Another Premier League Gameweek is upon us and ahead of the first slate of weekend matches, we preview one question that each team faces.
One Question for Each Premier League Side Ahead of the Weekend Clashes
Everton v Newcastle United – 12:30
Both teams head into this fixture fresh off the back of dropping points in their last games. Everton would have been the happier side with a point against Leicester City, whereas Newcastle United suffered their fifth defeat on the bounce, falling 2-1 at home to Leeds United.
Everton are in desperate need of goals. Only Arsenal in the top half of the table have scored fewer goals than Everton and this is something they will want to try and put right against a Newcastle side who have conceded at least two goals in five of their last six Premier League matches.
Newcastle will be looking for a crucial away point. They have lost their last five away games and need to start picking up points on the road to help boost their survival prospects. The pressure is mounting on manager Steve Bruce- a point away at Everton would go a long way to ensure he is still at the helm when they welcome Crystal Palace in Gameweek 22.
Newcastle are yet to lose a Premier League game when Callum Wilson has scored. He is the club’s top scorer with eight goals. A goal from the Englishman would go a long way in Newcastle’s pursuit of three points.
Crystal Palace v Wolverhampton Wanderers – 15:00
Crystal Palace host Wolverhampton Wanderers at Selhurst Park looking to get back to winning ways after going winless in their last three matches. Wolves are back down in London after their midweek 0-0 draw away to Chelsea. Wolves are without a win in the league in their last seven matches – a run that dates back to mid-December.
Crystal Palace are in desperate need a clean sheet. For a team that prides itself on its defensive solidarity, Roy Hodgson will be extremely disappointed that they have only managed three clean sheets all season. Hodgson’s men have conceded the second-most goals in the league just ahead of West Bromwich Albion.
Against a blunt Wolves attack, Palace will be hoping that this fixture will provide them with the perfect opportunity to secure their fourth clean sheet.
Wolves, on the other hand, need goals. Since Raul Jimenez’ sickening head injury, Wolves have found goals really hard to come by as they have only found the back of the net ten times in the ten matches that Jimenez has been unavailable.
Not convinced by young starlet Fabio Silva, Nuno Espirito Santo has bolstered his attacking options with the loan signing of Real Sociedad striker Willian Jose. Santo will be hoping that Jose can hit the ground running and help propel Wolves back up the table.
Despite appearing to have had a bad season due to their league position, Wolves are only six points worse off than they were at this stage of last season.
Manchester City v Sheffield United – 15:00
At the start of the week, Manchester City fans would have been licking their lips at the prospect of playing a Sheffield United side marooned at the bottom of the table. However, after Sheffield’s United historic 2-1 victory away at rivals Manchester United, Pep Guardiola will be welcoming a United side looking to complete an unlikely Manchester double.
Manchester City will hope for another clean sheet similar to the one against strugglers West Bromwich Albion which saw them make it four clean sheets on the bounce and eleven for the season.
Dogged by persistent defensive issues last season City seem to have cracked the defensive formula with the singing of Ruben Dias, the re-emergence of John Stones and enterprising play of Joao Cancelo. City will be looking for a fifth consecutive clean sheet to lay the foundation for another win that will take them further clear at the top.
Sheffield United will be hoping for consecutive matches accruing points. Although few would fancy Chris Wilder’s men to pick up anything at the Etihad, the upcoming fixture provides Sheffield United with an opportunity to accrue points in back to back fixtures for the first time this season.
Sheffield United’s away victory at Old Trafford was the blades’ first away victory at Old Trafford since 1973. It was their first Premier League away victory since a 1-0 victory against Crystal Palace on the 1st February 2020. As the preview suggests, they go into this Premier League game as underdogs.
West Bromwich Albion v Fulham – 15:00
A battle at the basement of the Premier League awaits when West Bromwich Albion welcome Fulham to the Hawthornes. In a match where both sides need to win, it is a match that both sides daren’t not lose.
West Brom will be looking to keep it tight at home. In the four home matches that Sam Allardyce has hosted, West Brom have shipped a staggering 17 goals. Expected to come in and right the ship as he usually does, Allardyce is struggling to get a tune out of his players.
Already seven points adrift of Brighton in 17th place, West Brom need to keep it tight and start to quickly win matches the Allardyce way if they are to start climbing the table.
Fulham must start converting draws into wins. After starting the new campaign in a similar fashion to how they ended their disastrous 2018 /2019 season, Fulham looked nailed on to go down. Although they are still in the bottom tbree, Fulham have become a much tougher nut to crack.
Without a win in their last ten, they have achieved six draws in that period. Converting these points into three will be essential if Scott Parker’s men are to survive.
West Brom are on pace to concede the most goals in a 38 game season in Premier League history. Having conceded 48 goals through 20 games, West Brom are conceding on average 2.4 goals a game. Multiplying this average across a 38 game season would take the Baggies to 91.2 – surpassing the 2007 / 2008 Derby County side who conceded a total of 89 goals.
Ahead of the game, the preview suggests another disappointing tie in the Premier League for West Brom.
Arsenal v Manchester United – 17:30
Spurning the opportunity to jump back up to the top of the Premier League table after a shock 2-1 defeat at home to Sheffield United, Manchester United will be looking for the perfect response when they head to the Emirates. They will meet an Arsenal side full of confidence after a commanding 3-1 victory away at Southampton.
Arsenal need to be carrying on the momentum. Rewind a few months and all looked gloomy for Arsenal, the board were under real pressure to sack Mikel Arteta and some felt Arsenal were in a relegation battle.
Fast forward to the present day and Arsenal sit second in the form table after winning four out of their last five. A top-four finish is in sight and a win against Manchester United would see Arsenal go level on points with arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
Manchester United must get Bruno Fernandes back on the scoresheet. In hindsight, the defeat to Sheffield United was perhaps on the cards. United have been grinding out results lately and haven’t looked to be at their fluent best.
A reason behind this could be Bruno Fernandes. No player has been involved in more goal-scoring actions in the Premier League since Bruno arrived in the Premier League a year ago. Although he is still bubbling along nicely – his goal involvements have slightly gone off the boil in recent weeks. Without a goal in his last four matches, United need him to rediscover his scoring touch.
Arsenal are on a five-game unbeaten league run against Manchester United. United’s last victory was in April 2018 making this a Premier League game to watch after the preview.
Southampton v Aston Villa- 20:00
A Saturday night battle between two sides that have surpassed all expectations so far this season when Aston Villa travel to the south coast to take on Southampton. Both will be looking to bounce back after suffering disappointing defeats in mid-week.
Southampton need to be getting back to winning ways. There is a danger that Southampton are starting to fall away in the Premier League. After a brilliant start that saw the Saints sit atop of the league and being consistently around the top 6 places. Southampton will enter this match in 11th position after achieving just three wins in their last ten. For a team that is harbouring a potential European spot, it is key that they pick up the winning thread again quickly.
Aston Villa must return to the ‘new Aston Villa’. When we say ‘new Aston Villa’ we are referring to the mean defensive unit they have become. Sitting second in the clean sheet table with a total of nine, Villa’s 3-2 defeat to Burnley was a throwback to how they defended for most of last season. Seeming to have the game in control it was a real surprise to see the Villains throw away the three points.
Aston Villa have already surpassed their clean sheet tally from last year. Through 18 matches they have kept nine, whereas for the whole of last season they only managed six.
As the preview suggests, Saturday’s round of Premier League fixtures look set to be entertaining.
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