The Surgeons are back to provide a preview of the action and predicted scorelines for this weekend along with some tips for the Fantasy Premier League.
Everton @ Watford
Key Factor: Ross Barkley. It looks like Barkley might beat out Delefeou for a return to the starting lineup after Bolassie’s season ending inury and Lukaku will be heavily reliant for his service. This looks a scoreless draw otherwise as both teams sit middle of the pack with respect to goal attempts in the box and clear chances created.
Scoreline: Everton 0 – Watford 0
Stoke @ Arsenal
Key Factor: Mark Muniesa. The Spaniard could be in line to replace Stoke’s recovering captain Ryan Shawcross and would be thrown into the Emirates pressure cooker with the Gunners in fine form. Doubtless they keep them out and would be hoping to leverage possible fatigue following Arsenal’s midweek trip to Basle.
Scoreline: Arsenal 2 – Stoke 1
Key Factor: The clash of styles. After a thrilling comeback victory last time out confidence is high for the Cherries. Burnley will struggle to handle the midfield press and concede a few times as a result but Bournemouth’s shakiness at the back will make this one interesting until the end
Scoreline: Bournemouth 2 – Burnley 1
Crystal Palace @ Hull
Key Factor: Wilfred Zaha. With assists in 5 straight games the danger man in this one is clear.
Scoreline: Crystal Palace 2 – Hull 0
Sunderland @ Swansea
Key Factor: Looming relegation. The nerves of relegation encounters strike either loose end to end affairs such as the Swansea/Crystal Palace contest or tight conservative games. With Sunderland ahead of Swansea and away from home they will be tempted into their defensive safe zone which should deflect what is the statistically the weakest attack in the division in terms of shots on goal.
Scoreline: Sunderland 0 – Swansea 0
Man City @ Leicester City
Key Factor: Kelechi Ihenacho. Aguero’s understudy will have big chances against a Leicester side who have lost the swagger and rearguard determination from last season. He is likely to take half of them which will be barely enough to overcome City’s own difficulties to deal with Vardy and Mahrez’s pace in this one.
Scoreline: City 3 – Leicester 2
West Brom @ Chelsea
Key Factor: Eden Hazard. Not to beat a dead horse but the Belgian is a beast at home. Good news for Chelsea fans as, barring a defensive mistake which the Bromites rarely make, a mazy run will be needed to unlock Pulis packed lines on Sunday. This is the type of game Conte’s Chelsea will struggle most with but they should come through in the end.
Scoreline: Chelsea 2 – West Brom 1
Spurs @ Man United
Key Factor: Ander Herrera/Michael Carrick. The United midfield duo will be placed under pressure to deal with Pocchetino’s midfield press throughout and how they fare will decide a tight contest with few gilt edge chances. Recent results by Burnley and Stoke despite United’s underlying dominance will give Spurs the confidence to take their chances. If Eric Bailly had not returned we would be more bullish so the odds on result looks like another draw at Old Trafford.
Scoreline: Spurs 1 – United 1
Middlesbrough @ Southampton
Key Factor: Charlie Austin. The Saints hitman misses this one with a shoulder injury which dents their ability to score against a well drilled Boro defensive unit. In crashing out of the Europa league Southampton’s performance showed the lack of guile absent to break down such a low block. On the other end the visitors have had no continuity in attack and offer no threat here.
Scoreline: Middlesborough 0 – Southampton 0
West Ham @ Liverpo0l
Key Factor: Firmino. Possibly moved back into the middle to accommodate Llalana he’s due a brace after a frustrating few weeks.
Scoreline: Liverpool 3 – West Ham 1
Fantasy pick of the Week: Kelechi Ihenacho. Plenty would be rushing to replace Aguero and the replacements there are obvious but with Austin also felled the City striker looks a no brainer at 6.6M until Aguero returns.
Fantasy Drop of the Week: Kevin De Bryune. With Hazard and Sanchez firing big hitter midfield money seems wasted there at the moment.