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Another Premier League week, another chance to win BIG

PREMIER LEAGUE By Robert Abong'o | October 26th 2018
The Premier League trophy [Courtesy]

Even before the dust settles on an epic Champions League week, where we saw men battle boys at Old Trafford and a 'Messi-less' Barcelona maintain status quo, we walk into the MOST COMPETITIVE league in the world - the English Premier League.

Game Yetu takes you through an in-depth analysis of matchday 9.

Brighton v Wolves

Brighton take on Wolverhampton Wanderers [Courtesy]

The Seagulls welcome Nuno Espirito Santos' men to the Amex Stadium on Saturday's early kick-off, you could say, a fortress.

They have only lost once in that stadium this season – a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Tottenham.

Brighton will be quite aware that Wolves have also only lost one match away from home.

This will also be Wolves' maiden visit to Brighton since the 1981/82 season. The last two times they met saw Brighton beat Wolves home and away.

Fulham v Bournemouth

Fulham welcome Bournemouth to Craven Cottage [Courtesy]

History will be made at Craven Cottage on Saturday as relegation-threatened Fulham host Bournemouth for the first time ever in the Premier League. 

Eddie Howe's men will draw hope from the fact that no team has conceded more goals than Fulham in the PL (25 after nine matches).

The Cottagers have also failed to keep a clean sheet this season. Only three teams have scored more goals that Bournemouth in the PL (16).

The last time the Cherries paid Fulham a visit, they were 5-1 winners. Key fact – Fulham have not won this fixture since 1994.  

Liverpool v Cardiff

Liverpool host Cardiff [Courtesy]

Liverpool hopes not to walk alone. They are soaring in the Premier League this season, having not recorded any loss and accumulated 23 points after nine games.

Sitting pretty at second, they welcome Cardiff City, a club still trying to figure out how to cope with the pace of top-flight football.

Anfield, a fort by nature, will have to lift the somewhat fatigued Reds to produce a performance similar to the midweek demolition of Red Star Belgrade.

Cardiff have scored only one goal away from home in four matches and are the second-worst side defensively in the league, conceding an average of 2.11 goals every match. They have also conceded an average of three goals against teams in the top half.

The last times they met, the aggregate score was 9-3 in favour of…you guessed it, Liverpool.

Southampton v Newcastle

Newcastle travel to St. Mary's Stadium to take on Southampton [Courtesy]

Southampton, who are on a five-game winless run will be looking to bag their first home win this weekend.

The Saints have performed better away from St. Mary's Stadium, which will give Rafael Benitez's Newcastle something to clutch on to, since the only points they've collected this season have come away from home (Cardiff and Crystal Palace).

Benitez has already faced four of the top five sides and will draw encouragement from keeping two clean sheets away from home.

However, up to Matchday 9, Newcastle have only scored the opening goals of a game once. This season, Southampton has only scored once in the first half.

Watford v Huddersfield

The Hornets wait for the Terriers at Vicarage Road [Courtesy]

Seventh-placed Watford host 19th placed Huddersfield Town at Vicarage Road in what is expected to be an easy one for the Hornets.

The Terriers are in poor form – only one point is keeping them from dropping to 20th. With a -14 goal difference, Huddersfield come into this fixture wounded, having lost at home to high-flying Liverpool on matchday 8.

Last season, however, Huddersfield thumped Watford 4-1 at this stadium, and Hornet's boss Javi Garcia is well aware of the threat he faces, having lost two consecutive home matches.

Leicester v West Ham

Leicester tackle West Ham [Courtesy]

The last game on Saturday pits former champs Leicester City against an inspired West Ham at the King Power Stadium.

It's safe to say Leicester have had a rock-solid grip on this fixture in recent times – winning five, losing once and drawing twice. This season, no Leicester City match has ended goalless, with the average number of goals in every Foxes match being 3.3.

However, this fixture has proven to be difficult in the Premier League era, with 19 of the last 22 meetings either ending in goalless draws or a 1-0 win. Also, West Ham have a good scoring rapport away from home this season – four of their last five fixtures on the road have produced more than three goals.

Sunday action

Burnley v Chelsea

In form Chelsea take on Burnley at Turf Moor [Courtesy]

On Sunday, Maurizio Sarri's Chelsea travel to Turf Moor to take on a hurt Burnley side – victims of a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of last season's champions Manchester City.

This was Burnley's fourth loss this season. The Blues are on a nine-game undefeated streak, having equalized at the death against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge last weekend.

This is their best start to a league season since 2014.

Key fact – Burnley have never beaten Chelsea at home in the Premier League. They also have not managed a win against the top six sides at Turf Moor.

Crystal Palace v Arsenal

Unai Emery takes his Arsenal side to Selhurst Park [Courtesy]

Up the Arsenal! Eleven wins in eleven games for Unai Emery's men means Crystal Palace face a daunting task keeping the Gunners from finding the back of the net as they welcome them to Selhurst Park.

With shot-stopper Petr Cech and defender Laurent Koscielny out with thigh and calf injuries respectively, Arsenal will be hoping to soldier on without them against a Palace side struggling for form.

Lying 15th on the log, Roy Hodgson's men will look to put all troubles behind them and try to stop a side itching with goals.

Arsenal came out on top the last two times they faced the Eagles, with both matches producing more than four goals.

Manchester United v Everton

Man United play Everton at Old Trafford [Courtesy]

After experiencing what it feels to play against a European powerhouse in the Champions League on Tuesday, Jose Mourinho's Manchester United close super Sunday with a match against a rejuvenated Everton.

With Diogo Dalot, Marouane Fellaini, Phil Jones, Jesse Lingard, Scott McTominay, Marcos Rojo, Alexis Sanchez and captain Antonio Valencia all injured or doubtful, the Red Devils will look to the remaining players for some kind of inspiration against the Toffees having beaten them twice in their last five meetings.

As usual, Man United are expected to come alive in the second half, however, it's not guaranteed Everton will score at Old Trafford, having only scored once in their last three visits.

Tottenham v Manchester City (Monday)

Spurs welcome champions Man City to Wembley [Courtesy]

What better way to kill Monday blues than to sit back and watch Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino go head to head once again.

Spurs welcome the Cityzens to Wembley hoping to record a win that would propel them to second.

However, they will know they will be inviting trouble if they try to score against Manchester City, as Guardiola likes teams that come at him hard but leave themselves exposed at the back. This is what Pep thrives on.

The last five matches between these two heavyweights have treated the world to a feast of goals – an average of two. City are more dominant and possess the quality to unlock the Spurs defence more than once, as they've done in the last three meetings.

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