Despite a shock 3-3 draw with Brentford, Liverpool sit atop the Premier League table as the only undefeated team remaining. Matchday Seven is headlined by a top of the table clash between Liverpool and Man City, as the last two champions do battle at Anfield. As always, we’ve got you covered with previews and EPL tips for the big games this weekend!
Saturday 9:30pm AEST, Old Trafford
Matchday Seven kicks off with a crucial clash between fourth placed Manchester United and fifth placed Everton. With five clubs between second and sixth on thirteen points trailing league leaders Liverpool by just one point, it means every point is vital even at this early stage of the season. It was a disastrous day at Villa Park for Manchester United last weekend as injuries to skipper Harry Maguire and star left back Luke Shaw compounded the 1-0 loss, United’s first of the Premier League season.
It now leaves the Red Devils without two key defensive pillars, coming up against a red hot Everton side that is coming off a professional 2-0 victory against Norwich. Rafa Benitez’s side have a 4-1-1 record in his first season at the helm, with the Toffees’ vast improvement forward of centre clear to see in Benitez’s short time in charge. Demarai Gray (3 goals), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (3), Abdoulaye Doucoure (2) and Andros Townsend (2) have helped Everton to be the fifth best attack in the Premier League this season. The Toffees have scored 2+ goals in five of their six games this season, and with United missing two of their best defenders, the Toffees are in a perfect position to claim their first victory at Old Trafford since 2013.
The Red Devils have shown some shaky form in the last fortnight, with losses to Young Boys and Aston Villa to go with unconvincing wins over West Ham and Villareal. With the back four of Dalot, Lindelof, Varane and Wan-Bissaka having not played together, United’s defence could be pushed to the limit on Saturday, and Benitez’s men are in-form to capitalise on that. With the Toffees form coupled with some key injuries for Manchester United, an upset is brewing on Saturday night. Everton are at remarkable value in this clash against an injury depleted United side.
Sunday 12:00am AEST, Stamford Bridge
It’s been a tough few days for Chelsea who lost back to back games for just the second time under Thomas Tuchel, with losses to Man City and Juventus. Chelsea’s attack has fallen back to its ways of early last season, registering just one shot across the two losses. They get a golden opportunity to bounce against the winless Southampton, who are sixteenth on the Premier League table. The Saints have four draws and two losses from their opening six matches, in an uninspiring start to their campaign.
These two clubs have had polar opposite seasons in attack this season. Southampton has been one of the worst teams in front of goal this season, scoring four goals from six games, ranked 17th in the Premier League. Chelsea are the fourth highest scoring team in the Premier League, with twelve goals so far this season coming from ten different goal scorers.To go with their excellent attack, Chelsea has second best defence in the Premier League, conceding just two goals this season.
The Saints just don’t have the firepower to compete with Chelsea and if they go behind early, it could get ugly with Chelsea already having three victories by three goal margins this season. Tuchel’s men have had the wood over Southampton in recent seasons, with a 7-3-1 record in Premier League fixtures since 2016 against the Saints. Expect a fired up Chelsea outfit to bounce back after a disappointing week.
Monday 2:30am AEST, Anfield
The reigning champs sent a big reminder to the rest of the Premier League with an outstanding performance in their 1-0 victory over the previously unbeaten Chelsea. City dominated possession and didn’t concede a shot on target in what was a superb showing. Liverpool are coming off an entertaining 3-3 draw against Brentford, however it was two points missed for the Reds, who controlled the majority of the game with 68% possession.
Although Liverpool sit atop the table, all things point towards the defending champions in this clash. City are unbeaten in their last three Premier League matches against Liverpool, including a 4-1 win at Anfield the last time these two sides met. The aggregate score from the last three Premier League matches between these two teams is 9-2 in favour of City. Man City lead the league in clean sheets with 5 and are the number one ranked defence in the Premier League, conceding just one goal this season. City conceded a goal in the 55th minute in their opening game against Tottenham, since then they’ve gone 485 minutes without conceding.
Liverpool have had quite an easy run with their fixture, outside of their 1-1 draw against Chelsea, they’ve played the three sides who currently reside in the relegation zone, as well as 15th placed Crystal Palace and recently promoted Brentford. With City coming off a battle hardened match against Chelsea, they’ll be much better prepared for such a huge clash. This will be a cracking contest between the top two sides, and Manchester City will pick up three crucial points at Anfield.
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