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English Premier League : talking points from this weekend’s action

Game week 10… let’s head straight into the fixtures for this weekend round of actions. First up is the mouth watering, tantalizing game between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspurs and then we round of the weekend actions with the tie involving Leicester City and Everton Football Club.

 

MANCHESTER UNITED VS TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR

In the last six games in all competitions both teams have same record with 4 wins, 1 draw and a loss. Coming out of a Carabao Cup with contrasting results where Spurs blew away a 2 goal lead to hand over the tie to the Hammers thanks to an inspired Ayew performance whiles United made light work of their tie away to Swansea City with two efforts from Jesse Lingard. Meanwhile, in the league it is a different scenario. Manchester United tasted their first defeat of the season at the hand of newly promoted side Huddersfield. It was a performance reminiscent of the good old days of the Van Gaal era where they saw a lot of the ball but with no real penetration albeit Romelu Lukaku’s persistence to keep the ball in play rather than to settle for a corner hence resulting in a consolation. A disjointed performance against a Spurs side which tore Liverpool apart with a sensational performance will spell doom for Mourinho’s men and possibly leave them with a mountain to climb. Spurs will be hoping their talisman, undoubtedly Harry Kane will be passed fit to feature in this tie whiles Mourinho will be hoping the center back duo of Bailly and Jones will also be able to feature. Historically, the Reds have a strong record against the north London club, registering 87 wins and 49 draws in 186 previous meetings in all competitions stretching back as far as 1899. In more recent times, United have won 32 of the teams’ 50 Premier League encounters, including the last three in a row at Old Trafford. Spurs have managed just seven wins and have held the Reds to 11 draws. Both home teams emerged victorious last season, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s first Premier League goal earning Jose Mourinho’s men a 1-0 victory at Old Trafford before United were beaten 2-1 in the final game played at White Hart Lane in May.

 

 

ARSENAL VS SWANSEA CITY

Arsenal will welcome the Swans to the Emirates after their win over Norwich in the Carabao Cup thanks to a brace from youngster Eddie Nketia who netted seconds after coming on. The Swans with their defeat to Manchester United will be hoping to do better against the Gunners considering their form on the road losing ones in four away matches and in the process also managing a draw away at Tottenham. In contrast, Arsenal has been formidable at home this season, winning all their games at the Emirates. According to Opta, Swansea City have won three times away at the Emirates Stadium in the Premier League – only Chelsea have defeated Arsenal in the competition more often there (4).Swansea City have attempted just 18 shots on target and 72 shots overall this season in the Premier League – the fewest in the league. Spurs’ striker Harry Kane has attempted three more shots on target than Swansea on his own (21). Alexandre Lacazette (five goals) is one of only five players to have scored 5+ goals in their opening nine Premier League appearances for Arsenal, after Alexis Sanchez (7), Andrey Arshavin (6), Ian Wright (6) and Davor Suker (5). The record by an Arsenal player in their first 10 PL apps for the club is held by teammate Sanchez (8). This will be Arsene Wenger’s 800th Premier League game in charge of Arsenal – only Sir Alex Ferguson (810) has managed more games in the competition. He has currently overseen 478 more English top-flight games (799) than Swansea themselves have played (321). Olivier Giroud has been directly involved in five goals in seven Premier League starts against Swansea (three goals, two assists), although only one of those goal involvements has arrived on home soil (scored in March 2014).

BOURNEMOUTH VS CHELSEA

Chelsea came from behind to beat Watford 4:2 but whiles the results looks flattering the performance was far from convincing, but with back to back wins in the league and the cup, they will be hoping their fortunes have changed for the better having in mind the point deficit between themselves and the league leaders. Bournemouth recorded back-to-back wins over Stoke City and Middlesbrough in all competitions, but four victories and a draw from seven outings – the defeats coming away at Everton and Tottenham Hotspur – proves how the long-serving boss continues to be the perfect fit for his role at the Vitality Stadium. Bournemouth are also capable of producing the goods on the south coast – three wins and a draw have been registered from their last four outings – but last weekend’s 2-1 triumph at Stoke was the result which Howe had really been looking for. Chelsea could be boosted by the return of N’Golo Kante, with the Frenchman having recovered from a hamstring injury sooner than expected. Danny Drinkwater will likely return to the bench after playing an hour in midweek, while Conte will hope to be able to call upon Tiemoue Bakayoko after the midfielder sat out the last two games. Afobe is likely to start in attack for the Cherries, with Wilson having to make do with a place on the bench. Saturday’s match will represent just the 10th time in which these two teams have met in a competitive fixture, with Chelsea recording seven wins in comparison to two victories for Bournemouth. While Bournemouth did emerge victorious from the first-ever Premier League match between the sides, Chelsea has won the last three contests, scoring 10 goals in the process. Bournemouth has only won once against Chelsea on home territory, which came in 1988 when the two teams played each other for the first time.

LIVERPOOL VS HUDDERSFIELD

Liverpool host Huddersfield in what many will say is a must mean win for them, but with the results achieved by the away side over United the last time out, they will be going into this game with renewed energy to try and knick at least a point. David Wagner will surely go with a game play and if his men can see out the plan they will be in with a chance looking at the defensive frailties of this Liverpool team. But a game at Anfield is always difficult and the fans will be calling for a response after that humiliating defeat against Tottenham hence Jurgen Klopp will be fully aware that only a win will do at this stage and that will has to happen without their two most influential players Mane and Coutinho. According to Opta, Huddersfield is winless in all competitions versus Liverpool in 10 matches (D3 L7), a run stretching back to 1960. Liverpool have lost only one of their last 42 Premier League home games against newly-promoted sides, losing 1-2 vs Blackpool in October 2010 (W32 D9 L1) and are unbeaten in each of the last 19. Only three newly promoted sides have previously defeated both Liverpool and Manchester United in the same Premier League season; Bolton Wanderers in 2001-02, Manchester City in 2002-03 and Portsmouth in 2003-04 – Huddersfield could become the first side to do within the same month.

WEST BROM VS MAN CITY

City are in the form of their lives scoring 32 goals in the league and going into this game with a five point lead at the top. West Brom will set out to prevent the Citizens from having too many chances at goal with Tony Pulis claiming to approach the game a little different from normal. West Brom has failed to win a game since August 19 with their last defeat coming at the hand of Southampton. A positive result against the high flying City might bode well for the fortunes of the team going forward. Per Opta, West Bromwich Albion have lost 14 of their last 15 Premier League games against Manchester City (D1), including losing the last 11 in a row. There have only been two longer winning runs against a single opponent in Premier League history than Manchester City’s 11-game run versus West Brom: Man City vs Newcastle (12 wins ending in October 2015) and Man Utd vs Wigan (13 wins ending December 2011). Twenty-five points is Manchester City’s joint-best point’s return after the first nine games of a Premier League season alongside (2011-12). The only team with more points at this stage of the season was Chelsea (27) in 2005-06. Sergio Aguero has had a hand in 11 goals in 10 Premier League appearances against West Brom (seven goals, four assists), averaging a goal or assist every 63 minutes. Kevin De Bruyne has been involved in a team passing sequence for 19 open play goals and 77 open play shots this season in the Premier League – both more than any other player in the competition.

LEICESTER CITY VS EVERTON

With the appointment of Claude Puel for Leicester, the team will be hoping he brings his Premier League experience to bear sooner rather than later and they will be hoping Everton at home will be the beginning. Everton on the other hand are still without a permanent Manager with the team in the interim care of the club’s U23 coach after the sacking of Ronald Koeman. Leicester City has lost their last two games against Everton in the Premier League, as many as in the previous 15 combined. This is Everton’s lowest point’s total (8) after nine games of a Premier League season since 2005-06, when they won four points under David Moyes but finished 11th. Jamie Vardy has had a hand in four goals in four previous Premier League games against Everton (two goals, two assists). Wayne Rooney has scored in each of Everton’s last two Premier League games – he hasn’t scored in three successive Premier League appearances since January 2016.

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