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[EPL] MatchWeek 29 – What Now?

North London rivals Tottenham and Arsenal meet at Wembley for a Saturday showstopper. They do so with third place in the EPL suddenly up for grabs. Spurs have seen their unlikely title charge hit the buffers in the last week, with back-to-back defeats on the road at Burnley and Chelsea. It has left Mauricio Pochettino’s men nine points adrift of leaders Liverpool.

All this after midweek saw Liverpool remain top of the table with a clinical deconstruction of Watford at Anfield 5-0 as Chelsea found a response to their Cup final defeat over the weekend by seeing off Tottenham in a London derby 2-0.

Manchester City kept pace with Liverpool with a 1-0 win over visiting West Ham but were made to work for it as Manchester United won their eighth straight away game in the Premier League defeating Crystal Palace 3-1.

Arsenal ran roughshod over Bournemouth at the Emirates to record a 5-1 win over the mid-table team and Southampton moved out of the drop zone with a 2-0 win over fellow strugglers Fulham at St Mary’s.

Pretty eventful midweek but the weekend is coming….

Manchester City face a tricky encounter this weekend as they play their third game in the space of seven days when they travel to Bournemouth. The Cherries are ranked seventh in terms of points picked up at home (27) and have a plus/minus differential of 8.

Bournemouth’s best form throughout the season has been reserved for their home fans as they have only picked up seven points away from Vitality Stadium in 2018/2019. City scraped past West Ham in midweek action thanks to a contentious penalty call in their favour, which Sergio Aguero put away, but they are starting to struggle.

Manchester United are eyeing up another three points in their bid to gatecrash the Premier League top four party, as they host Southampton, Wolves are hunting a return to winning ways when they meet relegation-haunted Cardiff at Molineux, West Ham and Newcastle meet at the London Stadium with both sides glad the fixture is an inconsequential mid-table affair, Burnley and Crystal Palace take to the Turf Moor field on Sunday as some sort of lower mid-table double act and Brighton host rock-bottom Huddersfield with the pressure on to snap up three points after being dragged into the relegation dogfight.

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Points Table 

MatchWeek 28: What we learned
All the key stats from MatchWeek 28

Cardiff City 0-3 Everton
Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson is the Premier League’s outright top-scoring Icelandic player with 57 goals, eclipsing Eidur Gudjohnsen’s haul of 55
Huddersfield Town 1-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Wolves have lost eight of their last nine away league matches against Huddersfield
Leicester City 2-1 Brighton & Hove Albion
Leicester have won their first Premier League match since beating Everton 1-0 on New Year’s Day, ending a run of six winless matches in the competition
Newcastle United 2-0 Burnley
Newcastle have done a league double over Burnley for the first time since the 1954/55 top-flight campaign; they had won just two of their previous 11 league matches against the Clarets before this season
Arsenal 5-1 AFC Bournemouth
Alexandre Lacazette is the fifth different player to score in 5+ consecutive home PL matches for Arsenal, and the first since Robin van Persie in March 2012
Southampton 2-0 Fulham
Southampton have beaten a promoted team for the first time since May 2017 (2-1 against Middlesbrough), having failed to do so in their last 10 league matches against such teams (D5 L5)
Chelsea 2-0 Tottenham Hotspur
Chelsea have only lost one of their last 33 home matches against Spurs in all competitions (W21 D11)
Crystal Palace 1-3 Manchester United
Eight of Romelu Lukaku’s 10 PL goals this season have been scored away from home. Only Harry Kane (10) has netted more on the road in 2018/19 so far
Liverpool 5-0 Watford
Trent Alexander-Arnold has become just the fourth Liverpool player to register at least three assists in the same PL match after Stan Collymore, Vladimir Smicer and Alberto Aquilani
Manchester City 1-0 West Ham United
Oleksandr Zinchenko has been on the winning side in each of his first 13 PL appearances (11 starts), the longest run of wins from the start of a player’s career in the competition’s history

MatchWeek 29: Ten key facts
The must-know facts ahead of all the weekend’s Premier League matches

Tottenham Hotspur vs Arsenal
Harry Kane has scored eight goals in eight PL matches between Spurs and Arsenal, a joint-record in the competition along with Emmanuel Adebayor, who scored eight in 13 matches
AFC Bournemouth vs Manchester City
Raheem Sterling has scored in all six PL matches against AFC Bournemouth. He could become the fourth player to score in seven consecutively against an opponent, and the first since Romelu Lukaku in October 2016 against West Ham
Brighton & Hove Albion vs Huddersfield Town
Steve Mounie has been involved in four of Huddersfield Town’s last five PL goals (two goals and two assists)
Burnley vs Crystal Palace
Burnley’s last 49 PL goals have all been scored inside the box. The last team to have a longer run were Crystal Palace (56 between September 2016 and December 2017)
Manchester United vs Southampton
Romelu Lukaku has been involved in nine goals in his last 10 PL appearances against Southampton (seven goals, two assists), though both his goals against Saints for Man Utd have been scored away from home
Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Cardiff City
Neil Warnock’s only previous top-flight league visit to Wolves came in September 2011 as QPR manager. QPR won 3-0, which remains Warnock’s biggest PL away victory in 71 matches
West Ham United vs Newcastle United
Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez has won more PL matches against West Ham than he has versus any other opponent (11)
Watford vs Leicester City
Jamie Vardy has scored the first PL goal under Leicester City’s last three permanent managers (Claudio Ranieri, Craig Shakespeare and Claude Puel), also finding the net in Mike Stowell’s match in caretaker charge v Brighton
Fulham vs Chelsea
Fulham’s Andre Schurrle scored a hat-trick the last time the Cottagers hosted Chelsea in the EPL, doing so for the Blues in a 3-1 victory
Everton vs Liverpool
This will be the 200th top-flight meeting between Everton and Liverpool, becoming only the second fixture to have been played that many times in the top English league after Aston Villa v Everton (202) Courtesy – PremierLeague.com

Game Review
Spurs vs Arsenal
Previous 2018-19 Result: Arsenal 4 Spurs 2 (EPL)

The big game of the weekend sees the North London rivalry reignite. A shame it isn’t going to be played at Spurs’ new home ground. Spurs are in a mini slump now, coinciding with talk of a sneaky title push. Consecutive losses to Chelsea and Burnley has seen them go from sniffing at Man City and Liverpool to being just four points ahead of fourth place Arsenal. A Gunners win sees them just one point behind if that happens.

Fact: You have to go back to 2014 when the away team last won the North London derby in the EPL. That was Arsenal 1-0.

Bournemouth vs Man City
Previous 2018-19 Result: Man City 3 Bournemouth 1

At least Bournemouth are at home, where they can be taken seriously for a win. They are best of the rest (7th) for home form this season. They have also beaten Chelsea 4-0 as part of a five game unbeaten home streak.

But Manchester City are still Manchester City, and they have way too many options for the Cherries to deal with. Danger lurks with Aguero, who has 3 goals and 1 assists from two games vs Bournemouth and Raheem Sterling has 10 goals and 2 assists in seven games.

Fact: Bournemouth have never beaten Man City. Two draws in 13 matches their record.

Brighton vs Huddersfield
Previous 2018-19 Result: Huddersfield 1 Brighton 2

Brighton are sinking fast, and all of a sudden are looking in real trouble. Huddersfield are all but down, but not going without a fight after completing the double over Wolves midweek.

Fact: These two teams have six points between them from their last seven games.

Burnley vs Crystal Palace
Previous 2018-19 Result: Crystal Palace 2 Burnley 0

Burnley lost an outstanding eight game unbeaten streak go at Newcastle in midweek, but remain five points clear of relegation. Crystal Palace were predictably beaten by Man Utd at home during midweek, but they look to have found some decent form, and teams who lose after a long unbeaten streak quite often double up the losses in the next games.

Fact: Crystal Palace have scored more than twice as many goals away than home.

Man Utd vs Southampton
Previous 2018-19 Result: Southampton 2 Man Utd 2

Two good wins from midweek, and the Man Utd good times roll on. Even Lukaku is among the goals, and Fred is getting a game. Happy days for United at the moment. Although they have only drawn their last two at home.

Southampton are out of the bottom three after their win over Fulham and Cardiff second consecutive loss. Their record at Old Trafford recently is quite good.

Fact: Man Utd have only beaten Southampton once at home in the past five seasons. Southampton have two wins and two draws from the other matches.

Wolves vs Cardiff
Previous 2018-19 Result: Cardiff 2 Wolves 1

Wolves are looking down the barrel of another season double against a bottom side after losing to Huddersfield midweek for the second time. Cardiff have been beaten by a combined 8-1 in their last two games at home. They have won two from four away.

Fact: The away team has won this fixture nine times in the past eleven seasons in the various leagues these teams have met in.

West Ham vs Newcastle
Previous 2018-19 Result: Newcastle 0 West Ham 3

All of a sudden Newcastle are in form, fourth on the last six form table, and have conceded the equal fewest goals in the last six games with three. They are six points clear of relegation, and we believe their new signing Miguel Almiron is only a game or two away from a breakout performance. As if his first starts weren’t exciting enough. Almost as exciting as Fabian Schar’s goal from midweek.

West Ham couldn’t back up their win over Fulham during the midweek, but were never likely to against Man City, and the end result wasn’t too bad. A win here for Newcastle could see these sides separated by just two points. Unthinkable a few months ago.

Fact: Newcastle’s recent form (last 6) is twice as good (in points per game) as the season form as a whole.

Watford vs Leicester
Previous 2018-19 Result: Leicester 2 Watford 0

Leicester have officially hired former Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers, and they responded with a predictable win. Will Vardy continue the form he showed after Claudio Ranieri was fired mid-season a few years back? He scored 6 goals in the five games after the title winning manager got the boot.

Watford were in form and conceding very few in the recent matches. Just four goals against in nine games. So the five they shipped against Liverpool was a turnaround. Especially after their 5-1 mauling f Cardiff.

Fact: Watford have won the last two matches between these teams at home 2-1.

Fulham vs Chelsea
Previous 2018-19 Result: Chelsea 2 Fulham 0

Fulham look doomed, and a visit from Chelsea, who may have found a little spark is not a good thing. The Cottagers are on track to concede 86 goals as it stands. But they have some really hard fixtures to come against some free flowing football sides. 100 is not out of the question.

Chelsea are going about saving their top four push after knocking off Spurs in midweek. Sarri hangs onto his job for now.

Fact: Fulham haven’t beaten Chelsea since 2006. Although they did go on a run of five straight draws from 2010.

Everton vs Liverpool
Previous 2018-19 Result: Liverpool 1 Everton 0

The big Liverpool derby finishes off the weekend, and both sides had great wins in midweek. Liverpool destroyed a Watford side 5-0 who had won 5-1 themselves the previous match against Cardiff.

Talking of Cardiff, coincidentally Everton got back to winning ways with a comprehensive 3-0 win in Wales. They had lost their previous thee.

Fact: Everton haven’t beaten Liverpool since a 2010 win at home.

The Merseyside derby between Everton and Liverpool is the standout Sunday fixture in the Premier League. Liverpool go into the weekend a point clear at the top of the EPL after returning to form with a booming 5-0 success at home to Watford on Wednesday.

Jurgen Klopp’s side had drawn three of their previous four to pique the interest of the pursuing Manchester City.

Although hardly back in form, Everton thumped Cardiff on Tuesday night to arrest a sequence of three straight defeats.

It leaves Marco Silva’s Toffees ninth in the table and going nowhere fast this season.

Mind you, who needs a form book for a cross-city derby?

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