Weekend Preview on Thursday (Week 4) Part 1 of 2

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.
Leicester City v. Liverpool
Location: King Power Stadium
Liverpool enters this game as massive favorites against Leicester City. The game is expected to contain about 3 goals, and as of this writing, all are favored for one team.
Maybe I’m just crazy, but I think that Leicester City might be the least convincing 2-win team of the season. Leicester City was only able to score in stoppage time over Southampton last week in stoppage time after the second yellow was awarded to a Southampton player. On the second match day, they were unable to be overcome by a Wolves team that has been unable to take advantage of their opponents being down to 10 men, twice. Basically, I feel like Leicester City has really been gifted games by their opponent and not really that they’ve played well enough to earn it, which will have to change if they want to continue grabbing 3 points. Liverpool love to counterattack and while defense has been one of their more solid positions, I’m nervous to see how they cope.
Liverpool have been pretty much rampant this season so far, despite Brighton being able to limit the damage to only a solitary goal last week. However, I also think that aside from Bissouma’s error leading to a goal, Brighton played very defensively and was very well organized trying to create exactly the game they did. I’m not sure there’s a team in the league right now that is able to score goals like Liverpool, so I anticipate m0st teams to “park the bus” in front of the goal and try to steal points on a counter. Brighton was very successful in parking the bus, but they were unable to convert any of their chances and only forced Alisson to make 2 saves during the game.

Crystal Palace v. Southampton
Location: Selhurst Park, London
Crystal Palace come in as favorites, but not by a substantial margin; especially considering they also have homefield advantage. Current goal projection is about 2.5.
I still think that Crystal Palace is playing well below it’s talent level, though they have also played a number of games against quality opponents. They’ve lost to Watford and Liverpool, but both of those teams have managed to take the maximum 9 points so far. The part that concerns me more than their current form (they have an easier schedule upcoming) is that they still haven’t managed to get Christian Benteke into the goalscoring column 3 games in.
As I discussed with Southampton in my write up last weekend, I really think that Alex McCarthy has been brilliant and he’s the only reason that they’ve managed to stay in games thus far. The rest of the squad really needs to step up or they’ll be falling to a relegation-favorite in no time. Their defense has played reasonably well, but defense and a goalkeeper isn’t going to be enough to stake out a solid place in this level, they need to get some scoring in.

Everton vs. Huddersfield Town
Location: Goodison Park, London
Everton are sizable favorites in this home matchup against Huddersfield who have managed only one goal this season.
I think this Everton side is starting to gel and look a little more dangerous, but Richarlison has been their major goal scoring threat (3), followed by Theo Walcott (2), and Michael Keane (1). Richarlison will be mising this game due to his sending off last week, and Keane is out at least four weeks after sustaining a hairline fracture to his skull which means that 66% of their goal scoring is on the bench. That means that they the team will same number of red cards as goals scored by players on the pitch, that’s not a great statistic.
Huddersfield Town looks poor statistically, but it’s also important to who they’ve played, they’ve played 2 of the big six, and while they did ship a lot of goals — they also have had some movement in goalkeeper of all places. I think that after whatever has kept Lössl out of goal is sorted out, that they’ll be conceding far less goals. Aside from the demolition by Manchester City, I think they’ve played alright — though I definitely think there’s room for improvement.

Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Fulham
Location: Amex Stadium, Brighton and Hove Albion
Brighton come into this match as home favorites, with a goal expectation of about 3.
Brighton comes into this game with a respectable recent form, having lost only to 2 teams that are currently unbeaten (Wolves and Liverpool). In particular, they only lost to Liverpool by one goal — and they beat a poor Manchester United side. If they can keep this up, I think they’ll finish in a position comfortably above the relegation fight.
This Fulham side has looked okay, not great, but reasonable. Mitrovic has been on a bit of a tear recently, which makes Newcastle look foolish to have let him go. The Tottenahm result doesn’t bother me, but I’m a little unsure of the 2-0 defeat to Crystal Palace (who I’ve mentioned is underachieving) at this point in time. I think Fulham needs to do more, their recent goal-fest and win against Burnley might be the stepping stone to something better.

Chelsea vs. AFC Bournemouth
Location: Stamford Bridge, London
Chelsea are overwhelming favorites in their home matchup against the visiting Cherries of Bournemouth. Current goal projection is sitting at 4, all of which are supposed to go Chelsea’s way.
Chelsea have started the season well, though I still anticipate room for improvement from them. Jorginho has proven to be a magnificent signing and he’s totally bossed their opponents, I am still waiting for the rest of the side to catch up. I would also like to see Kepa step up, he’s young and new, understood, but for the kind of fee he came with I’m expecting to see a little better keeping and frankly, some clean sheets. I think he should be performing better, especially in the Newcastle game.
AFC Bournemouth have played very well in my eyes, they’ve won two of the three matches they’ve faced. Even the one draw they came from 2-0 down (with 10 men) against fellow 10-man Everton. That shows excellent resolve and fight for the side. Our contributor Robert chose the Cherries as his Premier Club team before the season and would be so proud of how his new club is performing (Robert note: he is! Top Ten finish would be amazing) and I think they’ve got an excellent chance to keep it coming!
Last Updated: August 27, 2018
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