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Football News: Premier League Previews 17 March 2019

Premier League Previews 17 March 2019
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Fulham v Liverpool


What a difference a week makes. Liverpool were in talk of a minor crisis after a run of five draws in seven matches. Now they have won two on the bounce for only the second time in 2019, are looking for a third straight win for the first time since they won all eight games in December 2018, and are unbeaten in 11 in all competitions - not only their longest unbeaten run of the season, but their best in over a year since they went 18 without a loss ending in January 2018.


Indeed, a win here will see them go into the international break top of the Premier League, albeit having played a game more than title-rivals Manchester City. After an excellent second-leg display in Munich in the Champions League in midweek to reach the quarter-finals of that competition, Liverpool are in a position they would have more than taken if they’d have been offered it at the beginning of the season.


But they cannot let this opportunity to move back to the top of the table against Fulham go to waste. The same level of concentration and determination showed against Bayern in midweek is needed against the Cottagers today, as it is for every remaining game for the Reds if they are to beat the ruthless Manchester City to the league title.


This Fulham side has lost 10 of their last 11 matches in all competitions, the only exception a 4-2 win over Brighton in January. They are 13 points adrift of safety and look to be all but relegated. But they have earned 15 of their 17 points this season at home, so they are a different prospect at Craven Cottage compared with away from home.


And this Liverpool side have only won one of their last five away league outings, drawing their last three in a row. They last drew four in a row back in 1996, and they need to avoid that today in order to keep the pressure on Man City.


Key players:


Ryan Babel - This will be his first, and possibly only, league game against his former side Liverpool, and with two assists in his last two home league games, he has added a degree of creativity to Fulham since his January arrival.


Mohamed Salah - He’s been directly involved in 12 goals in his eight Premier League games against newly-promoted sides, scoring and assisting six. He’s goalless in four league games, so if he can find his shooting boots again today, it will be a huge boost for the Reds.





Everton v Chelsea


Thinks are looking up for Chelsea. They haven’t lost any of their last seven matches in all competitions, winning five of them, and drawing the other two, albeit one of those draws was in the Carabao Cup final, which of course they lost on penalties after a goalless stalemate.


Everton, meanwhile, have lost six of their last nine games in all competitions, blowing a two-goal lead at Newcastle last week to lose 3-2. They are without a win in three at Goodison and have only won one of their last eight league games at their home ground. It’s little wonder Marco Silva is under pressure.


And perhaps Chelsea aren’t the most ideal of opponents for Silva. He is without a win in his last 12 league games against the Premier League’s so-called “big-six”, losing nine of those, and is yet to win such a match as Everton boss.


Indeed, Everton as a club are without a win in six against Chelsea in the league since a 3-1 victory in September 2015. They haven’t even scored a goal in their last five such meetings with the Blues, although the last two have been goalless.


Chelsea go into this match knowing a win will take them level on points with fourth-place Arsenal, and just a single point adrift of third-placed Spurs. This match is, in effect, their game in hand, with each of those three sides above them not in league action this weekend.


Sarri will want his side to take advantage of that against an Everton outfit that have a poor recent record against Chelsea. But Sarri’s men have lost three of their last four away league games, conceding 13 goals in those four matches, so they must improve their away performances - just as they did in the Europa League with their 5-0 win over Dynamo Kyiv on Thursday.


Key players:


Theo Walcott - He has six goals against Chelsea in all competitions, and amazingly he’s scored in every single ground he’s played them in (Principality Stadium, Wembley, Emirates and Stamford Bridge). This will be his first game against them at Goodison, so he has a chance to make it five out of five grounds today.


Eden Hazard - Hazard has been directly involved in 48% of Chelsea’s 50 league goals this season, scoring 13 of them and assisting a further 11. That’s the highest ratio of any player in the Premier League for a club in 2018-19 going into this weekend. However, Hazard has played more minutes at Goodison Park without scoring a Premier League goal than any other venue. Sarri would love him to put that right today.

Written by Reid the Red March 17 2019 10:06:15

 

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