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Football News: Premier League Games Previews for 4 November 2018

Premier League Games Previews for 4 November 2018
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Manchester City v Southampton

This will be Southampton’s toughest game of the season. Away at Manchester City is for practically every side in the Premier League. The Citizens are unbeaten in 16 league games, winning 13 of those, and will be aiming to keep a clean sheet in seven straight league games for the first time in the club’s history. Simply scoring against them is hard enough, let alone getting a positive result.

Southampton, by contrast, are winless in six in the league and, more worryingly, goalless in five. Away at the defending champions is probably not the time to put that run to an end.

The Saints have only ever won once in 19 Premier League visits to defending champions - a 3-1 win at Stamford Bridge against Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea in October 2015. And they’ve lost seven of their last eight in the league against Man City. None of this bodes well for them.

The only thing that can really get in Man City’s way today would be complacency. They have been so comfortable in games like this under Guardiola - his side are unbeaten in 47 against non-“big six” sides, and he is yet to lose at the Etihad to opposition other than Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Man Utd or Spurs in 33 such games. A ridiculously good record.

Even more concerningly for Southampton, they haven’t won any of their last eight league games on a Sunday and haven’t won away from home on this day of the week since December 2016 against Bournemouth. I really am struggling to find any positive stats for them for this!

Key players:

Raheem Sterling - Having had a hand in six goals in his last nine league games against the Saints, and of course scoring an incredible late winner in this fixture at the Etihad last season, Sterling will be confident he can produce again today. He was rested in midweek against Fulham, so he should be fit and raring to go for the Citizens.

Mario Lemina - Having made more interceptions than any of his teammates so far this season, and he is one of four players to have made 20 or more tackles for the Saints. That battling attitude will be crucial if Southampton are to have a chance of getting anything from this match today.



Chelsea v Crystal Palace

Maurizio Sarri has an opportunity to equal Frank Clark’s record of 11 Premier League games without losing at the start of his tenure in the competition here, with Chelsea having made their best start to a Premier League season since 2014-15, when they won the title.

Chelsea have never finished outside of the top two in the Premier League when they have had 24+ points at this stage, and they will be full of confidence going into this match.

The same can’t be said for Crystal Palace, who ae winless in five in all competitions, including a League Cup elimination at the hands of Championship opponents Middlesbrough in midweek. Their only league wins this season have come at newly promoted Fulham and bottom of the table Huddersfield Town. They simply must improve today or the game will not end well for them.

But Palace have done very well against Chelsea in recent meetings. They’ve won two of the last three - that’s as many as they had managed in 18 league encounters before that. They have even won two of their last three trips to Stamford Bridge having only won two of 21 in all competitions prior to that. That is a good sign for them here.

In fact, since the start of 2013-14, only against now-Championship side Stoke have Crystal Palace won more Premier League games than they have against Chelsea.

But this Chelsea team is unbeaten in 15 in all competitions, and hasn’t lost at home since April against Spurs. They will be a tough proposition for the Eagles, and are playing some sumptuous football under Sarri already.

Key players:

Olivier Giroud - Morata got the nod in midweek but Sarri likes having the target man in his system and that is perfect for Olivier Giroud. He has four goals in his six league starts against Crystal Palace, so he will feel that he can find the back of the net for the first time this season today if he’s given a spot in the starting XI.

Wilfried Zaha - I don’t like picking him every week - he can be a desperately frustrating player to watch, running with his head down and not seeing the wider picture of a game - but Hodgson builds this Palace side around him and that instantly makes him their key man. To be fair, he does have two goals and two assists in his last three league appearances against Chelsea, with two of those coming at Stamford Bridge, so the forward does have form against the Blues.

Written by Reid the Red November 04 2018 07:43:25


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