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Football News: Premier League Preview Sunday 5th November 2017

Premier League Preview Sunday 5th November 2017
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Sunday 5th November 2017


Tottenham Hotspur v Crystal Palace 12pm kick off

Alderweireld (hamstring injury) major doubt
Lloris (hip flexor strain expected return 18th November) out
Wanyama (MCL injury, in training) out
Lamela (hip injury) out

It was all beginning to look like it was getting too much for the Spurs team, 2 defeats in a row, if you include the EFL Cup shocker against West Ham, who they allowed to come back from a 2 goal deficit at half time. Then they go and beat Real Madrid in midweek, and Madrid were well-beaten as well. Has that taken too much out of the players or will it affect their focus? Palace will be hoping it has. After a run of 4 wins in a row in the Premier League, that 1-0 defeat to Man Utd could have been a sickening blow and put a halt to Tottenham's progress. The players have the chance to ensure it is completely forgotten by going on another run of wins, starting today.
Most important player: Michel Vorm. With first choice keeper Hugo Lloris injured, Vorm will have to step in.


van Aanholt (hamstring injury) late fitness test
Chung-Yong (muscle injury) out
McArthur (ankle injury) late fitness test
Sakho (calf strain) late fitness test
Benteke (MCL injury expected return 25th November) out
Wickham (ACL injury expected return January 2018) out
Kaikai (knock) out


Palace are still in desperate straits, bottom of the table and struggling to remain in touching distance, but at least they have finally started scoring goals at home. This game is a bonus for the Eagles, they will not be expected to get anything so any result will be a plus for them. Just scoring a goal away from home will feel like a victory at the moment.
Most important player: Joel Ward. For some reason the right back is pretty much ever-present for Palace, despite being a weak defender with terrible positional sense, a lack of real pace or ability in attack. He is a weak spot in the side that needs to be protected.


Defining Battle: with Alderweireld missing, arguably the Premier League's best defender, Spurs look a lot weaker and open to being attacked. With Zaha up front having transformed Palace's attacking play, but will they be able to get enough of the ball to him in dangerous areas? If they can, then Palace have a very real chance of creating a surprise.


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


Manchester City v Arsenal 2:15pm kick off

Mendy (ACL injury expected return April 2018) out
Kompany (calf muscle strain expected return 18th November) out

The Man City juggernaut rolls on to face Arsenal, but there are signs of the familiar cracks appearing at the back as they have begun to concede goals of late. West Brom are not exactly known for their goalscoring, but they managed to score 2 against City and that will be something Pep Guardiola needs to be aware of. While they are still playing excellent football and the goals are flying in, they can afford a little bit of lax play at the back, but the moment they hit a bad patch, which all teams do at some point, that laxity will cost them if they are not careful. It certainly did for them last season.
Most important player: Fernandinho. The system simply will not work without him breaking up play and protecting that dodgy defence. One dip in form could cost them badly.


Ospina (groin strain expected return 18th November) doubt
Welbeck (groin strain expected return 18th November) out
Mustafi (thigh strain expected return 18th November) doubt
Cazorla (plantaris injury) out
Chambers (hip injury expected return 18th November) out

Arsenal have been excellent at home, but away from home their form is awful, with just 1 win and 1 draw in their 5 matches on their travels. They look a totally different side away from their own stadium, maybe because of the missing cojones. Unless they can find their cojones ahead of this match, they could be in real trouble. Arsenal will need to be brave and get a hold of the ball as much as possible, break the press and take the sting out of City's attacking play.
Most important player: Alexandre Lacazette. The French forward will relish his chances up against Stones and Otamendi, if the Gunners can get the ball up to him often enough.


Defining Battle: with no genuine left back and a right back who is suspect defensively, the key to victory for Arsenal is getting at the fullbacks. You would fancy Sanchez to be able to cause whoever plays on the right all sorts of problems, but it is the left back that is the real weakness. Have Arsenal got anyone to put pressure on whoever plays on the left for Citeh? If they have then there is a genuine chance of them getting something from this match.


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


Chelsea v Manchester United 4:30pm kick off

Moses (hamstring injury expected return 18th November) out
Kante (hamstring injury) late fitness test

Despite being in 4th and on a run of 2 wins in a row things do not seem well at the Pensioners. Even before the injury to N'Golo Kante Chelsea were not at their best and looked like they were missing something. The loss of Moses and Hazard for most of the season so far through injury has certainly contributed, but the transfer dealings are clearly the main culprit. The inability to offload wantaway (or should that be stayaway?) forward Diego Costa was a major headache, with his attitude stinking up the place badly. Losing John Terry's leadership and a large turnover of players, particularly amongst the youth ranks, has also not helped. It really feels like a club in need of some stability.
Most important player: Alvaro Morata. The Spaniard has a lot of quality but he is struggling to perform right now. On his day he can be a genuine difference maker.


Lingard (back injury) late fitness test
Fellaini (MCL injury expected return 18th November) major doubt
Carrick (calf strain) out
Pogba (hamstring injury expected return 18th November) out
Ibrahimovic (ACL injury expected return 16th December) out
Rojo (ACL injury expected return 18th November) out

Jose Mourinho does not play the prettiest of football, it is all about overpowering the opposition rather than outplaying them, but it is extremely effective. Usually. There has been a few signs of a bit of a wobble coming on, with performances having dipped massively and Romelu Lukaku looking utterly lost without his best mate Paul Pogba there, but they are still, mostly getting results. If they can see this wobble through, continuing to pick up the results they are, then they will be in a strong position when the team is back on track and Lukaku is firing once more. Five points is not an insurmountable gap at the top.
Most important player: Romelu Lukaku. It would make a hell of a difference to him if he can get himself back on form even without his best mate around. Just one goal is all he needs to change his mood and lift his form.


Defining Battle: if Jose plays to type, then Man Utd will be narrow and sit deep, allowing Chelsea to fling the ball in at will and concentrating on using their power and aerial strength to deal with that. The key for Chelsea is to not give away possession and allow the Red Devils to get the ball to Lukaku. If he does not see the ball early he tends to go into a sulk and spends the rest of the match slinking about not breaking sweat. Man Utd need to ensure he gets enough early touches that he is up for a game that should mean a lot to him, the chance to prove that Chelsea made a mistake letting him go.


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


Everton v Watford 3pm kick off

Martina (concussion expected return 18th November) out
Keane (infected cut) slight doubt
McCarthy (hamstring injury expected return 18th November) out
Barkley (hamstring injury expected return 18th November) out
Funes Mori (ACL injury expected return 1st April 2018) out
Bolasie (ACL injury expected return 1st January 2018) out
Coleman (broken leg expected return 1st Janury 2018) out

This whole season has been dreadful for those who follow the Toffees. It is not just that results have been so bad, it was the false hope the fans were given by the arrival of a new owner and the big sums being spent on players. Instead of spending the money wisely and moving the club forward, Everton spent lots of money on lots of players who are either not good enough, not ready yet or not being allowed to play where they want to because everything is being moved around to please one over the hill new boy. David Unsworth has shown little sign of being able to turn anything around, his tactics seem more of a case of just changes made in hope rather than expectation. There are huge problems within the squad, not least the Rooney conundrum, as Rooney looks finished at the highest level but no one wants to admit that as dropping him is something only Mourinho has had the balls to do. With him in the side he is either in the No 10 position, so none of the numerous 10s brought in can play in their natural position or up front, where he is so busy running round mindlessly that no one has an out ball to the forward to play. Tough decisions need to be made quickly because this is a club that is genuinely in a relegation battle right now and they should not be there. What is missing more than anything is a strong leader to manage them who is not afraid to make the difficult calls. Sadly, much as I like him, that man is not Unsworth.
Most important player: Leighton Baines. So far this season he has looked like his legs are going, but he got a rest in midweek, so that could help him get back to his best.


Pereyra (hamstring injury expected return 19th November) doubt
Success (knee injury expected return 9th December) out
Chalobah (knee injury) out
Kaboul (hamstring injury expected return 19th November) slight doubt
Prodl (hamstring injury expected return 19th November) slight doubt
Cathcart (knee injury) out
Hoban (ACL injury) out
Deeney (suspended) out

Form has dipped for the Horents of late, two defeats in a row has seen them slip down the table a little to 9th. It is no coincidence that they have not been the same since Pereyra suffered another injury, he is a key player for them and his loss last season affected them. There is no one of a similar quality level in the squad for Marco Silva to turn to, so there is now a lot of pressure heaped on the shoulders of the young Brazilian Richarlison. He has been excellent for Watford so far, but one thing he is not is a clinical finisher and that is costing them badly.
Most important player: Andre Carrillo. The Peruvian winger is trying to fill the shoes of Pereyra but he has struggled so far to make any kind of impact.


Defining Battle: Silva likes his teams to attack with pace down the flanks, looking for the wide players to get in behind the fullback they are facing. Everton have a genuine issue with their fullbacks this season, with Coleman injured, Martina not good enough, Baines struggling, Kenny just feeling his way in and Holgate a centre back. Unsworth will have to find a way to protect the team from being exposed by that weakness, as it plays right into Watford's hands.


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


Editor's Predictions Table
1. Ed018 - 62 points
2. Ed033 - 57 points
3. Ed003 - 52 points
4. Ed025 - 51 points
5= Ed007 - 50 points
5= Ed004 - 50 points
7. Ed002 - 46 points

*1 point is awarded for the correct result, 3 points for the correct score.
**updated 3rd November 2017

Written by Tris Burke November 05 2017 05:04:18