Welcome, TFG’ers, to another preview of what is sure to be an exhilarating weekend of Premier League football. Game week #5 was certainly one to be remembered for fans of clubs like Bournemouth, Liverpool and Chelsea, but probably less so for supporters of Burnley, Cardiff and Everton. West Ham are finally off the mark, whilst Watford were brought back down to earth by a sturdy Manchester United. But before we predict the fortunes of those very teams for this weekend, it’s time to reveal the TFG #PickOfTheWeek!
When it came to deciding this week’s winner, it was a tough call. There must be credit given to Sandra Ades, Roland Marshman and Paul Baker, who all predicted Bournemouth would beat Leicester at home, as well as Marc Reid and John Semmer, who were the only two players to forsee Man United’s victory over Watford, but this week’s overall joint winners are Michelle Spalding and Arthur Davies. It was a tough call, but seeing as this dynamic duo called Crystal Palace’s hard-earned three points at Huddersfield, they are this week’s winners. Congratulations!
In terms of the TFG league table, there have been some big changes at the top following the last game week’s antics. There are five players still yet to make an incorrect pick, and they are separated by goal difference alone. They stand, as follows:
5th – Colorado Spurs HW (Henry Winkler)
4th – Jimmy Floyd’s Piggy Bank (Maddy Camble)
3rd – Brilliant City (Steve Sanderson)
2nd – Dare2dream (Dewa Widya)
1st – Your Mam’s Athletic (Gary Bowman)
Looking ahead to this weekend then, and there is no real stand-out fixture. Sunday’s final fixture, Arsenal vs Everton is probably the biggest clash available to us, which looks set to end in favour of the home team. Everton have only beaten Arsenal once in their last nine attempts and considering how poor they were against West Ham, it will certainly have to be a remarkable Toffees performance if they are to get anything out of this one – though they will be boosted by the return of their Brazilian starlet, Richarlison.
The match preceding that one involves two more London-based clubs, West Ham and Chelsea. Now although this fixture’s outcome would appear to be clear, West Ham’s recent form against Chelsea is remarkable. They have won 3 out of their last 4 matches against the Blues on home soil, so Mauricio Sarri’s men should avoid underestimating the Hammers, especially considering their 100% start.
The other side to have maximum points is Liverpool, who have the welcomed task of beating Southampton at home. This will come as a relief for Jürgen Klopp, who after facing PSG in mid-week, could well do with a Saturday-Afternoon stroll. The corresponding fixture last season ended 3-0, and I reckon this one will follow suit as well.
The Saint’s last match, against Brighton, left both sides with many areas for improvement. The Seagulls will look to improve on their performance in that game against a Spurs side who will be traveling to the south coast after their mid-week visit to Milan. Pochettino’s men won’t find it easy at the Amex, but I wouldn’t put your pick in the hands of Chris Houghton just yet.
Over in Wales however, it is a big weekend for fans of Cardiff City. Champions Manchester City are coming to town on Saturday, just nine months after their last visit. Cardiff lost 2-0 in that mid-season FA Cup match and it is is reasonable to expect something similar when the two sides meet again. Although Cardiff put up a valiant showing in their last home match against Arsenal, Pep Guardiola’s men should have enough quality to get themselves through unscathed.
For the red side of Manchester, there is a very interesting home clash with Wolves to look forward to. The Wolves are probably the most exciting of all the new arrivals into the Premier League this year, and have already taken points off of Manchester City, though the last time the West Midlands outfit took three points away from Old Trafford was 1980 – so the onus is still on Mourinho to pick up two wins in a row.
Across in the East Midlands though, and there is a real chance for Leicester to pick up their third win of the season. Huddersfield are the opposition, and with the Terriers currently sat in the relegation zone after their disappointing 1-0 loss to Crystal Palace, it should be a comfortable afternoon for the Foxes. Palace on the other hand, is the destination for a 600 mile-round trip that Newcastle fans will make in hope of seeing their side earn their first win of the season. The Magpies have a remarkable record against Crystal Palace however, having only lost once to the Eagles in almost 20 years – which will surely give Rafa Benitez some much-needed confidence.
Also in London this weekend is the first showcase available to us, Fulham vs Watford. After Javi Gracia’s 100% start came to an end against Manchester United last weekend, a trip to Craven Cottage provides a genuine chance to regain some of their winning ways. Fulham have been a picture of inconsistency this season, so this match’s outcome depends on what kind of performance the Whites can put out. Watford haven’t lost to Fulham in the league since 2001, so Slavisa Jokanovic really does have his work cut out if he is to get a result in this one.
The next fixture for struggling Burnley is a visit from Bournemouth, a side who impressed in their 4-2 win over Leicester. Ryan Fraser has been in inspired form so far this campaign and a tired-looking Clarets defence could well provide an opportunity to continue a string of good performances. Backing Burnley to finally find their feet wouldn’t be the worst decision mind you, as they have only lost twice to the Cherries in their last ten matches, but this one is a genuine six-pointer.
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