Single word yields best result

Football News: Weekend Premier League Preview

Saturday 12:30pm
Burnley v Manchester City

No current injury worries for Burnley

Kompany (out)
Delph (out)

This is Sean Dyche's chance to show he can outsmart one of those 'fancy-dan foreign managers' he is always moaning about getting better press than him. With Burnley at home, no injuries or suspensions to disrupt preparations and Citeh having had a Champions League game midweek, the Clarets have a good shot at getting a result here. Is Dyche all talk or can he really go toe-to-toe with the big name foreign managers? He will not get many better chances to really build up his rep, with City looking increasingly dodgy at the back. It is up to him to find a way to really put pressure on John Stones, who is looking more and more inept as the weeks go by. If they can apply pressure to that weak spot, plus attack the fullbacks, who are also a weakness, Burnley could pick up another famous result to add to the early season victory over Liverpool.

You have to wonder how much longer Pep Guardiola will stand by Stones, his mistakes are costing City points on a regular basis now. It might only be the unavailability of a replacement, due to Vincent Kompany's repeated injuries, that saves Stones from being dropped. With him and whichever of the fullbacks that start at the back, the Citizens are always in danger of conceding soft goals. It is a real weakness that will need to be addressed. Going forward they have not been as fluent, of late, as they were in the first few weeks. They really need to sort that out as well, or they are in danger of giving up too much of a lead to reel in later.

Saturday 3pm
Hull City v West Bromwich Albion

Hernandez (out)
Keane (out)
Maloney (doubt)
Odubajo (out)
Robertson (out)
Luer (out)
Bruce (out)

Chadli (doubt)
Berahino (out)

The Tigers are struggling badly, with little available to Mike Phelan to change things up and get it going. All he can really do is hang on until January and hope to be given money to invest, as his team is simply not good enough right now. This is going to be a hard period of scrapping for as many points as possible and praying not to fall too far adrift of the midtable places.

This is the kind of match Tony Pulis will relish. Hull lack the quality to outplay the Baggies and the muscle to outfight them. Similar, in a way, to last weekend against Burnley, when they picked up an easy 4-0 win. This is the kind of game that West Brom have to make the most of. If they can bully Hull the way they did Burnley, they can pick up another easy 3 points.

 

Saturday 3pm
Leicester City v Middlesbrough

Ulloa (doubt)
Slimani (doubt)
Schmeichel (out)
Mendy (doubt)

Friend (out)
Ayala (doubt)

Claudio Ranieri will be looking to transfer the Foxes' excellent Champions League performances to the Premier League, to try and halt the alarming slide down the table for last season's champions. With qualification for the next stage now assured, they can turn their full attention to the bread and butter of domestic competition. Ranieri will hope that is enough to see results improve once more. They will need Ron-Robert Zieler to show the kind of form he produced in Germany, if they are to have any chance of finishing in the top half.

Boro are struggling to pick up the points required to keep them out of the drop zone, despite some good results. A match against a struggling Leicester side, fresh off the back of a tiring Champions League game, gives them a chance of picking up a much needed result. Aitor Karanka will look to keep things tight at the back, hoping to snatch a goal on the break, in a very similar way to how the Foxes played last season. A lot of their hopes are pinned on the shoulders of Alvaro Negredo, who needs to hit scoring form quickly.

Saturday 3pm
Liverpool v Sunderland

Lallana (out)
Ings (out)
Ojo (out)

Denayer (doubt)
McNair (out)
Cattermole (out)
Rodwell (doubt)
Borini (out)
Djilobodji (suspended)

Liverpool need to get back on track, a home game against one of the bottom three clubs is normally to be considered the perfect time to return to winning ways. Especially when you look at David Moyes' record against Liverpool, which is terrible. So Liverpool need to take advantage of that and dominate the Mackems from the off, which is no doubt exactly what Jurgen Klopp will demand of his charges. The loss of Adam Lallana has affected Liverpool's balance adversely but they have had a week of training to work on playing without him.

Sunderland will be coming into this match in good spirits, as they are finally beginning to show some form and heart in their performances. They no longer look like a team willing to drop out of the Premier League with a whimper. The loss of Paddy McNair for the season and Papy Djilobodji suspension will leave a gap at centre half that Moyes will need to find a way to fill against the Prem's best attack. One thing that is for sure, he will not be looking to play expansive attacking football!

 

Saturday 3pm
Swansea City v Crystal Palace

Sung-Yeung (out)
Britton (doubt)
Montero (doubt)

Mandanda (out)
Ledley (doubt)
J Benteke (out)
Souare (out)
Remy (out)

Swansea are still looking for their first win since the opening day of the season, despite possibly their best performance coming last weekend, when they were held to a draw by Everton. New manager Bob Bradley is in dire need of a result this weekend, against a Palace side that are struggling themselves. With the possibility of Jefferson Montero and Leon Britton being fit, this could be the Swans best chance of getting up and running this season.

Palace are in a real slump with five defeats on the bounce, Alan Pardew is beginning to feel the pressure as his side are sliding down the table. They really need a win against bottom side Swansea, or his job would have to be in jeopardy. The Eagles are fast being dragged into the relegation places, with Pardew showing little sign of knowing what to do to change things. However, Pardew does have experience of breaking similar runs while at Newcastle United, so he might well have the answer at hand.

Saturday 5:30pm
Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur

Kane (out)

Davies (out)
Lamela (out)
Alderweireld (out)
Rose (suspended)

With Chelsea in good form, following six wins in a row and a climb to top the league table, they will be extremely confident against Spurs at Stamford Bridge. The switch by Antonio Conte to a back three, which is much more suited to the players in the squad, has paid huge dividends, and now it is just a case of keeping things going. The main worry is whether they have the options to change things, if the opposition is able to figure out how to stifle the new system. Though there are also similar worries to Spurs, in that they only really have one proven striker, in Diego Costa, and could well be in real trouble if he suffers a long term injury.

Mauricio Pochettino is starting to come under his first bit of pressure as a manager in England. Despite his side being unbeaten this season, they sit 5th in the table and look a far cry from the side that pushed Leicester so hard last season. Added to that, some are questioning the team selections in European competition, as the club struggle badly after fighting so hard to make it into there. It does feel like the signing of Victor Wanyama has hindered the team's creativity, with there being little sign of them being anything like as dangerous as they were last season.

 

Sunday 12pm
Watford v Stoke City

Kabasele (doubt)
Success (out)
Kenedy (out)
Cathcart (out)
Dja Djedje (out)

Bardsley (out)
Whelan (doubt)
Cameron (out)
Butland (out)
Ireland (out)
Afellay (out)
Allen (suspended)

The Hornets are picking up good results, lifting themselves into contention for European football next season. The issue is whether they have that little something extra to move up a level or whether the midtable is their place. It certainly will not be because of Walter Mazzarri's inflexibility that they fail to move up, as he has been happy to suit the formation and style to each opponent. Most of their successes have come using a back 5 or 3 system, so it is likely to be used once again, as they face the resurgent Potters. The main worry for the manager now will be complacency, as they are safely ensconced in midtable.

Following a disastrous start to the season, three straight wins got Stoke out of relegation trouble, only for the defeat to Bournemouth to throw doubt back into the mix. Mark Hughes will want to see more of his players return to form, like Marko Arnautovic has done recently, in order to lift the Potters up into the top half. He will certainly be looking for more from Xherdan Shaqiri, who has disappointed badly since arriving.

Sunday 2:15pm
Arsenal v Bournemouth

Bellerin (out)
Perez (out)
Cazorla (doubt)
Akpom (out)
Mertesacker (out)
Welbeck (out)
Sanogo (doubt)

Ibe (doubt)
Boruc (doubt)
Surman (doubt)
Cook (out)

With the Gunners safely through to the next round of the Champions League, they will now be looking to kick on in the Premier League as well. Following the last two weekends 1-1 draws, they will be looking for more to step above their usual 4th place. Arsene Wenger will certainly be expecting a better performance than the lacklustre showing against Manchester United last Saturday. The Gooners will want to show a lot more in attack than they did in the last few matches, were their flowing football was not in evidence at all.

The Cherries are a very up and down side who get mixed results due to their style of play. Eddie Howe has a very good budget, but not enough to shop at the very top end of the game, so his side have their weaknesses. They try and keep the ball on the ground, and are happy to pass out from the back, which can cost them, as their defence is not top class. They do have a lot of pace in the final third, which can hurt on the break, especially against a team like Arsenal who take chances defensively.

Sunday 4:30pm
Manchester United v West Ham United

Fellaini (doubt)
Bailly (out)
Smalling (out)
Wilson (out)

Oxford (out)
Tore (doubt)
Byram (doubt)
Masuaku (out)
Carroll (out)

Manchester United's recent run has had far too many draws, which has seen them drop off the pace at the top, and have Jose Mourinho begin talk of needing 3 years to rebuild the team. However, an excellent performance against Arsenal, last weekend, and a good win against Feyenoord in the Europa League on Thursday night has raised the spirits and lifted confidence. A game against a struggling Hammers side is a good chance for the Red Devils to get themselves back in the race for Champions League qualification.

This season has been nothing short of disastrous for the Hammers, a complete change from the highs of last season. Right now they are in a very definite relegation battle and in desperate need of some wins. To that end, Slaven Bilic has been testing out a back three, which initially led to a couple of wins, but has shown no signs of being enough to rescue them from a relegation battle. With home advantage currently being no advantage at all, as the new stadium has been nothing short of a millstone around the neck so far, Bilic will need his charges to step up in games like this one if he is to hold onto his job.

 

Sunday 4:30pm
Southampton v Everton

Boufal (doubt)
Fonte (doubt)
Tadic (doubt)
McCarthy (doubt)
Targett (out)
Pied (out)

Kone (doubt)
Besic (out)
Pennington (out)

Saints form has fallen off recently, with it being four games since they picked up a win in the Premier League. Even the Europa League has been a struggle for them, despite having been drawn in a favourable group. Claude Puel will be looking for results to improve, which is why he has been experimenting recently with different formations, to try and get more from his players. His main issue is to try and get more from Jay Rodriguez, who has struggled to get back to his best since his return from a long term injury.

The Toffees have lost their way in recent weeks, getting battered by Chelsea and then completely outplayed by Swansea last weekend. The constant changes of formation have not helped his players settle in to working with him in the short term, but the flexibility should be an advantage in the long term. Today is going to be a difficult game for Ronald Koeman, as his reception is likely to be extremely unfriendly, due to the way he left Saints in the summer. He will want his Everton charges to be at it from the kick off, in order to shut up the boo boys that are bound to be there.

Written by Tris Burke November 26 2016 06:56:22