After an embarrassing derby day defeat for Man United, attention turns to this week’s Premier League fixtures, including big games for Arsenal and Spurs, against Newcastle and Chelsea, and a potential final game for Ten Haag as he and United travel to Fulham.
This Week’s Premier League Fixtures
Fulham v Man United
Brentford v West Ham
Burnley v Crystal Palace
Everton v Brighton
Man City v Bournemouth
Sheffield United v Wolves
Newcastle v Arsenal
Nottingham Forest v Aston Villa
Luton v Liverpool
Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea
Fulham v Man UnitedEmbed from Getty Images
Fulham are failing to live up to the expectation many of them had due to their previous season in the Premier League. Many may have expected them to kick on and improve on last year, but so far, that has not happened.
The positive for Fulham is that they are beating the teams below them, and the teams that are expected to struggle this season. Their wins have come against Everton, Luton and Sheffield United.
The worry for Fulham is that they are not competing with the bigger teams like they managed to do last season. After managing a draw against Arsenal, they lost heavily against Man City, lost against Spurs, and lost against a struggling Chelsea side.
A mid-table finish would represent a good season for Fulham. It keeps them in the division, and they will not have to contend with a relegation fight. They need to try and look upward though, they were brilliant last season, and they have some fantastic players, they could easily finish in the top half this season.
How long does Ten Haag have left as manager of Man United? I spoke last week about how all their results have come off bad performances. Even their wins have been slightly fortuitous, with every side coming away from their games against United feeling unfortunate that they did not pick up 3 points.
That bad form has continued, as they were completely humiliated in their derby game against Man City at the weekend. They were second best to everything, rarely threatened going forward, and were overrun in midfield. It was embarrassing to watch.
To make matters worse, the same thing happened to them midweek in the Carabao Cup against Newcastle. It was a chance for United to put on a show in front of their own fans and progress in a cup competition, but it was a chance they did not take.
Once again, they were second best to everything. Newcastle were all over them, even with a heavily rotated team. Willock and Hall ran the show, and United looked so weak in the middle.
Will the United board pull the trigger if they lose against Fulham here, or will they give him more time? It certainly sets up for an intriguing tie.
United needs to win this desperately, to relieve some pressure from Ten Haag, and to get some much-needed points on the board. Fulham, on the other hand, need to improve against the bigger sides, and they have a good chance to do that here.
I think Fulham will pick up 3 points here, but if United turn up for once, they could easily put a few past this Fulham side. Home win for me here though.
Prediction: Fulham 2 – 0 Man United
Sheffield United v WolvesEmbed from Getty Images
Dear oh dear, things might be going badly at Man United, but Sheffield United might as well throw in the towel now. I did not expect them to get anything at The Emirates against Arsenal, but they were, once again, awful.
I do sympathise with them a little bit. They had two of their best players sold just days before the start of the season, and they did not manage to bring in players who were good enough to fill those boots.
They need to get to January, and the opening of the transfer window, and they need to spend to have any chance of staying in the Premier League.
What can they do before then? They need to be winning games like this first and foremost. These are the kind of games Sheffield United need to look at to get some points on the board. If they cannot get points at home, in games like these, then they have no chance.
Wolves have surprised me this season. When Gary O’Neil left Bournemouth, I was not surprised. The football on display was awful at times. When Wolves made him their permanent manager, I was even more surprised.
But, since then, Wolves have looked so much better compared to last season, and they look like they will be clear of a relegation fight this season. They certainly have the players to steer clear of the bottom 3.
One player who has caught my eye this season is, obviously, Hwang Hee-Chan. The striker was ineffective last season and did not live up to anyone’s expectations, but this season, he seems like a different player.
He has 6 goals so far this season and is coming up against the worst side in the division so far. He will certainly be looking to improve his tally.
But, Wolves will miss Neto dearly. The Wolves talisman has already notched 7 assists this season, and most of their attacking play comes through him. They do not have anyone of the same calibre to fill his position, so it will be interesting to see how they cope without him.
This is a huge game for Sheffield United, but it is one I do not see them getting anything out of. Their defence is embarrassing at times, and Wolves know how to attack in numbers. It will not be a clear cut victory, but a Wolves win nonetheless.
Prediction: Sheffield United 1 – 2 Wolves
Newcastle v ArsenalEmbed from Getty Images
Newcastle are continuing to be one of the better sides I have watched this season. They may have lost the defensive prowess that they possessed last season which made them too hard to beat, but going forward they are so entertaining.
They may have been slightly lucky in their 2-2 draw against Wolves. The penalty they received was certainly not a penalty. But it helped them get their noses back in front, and they started to struggle in the second half.
Eddie Howe made a lot of changes for their midweek game against Man United in the Carabao Cup, and a few of their fringe players may cause Howe headaches now with the performances they put in.
Willock was sensational on his first start of the season and grabbed himself a well-deserved goal, as did Hall. Livramento worked tirelessly throughout the 90 minutes and got a brilliant assist for Newcastle’s first goal.
It will be interesting to see if any of those players feature in this game here, but Newcastle are starting to get a squad together where injuries will not matter too much.
Arsenal may as well have had a week off in the Premier League last week, as they came up against the worst side in the league, Sheffield United, at home.
Arsenal breezed past them, and Eddie Nketiah had the game of his career for The Gunners. His hat-trick helped Arsenal to a comfortable, and easy, 5-0 win against the struggling Blades.
Nketiah is turning into some striker. His confidence is growing with each game, and he managed to score 3 goals from 3 shots on target. He could be a huge player over the course of the season for Arsenal, and going forward.
Despite an easy game in the Premier League, they were humiliated and brought back down to earth against West Ham in their midweek clash in the Carabao Cup. Despite dominating the game, controlling possession and testing the West Ham keeper constantly, they still lost.
It was a winnable competition for Arsenal, with City, United and Spurs all already knocked out, and they will be very disappointed to have not gone further. It was a heavily rotated team, but the end product was just not there for them.
This is a huge game for both sides. Newcastle need to catch up with the rest of the top 4, having fallen 6 points behind so early on, whereas Arsenal will want to keep their unbeaten run going, whilst also keeping the pressure on Spurs.
We have all seen what Newcastle can be like during these big games. The crowd will be bouncing and that should show in Newcastle’s performance. I think Arsenal will struggle throughout this game, and Newcastle will edge it.
Prediction: Newcastle 2 – 1 Arsenal
Nottingham Forest v Aston VillaEmbed from Getty Images
Nottingham Forest was a good watch at the start of the season. They looked much better than the year previous, their linkup play going forward was improving, and they were starting to score goals, and most importantly, get results.
But, recently, they have regressed back to the team that struggled so much last season. It is now 6 games without a win for them. They went through a period like this last season and still managed to pull through, they will be hoping for the same this season.
They do have exciting attacking options in the team, with Awoniyi, Elanga, Gibbs-White and Hudson-Odoi. They will be capable of breaking those teams down that they struggled with so much last season.
Forest will want to pick up points and fast. Whilst there are teams that are much worse than them in the league, all it takes is one win and a bit of confidence, and any side can go on a good run. Forest needs the points on the board, now.
Aston Villa are just like Newcastle at the moment for me, they are absolutely brilliant to watch. Their movement and speed when going forward is a borderline joke. They are a thrill to watch, and it shows, as they sit pretty in 5th place at the moment.
Do they have a genuine chance of finishing in the top 6 this season? Their squad now is easily rotatable, to help deal with those European nights, which should help them in the latter stages of the season.
What I love most about Aston Villa this season is that their goals are coming from all over the pitch. Watkins and Luiz both sit on 5 goals, Bailey and Diaby on 3, and Cash, Duran and McGinn on 2.
That is what makes Villa so dangerous, the fact that every player needs to be watched carefully, as they all have an eye for goal, and away from home, this can especially hurt teams.
With Forest in bad form, and Villa flying high and full of confidence at the top of the table, I can only see this going one way. Forest may make a game of it, but Villa should be far too strong.
Prediction: Nottingham Forest 1 – 3 Aston Villa
Tottenham Hotspur v ChelseaEmbed from Getty Images
Enough has been said about Postecoglou and his impact at Spurs. He is doing ridiculously well, far better than most would have imagined, and it is a pleasure to have him managing in the Premier League.
Aside from Postecoglou, what a bit of business bringing James Maddison into the club has been. His 5 assists and 3 goals so far in the league have already paid back part of the massive price tag Spurs paid for him, and that will continue throughout the season.
The feel-good factor around Spurs at the moment is huge. Something special is happening, and it is great to watch at the moment. They are still unbeaten, and that shows no signs of slowing down.
These games against the big 6 are the ones Spurs usually struggle with, but so far they have done well in those this season, drawing with Arsenal at The Emirates, whilst also beating Liverpool and United.
I thought Chelsea were beginning to turn a cover over their last few games. They have picked up a few good wins and managed to score a few goals in the process.
They then came up against Brentford, a side who had been struggling in the Premier League this season, but one that had done fairly well against Chelsea in recent times, especially at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea were good, they made chances, and they look exciting going forward, but they just look so exposed at the back, and they always look like they will end up conceding.
The decision to send Sanchez up for the corner near the end of a game was stupid. It is a league game, early on in the season, with the score at 1-0. If it was near the end of the season, it would be more understandable, but not near the start of the season.
I think this game will be all Spurs. They will be far too good for Chelsea, and their movement going forward will hurt a troubled Chelsea defence. I can only see this going one way.
Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 3 – 0 Chelsea
- Brentford 1 – 1 West Ham
- Burnley 2 – 1 Crystal Palace
- Everton 1 – 1 Brighton
- Man City 3 – 0 Bournemouth
- Luton 0 – 4 Liverpool