After a brilliant start to the season, we saw our first 0-0 draw against Bournemouth and Chelsea. This week we take a look at some important games involving those around the bottom of the table, including a crunch clash between Luton and Wolves, and a big game for Burnley at home against on out of sorts Man United.
This Week’s Premier League Fixtures
Crystal Palace v Fulham
Luton v Wolves
Man City v Nottingham Forest
Brentford v Everton
Burnley v Man United
Arsenal v Spurs
Brighton v Bournemouth
Chelsea v Aston Villa
Liverpool v West Ham
Sheffield United v Newcastle
Luton v WolvesEmbed from Getty Images
Luton surprised me in their game last week against Fulham. I did not think it would be as tight of a game as it was, and the were rather unfortunate with the goal they conceded as well.
Carlton Morris had a half volley hit the side netting, and Jacob Brown hit the post with a brilliant header in the first half, Bell should have done better with his chance in the second half, as he diverted a cross straight into Leno’s hands, when it looked easier to score.
Luton should have been in the lead, and realistically, they could have been 3-0 up. They are slowly but surely growing in confidence, and the football on display is improving vastly.
They still lost the game, however, and the goal was not a glamorous one at all. Kaminski diverted a cross into the middle of the box, and Vinicius had the simple task of tapping into an empty net. A horrendous goal to concede after such a strong performance away from home for Luton.
If Luton can play like this at home, then they should start to pick up points, and what a chance for them to do that than against Wolves, another side who are struggling at the moment. It is going to be hard for Luton, no matter what, but there are promising signs starting to emerge.
Wolves are such a confusing side for me at the moment. They did not have the easiest start to the league, but their opening-day performance against Man United at Old Trafford suggested they may surprise a few this season. They then went on to get battered by Brighton and then picked up their first win against a struggling Everton side.
They then took part in a thriller against Crystal Palace where they lost 3-2. Then last week, against Liverpool, Wolves led for 50 minutes of the game, and then crumbled, succumbing to Liverpool’s pressure, and losing the game 3-1.
Every game they play in, they seem to perform really well, but they never get the result come the final whistle. This is something that needs to change for Wolves, and fast. They are in danger of being sucked into another relegation battle this season, and that is something that the club cannot afford to be part of this season.
Like Luton, there are some promising signs for Wolves. Hwang Hee-Chan is scoring, as he has already grabbed 3 goals this season, and Neto is performing out of his skin, with his 4 assists so far. These two could be vital for Wolves this year.
This is a big, big game for both sides. This is, probably, the first game Luton has a realistic chance of winning this season. A win for them here would be absolutely huge, but it will not be easy. Wolves are capable of scoring goals, and they love to get forward in numbers. It is a difficult one to call, and a draw would probably be right, but I am going to stick my neck out here and predict a Luton win.
Prediction: Luton 1 – 0 Wolves
Burnley v Man UnitedEmbed from Getty Images
Burnley looked much better in their last game against Nottingham Forest. They had not been woeful in their first few games. They have managed to score goals, and have looked good going forward, they have just been terrible defensively.
Going into their first away game of the season, all eyes were on how they would perform, and whether they would struggle to pick up points away from home, but after a strong opening 45 minutes, they went in at halftime at The City Ground with the lead.
They failed to pick up all 3 points but may have felt rather unfortunate to not do so. An absolute stunner from Forest debutant Hudson-Odoi levelled the scores with half an hour to play, and neither side could get their noses back in front.
To make matters worse, in second-half stoppage time, Lyle Foster, one of Burnley’s standout performers and their top goal scorer this season, was sent off for a blatant elbow. He is going to be a huge miss for Burnley, as he was vital to them getting the ball forward.
Burnley are now one of only 4 teams to not get a win this season, and the longer this goes on, the more concerned they should be. They are not a defensively solid team by any means, and this could spell trouble for them further down the lines.
What is going on with Man United? Last week I wrote about Sancho addressing the media, and issues with Antony, and then they went and lost 3-1 against Brighton, and 4-3 to Bayern Munich in The Champions League. They cannot catch a break at the moment, nothing is going their way.
United were terrible against Brighton. Despite being the home side, they were completely outplayed and were all over the place defensively. They have been all over the place defensively for the last few games in all honesty.
The goal Welbeck scored is the sort of goal we see United conceded every week now. A ball cut back into the middle of the box from the right wing. They conceded a similar goal midweek against Bayern Munich as well. For such a big team, they cannot concede goals like this week in and week out.
Speaking of Bayern Munich, there were plenty of positives and negatives to take from that opening Champions League game. They were on top for large parts of the game, yet found themselves going behind. Their defending was poor, but they were creating chances against a top-class team.
Even when it looked like they were out of the game, they kept fighting, as Casemiro scored a double late on. At the end of the day, they were outclassed. They looked like the lesser team, and the scoreline ended up reflecting that.
This is a huge game for both sides. With how United are at the moment, this is the perfect time for Burnley to be playing them, especially at home. They have a really good chance of winning this. For United, they really need 3 points to get themselves back in contention. They currently sit in 13th and are 9 points off top spot already.
It is hard to say which way this will go. United could turn up and roll Burnley over, or United could turn up and Burnley could do to them what so many others have done to them so far this season. I am going to go with a surprise Burnley win here.
Prediction: Burnley 2 – 1 Man United
arsenal v Tottenham HotspurEmbed from Getty Images
What a game this promises to be. This is, in recent memory, one of the first London derbies where both sides will be sat in similar positions in the table. Where both sides are performing well, and one of the first London derbies where you could not predict which way it is going to go.
Arsenal look hungry again, just like they did last year. They have started the season well, with the only downside being that surprising draw against Fulham. They have had a fairly easy start though, with their most difficult game coming against an out-of-sorts Man United.
Their game last week against Everton was an interesting one to watch. From open play, they were defended against well, and it did not really look like they were going to score. It was the set pieces where they really posed a threat, and it is no surprise that the only goal of the game came from one.
What a hit it was from Trossard as well. He has been such a good player for Arsenal since joining last January, and he may find himself rather unfortunate to not be in the starting 11, thanks to the form of Saka and Martinelli. Arsenal took their time against Everton, and it paid dividends in the end.
They looked their best in The Champions League as well. Their first game back in the competition was at home against PSV, a game which many would have predicted a straightforward Arsenal win, and they did not disappoint.
It was more than convincing as they ran out 4-0 winners, with Saka, Trossard and Jesus effectively sealing the 3 points before halftime. They could be serious contenders for the Champions League if they continue to put in performances like that.
Having not played in the Champions League for a while, it will be interesting to see how Arsenal manage playing in midweek, and then again at the weekend. We saw last season that West Ham struggled with this, and it will be interesting to see if Arsenal will as well. There is no doubt Arsenal have a bigger squad, but this is a huge game to come back to.
What a result that was for Spurs last weekend. They could not put their chances away in the first half, and, surprisingly, Sheffield United made them pay, as a smart finish from Gustavo Hamer gave The Blades a shock lead.
The longer the game dragged on, the more it looked likely that Spurs would be made to pay for some woeful finishing, but Postecoglou has transformed this team into one that continues to push, right until the final whistle.
Firstly, Richarlison finally got a big moment one that actually meant something for the team. After being subbed on in the 80th minute, he grabbed the equaliser in the 98th minute, with a brilliant header from a Perisic corner.
Richarlison then turned from scorer to provider, as Kulusevski scored a stunner to send the home fans into raptures, and to give Spurs a late, late 100th minute winner.
There was still time for some last-minute drama, coming after the final, as Ollie McBurnie received a red card for arguing with the referee. Is that classed as a good result for Spurs though? They really should not be losing to a team like Sheffield United at home, no disrespect, but they need to be better than that. They did brilliantly to come back and win the game though.
For the first time in a long time, this game between Arsenal and Spurs is a hard one to call. Spurs are a different animal these days and have come a long way from last season already. Arsenal have had an easy start to the season, but it has helped them build up their confidence and they have a good run of results behind them.
It will be a very entertaining game. Two attacking teams going at each other, in a fierce derby. I think Arsenal will win this, as home advantage comes into it, and it will be a high-scoring game too.
Prediction: Arsenal 3 – 2 Tottenham Hotspur
Chelsea v Aston VillaEmbed from Getty Images
I did not have high hopes for Chelsea’s game against Bournemouth last week, but even my low expectations were not met. I did not expect it to be a game flush with goals and attacking quality, but I was really let down, by both sides.
It was the first 0-0 of the season, and it does not surprise me that Chelsea were involved in it. There were 10 shots on target in total between the two sides, but neither side could break the deadlock. Levi Colwill did find the back of the net for Chelsea, but it was quickly ruled out for offside.
These are worrying times for Chelsea. They have a brilliant manager in Pochettino, and they have some brilliant players at their disposal, but as I have said many times, I do not understand their signings. Their new-look midfield cannot seem to get the ball forward to their attackers, Jackson cannot hit the back of the net, and Chelsea’s wide men are not providing enough.
They cannot use the excuse that they are in transition anymore. They have spent so much money, and look worse off than before. As bad as it sounds, Chelsea needs to spend big in January and bring in a striker who can score, or they may have another season in mid-table.
Seeing how Hudson-Odoi performed at Nottingham Forest in his first game confuses me as to why Chelsea let him leave the club in the first place. How they did not give him more of a chance in the first team is beyond me, he looked brilliant for Forest.
Aston Villa bounced back from their disappointing defeat against Liverpool with a well-worked win against Crystal Palace, but like Spurs, they left it late too. Despite the game’s lack in goalmouth action, most of the shots on target did find the back of the net.
After a lacklustre first half, Crystal Palace took the lead within the first two minutes of the restart through Edouard. Villa took their time and eventually hit back in the 87th minute, levelling the scores. As the game entered the closing stages of second-half stoppage time, Villa were awarded a penalty, which Douglas Luiz dispatched, giving Villa the lead.
There was still time for more action, however, as Leon Bailey added a third for Villa in the 101st minute, completing the turnaround. It was a deserved win for Villa in the end, but they did it the hard way.
Villa also played in midweek, in their first Europa Conference League group stage game, away from home against Legia Warsaw. Villa looked confident going forward throughout the entire game, but some uncharacteristic bad defending cost them dearly, as they lost 3-2.
As bad as it sounds, I cannot see how Chelsea come out of this game with a win, even if they are playing at home. They are so bad at the moment, and they are struggling to score against anyone. Eventually, it should click for them, but I just cannot see that happening anytime soon. A slender away win for me here.
Prediction: Chelsea 1 – 2 Aston Villa
Liverpool v West HamEmbed from Getty Images
Liverpool really do know how to come from behind to get a win, don’t they? Against Wolves last week, they conceded after 7 minutes. They got back into the game 10 minutes in the second half, and from then on out they always looked like scoring again, and they did.
Despite being behind for so long, they were impressive throughout the entire game. They restricted Wolves to just 2 shots on target, with one of those being the goal, and they were creating enough for themselves to win the game 2 times over.
All of their attacking options are getting in on the goals which is great to see as well. Diaz, Nunez and Salah have all scored twice this season, whilst Jota, Gakpo and Szoboszlai have also got on the scoresheet this season.
The goals are well spread, and that is huge in a team pushing for the Premier League title. I was worried about Liverpool and their midfield this season, but so far it does not seem to be too much of an issue.
Liverpool also came from behind to win against Linz ASK in their opening Europa League group stage game in midweek. They conceded an absolute stunner after just 14 minutes. Just like that game against Wolves, it took til the second half to get going, but when they did, they never looked like losing.
West Ham did well against Man City last week in my opinion. Last season, they would have been expected to be on the end of a heavy scoreline, but this season it was a much tighter game than many expected.
James Ward-Prowse continued his impressive start at West Ham as he scored another goal, taking his tally to 2 goals and 3 assists in the league so far. It begs the question as to why nobody snatched him up much sooner, and why West Ham were, really, the only club genuinely considering signing him.
His ability with a dead ball was there for all to see at Southampton, and that suits West Ham perfectly, and we have seen that many times this season. West Ham, with little possession, is a dangerous side this year. They play for corners and free kicks, as that is where Ward-Prowse can do the damage.
It was a disappointing second-half collapse against Man City though, but City would have felt hard done by if they came away with a draw, let alone a defeat. West Ham faced 29 shots, 15 on target, as they could only muster up 3 on target themselves.
West Ham continued their fine European form in midweek, with a win over Backa Topola in the Europa League. The Hammers conceded shortly after halftime and had to rely on an own goal to get back into the game. New signing Kudus got West Ham in front, before Soucek made sure of all 3 points, giving them a 3-1 win.
This could be a difficult game for both sides. Liverpool will look to be on the front foot, which may suit West Ham perfectly. Liverpool is not the strongest team from set pieces, which, again, suits West Ham. Liverpool is a different animal compared to last season though, they look so much better. This will be a tight one, but Liverpool will edge this.
Prediction: Liverpool 2 – 1 West Ham
- Crystal Palace 2 – 1 Fulham
- Man City 3 – 0 Nottingham Forest
- Brentford 1 – 0 Everton
- Brighton 2 – 0 Bournemouth
- Sheffield United 1 – 1 Newcastle