Premier League Preview: Midweek Round
There’s no time for players or supporters to recover from the madness that was December 3rd in the Premier League. Matchday 15 sees games to be played on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Here’s your preview for what could be a decisive mid-week round of matches.
An upset on the cards at Kenilworth Road?
Luton host league leaders Arsenal on Tuesday evening. On paper, a win should be a formality for the Gunners. They are two points clear at the top of the Premier League table and are currently on a five-game winning streak across all competitions.
Mikel Arteta’s side have conceded just two goals in this particular run and have found the back of the net on 14 occasions. They are in ominous form and will fancy their chances of extending this winning run on Tuesday.
The Gunners have the best defensive record in the Premier League having conceded just 11 goals across their 14 matches in the English top-flight. By comparison, Luton rank 19th for goals scored on a per 90 basis (0.9) while they are, on average, conceding 1.9 goals per 90. The Hatters rank 18th for Expected Goals (14.2) and 19th for Expected Goals Conceded (30.3).
Everything points to an Arsenal win, but Luton did cause Liverpool problems at Kenilworth Road earlier in the season.
The blunt Blades
At the time of writing, reports suggest Paul Heckingbottom will be replaced by former manager Chris Wilder following the 5-0 defeat to Burnley on Saturday. The Blades are bottom of the table following the loss at Turf Moor.
They host Liverpool on Wednesday with the Reds looking to keep pace at the top of the table. The Reds are unbeaten in the Premier League since the controversial defeat to Spurs in September. The Merseyside club are in the middle of a bit of an injury crisis with Thiago, Stefan Bajčetić, Alisson Becker, Joel Matip and Andrew Robertson all ruled out.
Jürgen Klopp’s side defeated Fulham 4-3 over the weekend in one of the matches of the season. They rank third for goals, first for Expected Goals this term and joint-first for big chances created (37).
By comparison, Sheffield United have conceded the highest number of goals (39) this season and have scored just 11 goals. They average just 38% possession and have just one win at home all season.
Again, this should be a Liverpool win but you never know what might happen, especially with the potential for the new manager bounce.
Old Trafford woes for Manchester United
Manchester United lost to Newcastle United on Saturday evening and now find themselves in seventh position in the Premier League. The Red Devils host Chelsea on Wednesday and the Blues are going to head to Manchester expecting to take something from this game.
United are ninth in the table when looking at home results this season. The Red Devils have 12 points from seven matches and have actually conceded (10) more than they have scored (eight) at Old Trafford this term.
Chelsea, who beat Brighton at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, have lost just two of their six matches away from home this term. They aren’t the best defensively, having conceded 22 goals, but they have scored 25 – nine more than their hosts on matchday 15.
Fortress Villa Park
Aston Villa have a 100% record at home this season in the Premier League. They have been utterly rampant in front of their home fans, scoring 23 goals in just six matches – an average of 3.83. Defensively, they have been resilient too, allowing just five goals at Villa Park.
They welcome reigning champions Manchester City on Wednesday. Pep Guardiola’s side are winless in three Premier League games following the 4-4 draw with Chelsea, the 1-1 draw with Liverpool and the 3-3 draw with Spurs.
The 2022/23 treble winners are now three points off the top and their away form hasn’t been great. They have taken 13 points from a possible 21 and have suffered two losses in their seven matches. They also have conceded nine goals away from the Etihad.
There is a chance City’s winless run in the English top-flight extends to four.
Gordon’s return to Goodison Park
Anthony Gordon heads back to Goodison Park this week in fairly decent form. The Newcastle United No. 10 has scored against Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United and he’s having his most productive season to date. He will be looking to add to his tally on Thursday as Newcastle travel to Everton.
The Magpies are just three points off of the top four but their away form, rather surprisingly, isn’t great. Eddie Howe’s men have taken just five points from six matches away from St James’ Park. In fact, they have won just one match away from home.
Everton have struggled at Goodison Park this season, picking up just four points from a possible 21. With the 10-point deduction, they need to start picking up points at home. Maybe they start on Thursday.
(Cover image from IMAGO)
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