We saw 28 goals in last week’s games, so I wonder what this weekend holds. Lots of exhilarating performances are surely coming our way!
Another Friday deadline is bearing down on us though, so let’s get right to it.
Last updated 25 Aug 14:00 GMT.
Chelsea v Luton Town
Postponed last week due to unfinished stadium upgrades to meet EPL standards, Luton should be fully refreshed and well prepared for GW-3.
On the other hand, Chelsea has been on a horrible ride. Despite a freewheeling transfer window, the Blues lost to West Ham last time out, and their list of injured players keeps piling up. Their sole goal-scorer against the Hammers, Aaron Chukwuemeka, suffered a knee injury in that match and is now a confirmed absentee for GW-3. Mudryk also picked a “minor issue” and will be out for a “few days”. Broja is “close” and is training, but Pochettino urged caution on his comeback after a long-term injury. Caicedo is “ready to start”, but Lavia “needs a few weeks”. Badiashile has been pictured in training this week. Fofana, Bettinelli, Nkunku, James and Chalobah remain sidelined.
Note: this is the week’s early (Friday) game, so we will see confirmed lineups ahead of the Fantrax transfer deadline. Be sure to log in for the countdown hour scramble!
Bournemouth vs Tottenham
In their first two games, the Cherries have shown great intent toward goal but have scored only twice. And unfortunately, several players are out due to injuries, including Smith, Scott, Tavernier, Outtara, Fredricks, and Marcondes, while Cook is still a doubt.
On the flip side, Tottenham is currently enjoying a run of good form, with four goals in two games. Gill, Bentancur, Sessegnon and Whiteman are sidelined through injury. Maddison is also a doubt, but his gaffer seemed optimistic in his presser: “Madders trained today, so we’ll see how he pulls up. At this stage, it looks like he will be available but I will assess how he feels.”
Arsenal vs Fulham
Arsenal eked out a narrow win last week against Crystal Palace. In 30 EPL encounters, Arsenal has never lost to Fulham at home, winning 24 and drawing six. In the history of the English League, that is the most home games a side has played without ever losing. Lokonga, Timber, and Elneny are out through injuries, while Tomiyasu is suspended. Of note, there’s been recent news of Jesus back at training and passed fit — Arteta even suggested he could make the squad this weekend: “He’s ready to go. Let’s see [if he’s ready to start].”
In their last seven London derbies, including last week’s dismal 0-3 home loss to Brentford, Fulham has managed just two points. The defeat by Brentford brought the Cottagers back to reality following the opening-day victory at Everton. Fulham will have only one absentee this weekend, Tim Ream missing through suspension.
Brentford vs Crystal Palace
Brentford boasts an impressive record at Community Stadium, having avoided defeat in 15 of the last 16 home matches in the Premier League. The Bees are a formidable force on home turf. They head into GW-3 with some bad news though, as Josh Dasilva has been ruled out for months, and Ben Mee is also unavailable. Top striker Ivan Toney remains suspended until January.
Crystal Palace has been struggling to find the back of the net, averaging only 0.50 goals per game in their league matches. The Eagles will face real challenges in breaking down Brentford’s defense. Absentees include Matheus Franca, Michael Olise, Nathan Ferguson, and Will Hughes.
I expect a hard-fought game with a good amount of goals.
Everton vs Wolves
Both of these teams had a rough GW-2, Wolves soundly defeated by Brighton and Everton destroyed by Aston Villa. Wolves’ performance is a concern since they are now winless in nine Premier League away games (D2 L7), have dropped each of their previous five, and have failed to score in their last four. They must contend with the suspension of midfielder Matheus Nunes, which could disrupt their midfield dynamics.
Fortunately, Wolves play a hapless Everton side that has several injury issues. Alex Iwobi and Andre Gomes are uncertain, while Dele Alli, Dwight McNeil, and Jack Harrison are confirmed to be unavailable. Additionally, key striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin is a doubt, and Seamus Coleman’s availability is also in question.
Man United v Nottingham Forest
With an underwhelming home victory against Wolves and a defeat at Tottenham, United’s season isn’t off to a good start. The Red Devils have a strong history against Forest though, winning the last 10 meetings by an aggregate 36-3. They also won all four meetings last season without conceding a goal. Mason Mount (muscle) and Luke Shaw (muscle) now join Rasmus Hojlund (back), Tom Heaton (calf), Kobbie Mainoo (ankle), Amad Diallo (knee) and Tyrell Malacia (knee) on the sidelines. Harry Maguire is a doubt with a knock.
Forest’s best chance for springing a surprise on United may lie with Taiwo Awoniyi. He has scored in each of his previous six Premier League games, and his most recent goal against Sheffield United tied the club record for goals in consecutive games set by Stan Collymore. Awoniyi is surely aching to break his club’s record and join Emmanuel Adebayor and Mohamed Salah as the African players with the longest EPL scoring streaks.
Prediction 1- 2
Brighton vs West Ham
Brighton’s form at Falmer Stadium is excellent — unbeaten in 8 of the last 9 home league matches. Much of this is down to the swashbuckling offense. The Seagulls have scored at least one goal in each of their last 18 Premier League matches. This weekend, Brighton will be without Jakub Moder, and the young, exciting Julio Enciso has suffered a serious knee injury that will sideline him for a lengthy period (probably four months). Di Zerbi did state that Evan Ferguson would start against the Hammers.
West Ham’s away form has not been nearly as strong as Brighton’s, with only 2 wins in the last 18 away matches in the Premier League. However, the Hammers have been productive, averaging two goals per game. West Ham’s Konstantinos Mavropanos is uncertain for this match, and Nayef Aguerd is suspended.
Burnley vs Aston Villa
Newly-promoted Burnley came into the season with high hopes but suffered a predictable fate against Man City in GW-1 and then sat out GW-2 due to Luton Town’s stadium issues. The Clarets are back in action this week, but Zaroury is suspended, Beyer is uncertain, and Obafemi (hamstring) can’t play.
Aston Villa visits Vincent Kompany’s team at Turf Moor. Ollie Watkins lifted spirits by scoring a hattrick on Wednesday as Villa defeated Hibernian in the UEFA Europa Conference League. But overcoming Burnley won’t be simple. Over the course of the entire Championship campaign last season, Kompany’s team never lost two consecutive home matches. Villans Moreno, Dendoncker, Iroegbunam, and Bailey are uncertain for the match, and Chrisene, Buendia, Ramsey, Mings, and Coutinho are out. Emi Martinez will be assessed after he picked up an issue in midweek action and missed training on Friday.
Sheffield United vs Man City
A late Chris Wood goal prevented Sheffield United from earning its first Premier League point last Friday. Following their return to the top division, the Blades have dropped their first two league games. They’ll be missing a few key players, including Jebbison, Coulibaly, Fleck, Brewster, and Norrington-Davies, but Baldock and McBurnie have returned to training.
Man City, on the other hand, has won the first two games and hasn’t even allowed a goal. When these teams last faced off in the FA Cup in April, City easily defeated the Blades 3-0. This should be yet another routine win for City, even though they’ll be without De Bruyne, Stones, and Steffen, but Bernardo Silva has returned to training after illness.
Klopp’s side is unbeaten in its last thirteen Premier League fixtures and hasn’t been beaten by Newcastle since December 2015. Moreover, Liverpool has kept clean sheets in the last three away matches at St James’ Park in all competitions. The team news at Anfield is positive: Trent Alexander-Arnold passed fit after suffering a knock last weekend, and Alexis Mac Allister’s red card was overturned on appeal. Ibrahima Konate is a doubt, however, and Thiago and Curtis Jones will miss.
The Magpies are unbeaten in 30 of their last 35 Premier League matches, and they scored five the last time they played at home. Joelinton has been passed fit after recovering from a knock, but Lewis Hall and Javier Manquillo are short of match fitness. Joe Willock and Emil Krafth remain long-term absentees.
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