tally of 5-1. Everton will look to Norwich for inspiration that a team can beat the visiting Citizens, but Norwich scores goals, almost twice as many as Everton (9 vs. 5). Richarlison is the only Toffee with more than one goal for the listless Everton offense. Their only hope may be that Pep Guardiola rests key players ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League game against Dinamo Zagreb.
Leicester v. Newcastle
The Foxes are sitting pretty in 3rd place as they welcome Magpies who head on the road in 17th. That comparison would seem to make the result seem inevitable. But another question may put the match on a more even footing: Which team will come out ahead, the one that beat Tottenham at home in Week 6 or the one that beat Spurs on the road in Week 3?
I’ve made more than my fair share of cracks about Arsenal players filling up the trainers’ table in recent seasons, but this campaign it has been the Red Devils who haven’t been able to make the pitch with any regularity, particularly in attack. Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba, and Marcus Rashford are all either out or a doubt, providing the Gunners a welcome chance to grab an away result against a fellow Big Six side, even with Alexandre Lacazette missing from their end.
Which games are you most excited to watch? What players are you hoping will bring you fantasy glory? Who makes your barn door watch-list? Join in the fun as the games unfold live!