Weekend Preview on Thursday (Week 5) Part 2 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.
Newcastle United v. Arsenal
Location: St. James’ Park, Newcastle
Arsenal come into this match as favorites even though they are playing in Newcastle. Goal projections are currently at about three.
Newcastle United’s season to this point has been rough, they’ve managed only 1 point out of twelve, and that came as a man down against Cardiff that has scored only 2 goals on the season. They have a -3 Goal Differential and have only scored 3 goals on the season. However, I think that Rafa’s side should be able to score at least one goal in this match, as Arsenal have allowed the 4th most goals in the league thus far (8) and have yet to keep a clean sheet in the Premier League.

Arsenal have only taken half of the points available to date, they will need to press hard to get results. They’ve managed to keep their goal differential at zero, though I think they will need to improve if they want to make any semblance of a run towards continental competition. That said, I do think that some of this has been growing pains with new manager Unai Emery, so I think that it will get some better as we progress. Arsenal does need to work harder on the defensive end to concede less or if they aren’t going to concede less — maybe they should just field an 11th outfield player.

Watford v. Manchester United
Location: Vicarage Road, Watford
Somewhat surprisingly (at least to me), Manchester United comes in as massive favorites over Watford despite playing at Vicarage Road. Goal projections are currently at 3.
Watford have come out of the gates flying high, and will definitely want to sustain the run as long as possible. Watford are tied for the 2nd lowest goals conceded and although their GD isn’t prolific (+6) they’ve managed to secure all 12 possible points. Pundits are doubting Watford’s ability to maintain this form based on who they’ve played, with only Tottenham being a “quality opponent” — so this will give them another opportunity to notch a big 6 win in their belt.
Manchester United finally got a decent result and in the process Luke Shaw played very well. Now, we know that Luke Shaw will not take part in the Watford match (concussion protocol) nor do we know when he will make his next appearance for United. This, unfortunately for United fans, means that the defensive carousel is back open for business. Rumors are abounding that Diogo Dalot might get his first start and I imagine that Ashley Young will be slotted back into the Left back spot, but the “first team” centerbacks still don’t seem to have been established.

Wolves vs. Burnley
Location: Molineaux Stadium, Wolverhampton
Wolves come into this home fixture as fairly sizable favorites over Burnley. Goal projections are between 2 and 3, with the home size expected to score most of them (if not all of them).
This Wolves side has been very unimpressive so far this season, their only win has been over a West Ham side that has been unbelievably poor. They somehow managed a draw with Manchester City — which still has to go down as one of the aberrations of the season in my mind. Wolves are one of the new additions to the Premier League for the 2018-2019 so I am hoping that their form will improve as they gain some confidence about actually belonging in the Premier League. If you’ve read my Wolves 2018-2019 Transfer Review, you’d see that I am pretty high on this team from the beginning, and frankly, I expect improvement.
Burnley currently occupy a relegation place in the table, and their form has warranted nothing less. I think that this side should be playing better than they are and are in dire need of a turnaround. They are the third-worst team in terms of goal difference at -6 having conceded 9 goals. They need to sort themselves out and get on with it unless they want to go back down to the Championship level. I really think so far it’s been a function of the team just playing very poorly because this team finished in a very safe position last year, 7th.

Everton vs. West Ham
Location: Goodison Park, Liverpool
Everton are big favorites as the home side over a surprisingly lackluster West Ham side. Goal projections are at 3.
Marco Silva’s Everton may reside in the top half, but the results he’s getting from this team are far from sufficient to keep them there. They’ve only beaten Southampton (12th) drawing the other three games against Wolves (11th), Huddersfield (17th), and Bournemouth (6th). Everton was free spending by Evertonian terms and I think there will be some expectation of at least a top half finish, if not for the side to be involved in (or at the very least, competing for) continental competition.
West Ham is another side on the chopping block right now. Not only did they get some very quality pick-ups for free, but they also spent a substantial sum of money. So far, Pellegrini has gotten absolutely nothing from them. They are the bottom of the table, -8 Goal Differential and have conceded a League-high 10 goals (tied with Huddersfield). In no uncertain terms, I expect that the board will be losing confidence in Pelligrini quickly meaning that he could quite literally be playing for his job now.

Southampton v. Brighton
Location: St. Mary’s Stadium, Southampton
Southampton come into this match as favorites in what is expected to be a low scoring Premier League match. The currently goal projections place it at about 2.
Southampton have only been able to secure victories over Brighton (14th) and Crystal Palace (15th) and have been able to secure 1 point per match so far. This is probably enough to get them to safety come the end of the season if they can keep this up for the whole season. That said, they have yet to play any of the big 6, so they will have at least 12 games against them (6 home/6 away) where they are not likely to be favorites for the matches. This means that they need to be able to secure results elsewhere, and so far they haven’t been able to do that. However, I think they have a solid shot against this Brighton side.
This Brighton side secured safety by reaching the 40 point margin last year, but ultimately they are in a similar situation as Southampton. The one saving grace they have is that they have played at home against Manchester United and were able to capitalize on the miserable form their opponents have been in. This game is a good opportunity for Brighton to steal a few more points in their quest for the 40 point margin.
Last Updated: September 13, 2018
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