Managerial merry-go-round hits historic dramatic season
The English Premier League season is one third of the way in and things continue to ebb and flow. The managerial circus has begun as well, with five managers sacked already, the most at this stage of the season since 2004-05.
The most significant change was Nuno Espirito Santo being replaced by Antonio Conte at Tottenham Hotspur.
The Fantasy landscape also continues to fluctuate through eleven matches. Aaron Ramsdale continues to shine between the posts, keeping five clean sheets in his first nine games for Arsenal, while Phil Foden and Michail Antonio are strong mid-priced options in midfield and attack respectively.
Leicester City v Chelsea
Leicester could only manage a 1-1 away draw with Leeds United last time out. Speculation continues over the future of manager Brendon Rodgers, who is heavily linked with the Manchester United job.
Chelsea were held to a 1-1 draw with Burnley at Stamford Bridge, their lack of finishing touch costing them the points. The Blues have the best defensive record in the league so far though, and this will help them against a dangerous Foxes attack.
The London side have dominated this meeting, however, Leicester kept them out on their last visit to the Midlands.
Aston Villa v Brighton & Hove Albion
Aston Villa lost 1-0 away to Southampton last time out, their fifth straight league defeat. The Midlands club sacked manager Dean Smith the day after that defeat, and have since replaced him with Steven Gerrard from Rangers.
Brighton stumbled to a 1-1 home draw with Newcastle. The Seagulls are winless in their last five games (four draws and one loss). Goalkeeper Robert Sanchez is suspended for this mid-table battle.
These sides have only met four times in the Premier League, and the Seagulls earned a 2-1 win on their last visit to Villa Park.
Burnley v Crystal Palace
Burnley snatched an improbable 1-1 draw away to Chelsea, Matej Vydra striking the equaliser ten minutes from time at Stamford Bridge. Despite this, they remain two points from safety.
Crystal Palace have taken back-to-back wins for the first time this season under Patrick Vieira, the latest coming in a 2-0 home success to Wolves. Conor Gallagher scored his fourth goal of the season to seal the win.
Burnley have edged their twelve meetings, winning six to Palace’s five. The Clarets held out for a 1-0 win in this fixture last season.
Newcastle United v Brentford
Newcastle are under severe pressure, despite taking a 1-1 draw away to Brighton. Manager Steve Bruce was sacked, with Eddie Howe replacing him last Friday. They remain winless and a major candidate for relegation.
Brentford suffered a shock 2-1 home defeat to Norwich, their fourth loss in a row. The Bees remain the highest promoted team in the division, though.
These sides have never met in the top-flight, yet they did meet in the Championship five seasons ago, when the Magpies won both matchups.
Norwich City v Southampton
Norwich earned an important 2-1 away win over Brentford, boosting their slim chances of survival. However, they did sack manager Daniel Farke and replaced him with former Villa manager Dean Smith last Thursday. Chelsea legend Frank Lampard rejected the Canaries’ job two days prior.
Southampton held on for a 1-0 home win over Aston Villa. Saints have won three of their last five games, moving up to thirteenth with that win.
Southampton just shade this rivalry, winning seven meetings to Norwich’s five. Saints smashed the Canaries on their last visit to Carrow Road 3-0.
Watford v Manchester United
Watford narrowly fell 1-0 to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, with striker Joshua King missing the Hornets’ best chance of an equaliser moments before the end. They have stuttered with just one win and four defeats in their last five league matches.
Manchester United are in free fall after just one win in their last five league games. Pressure mounts on manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, having been humiliated in consecutive home defeats, 5-0 to challengers Liverpool and 2-0 to Manchester City.
Watford will fancy their chances in this, despite only winning twice in fourteen meetings. They stunned United 2-0 on the Red Devils’ last visit to Vicarage Road.
Wolverhampton Wanderers v West Ham United
Wolves were made to rue early chances in their 2-0 away defeat to Crystal Palace. They are still on good form though, earning three wins in their last five to move up to eighth.
West Ham pulled the upset over title challengers Liverpool in a 3-2 home win, their fourth consecutive victory. The Hammers haven’t won five league matches in a row since 2006 under Alan Pardew.
The Hammers snatched a 3-2 win on their last visit to Molineux, Jarrod Bowen scoring the decisive goal back in April.
Liverpool v Arsenal
Liverpool fell to their first defeat of the season in the 3-2 away loss to West Ham United. This was the Reds’ first loss in 25 matches in all competitions. Andy Robertson and Curtis Jones will be sidelined through injury for this marquee match-up.
Arsenal are ten games unbeaten in all competitions, their longest such run under Mikel Arteta. Their 1-0 home win over Watford moved them above North London rivals Tottenham into fifth place on 20 points.
Liverpool cruised past Arsenal 3-1 on the Gunners’ last visit to Anfield in February and the home side has won four of the last five meetings. The London side would go above the Reds if they pull off the upset.
Manchester City v Everton
Manchester City toyed with rivals Manchester United in their 2-0 win at Old Trafford. The Sky Blues moved into second on goal difference with the derby win, and bounced back well from their prior home defeat to Crystal Palace.
Everton were unjustly denied a penalty midway through the second half of their goalless home draw with Tottenham, after video judged Hugo Lloris to have made a clean tackle on striker Richarlison. The Toffees are winless in their last five games.
City have won their last five meetings with Everton, including the 5-0 thrashing on the Toffees’ last visit to the Etihad.
Tottenham Hotspur v Leeds United
Tottenham failed to register a single shot on target in their 0-0 away draw with Everton. Prior to this, they sacked Nuno Espirito Santo after the 3-0 home defeat to Manchester United, and replaced him with Antonio Conte. The Italian has gone unbeaten in his first two games.
Leeds United held on for an excellent 1-1 home draw with European contenders Leicester City. They have earned eight of their eleven points in their last five games, moving the Yorkshire side out of the relegation zone.
Spurs smashed Leeds 3-0 in their last meeting in London, but the Yorkshire side hold the upper hand with 11 wins to nine for Spurs in 26 meetings.