Championship six-pointer gets Gameweek 6 off to roaring start
A fascinating weekend of action ended with a surprise package rolling under the radar, plenty of dubious referee decisions, and a few milestones. The Fantasy landscape is evolving nicely as well, with Ismaïla Sarr and Allan Saint-Maximin as medium-priced options to watch out for in the short term. On the defensive end, Virgil van Dijk and new recruit Marc Cucurella are good bets for this week.
Chelsea v Manchester City
Chelsea continued their excellent start to the season with a comfortable 3-0 win away to London rivals Tottenham. After a quiet first half, where the home side pushed them hard, Thiago Silva and N’Golo Kanté both scored in a ten-minute span to give them an early cushion. Antonio Rüdiger sealed the win with a wonderful strike in stoppage time.
City were very fortunate to come away with a goalless home draw with Southampton. Saints dominated for large parts of the game and should have had a penalty when striker Adam Armstrong was bundled down by right back Kyle Walker. However, video review overturned the decision.
This is a six-pointer between the two title favourites, and the sides with the most tactical managers. Both will attack for the win, but the capital side have the advantage of a clinical striker up front.
Manchester United v Aston Villa
United continue to grind out results, bouncing back admirably from their embarrassment in the Champions League with a comeback 2-1 away win over West Ham United. Jesse Lingard, on loan at the Hammers last season, scored a beautiful winner two minutes before time. David de Gea secured the points with an acrobatic penalty save from Mark Noble in the final moments.
Aston Villa are back in the groove after a convincing 3-0 home win over Everton last Saturday. New signing Leon Bailey made his first significant contribution, scoring once and whipping in the corner that was glanced into his own net by Lucas Digne.
The West Midlands side will give United a compelling test, but ultimately the quality in depth of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men will shine through.
Everton v Norwich City
Everton have had a mixed start to the season under new manager Rafael Benítez. The Toffees’ lack of end product was illustrated in their 3-0 loss away to Aston Villa. Richarlison, Jordan Pickford and Dominic Calvert-Lewin will be key absentees for the home side.
Norwich are in serious trouble after their 3-1 home defeat by Watford. The Canaries have yet to register a point and remain bottom of the table. The visitors were predicted to go straight back down, yet they have shown a few glimpses of promise in the last few matches.
Leeds United v West Ham United
Leeds were unable to capitalise on a flurry of chances in their 1-1 stalemate away to Newcastle last Friday. Despite the goal from Patrick Bamford, the Yorkshire side are yet to earn their first victory of the season. Marcelo Bielsa will miss the key attacking figure of Jack Harrison to illness, while Luke Ayling, Adam Forshaw and Raphinha are all doubtful because of recurring knocks.
West Ham greatly missed key striker Michail Antonio in their 2-1 home defeat by Manchester United. The Jamaica forward will return for this match, looking to build on his four league goals already this term.
Both sides like to play attractive football, but the hosts will leave spaces for the dangerous Hammers attack to flourish. An entertaining spectacle is in prospect.
Leicester City v Burnley
Leicester lacked attacking fluidity in the 2-1 away defeat to Brighton on Sunday. Attacking midfielder James Maddison is yet to find his form — a key factor could be his summer move to Arsenal falling through. Jamie Vardy scored on his 250th match for the Foxes, a club record.
Burnley ran into a very astute defence in their 1-0 home defeat by Arsenal. Despite creating quite a few chances for strikers Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes, they couldn’t break down the stubborn Gunners defence.
Neither side have got going this season, especially the Foxes who should challenge for a European spot. They will be tested owing to a defensive injury crisis, but they should have enough for the win.
Watford v Newcastle United
Watford produced an impressive performance in their 3-1 win away to Norwich last week, which stopped a run of three straight defeats. The Hornets were led by rising star Ismaila Sarr, who scored twice. Striker Emmanuel Dennis scored his third goal of his first season in English football.
Newcastle fought back well to earn a 1-1 home draw with Leeds United last Friday. Allan Saint-Maximin continued his fabulous start to this season with the equaliser just before half-time.
The home side have been a bit more defensively sound so far, and have slightly more in-form players to grab the win.
Brentford v Liverpool
Brentford dominated for large spells in their 2-0 away victory over Wolves last week. Attacking duo Ivan Toney and Bryan Mbeumo linked up for both goals as the promoted Bees earned their second win of the season, and first away victory in the top-flight for more than seven decades.
Liverpool were tested in the first half of their 3-0 home win over Crystal Palace, but Sadio Mané scored his 100th goal for the Reds to lead a convincing finish at Anfield. That was the Senegalese winger’s ninth league goal in nine matches against the Eagles, the longest individual goal streak against a single team.
Both sides have differing ambitions this season, but expect an open encounter in the Bees’ first home match against the traditional “Big Six”.
Southampton v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Southampton were extremely unfortunate to leave with just a goalless draw away to Manchester City. Saints striker Adam Armstrong was clearly taken down by City defender Kyle Walker, but video review deemed not enough contact for a penalty.
Wolves could not penetrate an organised and well-drilled Brentford defence in a 2-0 home loss. Adama Traoré had the best chance midway through the first half, but his powerful effort lashed off the crossbar.
Neither side have found their best in the final third, so expect a distinct lack of quality on the South Coast.
Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur
Arsenal have finally found a bit of balance in their squad, after an intriguing 1-0 away win over Burnley. Consecutive shutout wins, including the 1-0 home win over Norwich the previous week, have pushed the Gunners out of early relegation trouble up to thirteenth after five matches. However, they still cannot find the attacking fluidity under Mikel Arteta.
Tottenham absolutely folded in the second half of their 3-0 home defeat by rivals Chelsea. They have now suffered consecutive 3-0 London derby defeats, and the season is up in the air now for the Lillywhites.
This has been dubbed by several fans around the world as the “Battle of the Fraud Managers”, as Arteta faces new Spurs manager Nuno Espirito Santo.
Crystal Palace v Brighton & Hove Albion
Despite the 3-0 loss away to Liverpool, Palace created several openings in the first half. Had striker Christian Benteke been more clinical in front of net, the Eagles could have snatched a positive result at Anfield.
Brighton have been the most improved side outside the “Big Six”. The Seagulls are taking their chances and defending well when under pressure. Even centre back Shane Duffy has a goal, the first goal in their victory over Watford in Gameweek 2.
These meetings have been largely low-scoring and pragmatic. However, both managers have gone attacking in the majority of their matches so far.