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Football News: Premier League Games Previews 10 March 2019

Premier League Games Previews 10 March 2019
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Liverpool v Burnley

It’s been a frustrating few weeks for Liverpool fans, who have watched a seven-point lead at the top vanish as they now go into this match in second place behind Manchester City.

The Reds have drawn five of their last seven games in all competitions, with the other two matches in this time being a 3-0 win at home to Bournemouth and a 5-0 mauling of Watford.

Those two games aside, Liverpool’s issue in those draws has been putting the ball in the back of the net. They have scored just two goals in those drawn games but that doesn’t really tell the full story.

Based on Opta’s Expected Goals model, Liverpool would have been expected to score, on average, around five goals in those matches but they have only netted two, in 1-1 draws to Leicester and West Ham. That tells you that creating chances has not been the issue - it’s merely been taking them, and good managers will always say that the time to worry is when you’re not getting chances to score, which simply isn’t the case with Liverpool.

Ultimately, they have to be more consistently clinical going forward, as at the back, the Reds have kept five consecutive clean sheets in all competitions, last keeping more in a row way back in December 2005 (11 straight clean sheets).

As for Burnley, after a great run of eight unbeaten games, the Clarets have lost two in a row against Newcastle and then Crystal Palace, so they will hope to shake off this run as they aim to climb further away from the relegation places.

They have only won one of their last nine games against Liverpool in the last 10 years, a 2-0 win at Turf Moor in August 2016, and at Anfield they are winless in 11 since a 1-0 win over Bob Paisley’s Reds in September 1974. So Liverpool isn’t the happiest of hunting grounds for the Clarets, but they did draw here 1-1 last season, so will hope they can put in another strong performance today to earn more crucial points in the run in.

Key players:

Mohamed Salah - His attacking teammate Sadio Mane has netted in five straight home league games for Liverpool, so I very nearly picked him, but it’s Salah who will be key for Liverpool. He has gone three league games without scoring for the first time for the Reds, so if he can re-find his scoring form, it will go a long way towards answering Liverpool’s critics of late.

Ashley Barnes - Barnes and Wood have been formidable for Burnley in 2019. Barnes has scored five and assisted one goal in his last six league games, and is one short of his 10th league goal of the campaign, something he’d love to get here at Anfield.

Chelsea v Wolverhampton Wanderers

Chelsea have instantly moved on from their Carabao Cup disappointment with back-to-back wins in the Premier League, and they are now looking to win three on the bounce in the league for the first time since they won their first five under Maurizio Sarri in the competition.

Opponents Wolves, meanwhile, are on an excellent run of form themselves. They have only lost one of their last 10 matches across all competitions - and that, quite incredibly all things considered, was against the Premier League’s bottom side Huddersfield in their last away outing.

Wolves, of course, beat Chelsea at Molineux back in December, and could become the first newly promoted side to do a league double over Chelsea since Charlton in 2000-01. And their record versus the top sides has been excellent all season - they have won more league points against the so-called “big-six” clubs than any other side from outside that top six. It’s an impressive record that highlights that they can cause Chelsea some problems here.

Indeed, Wolves have won two of their last four league games against Chelsea, having only won once in nine such meetings beforehand. However, they have lost their last six trips to Stamford Bridge in all competitions, albeit this is their first since September 2012 in the League Cup.

Ultimately, this is a hugely important match for Chelsea’s top four ambitions, what with Arsenal and Man Utd, the two sides directly above them, meeting each other today, guaranteeing at least one will drop points. That is something Maurizio Sarri’s side will hope to take advantage of and make a statement against an impressive Wolves outfit.

Key players:

Eden Hazard - The Belgian has been directly involved in 10 goals in his last 10 league appearances against newly promoted opposition, and has at least scored or assisted one goal in all four such matches this season. Wolves will have to be wary of his quality.

Raul Jimenez - Jimenez is just one goal short of equalling Steven Fletcher’s record for the most goals scored by a Wolves player in a single Premier League season (12), and with five goals in his last seven league games, is in just the kind of form to suggest he can break that record.

Arsenal v Manchester United

I don’t think many people could quite believe the events in Paris on Wednesday night. I know I couldn’t. It seems Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can do no wrong on his return to Man Utd. Having no less than 10 players out on the treatment table, they became the first side in European Cup/Champions League history to overturn a 2-0 loss at home in the first leg to progress to the next round of a two-legged tie.

They have won 14 of their 17 matches under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, including all nine away from home.

Indeed, they are now just two short of the all-time record of consecutive away wins in all competitions by a top-flight club (Man City’s 11 between May-November 2017). Astounding numbers for which Solskjaer deserves great credit.

Of course, one of those away wins for Man Utd was at Arsenal in the FA Cup, and the Emirates is again the scene of their clash today. The Red Devils are unbeaten in four meetings with the Gunners in all competitions, winning their last two at the Emirates. In fact, of these two sides’ last 29 contests against one another, Arsenal have only won five to Man Utd’s 17. I think that it’s safe to say the Gunners do not enjoy these matchups.

Indeed, Man Utd are looking to become just the third side in history to win twice away at Arsenal in the same season - and the first to do so since they moved to the Emirates. The two teams to achieve this are Nottingham Forest in 1987-88 and Aston Villa in 1993-94.

But this Arsenal side is undefeated in 14 home league matches, winning each of the last eight. If PSG was a stern test for Solskjaer’s side in midweek, then this is equally as tough, especially as the result of this match could have huge consequences for the battle for the Champions League places.

Key players:

Alexandre Lacazette - Lacazette has scored in his last five home league games for Arsenal, while only Thierry Henry has ever scored in 6+ in a row for the club in the Premier League (Henry did it twice, in fact). He has been showing his undoubted quality of late, and will be so important for Emery’s side today.

Romelu Lukaku - With six goals in his last three games in all competitions, the Belgian will become the first Premier League player to score 2+ goals in four consecutive games since Luis Suarez for Liverpool in December 2013 should he net two or more here today. His form is superb, but he only has 16 goals in 74 league games against the so-called “big-six” in the Premier League. Solskjaer will certainly want him to improve on that today.

Written by Reid the Red March 10 2019 10:09:11


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