Football News: Premier League Match Previews Sunday 26th November 2017

 

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Premier League Match Previews Sunday 26th November 2017
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Sunday 26th November 2017



Southampton v Everton 1:30pm kick off


Lemina (ankle injury) late fitness test
Pied (knock) out
Romeu (suspended) out

It has now been 3 games without a win, the last 2 defeats, for the Saints, as they show an alarming inability to create or take chances under Mauricio Pellegrino. They have managed to score just 9 goals in their 12 matches so far and have shown little real genuine threat of improving their goal ratio, to the chagrin of the fans. The boring, negative style of play was the big criticism against Claude Puel, but Pellegrino has made that seem like fast, all-out attacking football in his few months in charge. Like Swansea fans, you can only admire the Soton fans that continue to go along to St Mary's to watch their team, as it must be a chore right now to watch them.
Most important player: Sofiane Boufal. Boufal is about all they have on the creative side, unless Lemina is fit to play.


Schneiderlin (toe injury) late fitness test
Holgate (groin strain expected return 29th November) doubt
McCarthy (hamstring injury expected return 7th December) out
Barkley (hamstring injury expected return 10th December) out
Funes Mori (ACL injury expected return 1st April 2018) out
Coleman (broken leg expected return 13th January 2018) out
Bolasie (ACL injury expected return 1st January 2018) out
Jagielka (knock) slight doubt
Niasse (suspended) out
Davies (suspended) out

While David Unsworth has steadied the ship in the Premier League, the performances in the Europa League have been damaging to morale, especially the 5-1 battering at the hands of Atalanta in mid-week. This is a chance for Rhino to show if he has the ability to motivate players at least, though the loss has almost certainly killed his chances of landing the role of Toffees' boss on a permanent basis. Away from home Everton have yet to win in the Premier League and only scored 4 goals in 6 matches, that will need to change if they are not to slip back into the relegation zone.
Most important player: Leighton Baines. The England left back is struggling badly this season for form, unless he picks up his form he could find himself being replaced in the summer.


Defining Battle: this looks like being a really tight affair with little in the way of goalmouth action as Everton lack a cutting edge and any pace, while Soton move the ball too slowly to get at opponents. This is likely to be a midfield slog, with the ball bogged down in the centre as neither team look to have the confidence to take the game to the other right now. On paper this will be a game that will come down to who wants it more, rather than who is better.



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



Burnley v Arsenal 2pm kick off


Marney (fitness) major doubt
Walters (knee injury) out
Heaton (dislocated shoulder) out

Burnley are performing beyond all expectation in the Premier League this season to be sat in 7th, on the same points total as Liverpool and Arsenal. They have won 3 in a row and have only conceded 2 goals at home this season. Their big weakness is scoring goals, with just 5 scored in their 6 home games. Their defensive performances have been very reliant on blocking shots, which has to be a worry, as the fact they have blocked the most shots in the Premier League tells you that they are allowing too many. It only takes a change in luck for blocks to turn into deflections into the net or even own goals.
Most important player: Jack Cork. His role at the base of midfield is key to the way the Clarets are playing this season.


Walcott (illness expected return 29th November) slight doubt
Cazorla (plantaris injury) out

Arsene Wenger is in an unusual situation at this stage of the season, he has an almost fully fit squad to choose from. Normally they are up near the top of the injury table every single season under Wenger, so this is a nice change. Added to that their home form has been exemplary, with the Gunners still possessing a 100% record there after 6 games. Their away form, however, is a completely different matter, with just 1 win on the road in the Premier League and 4 defeats. With Burnley doing so well this season, their in-your-face style of football being one that Arsenal tend to struggle with anyway, this is likely to be a very tough game for Arsenal.
Most important player: Mesut Ozil. If he plays well so do Arsenal. This is the kind of game he can often struggle with, as he gets little help or protection from his teammates.


Defining Battle: the area behind the strikers, where Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil like to play, is the key to the match. That is the area of the pitch that Jack Cork patrols and he has been getting better and better as the season goes on. Burnley have to ensure Arsenal get no time and space in there and then they can concentrate on knocking the Gooners out of their stride in the rest of the pitch.


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



Huddersfield Town v Manchester City 4pm kick off


Billing (ankle injury expected return 13th January 2018) out
Hefele (achilles injury expected return 16th December) out
Stankovic (ACL injury expected return 1st January 2018) out

For the second time this season the Terriers are having to lift themselves after a big 4-0 defeat, however this one will feel a lot worse than the previous one. Shipping four against a struggling Bournemouth side is a real blow, far more so than doing the same against high-flying Spurs. While they will be glad to be at home, as their home record is so much better than their away one, this is still not a good time for them to be taking on Man City. Though you have to give David Wagner his due, each time Huddersfield have looked like a team that are going to slip down the table into the relegation zone, he has managed to find a way to get a result out of them.
Most important player: Christopher Schindler. The German centre back has been excellent for the Yorkshire side since joining them, he was very much missed while out suspended last week.


Stones (hamstring injury) major doubt
Mendy (ACL injury expected return 18th April 2018) out

This has almost been all too easy for Man City so far this season and the biggest danger they face, bar an injury crisis arising, is complacency. Even if they do have a blip, they now have a big enough cushion for that not to matter. It has helped them that the opposition in the Premier League, in the main, has sat off and allowed them to do their thing, week in, week out. Pep Guardiola's teams have always struggled against the high press but no one has yet attempted to use it against them in the Premier League this season. With Wagner favouring a high press, this could turn out to be a much bigger test for Citeh than you might otherwise expect.
Most important player: Ederson. The keeper is likely to have very little to do for large periods of the game, so he will have to be alert when it does matter.


Defining Battle: this all comes down to Huddersfield's press and if City can break it. You would expect them to be able to do so at will, but it only takes the players to be a little off their best game, taking the foot off the gas mentally, for this to become a very difficult match.


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



Editor's Predictions Table
1= Ed018 - 73 points
1= Ed033 - 73 points
3. Ed003 - 67 points
4. Ed004 - 65 points
5. Ed025 - 64 points
6. Ed002 - 62 points
7. Ed007 - 57 points


*1 point is awarded for the correct result, 3 points for the correct score.
**updated 23rd November 2017

Written by Tris Burke



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