Unai-believable Football At The Emery-ates
Well, my fellow TFG’ers, if that scintillating display of total football by Arsenal on Monday night hasn’t left you craving another dosage of Emery-ball, I don’t know what will. Arsene Wenger’s ugly ducklings have well and truly become Unai Emery’s swans and they produced a fantastic display against Leicester – though in our eyes, here at TFG HQ, it was far from best performance we saw over the past week.
Oh no, ladies and gentlemen, for we witnessed a duo operating at a level that was far beyond the reaches of Mesut Özil and Pierre-Aymeric Aubameyang – we saw the result-foreseeing telepathy of Walter Hodgson and Martyn Fisher operating at its magnificent full capacity.
The duo were the only players who predicted Brighton to beat Newcastle at St James’ Park last weekend, so they have earned themselves this week’s #PickOfTheWeek! Well done, lads!
For Martyn, that success was vital in seeing him hold onto third place in the TFG league table, but huge credit must also go to Maddy Camble – who is now the only player still yet to make an incorrect pick. The places around them, are occupied by the following players:
5th – dare2dream (Dewa Widya)
4th – Your Mam’s Athletic (Glen Bowman)
3rd – Cowboys From Hell (Martyn Fisher)
2nd – JOEBAKERSDOZENX1 – (Philip Taylor)
1st – Jimmy Floyd’s Piggy Bank
Now, onto the coming weekend’s events. Unfortunately, we will have to wait until Monday night to watch the headline fixture, but what a match it promises to be – Tottenham vs Manchester City is the MNF, with both sides being presented with the opportunity to go top of the table, should results go their way beforehand. Though Spurs have been sub-par in the Champions League so far, their recent domestic form has been excellent, having won all of their last four games. The same can be said of City, however, with their unbeaten start to the campaign putting them joint-top of the league. The Citizens won the corresponding fixtures last season by an aggregate score of 7-2 and after Spurs’ disheartening 2-2 with PSV mid-week, it looks likely that Guardiola’s men could add to that tally.
The match preceding that one is the 4pm kick-off on Sunday, which sees Manchester United take on Everton. United’s last two league games (against Newcastle and Chelsea) have shown there is still a tenacious side to Mourinho’s men, but Everton will be far from push-overs, having won their last three games. It is worth noting that the Toffees have only beaten United once in their last nine attempts, so backing the home side looks the more sensible choice.
A home win also looks likely for Liverpool, who welcome Cardiff to Anfield this Saturday, and for Watford, who will face Huddersfield at Vicarage road on the same day. However, if Fulham are to collect all three points from their home game, they’ll have to make serious improvements to a defence that has made one of the worst starts to a campaign in Premier League history. The Cottagers have conceded an appalling 25 goals in 9 matches and considering they face Bournemouth, a side who have scored as many goals as Liverpool this season, that could be far easier said than done.
Despite their defensive woes, Fulham still sit two places above lowly Newcastle in the table, who find themselves preparing for an important clash with fellow strugglers Southampton. Although The Saints haven’t won since the 1st September, that seems almost league-winning form compared to Newcastle, who haven’t won since way back in May. Southampton will draw further confidence from their recent record against The Magpies, because they haven’t lost a league match against Newcastle at St Mary’s, since 2004.
Further up the table, two of London’s biggest clubs both face potentially tricky away matches. Chelsea, who are in need of a win after falling behind in the title race, face a long trip up to Burnley – who will need to play better than they did in their 5-0 thrashing by Manchester City if they are to steal any points from Mauricio Sarri. Arsenal make the far shorter journey across London to Selhurst Park, but they will do so with great confidence. The Gunners have only lost to Palace twice in the last 39 years, and after their all-out attacking display on Monday, they seem good value for this week’s pick.
For their last opponents, Leicester, they welcome West Ham to the King Power Stadium. The Hammers are yet to start firing on all cylinders this season and unfortunately for their fans, Leicester looks unlikely to be the place they can start doing just that. Since The Foxes were promoted to the Premier League, they’ve only lost to West Ham twice – so perhaps Leicester could be a potential choice of yours. But should that not fill you with confidence, perhaps Wolves to beat Brighton may seem a little more likely. This is the first ever top-flight meeting between these two sides, but Wolves’ recent away form may see them take all three points from the Amex.
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