This is the third part of a five-part series, to start from the beginning click here.
Disclaimer: This series is examining the games days prior to matchday, there is always the possibility for injuries, coach selections, etc. They may be updated to reflect most accurate starting lineup.
Huddersfield v. Chelsea
Location: John Smith’s Stadium, Huddersfield
Chelsea are clear favorites in this against relegation-candidates in Huddersfield, who are are expected to ship a lot of goals to a far superior side. The expected goals scored are about 3, and they are expected to go heavily towards Chelsea.
Chelsea finished 5th in the league last year and shouldn’t have any concerns with taking care of business against last year’s 16th-place side Huddersfield. The sides split games last year, but I don’t expect a repeat; Chelsea had a particularly poor showing last year in a number of games and have bolstered their side with the signing of Jorginho whom I expect to contribute. I also think that given the hype about Eden Hazard, he’ll want to show teams that he’s worth what Chelsea is demanding and I think he’ll put on a show. The Courtois situation does concern me some, and depending on who is in goal probably determines how many goals they conceed as I think there’s a pretty substantial dip in quality.

Huddersfield had a season that ended up being saved, barely, by avoiding relegation. I think they’ve made a number of nice (permanent) additions in Lössl and Terrence Kongolo, but I’m not sure that they are going to be able to make a huge statement in this game against a loaded (and newly invigorated) Chelsea side. I don’t think that Huddersfield are a bad side, I just think there should be a substantial difference in class between the sides in this match up.
Bold Predictions (tally will be kept on players identified and teams at the bottom of this running series):

  • Winner: Chelsea
  • Final Score: 3-1 (3-2 if no Courtois) (Update: Courtois has gone, but Kepa has come in — I’m hoping for the amount of money he can make a similar impact)
  • Goalscorer(s):
    • Chelsea: Hazard/Jorginho/Morata/Willian (Update: No Hazard in starting lineup, so I’m moving to Willian)
    • Huddersfield: Diakhaby/(Sobhi)

Fulham v. Crystal Palace
Location: Craven Cottage, London
This is supposed to be a tightly contested match, slightly favoring the Fulham Wanderers. The match is expected to be low scoring producing only a couple (2-3) goals.
Fulham is not a bad side, I think they’ll easily manage to avoid relegation and they’ve added some quality editions. I think that this will be a close game with both sides showing some attacking soccer.
Crystal Palace’s leading attacker for the last several years had an abhorrent season (by goalscoring standards) and I think that Benteke comes back with a vengeance. I also think that their goalkeeping addition will pay dividends for the club. This will also be Max Meyer’s chance to begin justifying his salary and I think it’s likely he’ll get his name on the board, whether for a goal or assist. I think that ultimately it should be a good game, but I expect Crystal Palace to edge this one.
Bold Predictions (tally will be kept on players identified and teams at the bottom of this running series):

  • Winner: Crystal Palace
  • Final Score: 2-1
  • Goalscorer(s):
    • Fulham: Mitrovic
    • Crystal Palace: Benteke/Meyer/Zaha(with no Meyer in the starting 11; I’m turning to Zaha)

The series continues… here!
Last Updated: August 10, 2018

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