Sorry it’s a little late this week, but the Preview is back! There’s another weekend of Premier League action on the horizon, it’s time for another gameweek preview! Team news and predicted line-ups are covered as always, plus tips from myself and our man Blunty.
As always, our UMAXIT league is still running! I managed 3/5 again last week, I can feel the winning week coming… Come take us on!
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*Projected teams are not official and are just a guideline!
*All times are in BST (British Summer Time)
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League Form: West Ham (17th) 1-1-3, Tottenham (5th) 2-2-1
Projected West Ham XI (5-2-3): Hart; Zabaleta, Fonte, Reid, Ogbonna Cresswell; Kouyate, Noble; Antonio, Carroll, Hernandez
Projected Spurs XI (3-4-2-1): Lloris; Sanchez, Alderweireld, Vertonghen; Aurier, Dembele, Dier, Davies; Eriksen, Alli; Kane
The last 4 premier league clashes over the past couple of seasons have all been won by the home team. That’s good news for West Ham supporters! The form table doesn’t make for good reading, however West Ham did win their only game at home so far.
Winston Reid is back to fitness for West Ham and will help them field three centre backs in the absence of the injured James Collins. Let’s be honest, it will be more like a five at the back against Spurs. Andy Carroll should continue to operate in the centre with Chicharito playing from the left. Spurs have no fresh injury concerns. Ben Davies is expected to return after being rested last weekend.
This contest is always fiery and I will expect nothing less when they face in the early kick-off. West Ham have won their only home game of the season so far so their recent form may be misleading, and Tottenham will certainly be tested at the back. As dangerous as the Hammers are, they aren’t too solid defensively and I can’t see them sitting deep enough to cause Spurs problems when they go forward. Harry Kane loves a derby and even though I’m sounding like a broken record this year, he looks set to cause trouble. I think Spurs will have far too much power and win this one comfortably. Look out for a points fest!
Tips – Matt: 1-4 Tottenahm. Blunty: 1-3 Tottenham.
League Form: Burnley (7th) 2-2-1, Huddersfield (6th) 2-2-1
Projected Burnley XI (4-4-2): Pope; Lowton, Mee, Tarkowski, Ward; Gudmundsson, Defour, Cork, Brady; Wood, Vokes
Projected Huddersfield XI (4-2-3-1): Lossl; Smith, Schindler, Zanka, Lowe; Mooy, Billing; Kachunga, Ince, Van la Parra; Depoitre
Given they haven’t played in the past couple of seasons the recent history isn’t too relevant. However it doesn’t take a genius to suggest that it will be a tight game!
I suspect Dyche will switch to a 4-4-2 at home to the newly promoted Huddersfield. That’s not to say that it will be an easy game, but they need to be winning at home. Mounie remains injured for Huddersfield and needs to be transferred if you haven’t got rid of him already. Now there’s a perfect example of a bandwagon gone wrong. Otherwise they should name a similar eleven to other gameweeks.
There’s plenty of action in the 3 O’Clock kick offs, however it probably won’t be at Turf Moor. Burnley will be desperate not to concede in this game, because even if they have started well away from home their home form will be crucial to survival. Huddersfield continue to impress me and I think they’re good enough to get a point here. Not much FPL relevancy sadly.
Tips – Matt: 1-1 draw. Blunty: 1-0 Burnley.
League Form: Everton (18th) 1-1-3, Bournemouth (18th) 1-0-4
Projected Everton XI (3-5-2): Pickford; Keane, Williams, Jagielka; Martina, Schneiderlin, Gueye, Baines; Sigurdsson; Calvert-Lewin, Rooney
Projected Bournemouth XI (4-4-1-1): Begovic; Francis, Cook, Ake, Daniels; Ibe, Arter, Surman, Pugh; King; Defoe
Everton’s fixtures have finally eased off! Sadly for Bournemouth fans it doesn’t get much easier for their side at the moment, although they did (just) record their first win of the season at home to Brighton. At the start of the season I’m not sure there would have been a person out there thinking this might be 18th vs 19th. Every game is crucial for these two at the moment, but this one is particularly vital for Everton. They simply must win, and the recent history is in their favour. They’ve clashed 5 times since Bournemouth’s promotion in 2014-15. The Cherries have won once, drawn once and Everton have won three. The last time at Goodison was an eventful 6-3 Toffees win.
Neither team faces any injury problems, so we can expect them to select similar teams to last week. Everton are struggling with three at the back but this game should provide a perfect litmus test for where they’re at. Eddie Howe will surely continue with his favoured 4 at the back, giving Ibe the chance to impress again from the wing.
Everton have been woeful so far and simple must win this game. This will be the real test for their new squadron of signings, it will be interesting to see how Rooney fares will all the distractions at the moment. Defoe is always a threat but I’m siding with the home team, and Sigurdsson to kick start his points tally!
Tips – Matt: Everton 2-0. Blunty: Everton 2-1.
League Form: Man City (1st) 4-1-0, Crystal Palace (20th) 0-0-5
Projected Man City XI (3-5-2): Ederson; Danilo, Stones, Otamendi; Walker, Fernandinho, De Bruyne, D.Silva, Mendy; Jesus, Aguero
Projected Crystal Palace XI (4-3-3): Hennessey; Fosu-Mensah, Dann, Sakho, Schlupp; Milivojevic, Cabaye, McArthur; Townsend, Benteke, Puncheon
This game makes for ugly reading. It’s 1st vs 20th at home, City having scored 11 goals in the past two gameweeks and Palace yet to register a goal all season (New Premier League record). Since Palace’s most recent promotion, Man City have won 9 of the 10 matches between the sides. Palace won at home in 2015 but haven’t beaten City away since 1990.
The Aguero and Jesus partnership is really clicking now, and that’s big news in FPL. Gabriel Jesus did play 90 minutes midweek which suggests he will be an early substitute candidate with UCL around the corner. Note if Pep opts for 3 or 4 at the back in this comfortable home clash, it’s a guessing game at the moment. Roy Hodgson seems to favour Schlupp ahead of PVA, poor Van Aanholt really does rely on a three at the back system. Hodgson confirmed that Sakho will finally return, likely seeing Ward drop to the bench and Fosu-Mensah switching to right back.
Many FPL managers eyes will be on this contest, and I suspect a lot of captaincy picks will be on show! These games can go one of two ways. It could end up 6-0 and it’s an FPL party, or we could have a Liverpool v Burnley/Tottenham v Swansea disaster on our hands. City’s attack is far more potent and it’s hard to see No Points Palace getting anything here. I don’t think they will lie down though, they simply can’t afford to.
City’s recent form and history against Crystal Palace is eye catching to say the least, but Champions League midweek needs to be in the back of your mind! Jesus is likely to be subbed given his midweek exploits, and Aguero isn’t immune to a substitution. If the game is won by 60 minutes I can see Pep making some enemies… Watch this space. Obviously I think City will win fairly comfortably!
Tips – Matt: City 2-0. Blunty: City 4-0.
League Form: Southampton (9th) 2-2-1, Man Utd (2nd) 4-1-0
Projected Southampton XI (4-2-3-1): Forster; Cedric, Yoshida, Hoedt, Bertrand; Romeu, Lemina; Tadic, Davis, Redmond; Gabbiadini
Projected Man United XI (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Valencia, Jones, Bailly, Young; Matic, Herrera; Mata, Mkhitaryan, Rashford; Lukaku
Since the Saints promotion in 2011-12, they’ve played 10 times in the league for 5 United wins, 3 draws & Southampton have won 2. Certainly not completely one sided, although United have been weaker in that period. Last year’s match at St Mary’s was a goalless draw.
Neither team faces any particularly concerning injuries, although United may be forced to start Ashley Young at left back again. I’d expect to see some fairly settled line-ups, although Virgil Van Dijk will be in contention once again.
Southampton may not be brilliant to watch, but you can’t argue that it’s not effective. I think this will be a tight (In other words dull) contest with United likely to control large parts of the game. There may be a lot of sideways passing but not a lot of penetration as the Saints are very well organised. The Red Devils have proven they can overcome that this season but I think they might drop some points here. Pogba is a huge loss for them.
Tips – Matt: 1-1 draw. Blunty: 1-3 United.
League Form: Stoke (13th) 1-2-2, Chelsea (3rd) 3-1-1
Projected Stoke XI (3-4-2-1): Butland; Wimmer, Martins Indi, Pieters; Diouf, Allen, Fletcher, Tymon; Shaqiri, Jese; Choupo-Moting
Projected Chelsea XI (3-4-2-1): Courtois; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Cahill; Moses, Kante, Fabregas, Alonso; Willian, Hazard; Morata
Stoke have been in the Premier League since 2008. They have played Chelsea 18 times in the league for just 2 wins (3 draws, 13 losses). Both wins & 2 of the draws were at home. Their recent home form against the top sides is good with a win against Arsenal and draw against United already.
Mark Hughes is facing a defensive crisis this week. Shawcross is still ruled out, and Zouma is ineligible to face his parent team. Wimmer is also a major doubt with a hamstring complaint. The 3 at the back system has been so successful against the top teams, will he ditch it or go for some makeshift options? I think the latter. Conte is without the suspended David Luiz so Rudiger should return. Pedro is expected to be fit but I think Willian starts this week.
Under Conte, I’d almost consider Chelsea a ‘Rich Stoke’, so this could be a great contest. There won’t be any love loss, however we all know Hughes has changed Stoke’s ways… Slightly. Stoke have already drawn at home to United and beaten Arsenal, so Chelsea will know they’re in for a contest. Morata got bullied last week and I think he’ll bounce back, while Hazard could finally make his mark on the 2017/18 season having played 90 minutes midweek.
Tips – Matt: Chelsea 0-2. Blunty: 1-2 Chelsea.
League Form: Swansea (14th) 1-2-2, Watford (11th) 2-2-1
Projected Swansea XI (3-5-2): Fabianski; Van Der Hoorn, Fernandez, Mawson; Naughton, Sanches, Clucas, Carroll, Olsson; Ayew, Abraham
Projected Watford XI (4-2-3-1): Gomes; Femenia, Wague, Kabasele, Holebas; Chalobah, Doucoure; Carrillo, Cleverly, Richarlison; Gray
Over the last two seasons Watford have the better of Swansea, but only at home. They won both home fixtures but in the corresponding fixture this weekend, Swansea have a win and a draw. A surprising note is that those 4 league games brought just 3 goals. It could be another tight game this week.
In team news there isn’t much to note. I’m guessing Renato Sanches has a clause in his contract suggesting he should start every match, because his form doesn’t warrant it. Bony is likely to be a bench option again, but he’s certainly a chance to start. Watford’s blip last week should be temporary and Silva should back in the team that has them comfortably in 11th.
I’d say this is a bit of a non-contest FPL wise, but there are some cheap options on offer. Many managers have a Swansea defender, but I’m afraid to say I don’t see a clean sheet for them. Watford have been great apart from last week’s blip, and Silva’s men will cause problems once again. Richarlison continues to threaten, while Abraham has also impressed for The Swans without finding the net as much as he would like. This is the perfect week to change that. I’m tipping a low scoring contest, under 2.5 could be a decent punt.
Tips – Matt: 1-1 draw. Blunty: Swansea 1-0.
League Form: Leicester (15th) 1-1-3, Liverpool (8th) 2-2-1
Projected Leicester XI (4-4-2): Schemichel; Simpson, Maguire, Morgan, Fuchs; Mahrez, Ndidi, Iborra, Albrighton; Okazaki, Vardy
Projected Liverpool XI (4-3-3): Mignolet; Gomez, Klavan, Matip, Moreno; Can, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Coutinho
Leicester hold quite a good record over Liverpool and have beaten the Reds the last 3 times at the KP Stadium, including just days ago in the League Cup. The Foxes have had their number at home and Liverpool have a Champions League clash midweek following this. That being said, Klopp’s men seem to thrive when underdogs.
James has been ruled out for Leicester so Iborra should get his chance for a starting debut in the centre. Moreno should return this week after a rest, while Gomez’s form should place him ahead of TAA. Lovren is a doubt but I really don’t think that matters. However Coutinho is back! That’s massive news and his price tag of 8.8 is a bargain.
It should be a corker of a contest on Saturday night as the two best counter attacking teams in the league face off against one another. Who will control the game and who will sit deep? Will they both just decide to throw men forward and get exposed at the back? I think the second alternative seems likely. This is a hard one to predict but Liverpool usually have too much firepower if a team doesn’t park the bus completely, and Leicester will go after them. If Lovren or Klavan starts then both teams to score seems like safe money to me. So… Free money anyone? Mane will be a crucial loss once again. Toss a coin for this game, but I think there will be goals.
Tips – Matt: 2-2 draw. Blunty: Leicester 2-1.
League Form: Brighton (16th) 1-1-3, Newcastle (4th) 3-0-2
Projected Brighton XI (4-4-1-1): Ryan; Bruno, Dunk, Duffy, Suttner; Knockaert, Stephens, Propper, March; Gross; Hemed
Projected Newcastle XI (4-4-1-1): Elliot; Manquillo, Lascelles, Clark, Mbemba; Ritchie, Merino, Hayden, Atsu; Perez; Joselu
Newcastle won both matches over Brighton in the Championship last season, 2-0 & 1-2. The form is in favour with the away side both short term and long term and they’re favoured in this contest.
I’m expecting both sides to name unchanged XI’s. The big news is that Mbemba looks like a reliable 4.0 starter!!!
Sadly there’s only one game on Sunday, and this is it. Really. Why is Arsenal playing on Monday with European commitments later in the week? I guess it wouldn’t be the Premier League if it made sense. Anyway… Ritchie is in good form but Brighton will be tough to beat at home. I think Benitez will be happy with a point here and they’ll set about doing that with a clean sheet. I’m starting Elliot but otherwise it’s a snooze fest for me. I’m going with a bore draw, let’s hope I’m wrong.
Tips – Matt: 0-0 draw. Blunty: 0-1 Newcastle.
League Form: Arsenal (12th) 2-1-2, West Brom (10th) 2-2-1
Projected Arsenal XI (3-4-1-2): Cech; Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Bellerin, Ramsey, Xhaka, Kolasinac; Sanchez, Ozil; Lacazette
Projected West Brom XI (4-1-4-1): Foster; Nyom, Hegazi, Dawson, Gibbs; Krychowiak; Phillips, Barry, Morrison, Rodriguez; Rondon
Since 2002 Arsenal have won 19 to 4 (3 draws). West Brom have won the last 2 clashes at home but have only won once away to Arsenal since 1983 (2-3 in 2010). All the signs point towards an Arsenal win here.
With Welbeck out due to a groin injury and Ozil back to fitness, we could see Arsenal’s best team for the first time this season and I’m excited! Tony Pulis has some doubts in midfield but that’s not too FPL relevant.
Even though Arsenal are prone to a melt or two at home, this shouldn’t be the case on Monday. My money is safely with The Gunners and I’m looking forward to how the front three play together. Tony Pulis will be aiming for a 0-0 draw but I don’t think that’s likely. Set pieces will be their only chance. I can see some solid returns for Arsenal players in this one.
Tips – Matt: Arsenal 4-0. Blunty: Arsenal 2-1.
Lockout is in 6 hours, good luck everyone! It’s my birthday today so there won’t be a periscope this week, I’ll be back next week! As always let’s make it a high scoring gameweek.