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Football News: Premier League Match Previews Saturday 14th October 2017

Premier League Match Previews Saturday 14th October 2017
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Saturday 14th October 2017


Liverpool v Manchester United 12:30pm kick off

Mane (hamstring injury expected return end November) out
Lallana (thigh strain expected return mid-November) out
Clyne (back injury no return date yet) out
Bogdan (ACL injury no return date yet) out

This season Liverpool have been incredibly inconsistent, one week being held to a draw, then scraping a win, handing out a hammering, before themselves getting hammered. Since the hiding they got at the hands of Man City, they do seem to have tightened up a lot and improved their consistency, but they are struggling to get wins, only one win in the 6 games they have played in all competitions since then. A lot of that due to their wastefulness in front of goal, but that is something they will not be able to afford against Man Utd. The loss of the dangerous Sadio Mane to injury during the international blow is a bitter blow to swallow for Jurgen Klopp.
Most important player: Mohamed Salah. With Mane out injured, Egypt's hero Salah will have to carry the main weight of the attack. His pace will be essential if the Reds are to keep United pinned back.


Fellaini (MCL injury expected return 28th October) out
Jones (knee injury) slight doubt
Carrick (calf strain) doubt
Pogba (hamstring injury no return date yet) out
Ibrahimovic (ACL injury expected return January 2018) out
Rojo (ACL injury expected return end December) out
Wilson (ACL injury back in training) slight doubt

The Red Devils seem to have developed a love of picking up 4-0 wins this season, with 4 of their 7 Premier League matches so far finishing with that score. They have already scored 21 goals while conceding just 2, so it does look like, on paper, this is a simple win for United. However they have been hit with a few injuries of their own, with the midfield looking particularly stretched for this match. It also must be pointed out that this is their first real test in the league, as the other teams they have faced have been in poor form.
Most important player: Romelu Lukaku. The big Belgian is in stellar form this season but he has struggled against Liverpool in the past. Mourinho will expect him to step up this time around.


Defining Battle: the battle between Lukaku and the Liverpool defence will define this match, if he allows Dejan Lovren to bully him the way he did last season, then this will be a difficult match for United. With Lovren carrying a back problem and taking pain killers to get through the game, he has not been at his best this season and this is a chance for Lukaku to settle the score a little.


Editors' Predictions:
Ed002 - ?
Ed003 - 1-1
Ed004 - 2-2
Ed007 - 2-4
Ed018 - 2-1
Ed025 - 1-1
Ed033 - 1-2


Burnley v West Ham United 3pm kick off

Walters (knee injury no return date yet) out
Heaton (dislocated shoulder no return date yet) out
Wells (ankle injury back in training) doubt
Marney (ACL injury expected return 18 November back in training) out

Last season Burnley were excellent at home and struggled away, this time around they have been excellent away and inconsistent at home. It is particularly surprising when you realise that they had much more difficult away games than they did home fixtures. How does a team get 2 wins and 2 draws playing away to Chelsea, Spurs, Liverpool and Everton, only to lose to West Bromwich Albion at home. One thing is for sure they are difficult to beat, having lost just once this season.
Most important player: Jack Cork. His arrival has seen Sean Dyche change the way they set up from a 4-4-2 to 4-5-1, but also allowed him to play it with more attacking intent then they did with 2 up top.


Collins (ankle injury expected return 20th October) doubt
Obiang (muscular injury) slight doubt
Fernandes (ankle injury shortage of match fitness) slight doubt

The Hammers are finally starting to drag themselves clear of the relegation zone, following a 1-0 win against fellow strugglers Swansea last weekend. However, they have yet to win a match on the road this season, losing 3 of 4 games away from their new home. Having scored just 2 goals on their travels so far, it looks a safe bet that it will be a low scoring game if they do pick up a win at last. With all the pressure on Slaven Bilic this weekend, his team really need to get a result for him to release some of it before the owners turn on him to protect themselves from criticism.
Most important player: Chicharito. Despite usually ending up playing wide on the left, the Mexican striker is still West Ham's top scorer this season. Get him in the box more and provide him with the ball, that is what they should be looking to do.


Defining Battle: the key to this game will be cutting the supply line to Chicharito. Burnley have a tendency to allow opponents to take shots, they are not especially strong at cutting off the supply and tend to rely on getting bodies in the way. That will not be enough if Javier Hernandez is getting a decent supply of balls in the box. His finishing is far too good to allow him to get shots off, so they will have to look to improve on that area of their game.


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


Crystal Palace v Chelsea 3pm kick off

Dann (knock) slight doubt
Loftus-Cheek (thigh strain unable to face parent club) out
Benteke (knee injury expected return 18th November) out
Zaha (knee injury back in full training) doubt
Wickham (ACL injury no return date yet) out

When you go 7 matches without even looking like scoring a goal, let alone actually getting one, then you deserve to be propping up the table. Palace have been unremittingly terrible since the season kicked off, with little ambition and even less quality shown by the players. With Hodgson now having had a bit of time to drill the players in his style of play, they need to show signs of improvement quickly, which is not something that has been shown to happen in the past with Hodgson. Players often talk about how it took them years to fully understand what he wanted from them. None talk about how much they enjoy training or how enlightened that training is.
Most important player: Bakary Sako. The winger is filling in as a striker in Benteke's absence and, so far, has failed miserably to offer any kind of threat at all. Not all his own fault it must be said, in fact very little is coming his way to provide him with chances to threaten the opposition goal. Because of the lack of opportunities, he really has to be on top of his game to make the most of any half chance that may fall his way.


Kante (hamstring injury no return date yet set) major doubt
Morata (hamstring injury grade 2 tear expected return 18th October) major doubt
Drinkwater (calf strain) doubt

What better way to recover from the poor showing against Man City by facing the hopeless Palace? Chelsea really could not ask for a better choice of opponent to clear any loss of confidence. This is a good chance for them to get back into a winning run, though the loss of Kante will be a major hit, especially as it has been added to by the injury Morata received against City. However they should have more than enough to beat their London rivals with ease.
Most important player: Tiemoue Bakayoko. With Kante's almost certain absence, Bakayoko has to do the impossible and cover for his absence. How on earth anyone can cover for a player that usually does the work of two players I have no idea, but that is what he has to do!


Defining Battle: you know exactly what you will get from a Roy Hodgson side, they will sit deep, try and keep things tight and look to snatch a goal on the break. The key battle here is keeping the Chelsea defenders alert to ensure they do not make a mistake and allow chances from quick counter attacks.


Editors' Predictions:
Ed002 - ?
Ed003 - 1-4
Ed004 - 1-4
Ed007 - 0-3
Ed018 - 0-3
Ed025 - 0-2
Ed033 - 0-2


Manchester City v Stoke City 3pm kick off

Delph (hamstring injury) slight doubt
Aguero (fractured ribs back in training) late fitness test
Mendy (ACL injury expected return April 2018) out
Kompany (calf muscle strain) doubt

Citeh are absolutely flying right now, not even another injury to Kompany has managed to derail the train this time around. Stoke will be hoping that the international break has ruined their form and cohesion, as it can often do. Right now, only a dip in form looks likely to stop City picking up another win, as they look irresistible going forward right now. 22 goals scored and only 2 conceded is a frighteningly good record to build upon for the rest of the season. Will they be able to keep it up or will it be like normal for Pep's teams, with the team's form dipping and performances fading as the season wears on.
Most important player: David Silva. The Spanish midfielder is still the central figure in everything City do, even without his hair.


Allen (head injury) late fitness test
Martins Indi (groin injury expected return 21st October) doubt
Shawcross (back injury no return date yet) out
Ireland (broken leg back in training) out
Ngoy (returning to fitness expected return 17th October) doubt

As ever Mark Hughes' Potters are showing a real problem with getting consistency of performance and in results. Away from home they have been particularly poor this season, with no wins on the road and only 1 draw. There is little to suggest there will be any change in those figures after this game has been played. They concede too many and do not score enough, each game is played by a bunch of individuals and not a team. They are going to need a lot of luck to do anything more than slump to defeat yet again.
Most important player: Jack Butland. The England keeper is going to have to be on top of his game to keep his team in the game.


Defining Battle: it is all about the midfield. Stoke have struggled in there at times, finding themselves overrun due to a lack of pace and bite in there. While the lack of bite should not be a problem, as City do not have much of that either, they will once again struggle not to get swamped by the movement they are facing. Unless Hughes can come up with some way to block off the midfield and force City to play it longer, Stoke have little hope.


Editors' Predictions:
Ed002 - ?
Ed003 - 5-0
Ed004 - 3-0
Ed007 - 3-0
Ed018 - 3-1
Ed025 - 4-0
Ed033 - 2-0


Swansea City v Huddersfield Town 3pm kick off

Sanches (thigh injury) late fitness test
Sung-yeung (fitness) doubt
Bartley (MCL injury expected return 18th November) out
Bony (hamstring injury) doubt

Paul Clement must be glad that Palace are performing quite so appallingly, as it has taken the spotlight off the Swans and how dire they have been this season. They could not be more boring to watch if they set out to try and be boring, each performance seems less and less likely to entertain than the previous one. Just 3 goals in total have been scored so far, with 8 conceded and 2 of those goals were scored against the hapless Palace. They have been particularly poor at home, 3 defeats and just 1 goal scored, while conceding 7, something that really needs to be addressed. If they cannot figure out how to produce some kind of attacking threat in the next few matches, you can only see this ending one way, with the sacking of Clement. He needs to come up with an answer quickly.
Most important player: Federico Fernandez. So far the Argentine centre back has been the one player that can be relied on to put in a good performance each week. If they are to survive for another season in the Premier League, it is essential that he keeps up his performance level.


Hefele (achilles injury expected return 18th November) out
Quaner (calf strain expected return 21st October) major doubt
Williams (fractured foot) doubt
Mounie (heel injury) late fitness test
Palmer (hamstring injury expected return 18 November) out
Stankovic (ACL injury no return date yet) out

After a quick start things have gone a little awry for the Terriers, who have not won since their first two games. This is a chance for them to get their season back on track against a team that are badly struggling as well. Like Swans, Huddersfield are struggling to score goals, however their main goal threat is nearing a return and may be available. If Mounie is fit, that changes everything for the Yorkshiremen and provides them a focal point and a finisher to enable them to pick up some results once more.
Most important player: Rajiv van la Parra. The Dutch winger has a tendency to look to beat his man repeatedly, rather than create space and play the ball in. If they can keep him focused on just using his pace and skill to get some space to deliver and then deliver, they will have a great chance of winning.


Defining Battle: this is the kind of game Huddersfield's pressing system was designed for, with a possession based team like Swansea given no time and space to play the short passing they would like. The key to this game will be if the Swans can find a way to break the press. If they can do that, then they will be able to turn the pressure on to their opposition.


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


Tottenham Hotspur v Bournemouth 3pm kick off

Dembele (ankle injury expected return 22nd October) major doubt
Wanyama (knee injury expected return 22nd October) major doubt
Rose (MCL injury expected return 22nd October back in full training) out
Eric Lamela (hip injury expected return 5th November back in full training) out

Away from home Spurs have looked unstoppable, but at home, if Wembley can be called home, they are still struggling and have yet to win a Premier League match played at Wembley after 3 attempts. They will not get many better chances than a game against a struggling Bournemouth side who look utterly bereft of ideas at the moment. If they continue to struggle, then the talk of a curse will actually start to weigh on the players' minds and affect them.
Most important player: Dele Alli. His poor form and diving has adversely affected the team this season. Spurs need Alli to regain his form quickly, as his goalscoring is needed to lift them at Wembley.


B Smith (hip injury no return date yet) out
Fraser (hamstring injury) late fitness test
King (hamstring injury) late fitness test
Wilson (working on fitness after long term injury expected return 24th October) doubt
Mings (back injury 28th October) out
Federici (knee injury expected return 16th December) out

Away from home the Cherries have been utterly useless, with just one goal scored and not one point gained. Eddie Howe needs to find a way to get his team firing as, right now, his attempts to build around an ageing Jermain Defoe are not bearing fruit. Perhaps it is time to forget the experiment and go back to what worked last season, before it is too late to save the club from relegation.
Most important player: Nathan Ake. So far this season Ake has looked far from the promising defender he did previously. It seems he is struggling to build a working partnership with Simon Francis alongside him and both players have struggled positionally.


Defining Battle: the key to this game is for Bournemouth to keep Harry Kane quiet. If they can keep him closed down and keep Spurs from creating a good lead, then the crowd's anxiety will start to affect things on the pitch and they can profit. They will need to keep it tight, keep the defence compact and not allow Spurs any space in the centre.


Editors' Predictions:
Ed002 - ?
Ed003 - 3-0
Ed004 - 2-0
Ed007 - 4-1
Ed018 - 3-0
Ed025 - 2-1
Ed033 - 2-0


Watford v Arsenal 5:30pm kick off

Success (knee injury expected return 9th December) out
Chalobah (knee injury no return date yet) out
Kaboul (hamstring injury expected return 21st October) out
Prodl (hamstring injury) late fitness test
Cathcart (knee injury no return date yet) out
Hoban (ACL injury no return date yet) out

Things have certainly changed for Marco Silva, last season he could not buy a victory away from home, this time around that is no longer a problem but winning at home is. They have not scored a goal at home since the opening day 3-3 draw with Liverpool, let alone won. Like Spurs, they need to break that run quick, before it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as the supporters get anxious and that, in turn, transmits to the players.
Most important player: Jose Holebas. With Richarlison in front of him, he should get some space to operate in against the Gunners. Holebas has an excellent left foot, a few good balls into the box from that left peg could see the Hornets sneak a win.


Kolasinac (hip injury) late fitness test
Mustafi (thigh strain expected return 18th November) out
Koscielny (achilles injury) late fitness test
Chambers (hip injury expected return 28th October) out
Cazorla (plantaris injury no return date yet back in training) out

It is difficult to judge this Arsenal side, they have been excellent at home, but they have not faced anyone to speak of at the Emirates. On the road is a different matter. The Gunners have yet to win away, or even score a goal, in the Premier League. However, in 2 of the 3 away games they faced Liverpool and Chelsea, so if is understandable that no wins have yet come along. It is the lack of goals that will worry Arsene Wenger.
Most important player: Alexandre Lacazette. When you are struggling for goals, that is when you want your shiny new big money centre forward signing to step forward and deliver.


Defining Battle: the wide areas are the vital part of this game. Watford will want their wide players to push back the Arsenal wingbacks and use the overload of fullback overlapping the winger to give them space in the attacking third. Wenger will be looking to his wingbacks to be brave and get forward, keeping the opposing wingers pegged back.


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


Editor's Predictions Table
1. Ed018 - 39 points
2= Ed002 - 37 points
2= Ed003 - 37 points
4. Ed007 - 35 points
5= Ed004 - 32 points
5= Ed033 - 32 points
7. Ed025 - 29 points

*1 point is awarded for the correct result, 3 points for the correct score.
**updated 12th October 2017

Written by Tris Burke October 14 2017 04:44:59