Can resurfacing Dean Smith get a tune out of Canaries to pull off great escape?
The English Premier League returned from international break with more intriguing storylines, and the managerial circus continued. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was finally relieved of his duties as Manchester United manager after three years in charge.
The Royal Gazette Fantasy League landscape continues to fluctuate as well, with a few surprise packages stepping up in the last round of matches. Chelsea defender Reece James is a must-have premium asset, having scored or assisted in his past four league starts, racking up 53 points in those matches. On the other end of the price range, Norwich striker Teemu Pukki has scored in his last two matches, both Canaries wins.
Arsenal v Newcastle United
Arsenal had an eight-game unbeaten run snapped by their humbling 4-0 defeat by Liverpool at Anfield last weekend. They largely had goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale to thank for keeping the score down, the prospective future England No 1 making four fantastic saves.
Newcastle United came from behind twice to earn a spirited 3-3 home draw with Brentford. Despite signs of encouragement in the comeback, the Magpies remain the only team without a win this season.
The Gunners have dominated the history of this fixture, winning 32 of their 52 meetings. Also, the North London side smashed the Geordies 3-0 on their last visit to the Emirates in January.
Crystal Palace v Aston Villa
Crystal Palace were pegged back by a thunderous Maxwel Cornet strike just after half-time of their 3-3 draw with Burnley. Christian Benteke scored twice in the first half of the thriller at Turf Moor.
New Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard got off to the perfect Premier League debut, leading the Clarets to a 2-0 win over Brighton. Tyrone Mings and Ollie Watkins scored in the final ten minutes at Villa Park.
Palace defender Tyrick Mitchell notched a goal and assist in their last meeting, a 3-2 Eagles win in May.
Liverpool v Southampton
Liverpool absolutely embarrassed Arsenal 4-0 at Anfield last weekend, Mohamed Salah scoring his eleventh league goal of the season.
Southampton suffered their first loss in five games, a 2-1 away defeat to Norwich. Despite this, Che Adams continued his scoring form with the opener in the fourth minute, his second goal in three games.
The title challengers have largely controlled this match-up, winning 2-0 on the Saints’ last visit to Merseyside.
Norwich City v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Norwich, under new manager Dean Smith, have completed consecutive top-flight wins for the first time since 2016, the second being a 2-1 home success over Southampton. Finnish striker Pukki found his form in the mini-streak, scoring in both matches. Will Smith lead the Canaries to an incredible survival?
Wolves have found some consistency recently, earning three wins in their past five, including 1-0 at home to West Ham United last week. Raul Jiménez scored the lone goal just before the hour, his third of the season.
Wolves have the better of this battle, winning two of their previous four meetings, including a 2-1 win on their last visit to Carrow Road.
Brighton & Hove Albion v Leeds United
Brighton have stumbled slightly over the past month or so, going winless in their past five matches, including three draws. They went down 2-0 away to Aston Villa last week.
Leeds United had their energy sapped from them by a strong Spurs second-half performance in their 2-1 away defeat last Sunday. Daniel James scored his first goal for the Yorkshire club in the loss.
The Seagulls have won both their previous meetings, including the 2-0 home win in May.
Brentford v Everton
Brentford survived for an important point in a thrilling 3-3 draw away to valiant Newcastle United last week. That draw was their first point in five games, dropping to fourteenth in the process.
Everton were smashed by Manchester City in a 3-0 away defeat last Sunday, their fourth defeat in five games. They, along with their hosts, boast the worst form in the division.
These sides have never met in the Premier League, but they did meet way back in 2010 in the League Cup when Brentford were in Sky Bet League One. It ended 1-1 with the home side going through on penalties.
Burnley v Tottenham Hotspur
Burnley earned a well-deserved 3-3 home draw with Crystal Palace, Maxwel Cornet scoring his fifth goal for the Clarets. They have suffered just one defeat in their last five games, yet they remain in the bottom three.
Tottenham pulled off an excellent second-half performance in their comeback 2-1 home win over Leeds United. The North London side have won just twice in their past five.
Spurs have won nine of their 14 meetings, including the 1-0 win on their last visit to Turf Moor.
Leicester City v Watford
Leicester were absolutely demolished 3-0 at home by Chelsea, and the Foxes are now winless in their past three. They have conceded 21 goals already, the joint-worst defensive record outside the bottom two.
Watford are buoyant after an emphatic 4-1 win over Manchester United, their first win under Claudio Ranieri. They are now four points safe, and if they beat the teams around them, the Hornets could survive.
The Lancashire side have won seven of the 12 meetings, most recently a 2-0 home win in December 2019.
Manchester City v West Ham United
Manchester City cruised past Everton 3-0 to bolster their chances of retaining their title, the Sky Blues holding the second-best defensive record in the league.
West Ham suffered a slight blow to an excellent start to the season with a 1-0 away defeat by Wolves. They may have dropped to fourth, but that was their first loss in five.
City have dominated the Hammers recently and in history, but they will be tested this time. They won 2-0 on the East London side’s last visit to the Etihad.
Chelsea v Manchester United
Chelsea are certainly the most balanced team in Europe at the moment, smashing Leicester 3-0 at the King Power Stadium last week. They followed that up with another consummate performance, this time in a 4-0 rout of Juventus in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Manchester United are at their lowest point in a while after being slaughtered 4-1 away to Watford last week, which led to the dismissal of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. They have lost four of their past five league games, with just two wins in their last eight in all competitions.
These teams have a very even rivalry, the Blues holding the edge with 18 wins to United 17. The past three meetings have ended in goalless draws.