Football News: Premier League Match Preview Tuesday 28th November 2017

 

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Premier League Match Preview Tuesday 28th November 2017
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Tuesday 28th November 2017



Brighton & Hove Albion v Crystal Palace 7:45pm kick off


Sidwell (back injury) out

A gap is beginning to grow between Watford in 8th and Brighton in 9th, as their 5 game unbeaten run was broken by Man Utd at the weekend. There is now a 5 point gap between the Seagulls and the top 8. Is that the new order of things, top 8 and the rest? At home Brighton are much stronger than they are away, but they have a tendency to draw too many, with half the home matches ending in a stalemate. This will be a tough game with Palace showing signs of revival and Brighton looking like a team has been overachieving and is ripe to come crashing down to earth at any moment.
Most important player: Bruno. The Spanish right back is an icon to the fans, but he has made a few major ricks in recent weeks, one of which cost his team badly in the dying seconds. At 37 years old, he might well struggle to cope with the physical demands of playing midweek after a tough weekend game.


Chung-Yong (muscle injury) out
Wickham (ACL injury expected return 1st January 2018) out

Another surprise win has put the Eagles back in touch at the bottom of the table, they can see survival beckoning them now. However their away form has been terrible this season, with 6 defeats in 6 away games and still no goals on their travels. Even just scoring would be a minor victory of sorts for the Londoners and provide a lift for them as the tough Christmas period nears.
Most important player: Wilfried Zaha. The forward is their one bright spot this season as he is finally beginning to add an end product to all the flashy skills.


Defining Battle: this is like something out of David Cameron's nightmares, a pack of Seagulls taking on the Eagles. I am sure he will be keeping a tight hold of his chips. Both sides like to keep it tight at the back and rely on a couple of flair players to make the difference in the attacking third. The key for Palace is to try and stop the delivery from Gross, particularly from dead ball situations. His delivery is top class and has been the Sussex side's main source of goal threat. Keep him out of the game, try not to give away free kicks in dangerous areas and Palace can leave the rest to their front players.


Editors' Predictions:
Ed002 - 2-0
Ed003 - 0-1
Ed004 - 2-1
Ed007 - 2-1
Ed018 - 2-1
Ed025 - 1-1
Ed033 - 0-1


Leicester City v Tottenham Hotspur 7:45pm kick off


Huth (foot injury expected return 2nd December) out
James (achilles injury expected return 2nd December) out

Claude Puel's arrival has steadied the ship and lifted them into a safe place in the table. His job now is to move them up the table and sort out their leaky defence, which has shown little sign of being able to help them pick up extra points. That solid backline which was able to defend higher up the pitch and allow the midfield and forwards to press the opposition has gone. Morgan's legs are going, Maguire is positionally inept and they lack the experience and leadership Huth brings to the team. Added to that, the midfield's workrate has noticeably dropped and Okazaki and Ulloa are no longer regulars with their pressing, chasing and harrying. It has left the Foxes looking a much weaker outfit, more technical definitely, but the desire and energy is missing and that makes them much worse.
Most important player: Riyad Mahrez. The Algerian has been given a lot of responsibility under Puel but has so far failed to shoulder them and produce for the team.


Alderweireld (hamstring injury expected return 2nd January 2018) out
Wanyama (knee injury expected return 31st December) out

Spurs are currently showing an alarming loss of form in recent weeks for a team with aspirations of challenging for the title. 1 draw and 2 defeats in the last four games has seen them slip back down the table slightly, out of the qualification places for the Champions League and behind local rivals Arsenal. The loss of Alderweireld has left them looking extremely vulnerable at the back, Dembele's lack of gametime has left that backline with little protection and, to add to it, Alli is hopelessly out of form and so unable to create or score the goals to nick the point for them. If you are a Spurs fan, you just have to hope that the focus on the Champions League has been an issue and the team will snap out of it quickly, otherwise there is a real problem there that is being exposed by the club's lack of strength in depth.
Most important player: Harry Kane. Even more burden than ever on his shoulders to sscore the goals. Where would they be without him?


Defining Battle: if Pochettino continues to persist with the back 3, without Dembele, Dier or Wanyama in midfield to protect it, then they will always have a weakness to exploit. Neither Sanchez nor Dier are solid enough defensively in those roles to be able to cope without strong players in front of them providing cover. There is a huge area of weakness behind Trippier and along to the centre behind where Eriksen and Alli operate, with just Winks in there. Try as he might he is simply not good enough (yet?) to protect a backline on his own and neither Alli nor Eriksen are suited to being back there either. All Leicester need to do is attack that area of the pitch, their left side, constantly. To make it worse for Spurs, that is Vardy's favoured position and we have already seen how easily Sanchez can be brushed aside by a pacey, strong striker.


Editors' Predictions:
Ed002 - 1-1
Ed003 - 2-2
Ed004 - 1-2
Ed007 - 1-3
Ed018 - 1-2
Ed025 - 1-1
Ed033 - 0-2



Watford v Manchester United 8pm kick off


Britos (knock) late fitness test
Femenia (knock) major doubt
Success (knee injury expected return 9th December) out
Chalobah (knee injury) out
Kaboul (hamstring injury) out
Cathcart (knee injury) out
Hoban (ACL injury) out

Watford have got themselves back on track after their run of 3 defeats and have now won 2 in a rowgoing into this match. They are an oddity in the Premier League, in that their away record is so much better than their home form, which is mediocre at best. 2 wins, 2 draws and 2 losses in their 6 games is why they are on the coat-tails of the top 7, rather than in the midst of them. A game against Manchester United is probably not the best hope to improve that record though!
Most important player: Andre Gray. Now he has a couple of goals to his name, his confidence will be up. His strength and ability to hold up the ball will be key to this match.


Bailly (groin strain) doubt
Jones (thigh injury expected return 2nd December) out
Carrick (heart condition) out

Man Utd have the same away form as Watford's home form, played 6, won 2, drawn 2, lost 2, as Jose Mourinho's most negative tactics only appear in away games. Normally that would not be a problem, as the points total the Red Devils have is good enough to be leading the league in almost any other season, this season it has dropped them 8 points behind their city rivals. Unless they keep up the pressure on Guardiola's side, it will not matter if they win both derbies this season. Each game is becoming must-win, just to apply pressure and try and crack that Citeh nut before it is too late.
Most important player: Paul Pogba. The French midfielder does not really dominate games the way he should, but he does produce game changing moments out of nowhere.


Defining Battle: the Hornets have mostly been using a back 3, which means the main battle is between their wingbacks and the Man Utd wide players. It is up to the wingbacks to make sure they are back quickly enough to stop the Watford centre backs being pulled out of position into wide areas and leaving gaps centrally. They also have to try and force the wide players to chase back, by being dangerous enough that United feel forced to pull them back to cover against the runs.


Editors' Predictions:
Ed002 - 0-3
Ed003 - 1-1
Ed004 - 2-2
Ed007 - 0-2
Ed018 - 1-0
Ed025 - 2-1
Ed033 - 1-2



West Bromwich Albion v Newcastle United 8pm kick off


Chadli (hamstring injury expected return 26th December) out
Brunt (calf strain) out
Dawson (knee injury expected return 23rd December) out
Morrison (achilles injury expected return 26th December) out

On a run of 11 games without a win and looking like appointing Alan Pardew as manager (at least according to him) could life be any worse for the Baggies? At home they have won just one game and scored just 6 goals in their 6 matches, while conceding 10. The one bright spot is how much better they played at the weekend at Wembley against Spurs, without a manager in charge. Perhaps there is a lot more to come from them than Tony Pulis was able to extract?
Most important player: Jose Salomon Rondon. The Venezuelan forward showed his strength and pace in bullying Davison Sanchez at the weekend. More of that is needed from him and it showed what he can do when he is not shackled by long ball tactics.


Lascelles (ankle injury expected return 2nd December) major doubt
Atsu (thigh muscle strain expected return 2nd December) out
Dummett (hamstring injury expected return 2nd December) out

The Toon's form has dipped alarmingly of late, 4 losses in a row seeing them slip down to 14th, with the blame being laid squarely at the board's feet by Rafa Benitez. While Benitez does have a point about the lack of backing he has received financially, is drawing attention to it in the media really helpful to the team? His job is to make the best of what he has, which he has probably done, the fans are behind him and the team is with him. With the club in the middle of takeover talks, there is unlikely to be any possibility the club can spend in the winter window.
Most important player: Matt Ritchie. The Scottish midfielder offers lots of hard work and enthusiasm to add to his ability.


Defining Battle: the Baggies will be up for it, it is up to the Newcastle players, first and foremost, to match that effort. The key will be dealing with the long ball up to Rondon for them. Rondon has strength and pace which is something that is lacking slightly at the back for Newcastle without Lascelles.


Editors' Predictions:
Ed002 - 1-0
Ed003 - 1-2
Ed004 - 1-0
Ed007 - 1-1
Ed018 - 1-2
Ed025 - 1-0
Ed033 - 1-0



Editor's Predictions Table
1. Ed018 - 79 points
2. Ed033 - 78 points
3. Ed025 - 74 points
4. Ed002 - 72 points
5. Ed004 - 71 points
6. Ed003 - 70 points
7. Ed007 - 62 points


*1 point is awarded for the correct result, 3 points for the correct score.
**updated 27th November 2017

Written by Tris Burke



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