Southampton vs Aston Villa
Villa have struggled to live up to expectations so far this season. They currently sit 15th in the league having lost their last four games with the last being a 4-1 drumming by West Ham.
Manager Dean Smith had a somewhat positive spin on the defeat saying, “The negative is the scoreline, the negative is the manner of some of the goals we have given away, but there were parts of our play that certainly pleased me.”
The Villans won this fixture last season 1-0 thanks to a goal from former loanee Ross Barkley, they will be hoping for a more convincing win this time around.
They will be without some key players however, Ezri Konsa, Douglas Luiz, Jacob Ramsey, and Morgan Sanson are all set to miss out via suspensions and injuries.
Villa striker, and former Saints man, Danny Ings is sure to start against his previous team and will want to bag some goals after his hot start (3 goals, 2 assists) has seemingly extinguished.
Meanwhile, Southampton are managing expectations well, sitting 14th in the table and four points off the relegation spots.
The Saints come into this game playing the best football they have all season. With their only two wins coming in their last three games, 1-0 win against Leeds and a 0-1 away win at Watford.
The south coast team will be hoping that Chelsea loanee and top scorer Armando Broja will return after missing the game against Watford with an ankle injury.
Broja has four goals in all competitions so far and will be desperate for his return to partner Che Adams up top.
This is a great game for Villa to kickstart their season and start winning again. Even with their absentees this weekend they should have enough to get the job done against the Saints.
Chelsea vs Burnley
Chelsea managed to put themselves three points clear of Liverpool at the top of the league with their emphatic 3-0 win over Newcastle last weekend.
They come into this game in great form, having won four out of their last five and boasting the best defence in the league.
Manager Thomas Tuchel praised the team for their efforts but insists they cannot let it go to their heads.
He said, “We need to keep our feet on the ground. I am happy with the team effort today… You can lose in this league any match at any minute. So, we focus on us and keep going.”
Striking duo Romelu Lukaku (ankle) and Timo Werner (hamstring) will be out for the weekend’s game against Burnley, as well as midfield mainstays Mason Mount (illness) and Mateo Kovacic (hamstring).
A huge blow for the London club.
However, they are set for N’Golo Kante to return after recovering from muscle tightness that kept him out of the 7-0 destruction of Norwich and Tuesday’s win against Malmo.
Meanwhile, Sean Dyche’s Burnley will be feeling confident after their unexpected 3-1 win against Brentford at Turf Moor.
The win brings the Clarets three points closer to safety as they sit 18th in the table with Leeds just ahead.
New signing Maxwel Cornet will want to continue his great form which has already rewarded him with four goals in five games so far this season.
Dyche can pick the same starting eleven that beat Brentford as there are no new injuries, only Dale Stephens will be side-lined.
A win for Chelsea will set them up nicely for their trip to Leicester next weekend, whereas Burnley will face the revamped Crystal Palace in south London.
Crystal Palace vs Wolves
Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace are on cloud nine after upsetting champions Manchester City 2-0 at the Etihad last weekend.
Afterward, Vieira spoke to the media where he gave his verdict on the game and what it means for the team.
He said, “Today, we were concentrated from the start until the end. Coming to Manchester City and not conceding a goal is a really strong statement… It’s a good win, and everybody was really pleased and really happy.”
Chelsea loanee Conor Gallagher has been a huge driving force in Palace’s success so far and Vieira has cited his energy as a big reason.
“[Conor is] fantastic. His energy is what we need, what we want, and when he’s on the field he sacrifices himself for the team.”
The south London outfit have no new injury news. Ebere Eze and Nathan Ferguson are closing in on their return to the first team with the former looking at this weekend as a potential return.Embed from Getty Images
Wolves have turned around their slow start under new boss Bruno Lage and now look even more impressive than they did under Nuno Espirito Santo.
They beat an injury-ravaged Everton at home 2-1 on Monday that put them seventh and only four points off the Champions League spots.
Wolves’ revival has come hand in hand with striker Raul Jimenez’s return to form after the horrific head injury he sustained last season.
The striker had a lot of good things to say about the team and manager after bagging the winner last weekend.
“We worked hard, that’s what the coach tells us to do. We have a lot of confidence in each other. That makes it look easier than it was.”
The Wanderers could see the return of wing-back Fernando Marcal after he sustained a calf injury which has kept him out for a couple of weeks.
Both teams will be up for this game and expect three points. Their attacking playstyles could mean a lot of goals are scored. Not something you’d expect from these teams in previous years.
Brentford vs Norwich
To start the season Brentford looked like the Sheffield United and Leeds United from previous seasons. Teams were struggling to figure them out and they reaped the benefits with wins over Arsenal and West Ham early on.
However, it seems the rest of the league have started to find out how to break them down. Their last win came over a month ago and most recently suffered a humiliating 3-1 pounding by Burnley.
Manager Thomas Frank was left frustrated with the loss and insisted the team can do better going forward.
“I am irritated and frustrated with the first half but in the bigger picture, we have done well.Embed from Getty Images
“We need to learn from the first half and cut those mistakes out as soon as possible.”
Facing Norwich will not be easy considering the injury list they have racked up. Kristoffer Ajer and Yoane Wissa are doubtful while David Raya, Shandon Baptiste, Mads Sorensen, and Josh Dasilva will all miss out.
Seemingly already relegated Norwich have been nothing short of disappointing in their return to the topflight.
They currently sit rock bottom of the league with only two points to their name and the lowest goal tally of any team with three.
Manager Daniel Farke is rightfully in the hot seat having not won a Premier League game in his last 20 attempts.
Farke insists he is the man for the job and that the team have been unlucky with results this season.
“We come away with goalless draws [against Burnley and Brighton], we lose by the odd goal, and we are unlucky but when you are always unlucky it is down to a little lack of quality.”
The good news for Norwich is they have no new injuries to the squad that played against Leeds. Todd Cantwell could feature after picking up an Achilles tendon injury but is still doubtful.
This is a good chance for Norwich to pick up their first win, but they will have to find some more quality to beat Brentford.
Brighton vs Newcastle
Graham Potter’s Brighton will be looking to capitalise on the good form that saw them earn a well-deserved point against Liverpool at Anfield.
The seagulls showed great character and resilience to come back from 2-0 down to secure the draw.
Potter spoke after the game about how impressed he was with his side. “It was a fantastic performance from the players. All of them played with such courage and with such intensity in what I thought was a fantastic game.
“Both teams went toe-to-toe and it’s a really good point with a performance we can build on.”
The team have been boosted with the return of Yves Bissouma in midfield, but they still have players out that could help them.
Dan Burn, Danny Welbeck, and Steven Alzate are all still nursing injuries that will keep them out for the game at the weekend.Embed from Getty Images
If Brighton can do away with Newcastle this weekend it could rocket them back up to the top six and potentially a European spot.
Newcastle on the other hand is still looking for Steve Bruce’s replacement while interim boss Graeme Jones takes the helm for now.
Last time out they showed a stubborn performance that frustrated top of the league Chelsea for 66 minutes, but ultimately lost 3-0 to the league leaders.
While they offered essentially nothing going forward, they did look more resolute at the back, something that Brighton do not deal well with.
The return of Callum Wilson has increased the Magpies’ chances to put the ball in the back of the net.
The English striker currently has four goals in six games this season and along with Allan Saint-Maximin, is Newcastle’s only attacking threat.
Only two players look like they won’t be fit for the game this weekend are goalkeeper Freddie Woodman and defender Paul Dummett.
A good result for Newcastle will be great for the new manager coming in, a confidence boost can go a long way for a team battling survival.
Everton vs Tottenham
An injury-riddled Everton are set to face a tough task this weekend against Antonio Conte’s Spurs side.
After a great start that saw Everton in the top five, they have struggled with injuries which has led them to three straight losses with no wins since September 25th.
The latest loss came in a close 2-1 game away at Wolves which dropped them down the table to tenth.
Once again, the Toffies will be without several key players ahead of the Spurs game. Lucas Digne and Andre Gomes are doubtful while Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Abdoulaye Doucoure, and Yerry Mina are all out.
Calvert-Lewin watched the game from the Sky MNF studio with Jamie Carragher and had his say on the tough loss.Embed from Getty Images
“It’s difficult because I know how the players and fans will be feeling. We left ourselves with a lot to do, but I thought there were some positives to take from the second half.”
Everton have a hill to climb to get back on form, a result against Spurs would certainly help but they need to get healthy as soon as possible.
Spurs on the other hand have had quite the week. The north London outfit sacked manager Nuno Espirito Santo after just ten games and replaced him with serial winner Antonio Conte.
In their last outing, they were embarrassed at home against Manchester United, losing 3-0 and offering nothing going forward.
Conte stated in his first press conference his delight to be back in England with Spurs. He said, “I am extremely happy to return to coaching, and to do so at a Premier League club that has the ambition to be a protagonist again.”Embed from Getty Images
It is currently unknown what Spurs will look like under the former Chelsea and Inter boss. You can expect they will use their wingbacks more often as this is a staple of Conte ball.
The new manager has had the week to assess the squad, with only Bryan Gil and Ryan Sessegnon out to injury we will get a chance to see the new-look Spurs as soon as this weekend.
Spurs fans will be very excited for the future now, especially seeing the report that club captain Harry Kane intends to stay in the capital.
Leeds United vs Leicester City
A huge game for both teams involved after underwhelming starts to their 21/22 campaigns.
It’s safe to say no one predicted Leeds to be a potential relegation candidate this season, but that’s why we love football. It’s so unpredictable.
The Whites have been inconsistent this season under boss Marcelo Bielsa. Currently sitting 17th in the league and only three points above the drop.
In their last game they narrowly won 2-1 against Norwich in a cagey match they should have been able to run away with.
Bielsa was happy with the team’s spirit that got them the three points against Norwich. In his post-match conference, he said, “A very important win given our position in the table, due to the results we have been obtaining that are not positive”.
He continued, “We are a team that tries to command the game, we have this style. We dominated the game and deserved the win, and the team are congratulated for it”.Embed from Getty Images
It’s been no secret that injuries to key players have been a problem for Leeds. Star player Raphinha has been in and out of the squad due to fitness while Patrick Bamford, Luke Ayling and Robin Koch are all out long term.
Leicester is another team that have been plagued by injuries which has been a huge factor in their rocky start.
Their latest result was a disappointing 2-0 home loss to the just as turbulent Arsenal. It was a game they dominated statistically but couldn’t get the job done on the pitch.
Manager Brendan Rodgers spoke after the game and was not pleased with his team’s performance.
He said, “Awful start to the game… we were so passive, lacked energy with our pressing and made it far too easy”.
The Foxes could have a couple of players back for the weekend, Ricardo Pereira, Ayoze Perez, and Nampalys Mendy are doubtful but could feature. Unfortunately, they’re still without Marc Albrighton, Wesley Fofana, and James Justin indefinitely.
A big game for both teams that are desperate for three points, it could make for a great 90 minutes of football.
Arsenal vs Watford
Arsenal will be hoping to push themselves into the top five by capturing all three points against Watford at the Emirates this weekend.
They have seemingly turned their season around, not long ago they were rock bottom of the league with no goals and no wins.
Now they sit sixth, unbeaten in their last five and have a chance to put pressure on United and West Ham above them.
Their latest win came in an impressive 2-0 away win at Leicester. England U21 international Emile Smith-Rowe continues to impress after he bagged his third goal of the season in the game.Embed from Getty Images
Boss Mikel Arteta expressed his joy at the team’s performance against the Foxes and their style of play.
“I’m really pleased with the courage we showed from the beginning, to be dominant and to impose the game we want to play,” Arteta said.
They will need to replicate this to beat Watford this weekend who have shown they can upset teams that are not prepared.
There is no new injury news for the Gunners. Pablo Mari and Kieran Tierney are doubtful but could feature while Granit Xhaka is still out with a long-term knee injury.
Meanwhile, Watford are still getting used to life under new boss Claudio Ranieri. They were narrowly beaten by Southampton thanks to a Che Adams wonder goal in their last game.
It’s too early to say if they are any better under Ranieri than under Xisco but they certainly have the ability to win scrappy games and cause upsets.
Ranieri is confident they can get better with players coming back from injuries in the next few weeks.Embed from Getty Images
He said, “With the players we have in the squad and coming back soon, I’m sure we can improve.
“In defence alone, we are low on numbers, but we have the likes of [Nicolas] Nkoulou and [Francisco] Sierralta close to full fitness.”
Watford fans will also be happy to hear striker Emmanuel Dennis will return for the Arsenal game after picking up a suspension that kept him out of the Southampton game.
Any kind of result here is huge for Watford as they could fall into the relegation spots if other results go against them.
West Ham vs Liverpool
The last fixture on Sunday between West Ham and Liverpool is a huge game in the race for the title and Champions League qualification.
The Irons are playing their best football in the last decade while Liverpool continues to show their dominance as a title contender.
West Ham could cause a real problem for Liverpool this weekend considering their form this season. They are coming off a remarkable 1-4 away win against Aston Villa which put them in the top four.
Manager David Moyes praised his team but cited they cannot let their form slip away.Embed from Getty Images
He said, “I think we’ve got to the stage where we’re really confident in a lot of the things we do. The players are understanding their roles and what’s expected of them.
“We can’t let up, though, I’ve told them that if we think we’re doing great and it’s all easy it’ll fail, so we’ve got to keep at it”.
Irons fans will be happy to hear they have no new injury news for the squad, with only long-term absentee Alex Kral side-lined.
Heading up the UK now, the Liverpool team and fans must be loving life at the moment.
They are still the only unbeaten team left in the league and have already qualified for the next round of the Champions League, with two group games left to go.
However, their last game in the Premier League did not meet their high expectations. After confidentially going 2-0 up against Brighton they let the game slip in the second half and could only leave with a point.
Boss Jurgen Klopp was not happy with the result, seeing it as a loss for the title contenders.Embed from Getty Images
“It feels like a defeat,” Klopp said. “It’s not only because we were 2-0 up and didn’t win, it’s because the game I saw, we scored two of the most beautiful goals I’ve ever seen us score, which were disallowed.”
The Merseyside team have suffered no new injuries during the week so will still only be without Naby Keita, James Milner, and Harvey Elliot.
Klopp’s team will be hungry to bounce back with a big win to put the pressure back on Chelsea. West Ham will be just as hungry to deny them, it should make for an exhilarating game.