3rd Time Lucky
But before we preview the coming weekend’s matches, a special #TFG congratulations is in order. It goes to this week’s #pickoftheweek winner Roland Marshman, who was the only player to go with Brighton to beat Manchester United. Another well done is in order for Isla Shaw, who also was alone in bravely selecting Watford to beat Burnley at Turf Moor. Congratulations!
So then, onto GameWeek #3. The weekend’s opening encounter is set to be Wolves vs Man City, at Molineux. Unsurprisingly, Guardiola’s men go into this one as strong favourites, after a very strong start to the season that has seen them score eight goals in two matches against Arsenal and Huddersfield. It is worth bearing in mind however, that Wolves were one of the first teams to stop Man City winning a match last season, when they held them to a frustrating 0-0 draw in an early Carabao Cup tie at the Etihad Stadium.
Saturday will also see two of the sides yet to register a single point so far this season go head-to-head in a London derby. Arsenal vs West Ham is an intriguing 3 o’clock kick-off, though the stats point to a comfortable afternoon for Unai Emery’s men, as Arsenal have only lost one of their last 22 matches against West Ham in all competitions. In a similarly interesting fixture, Bournemouth will face Everton at the same time, with the sides currently sat 5th and 6th in the table respectively. Each team collected a 2-1 home victory in the corresponding two fixtures last season – so this particular tie may be one to avoid – and so is Crystal Palace vs Watford, which could very easily go either way as well.
One of the safest choices from this round of fixtures could well be Fulham, who like Arsenal and West ham, are yet to pick up a point. They face Burnley at Craven Cottage, with Sean Dyche’s men predictably struggling for form amidst their Europa League qualifying campaign. The Clarets have drawn 0-0 with Southampton and lost 3-1 at home to Watford so far this season, so Fulham will be confident of registering their first Premier League win since 2014 after causing problems for Spurs at Wembley last time out.
Another strong-looking choice would be Liverpool, who face Brighton, at Anfield. The Reds have scored an impressive 15 goals in their last three games against the seagulls, who despite getting the better of a feeble Man United last weekend, look likely to be brought back down to Earth by the irresistible Merseyside outfit. Speaking of Man United, they will be looking for instant redemption from their face-off with Spurs on Monday night. Jose Mourinho will draw some confidence from a strong home record vs Tottenham, though it certainly won’t be easy this time around.
Alternatively, there is a real six-pointer taking place in West Yorkshire, with Huddersfield taking on Cardiff in a fixture which could be rather decisive come the end of the season. Of the two sides, it is arguably Cardiff who should be the more confident ahead of their away trip, given that they are unbeaten in their last nine matches against Huddersfield, who themselves, have just come off the back of a 6-1 humiliation by Manchester City.
There could also be away successes this weekend for Leicester City and Chelsea. The foxes, who are traveling down to a play rather uninspiring Southampton, will look to build on their impressive 2-0 win against Wolves last Saturday. Chelsea’s faithful, however, will be hoping that their long drive up to Newcastle will prove to be more worthwhile than it was last season, where they saw their side comfortably beaten 3-0 by the Magpies in a memorable afternoon on Tyneside. Given that the home side recently played out an unremarkable 0-0 draw with Cardiff, and the blues have just beaten rivals Arsenal in a 3-2 thriller at home, it seems history looks unlikely to repeat itself.
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