Cristiano Ronaldo returned with a bang as Manchester United jumped to the top of the table on the back of a 4-1 over Newcastle. Matchday Five is highlighted by a huge matchup between London rivals Chelsea and Tottenham. The top four teams are all level on points and there’s just one point separating first from seventh, so there’s plenty to play for this weekend! As always, we’ve got you covered with previews and tips for the big matches this weekend.
Sunday 2:30am AEST, Villa Park
Everton continued their excellent start to the season with a 3-1 victory over Burnley, to move into fourth with three wins and a draw to kick off their campaign. The Toffees head to Villa Park to take on a struggling Aston Villa side that holds a 1-1-2 record, sitting in twelfth on the Premier League table. It was a remarkable six minute burst that had Goodison Park rocking as Everton went from 0-1 behind, to 3-1 ahead, in a game that typified their ability to run out games, and put goals on the board in quick succession.
Despite doing great business in the transfer window, Villa haven’t adjusted to life without Jack Grealish and their attacking side of their game has dipped significantly. Everton come into this clash as the equal second highest scoring team in the Premier League, in comparison Aston Villa have scored just five goals so far this season. Demari Gray has led the way for the Toffees scoring in their last three games, to sit third in the golden boot race.
Not only is there a gulf in the attacking form of these two sides, there’s a big difference in how these sides are defending as well. Aston Villa have conceded seven goals this season, the sixth most in the premier League, while Everton have conceded just four, ranked twelfth. Everton have been outstanding since Rafa Benitez took over as manager, and there is a reliability in the style they play, and the same cannot be said for the inconsistent Aston Villa. Everton are excellent value, and will get the job done once again.
Sunday 11:00pm AEST, London Stadium
It was a dream return for Cristiano Ronaldo at Old Trafford, who netted a brace as the Red Devils picked up a comprehensive 4-1 against Newcastle as Manchester United claimed top spot on the table. It’s been an outstanding start for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men with three wins and a draw, scoring a league best eleven goals and only conceding three. United head to London to take on West Ham, who are coming off consecutive draws after a red hot start to the season.
The Red Devils and The Hammers have been two of the better attacking sides in the Premier League with United the equal highest scoring team in the comp with 11 goals, and West Ham equal second with 10. West Ham struggled to turn possession into chances last week against Southampton, recording just 3 shots on target from 60% of possession. With Michail Antonio out through suspension, it makes an already difficult challenge, even greater. The Red Devils have a scary front half for opposing sides to defend with golden boot leader Bruno Fernandes (4 goals), Mason Greenwood (3 goals) and Cristiano Ronaldo (2 goals) all in a rich vein of form. United’s attackers have been able to flourish largely thanks to the excellent performance of their midfield, with United’s average possession of 58.2% the fourth best in the Premier League. The midfield excellence is being led by Paul Pogba who is arguably in career best form with seven assists from four games, no other player in the league has more than three.
Manchester United have a good recent record against West Ham, going 5-2-2 in their last nine Premier League games against the Hammers. Michail Antonio’s absence is a catastrophic blow for West Ham, and the Red Devils have got some serious momentum. This will be an entertaining clash, but United will be too strong.
Monday 1:30am AEST, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
It was a brutal outing for Tottenham last weekend, as they conceded three goals in the last fifteen minutes against Crystal Palace, to lose 3-0. The loss saw Spurs drop from first to seventh on the Premier League table, as they host a red hot Chelsea side that has been near perfect this season. Chelsea sit in second place with a 3-1-0 record after a dominant 3-0 win over Aston Villa last week.
Tottenham are yet to score more than one goal in a game this season, and coming up against the best defence in the league, it’s hard to see them penetrating Chelsea’s defence. In their last three games against Wolves, Watford and Palace they only managed two goals, Chelsea has only conceded one goal so far this season. Not only has their defence been strong, Chelsea have been just as impressive in attack so far this season. In their three wins this season, two have been by a margin of three goals and the other win was by two goals. Star signing Romelu Lukaku has been the striker Chelsea have been searching for, with three goals from his first three games for Chelsea as he sits equal second in the golden boot race.
Chelsea have had the wood over Tottenham in the last two years, with a 4-1-0 record in their last 5 Premier League matches against Spurs, as their balance at both ends of the pitch has caused Spurs plenty of headaches in recent matchups. Chelsea are going to test Tottenham’s defence more than any side has this season, and after the way Tottenham crumbled last week, Chelsea will be confident of continuing their trend of winning games by two or more goals.
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