Welcome back TFG’ers, to the 7th instalment of this exhilarating Premier League season. By this point, managers are beginning to formulate their strongest teams, players are becoming increasingly aware of their places in their respective squads, and the league table starts to bear some resemblance to the way in which it will be concluded, once May inevitably rolls around. More importantly though, with 31 picks still remaining for each and every one of you, how does the TFG league table look going into this weekend’s fixtures?
5th – Ibe, You’ve Got That (Johnathan Owens)
4th – Colorado Spurs HW (Henry Winkler)
3rd – Jimmy Floyd’s Piggy Bank (Maddy Camble)
2nd – dare2dream (Dewa Widya)
1st – Brilliant City (Steve Sanderson)
In typical TFG fashion, there have been changes at the summit once again, as the world’s most unpredictable competition begins separating the men from the boys. Just the top four teams are still yet to make an incorrect pick and are separated by goal difference alone, so making a correct selection is more important than ever. But before you make your pick this week, you may want to consult Matthew Turner, Dan Boldterson and Dewa Widya – as because they opted for Spurs to collect all three points from their tough away trip to Brighton, they have been awarded the TFG #PickOfTheWeek! Well done, guys!
Right then, onto this weekend. There is one stand-out fixture from the ten we have been gifted, which takes place on Saturday evening – Chelsea vs Liverpool. The Blues will face the Reds twice this week, once the Carabao Cup, but Sarri’s men will have to improve on their last performance (a 0-0 draw with West Ham) if they are to take anything away from the Merseyside outfit, who have won their last 7 games. Liverpool do have a poor recent record against Chelsea however, having only won 2 of their last 14 matches against them in all competitions, so to come away from Stamford Bridge with a win will take some doing.
The other televised match on Saturday is West Ham vs Man United. The Hammers are finally starting the reap the rewards of their heavy investment this summer, after an impressive 3-1 win at Everton, followed by a hard-earned 0-0 draw with Chelsea last weekend. It will take a similar performance if they are to get a result out of this match though, considering that following United’s ‘crisis’, Mourinho’s side have won 3 out of the 4 matches they’ve played, scoring 8 goals. Another draw seems to be the order of the day at the Olympic Stadium.
Over in North London, there is another hard-to-call encounter taking place. Arsenal, who ahead of their mid-week tie with Brentford, could well have won their last 6 matches in a row by the time they face Watford – who themselves, are this seasons’s surprise package. The Hornets are still yet to lose an away game this season, so Unai Emery’s side (who despite their recent form, are yet to find their best) certainly face a stern test.
As for Arsenal’s arch-rivals, Spurs, they have an easier-looking contest to look forward to. They travel to Huddersfield to face a Terrier’s side who look seriously threatened by relegation this season, considering they have only scored 3 times in the league this season and are yet to win. If Huddersfield do, somehow, pick up a remarkable win this weekend, it would be the first time they have beaten Spurs since 1956 – so I think the favourites are pretty clear going into this one.
Also going into their match this weekend expected to win, as per usual, are Man City. They welcome Brighton to the Etihad Stadium, with Chris Houghton’s Glenn Murray-lead side still yet to win since their memorable triumph over Man United, well over a month ago. City however, have scored 11 goals in their last three domestic matches and haven’t lost a league match since April. Need I say any more?
Meanwhile, City’s last victims, Cardiff, will look to bounce back from their 5-0 defeat in that game in the least-super Super Sunday match in history, against Burnley. Amazingly, this match may end up being even more dreary than it appears to be, when you consider the fact that 10 of the last 12 meetings between these two sides have ended in a draw. The less said about this encounter, the better.
Sat just one place above Burnley, in the table, are Fulham. The Cottagers are winless in their last three games vs Watford, Man City and Brighton and unfortunately for fans of the newly-promoted side, that looks unlikely to change. They face a tough away trip to Goodison Park to play Everton – a side they haven’t beaten away from home since 1975. It seems likely that the three points will be staying in Merseyside, then.
Victory also seems to be the order of the day for Wolves, who face Southampton at home, and for Leicester, who also face a struggling Newcastle at St James’ Park. The final match of the weekend, Bournemouth vs Crystal Palace, however, is far harder to predict. Since 2015, these two sides have faced each other six times and both have managed just one win each, with the other four games ending in a draw. Neither side is in particularly good form either – Bournemouth come into this one having just lost 4-0 to Burnley, whilst Crystal Palace drew 0-0 with Newcastle last time out. This one, is truly anyone’s to call.
As always however, whoever your pick may be this weekend, we here at TFG HQ wish you the very best of luck.
Team TFG and Dan Wiseman