Chelsea-Spurs sets hostile standard for capital engagement
After the first few weeks of the English Premier League season, some key talking points are developing. The showdown between the seven capital sides is one to watch out for, especially those with something tangible to forecast towards — ie, Chelsea, Spurs and Arsenal for top four; Fulham and Brentford for survival.
Fantasy managers are witnessing some new standout performers in the early embers of 2022-23. For example, Gabriel Martinelli has emerged as a shining light amid Arsenal’s expectation to qualify for the top European competition. Rodrigo has gotten off to a hot start in the budget forward realm, already netting three goals for Leeds in two matches. However, you would be wise to leave him on your bench for this weekend.
Tottenham Hotspur v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Tottenham pulled off an impressive late comeback to draw 2-2 with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. Oliver Skipp remains out with a foot injury, while Clement Lenglet is still doubtful with a muscle injury.
Wolves goalkeeper José Sá made a fantastic penalty save late on to deny Aleksandar Mitrovic and preserve a 0-0 draw with Fulham. João Moutinho (foot), Francisco Oliveira (knee) and Raúl Jiménez (knee) remain out for the visit to North London.
These sides have met on 16 occasions, with Spurs just triumphing eight times to Wolves’ five.
Crystal Palace v Aston Villa
Crystal Palace, who had a man advantage for the final half-hour, battled to an impressive 1-1 draw with Liverpool at Anfield on Monday night. James Tomkins, Nathan Ferguson and James McArthur remain out for the Eagles, while Jack Butland and Michael Olise are doubtful.
Emiliano Buendía scored the clutch goal to lead Aston Villa back to winning ways after a 2-1 home success over Everton. Diego Carlos, whom they signed from Sevilla, was taken off on a stretcher with a ruptured Achilles tendon. Kortney Hause also remains out with a knee injury. Matt Cash and Philippe Coutinho are doubts with muscle injuries.
This is the epitome of an even rivalry, with each side winning seven of their 20 overall meetings.
Everton v Nottingham Forest
Everton have yet to find their groove this season, in the first full campaign under Frank Lampard. Defender Ben Godfrey has undergone successful surgery after a broken fibula, while Yerry Mina (ankle), Andros Townsend and Dominic Calvert-Lewin (both knee) are also out. Allan, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Andre Gomes are doubts.
Forest made an impressive home return to the top division, shutting out West Ham thanks to a few point-blank saves by loanee goalkeeper Dean Henderson. New recruit Omar Richards and key midfielder Ryan Yates are out, while Moussa Niakhate (knock) and Jack Colback (illness) are doubts for the trip to Merseyside.
The Toffees edge this match-up with six victories to Forest’s four, but the promoted side won on their last Premier League visit to Goodison Park — 1-0 in January 1999.
Fulham v Brentford
Fulham have enjoyed an interesting resumption to Premier League life, and were unlucky not to take all three points from Molineux last weekend, instead drawing with Wolves 0-0. Harry Wilson and new signing Manor Solomon are out with knee injuries. Joe Bryan, Bobby Reid and Andreas Pereira are doubts.
Brentford continue to impress on their second term in the top flight, smashing Manchester United 4-0 last time out. Sergi Canós, Kristoffer Ajer and Ethan Pinnock remain out for the Bees.
This West London rivalry heated up in recent seasons in the Championship, but this is their first meeting in the Premier League.
Leicester City v Southampton
Leicester produced a valiant effort, but ultimately fell short in the 4-2 away defeat to Arsenal. Ryan Bertrand, Ricardo Pereira and Harvey Barnes remain out for the Foxes this weekend.
Southampton came from behind twice to grind out a 2-2 home draw with Leeds. Tino Livramento and Theo Walcott are not available because of injury for Saints.
The Foxes are unbeaten in the past four league meetings with the South Coast side, earning two wins and two draws.
Bournemouth v Arsenal
Bournemouth were beaten convincingly by Manchester City at the Etihad, but manager Scott Parker will be delighted with their home performance and result on opening day against Aston Villa. Ryan Fredericks, David Brooks and Joe Rothwell remain out. Jordan Zemura and Dominic Solanke are doubts.
Arsenal have scored six goals without reply, marking their unblemished start to the season. Reiss Nelson is out with a muscle injury, while Fabio Vieira is a doubt owing to lack of fitness.
The Gunners have won seven of their first ten Premier League meetings, but the Cherries held them to a 1-1 draw on their previous visit to the Vitality Stadium.
Leeds United v Chelsea
Leeds showed their defensive frailties during the 2-2 away draw with Southampton. Injury concerns continue for the Yorkshire side. Luke Ayling, Stuart Dallas and Junior Firpo are still out. Liam Cooper, Patrick Bamford and Joe Gelhardt remain doubtful for the third straight game.
Chelsea could not withstand the pressure as they twice relinquished leads at home to Tottenham on Sunday, but held on for the stalemate. Mateo Kovacic is the only injury absentee for Thomas Tuchel’s side, but N’Golo Kanté is a doubt with a hamstring problem.
This battle is historically challenging for the Blues, as they edge the match-up with 11 total wins to Leeds’s eight in 20 meetings. Three of those victories have come at Elland Road, including last season’s dominant 3-0 win.
West Ham United v Brighton & Hove Albion
West Ham squandered a massive opportunity to keep pace with the early leaders when they failed to capitalise on momentum in their 1-0 defeat away to Nottingham Forest. New signing Nayef Aguerd remains sidelined with an ankle injury. Angelo Ogbonna and Craig Dawson are doubts, the former possible to feature off the bench because of lack of fitness.
Brighton could not penetrate a solid Newcastle defence and some incredible goalkeeping by Nick Pope in their 0-0 draw at the American Express Community Stadium. Jakub Moder remains the only missing piece in an otherwise strong squad for Graham Potter and the Seagulls.
The South Coast side have dominated this fixture over the years, and remain unbeaten in ten meetings with the Irons, but have just four victories to show for it.
Newcastle United v Manchester City
Newcastle will have Nick Pope to thank in large part for their away draw with Brighton, as the goalkeeper made five critical saves to keep the Magpies unbeaten. Jonjo Shelvey is still unavailable with a hamstring tear. Federico Fernández (calf), Emil Krafth (back), Jamal Lewis (groin) and Matt Targett (hamstring) are doubts for the Toon.
Manchester City kept their solid start alive with that 4-0 home success against Bournemouth, with three different scorers. Aymeric Laporte and Kalvin Phillips are out for Pep Guardiola’s side. Academy graduate Cole Palmer is a doubt with a foot injury.
The Citizens, who are looking to become the first team to win three straight league titles for nearly 25 years, have unlocked the Tyneside outfit at will in recent seasons, winning 28 of 44 overall battles.
Manchester United v Liverpool
Manchester United have failed to score in their first two Premier League games under new leader Erik ten Hag. This week, Victor Lindelof, Facundo Pellistri and Anthony Martial are out for the Red Devils.
Liverpool were held to a draw by a plucky Crystal Palace side at Anfield on Monday night. Injuries remain a massive concern for Jürgen Klopp. Caoimhin Kelleher, Joel Matip, Ibrahima Konaté, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Curtis Jones and Diogo Jota remain out, while Thiago Alcãntara has recently suffered a hamstring injury. Darwin Nuñez is suspended for three games after his headbutt on Eagles defender Joachim Andersen. Roberto Firmino is a doubt with a knock.
This North-West derby between the two most successful of the Premier League era, is edged by United overall, but Liverpool are unbeaten in the past five, conceding just twice in that span.
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