GameWeek #15 Preview

Romelu Lukaku Has Done a Goal!

Good evening ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to this mid-week TFG preview that will be telling you all that you could possibly need to know ahead of GW15. As if the footballing buffet that was last Sunday’s ‘Derby Day’ wasn’t enough to satisfy our appetites, we now have a full round of sumptuous midweek fixtures for dessert. But before we bring you the preview, I come bearing the news that in amongst the weekend’s drama, something incredible happened – Romelu Lukaku scored a Premier League goal!

The big Belgian finally hit the back of the net after failing to score in well over 1,000 minutes for Manchester United. Latching onto a Marcus Rashford through ball, Lukaku pulled United level during their 2-2 away draw at Southampton. It was his first goal since the 15th of September, but in our eyes, it was far from being the biggest achievement of the last game week. No, for us, that went to Ian Reynolds and Anthony Frazer – so, after they predicted West Ham’s Felipe Anderson-inspired away win at Newcastle, we awarded them the #PickOfTheWeek! Congrats, lads!

It was a great weekend of Premier League football, with plenty of goals, which had its effects on our league table. It now reads:

5th – Colorado Spurs HW (Henry Winkler)

4th – Blitzkrieg (Adam Hartley)

3rd – Sad Ken (Stephen Cowell)

2nd – JOEBAKERSDOZENXI (Philip Taylor)

1st – Your Mam’s Athletic (Glen Bowman)

Onto Tuesday night, which sees four games take place. The first is Bournemouth vs Huddersfield, which looks easy to predict, given Bournemouth’s impressive start to the season. But when you consider Eddie Howe’s side have lost all of their last four matches and David Wagner’s have only lost one in that same period, it does open the game up for a potential upset. The last time these two sides met, it ended 4-1 to Huddersfield – so could The Terriers emulate that performance?

Next up is a clash between two sides who both picked up impressive wins last time out. West Ham welcome Cardiff City to the London Stadium, looking to build on their 3-0 drumming of Newcastle on Saturday, whilst Cardiff will be looking to go as high as 13th if they can pick up a winning result. However, The Hammers have won 7 of their last 8 matches against Cardiff, and I expect this match to finish in their favour as well.

There is another ‘derby’ on Tuesday night, when Brighton are visited by Crystal Palace. It is the away side who have the better record in recent matches, only having lost two of the last ten matches between these two sides, and it would be hard to imagine them losing if they can perform as they did against Burnley. Brighton did play well during their away victory against Huddersfield mind, so perhaps this match is one to avoid.

Watford vs Manchester City is the final game, and it is scarcely worth previewing. City have scored 14 in their last 3 games against their hosts, which helped them to remain unbeaten against Watford since 1989. The Hornets only have one win from their last five, so expect City to have a fruitful 90 minutes at Vicarage Road.

On Wednesday night, the headline match is Manchester United vs Arsenal. The only thing that will give United fans any confidence ahead of this one is the fact they’ve only lost just one of their last fourteen home clashes with The Gunners, but otherwise, it looks like Mourinho’s side could be in for a tough night. Arsenal are unbeaten since the second weekend of the season and looked irresistible against Spurs, so they’ll be looking to end this match week in 3rd place, with a win in this heated encounter. United have been woeful in recent weeks, so they’ll have to put in a real shift if they’re to get anything out of this one.

Also staring defeat in the face are Burnley, who take on Liverpool at Turf Moor. The Clarets were spineless against Crystal Palace last week, who could well have won by far more than two goals. Liverpool’s morale-boosting derby win on Sunday means they come into this one brimming with confidence, so expect the home defence to be put to the sword by Jurgen Klopp’s men, as they look to keep the pressure on Manchester City at the summit.

Things look to be going from bad to worse for Wolves, whose dream start to life in the Premier League is well and truly over. They have now gone seven games without a win in the league and with Chelsea up next at Molineux, it looks likely to become eight. Chelsea weren’t at their best during their 2-0 win against Fulham, but Mauricio Sarri will be wary of Arsenal looking to leapfrog them on Wednesday night, so his side will want to put in a strong performance.

It will be an emotional night at Craven Cottage for Claudio Ranieri, who is looking to beat Leicester – the side he famously lifted the Premier League trophy with – with his new Fulham side. The Cottagers are now rock-bottom of the league, 12 places behind top-six nearing Leicester City. League form would have The Foxes as clear favourites, but the last time these two sides met in London for a Premier League clash, Fulham were 2-0 winners, back in 2004. How Ranieri must be wishing for history to repeat itself…

Meanwhile, Everton will be looking to bounce back from a gutting end to the Merseyside Derby in their home clash with Newcastle. Rafa Benitez’s side had picked up some good results in recent weeks, but were brought back down to earth by West Ham at the weekend, so a tough trip to Goodison Park is exactly what they didn’t need. The Toffees have only failed to beat Newcastle once in their last nine meetings, so I expect them to come out with all three points once again.

Also looking to make amends for a derby defeat are Spurs, after they lost 4-2 to Arsenal at the weekend. They face manager-less Southampton at Wembley, who dismissed Mark Hughes after they surrendered a 2-0 lead to Man United at St Mary’s. Tottenham have only lost once to The Saints since 2005, so Mauricio Pochettino will be keen to return to winning ways in this one – a pretty solid pick, it would seem.

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