Part 2. In no particular order…
West Ham (h), Villa (a), Europa League (a), Hull (h), League Cup – Hull (h), Everton (a), Europa League (a), Newcastle (h), Man City (a)
Spurs have been flying so far and it looks set to continue for a little while longer. The good thing for Spurs is that although they’ve bought a heap of new players, a lot of them haven’t got into the swing of things yet. It’s been the existing players that have been doing a large amount of the heavy lifting. It really is a scary proposition in that the likes of Soldado, Eriksen, Lamela, Capoue and Chadli are yet to fully find their feet. There’s a lot more to come from these guys and when they click they could be a top, top team. Paulinho has been one that has shown his worth straight away and could be a very good player for a long time. I can’t see them dropping too many points over this period but Everton and Man City do provide stern challenges. They’ll keep getting clean sheets too. Keep an eye on Walker to keep flying down the right flank.
Swansea (h), Man Utd (a), Fulham (h), League Cup – Sunderland (a), Stoke (a), Hull (h), Arsenal (a)
Southampton have been doing really well so far, they’ve been keeping it tight at the back and scoring enough goals to win them a few games. Lambert has played very well without luck and Osvaldo is just starting to get into it. If they can continue to improve and get on the end of some of the crosses from Lallana and Ward-Prowse they could easily cause a few more upsets. It’s their defence that has been most relevant to us with the partnership of Fonte and Lovren proving prosperous. With Clyne and Shaw getting back to full fitness as well they’ll have a very good back 4 for a few years. They’ve got a got a couple of very hard games in Man Utd and Arsenal away, but the rest are very winnable and “cleansheetable”.
Southampton (a), Sunderland (h), Europa League (h), West Ham (h), Cardiff (a), Europa League (a), Stoke (h), Fulham (a)
A tough start to the season so far has seen them play all of Man Utd, Spurs, Liverpool and Arsenal, as well as the Europa League games. Their fixtures do open up substantially over this next period however and we should look the likes of Michu, Bony, Hernandez and Shelvey to get some points. Defensively they’ve been ok but it is really hard to judge based on the teams they’ve played so far. One game I can’t wait to see is Cardiff away, should be a corker!
Fulham (a), West Brom (h), Man Utd (a), League Cup – Birmingham (a), Southampton (h), Swansea (a), Sunderland (h)
Mark Hughes’ version of Stoke City has won some plaudits so far this season, just not many games. The main problem they have is that they just aren’t scoring enough goals, if they can get one of their strikers to start putting the ball in the net regularly they’ll not only start getting points, but it will give the rest of the team the belief that this style will work. The fact Adam has the most shots in the team is a worry, particularly as he hasn’t played every game. They have 3 very winnable home games coming up but if they play like they did last week against Norwich then it might be a long season. Stoke have a notoriously stingy defence and they’d need that to continue if they stand a chance of rising up the table.
Arsenal (h), Stoke (a), Liverpool (a), Palace (h), Chelsea (a), Villa (h)
Any team that can go to Old Trafford and return home with a win is alright with me… Whether West Brom can do that regularly is a completely different story however and I doubt they can. Their form has been all over the place, prior to that win they got beat by both Southampton and Swansea at home but drew against Everton at Goodison. Beat Sunderland at home but drew away to Fulham. There’s no real trends that stick out, apart from they’ve conceded in most games. It would be tough to predict them to take something out of the games against Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea but the others could prove fruitfull.
Stoke (h), Palace (a), Southampton (a), League Cup – Leicester (a), Man Utd (h), Liverpool (a), Swansea (h)
I read a stat on the weekend, but I can’t find it now to quote unfortunately… It was along the lines of; Fulham have conceded the most shots on goal, and on target this season. This is a worry. You can’t let the opposition take pot shots at your goals whenever they feel like it and expect to win games, unless you’re taking as many yourself. Which they aren’t… The only game they’ve won was against Sunderland with a point against West Brom as well. They’ve got some chances coming up in the next few weeks but after that it’s going to barren for a while. What really annoys me is that they have quite a few FPL relevant players and need them to start doing well… Berba, Bent, Reither, Kasami, etc, could all be great additions to our teams but you just can’t trust Fulham right now.
Newcastle (h), Chelsea (a), Norwich (a), Swansea (h), Villa (a), Man Utd (h)
Cardiff have been really good value so far! The only game they’ve lost at home was against Spurs, when they conceded in the 94th minute. They should’ve got a share of the points against West Ham but for a goal in the 88th minute, and they beat Fulham away last week. They do have some tough fixtures coming up however and no-one expects them to beat Chelsea and Man Utd but the rest are very possible. If they manage to keep this up it will be on the back of players like Whittingham, Campbell, Gunnarsson and maybe Odemwingie. I never personally like backing recently promoted teams to do well defensively and I won’t start now…
Liverpool (a), Fulham (h), Arsenal (h), West Brom (a), Everton (h), Hull (a)
Things aren’t looking great for Palace so far this season. They’ve only picked points in one game, a win against fellow strugglers Sunderland. They’ll need to really pick up their act if they are going to avoid relegation. I wish I could be more optimistic but I don’t see any of their players being immediately FPL relevant and I don’t think they can get too much out of the next 6 games. They might push Fulham at home?
Villa (h), Everton (a), Tottenham (a), League Cup – Tottenham (a), Sunderland (h), Southampton (a), Palace (h)
Another one of the promoted teams that are more than holding their own with the big boys. Wins against Newcastle, West Ham and Norwich have been traded off against losses against Chelsea and ManCity plus a draw against Cardiff. Brady has been a revelation in FPL terms but there are injury concerns. If he is sidelined for a period of time Hull may suffer as he is a important attacking outlet. Like I said earlier, I’m not a big fan of promoted team defences and it’s no different here. Only one clean sheet and no sign that they will get too many more in the near future.
Man Utd (h), Swansea (a), Newcastle (h), League Cup – Southampton, Hull (a), Man City (h), Stoke (a)
I liked Sunderland under Di Canio… It was fascinating. Everyone knew what was going to happen but watching someone so passionate / crazy about their beliefs but being so very, very wrong made for good watching. He’s gone now so they have to try and piece together something that resembles a season. Whoever they choose as gaffer will have a big job on their hands… Di Canio went out and bought 10 new players over the break and I’m not really convinced any of them are any good. Giaccherini might have something about him and Altidore is a big lump of a bloke but it’s going to be tough going for a while.
Tottenham (a), Man City (h), Swansea (a), League Cup – Burley (a), Villa (h), Norwich (a), Chelsea (h)
Oh how West Ham have missed Andy Carroll! He was supposed to be the great hope, the one they create a team around but he just can’t get on the park. The news is that he’s just been given the go ahead to start training again but it’s going to take some time to get back to full fitness. Much of West Hams attacking play centres around him and his absence has really effected output, so much so that they’ve failed to score in 4 out of 6 games. It’s very hard to win games without scoring… Nolan has gone missing, as has Jarvis and Downing hasn’t shown too much yet either. Their defence has been good with Jussi and their entire back 4 giving us some points. Looking forward, they could easily go this entire 6 game stretch of games without winning, except against Burnley maybe?
That’s all folks!