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

This is part 2 of this weeks preview, you can catch the first part here

West Ham United vs. Wolves
Location: London Stadium, London
West Ham come into this match as slight favorites, probably mostly due to them playing at home. The goal projection is low for this match, expected at under 3.

I was so high on West Ham to start the season but three games in they really haven’t put anything together. They got one point off of a penalty converted by Arnautovic but otherwise there’s really nothing to write home about. I was so exited about their free pick ups even before the paid ones came in to play. I think if there’s a time for this team to gel, it starts now — not sure they’ll get much better of an opponent than one who’s failed to close out multiple games up a man. This side is coming off of a midweek win in the EFL Cup (Carabao Cup) over AFC Wimbledon, who went up in the 2′ minute and was able to stave off West Ham for a while with 10-men (starting in 18′). They responded well and ultimately came out with a 3-1 win (caveat: against 10 men) but it was a markedly different side than has been fielded in the Premier League.

Wolves have also been extremely disappointing, both myself and other writers discussed that this may be one of the better years for those teams promoted to the Premier League, but so far, wolves have made fools out of us. They let a 10-man Everton side come back and were down big to Leicester. It’s time for Wolves to prove they belong — West Ham is a fellow struggler that has been playing well below their expected output, they are going to better a chance to prove themselves. Wolves also managed a midweek win in the Carabao Cup with a goal from new-boy Leo Bonatini before doubling up their lead against the Championship side.

Manchester City vs. Newcastle
Location: Etihad Stadium, Manchester
City are ridiculous favorites in this match, with Newcastle not even expected to score and to ship at least 4 goals.
Manchester City are tied for the top of the table and are paving the way with goalscoring with 9 across the three games. They are averaging 3 goals/game and are averaging less than a goal conceded per game.  City did have a bit of a surprising performance against Wolves in that they had to settle for a draw against a side that hasn’t been able to do much of anything (even a man down). However, I don’t see this following them into the next match; I think a bounceback performance is in order and the projections seem to agree.
Newcastle have scored the same amount of goals (2) that City has conceded. They are also averaging less than 40% possession which plays even more into City’s strengths. I anticipate this to be a rough game for Newcastle, requiring them to be incredibly well organized and defend in their half. I anticipate this game to go along similar lines of the Manchester United and Tottenham game, in that Newcastle should be able to hold the line for a while — but eventually I think the dam breaks and the goals start to flow.

Arsenal vs. Cardiff City
Location: Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff, Wales
Arsenal are projected as moderate favorites even as the away side against a Cardiff team that has yet to score a goal in the Premier League. Goal projection is currently at 3.
Arsenal looked a lot better in their last game — it’s clear that there have been some differences between Emery and Wenger (shocker, I know) but that’s exactly what Gunners fans have wanted for a while now. They seem to be growing together as a unit in the new tactical approach that Emery has brought and the players seem to be giving a good effort for him. Most of them have started with a good performances and really the only player I haven’t seen good minutes from is Mesut Özil, whose performances have, frankly, left a lot to be desired.
Cardiff City suffered a bad loss in the midweek of the Carabao Cup against Championship-side Norwich who defeated the Bluebirds 3-1. I think this, unfortunately, is probably a precursor of their Premier League season as they’ve yet to score a goal in the league. That being said, I think the expectations for this side were tempered to begin with — and probably the board set a stretch goal for fighting against relegation. They have a reasonable chance of doing this if they can put together a string of good results. Their appearance in the Premier League will have set them up for a nice financial benefit if they can live within their means.

Watford vs. Tottenham
Location: Vicarage Road, Watford
Tottenham are visiting-favorites to Watford, despite Watford’s stellar run. They are projected as 1 goal favorites in a game expected to feature 3 goals.
Not going to lie, I procrastinated writing up this game because I’m torn — Watford has been phenomenal this season. They’ve shown tremendous poise so far in this season and they’ll fit hard to keep the form going. I think this game will be far closer than many fans are expecting, in fact, I might even go for a draw (involving a few goals). This side has something to prove for their fans, and I think they’ll try to get at least a point here at home. They haven’t beaten a major team yet, but they have beaten teams (BHA) that have handily beaten top-six sides. I think this sets up to be a fantastic game..
Tottenham is on a great run of form, they’ve got Harry Kane scoring goals in August (which doesn’t usually happen) and they have played pretty well all-around. I am a little concerned about the performances of Dele Alli and Eriksen who have seemed to just disappear from the game for substantial periods of time. I’m also a little concerned about the emotional let down from their absolute domination of Manchester United. They need to make sure they focus on this game and not look beyond, in American Sports we would call this a “trap game” where their focus on a bigger fixture next (in this case, Liverpool). I think that if Tottenham keeps themselves focused there’s a good chance they could walk away with a result, but they’ll have to keep their composure.

Burnley vs. Manchester United
Location: Turf Moor, Burnley
Manchester United come into this match as favorites over the home side. Current projections put United as a 1.5-2 goal favorite in a game expected to feature at least 3 goals.
Burnley comes into this match on short rest after playing the second leg of their Europa League game against Olympiakos two days prior to this match. I’m a little concerned about Burnley’s response to the emotional toll this game is bound to have — especially in light of the stabbing in Athens, so they could have some heavy legs. Dyche will have to balance feeling a competitive side in the Europa League match and the league — squad management will be key for Burnley coming into this match. I think this is one area where United may outclass this side, in the reserves, Mourinho has a much deeper squad to pull talent from (except with centerbacks, as you’ve no doubt seen).
Honestly, I’m not even sure where to start with this Manchester United squad, they’ve had spells of great form within the game, but have also conceded 2-goals in two minutes, twice. They aren’t changed from the side that was impeccable defensively last year (with the exception of the injured Rojo, and the return from injury of Shaw and the oft-injured Phil Jones. I still think that United should still come out on top of Burnley in this fixture, but who knows with this side anymore. I think this side is dramatically underperforming and I think that Mourinho is going to have to play a more attacking side, probably with Alexis Sanchez giving support to Lukaku. In fairness, I think this side has had its share of problems due to big-name players being absent from training for world cup time off. I think this side will settle down and get back to form, and finish easily in the top half.
Last Updated: August 29, 2018
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