Tottenham v Chelsea
This is a renowned match that easily conjures up memories of high octane engagements of yesteryear, not to mention the famous names that contributed to it. Undoubtedly, it is a meeting which fascinates both the neutrals and the participants.
It’s also a reunion that sparks all sorts of intrigue, featuring two âtop sixâ stalwarts at different stages of development under new management. Chelsea are a totally revitalized team under Thomas Tuchel; a team with real title aspirations and already with a Champions League in their trophy cabinet. The Spurs, by way of comparison, are a collective in motion; their uncertain future.
Yet for all the fascinating aspects of Sunday’s clash, it is only one facet that will determine the end result, a shortcoming on Tottenham’s part their fans feared when Nuno Espirito Santo was appointed. At the moment, they are apparently unable to create enough openings to greatly disrupt their opponents, appearing rather conservative and even pedestrian in possession.
It’s a lack of imagination and adventure that may have been overlooked after three straight 1-0 wins, but which became painfully evident in South London on Saturday, as Crystal Palace convincingly battered them . An identity midfielder from Skipp, Winks and Hojbjerg was professional, but only that, and that left Harry Kane horribly isolated throughout. For the first time in 248 Premier League games, the hitman had precisely no touch of the ball in the opponent’s penalty area.
0 – For the very first time in his Premier League career, Tottenham’s Harry Kane had neither a shot nor a touch in the opponent’s box in a game where he completed the full 90 minutes. Isolated. pic.twitter.com/KiPNybiOI8
– OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 11, 2021
If this can be seen as a misjudgment by Santo regarding his squad selection, which infuriated Spurs loyalists, it was his refusal to change him when Spurs fell behind.
Then there is pressure and expectations on the hosts to be enterprising as they look to end their rival’s unbeaten streak this quarter, but frankly, that’s easier said than done. to do against a pretty formidable back line from Chelsea. Under Tuchel’s tenure, the Blues have built the best defense of the elite, conceding six less than Manchester City in 2021. The league champions are the only team that even comes close to their parsimony.
The visitors have 15/8 to win at zero, a result as predictable as the Tottenham engine room.
Liverpool v Crystal Palace
With each passing week it becomes more and more clear that Liverpool are, to a large extent, back to their fierce best and it is reasonable to infer that a challenge for the title is at stake.
Since their triumph at Leeds last Sunday, all the elements were in place to make such a call. In defense, Joel Matip and Virgil Van Dijk were compelling once again, each determined to lead an injury and career reduction season out of play.
A second assist in this fledgling campaign for Trent Alexander-Arnold means only three players have accumulated more at his age in the top flight; a remarkable achievement for any gamer. Those lines, for the record, are Cesc Fabregas, Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs, so the Liverpool star is in good company, but let’s not forget that Alexander-Arnold is a right-back by trade.
Most chances created in the Premier League this season:
20 – Trent Alexander-Arnold
13 – Jack Grealish, Mohamed Salah
Watch out for the gap. ?? pic.twitter.com/tTa70x3RXd
– Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 12, 2021
Perhaps most encouraging of all, however, is the ruthless way in which Jurgen Klopp’s frontline is punishing their opponents at the moment, with seven goals scored between them so far. Granted, this is a different triumvirate than the one that easily secured the title in 2019/20, with Diogo Jota stepping in these days for Roberto Firmino, but even that can be seen as a significant advantage. The Brazilian will act as a useful auxiliary threat as the season progresses.
In total, Liverpool amassed an impressive 30 shots in Yorkshire, and Sadio Mane’s clinical strike in the 92nd minute took their attempts on goal to a hundred already this quarter. Only two other 21st century teams have managed such a number in their first four matches.
There are of course a few drawbacks to accompanying the resurgence. A long-term layoff awaits talented Reds midfielder Harvey Elliott, and not only was it a cruel blow to a teenager who was firmly asserting himself as the Premier League’s next big event, it also echoed to the forced absences that were so costly for Liverpool last year.
Then there are this Saturday’s opponents to consider, a game that appears on paper to be a home banker until recent results are factored in. Because when Crystal Palace goes to Anfield, weird things usually happen.
During Klopp’s training seasons in England, Palace have won Merseyside 2-1 consecutively, the latter momentarily upsetting to be Liverpool’s last home loss in 68 games. Two years later, the Eagles played a remarkable 4-3 that saw the hosts win thanks to a mane winner at the last breath.
The scorer of that day is relevant because the Senegalese striker has incredibly found the net in the last eight meetings between these two teams. Contrary to that, James Milner has only been sent off twice for Liverpool, both times against Palace.
Visitors will be in a good mood as they head north. A resounding victory over Tottenham last weekend continues a steady arc of improvement under Patrick Vieira, and although Wilfried Zaha and debutant Odsonne Edouard shared the headlines, another remarkable performance from Chelsea Loanee Conor Gallagher drew the Warning.
The last five chances these teams have encountered have produced an average of 4.6 goals and expect that trend to resume. Over 4.5 goals at 11/4 is a decent punt.
Norwich City v Watford
It instinctively seems far too early to describe a game as a ‘six pointers’ or even relegation, but the Hornets’ trip to East Anglia already looks big and potentially meaningful.
Of their eight combined games so far, Norwich and Watford have only scored one lone victory – a first day by killing Aston Villa by Xisco’s men – and their joint cumulative comeback at this point is pretty damning: a total of 18 goals conceded with just four converted.
Of the two, it was this Saturday’s hosts who seemed most in jeopardy, with all the momentum of an exhilarating 2020/21 year that saw them crowned champions of the league immediately blocked by beating at the hands of Liverpool and Manchester City. If those losses can be absorbed due to the elite level of the opposition, further losses to Leicester and Arsenal – quality sides of course but both in a bad mood right now – have doomed the Canaries to the foot of the table with muscle memory without a doubt. of their last miserable stint in the Premier League.
– Norwich City FC (@NorwichCityFC) September 12, 2021
Still, there is hope for Daniel Farke’s side, and not just because there is a large chunk of the season left. Norwich have amassed the same number of key assists as table chiefs Spurs until last weekend, and there have certainly been enough shining moments between full-backs Brandon Williams and Max Aarons to suggest chances will be there soon. taken. The isolation of Teemu Pukki in attack is however a major concern, and this mainly explains their meager single goal in four games.
As far as visitors go, the failure of that success against Villa stems largely from a toothless attack, though it’s also worrying that a backline that kept 23 sheets clean last season is now being violated. so regularly. “We have to keep working hard,” Xisco said after their 2-0 loss to Wolves. âWe need to know what our problem is.
As is so often the case when two struggling teams collide, chances are it will be a tense, tight, low-scoring affair, with the two ultimately settling for just one point. The 6/1 available for the 1-1 therefore makes perfect sense.
West Ham United v Manchester United
The Ronaldo Roadshow arrives in the capital this Sunday and the hype and hyperbole surrounding CR7’s involvement is entirely understandable given the huge impact he has already had since returning to the Red Devils. The Portuguese superstar’s two goals against Newcastle were apparently scripted and exemplified the 36-year-old’s infallible ability to turn routine league matches into box office events.
Yet beyond the heightened interest in Cristiano Ronaldo’s revisiting on Premier League pitches, there are plenty of other reasons Manchester United fans are currently feeling optimistic.
Mason Greenwood has dismissed three out of four and coupled with excellent overall performances, the young striker conclusively proves that he can be United’s main source of goals for years to come.
Cristiano Ronaldo wins trophies everywhere he goes pic.twitter.com/WxXzK1UCiW
– Goal (@goal) September 13, 2021
Bruno Fernandes, meanwhile, has scored every 88 minutes this season, resolutely putting a bad Euro campaign behind him and it is also very important that his trade with Paul Pogba finally results in a harmonious creative department in the midfield. . It should be noted that Pogba’s seven assists are a record for any Premier League player after four games.
Speaking of records, the Reds are heading into the M1 looking to extend an away unbeaten streak that dates back to early 2020 and finally, when they step back from the data and assess the qualities of the team instead. United, an obvious truth is becoming evident. That an attacking quintet of Pogba, Fernandes, Greenwood, Sancho and Ronaldo possesses the multiple gifts to terrorize any side, whatever its stature.
All of this will be of great concern to David Moyes, although it is a mark of progress for the Hammers that a 0-0 draw at Southampton last week was viewed so negatively. The stalemate means West Ham remain undefeated – only for the second time in the Premier League after four games – as their eight points far exceed their total at this point in last season, a successful campaign that ultimately saw them make of European football.
Michail Antonio’s absence will be painfully felt for this successful clash, with the beefy Hammers forward suspended after a late send off against the Saints, but despite having scored 40% of his team’s goals this season, they still have a variety of attacking threats in the form of Benrahma, Fornals and Bowen.
Even so, visitors should be shouldered here on a generous 8/11, for all of the reasons detailed above, as well as the presence at the head of a certain legend.