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[EPL] MatchWeek 6 – UEFA Champions League And Europa Action Join The Fray

Chelsea and Liverpool created English Premier League history by becoming the first tandem in 110-years to win all five games of the season with comprehensive victories over Cardiff and Spurs in MatchWeek 5. The only other side to enter MatchDay 5 with a 100% record was Watford, and manager Javi Garcia named an unchanged team for the fifth consecutive time. Though Garcia had taken 23 points from 30 at Vicarage Road, they were no match for a purposeful and professional United side that ended their dream run 2- 1. 

So after all the drama, and the start of the UEFA Champions and Europa Leagues midweek, what can we expect in MatchWeek 6?

Now begins the season of double duty for a handful of Premier League clubs with European commitments bringing about squad rotation, prioritising and much more. Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham and Liverpool all have the Champions League to battle with, while Chelsea and Arsenal fans can prepare for a lot of late Sunday nights with the Europa League dictating their schedule.

Clubs like Watford and Bournemouth, who only have the domestic front to compete on, will want to take advantage of their rivals’ split focus and build on their promising start. It is another big weekend of action at the EPL in Week 6.

Apart from Man United hosting last year’s Championship winners Wolves, who  get to test their early-season form against an inconsistent Red Devils side (United and Wolves have both won their last two matches, with just one point separating the two teams in the standings), Liverpool play host to Southampton, Chelsea visit West Ham United and Manchester City travel to Cardiff City.

MATCHWEEK 6 – SCHEDULE
Saturday 22nd September 2018
05.00pm Fulham vs Watford, Craven Cottage, London
07.30pm Burnley vs Bournemouth, Turf Moor, Burnley
07.30pm Cardiff vs Man City, Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff
07.30pm Crystal Palace vs Newcastle, Selhurst Park, London
07.30pm Leicester vs Huddersfield, King Power Stadium, Leicester
07.30pm Liverpool vs Southampton, Anfield, Liverpool
07.30pm Man Utd vs Wolves, Old Trafford, Manchester
10.00pm Brighton vs Spurs, Amex Stadium, Falmer
Sunday 23rd September 2018
06.00pm West Ham vs Chelsea, London Stadium, London
08.30pm Arsenal vs Everton, Emirates Stadium, London

What we learned in Matchweek 5
From Tottenham Hotspur’s highest-scoring fixture with Liverpool that started the MatchWeek to the longest goal of the season from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg early Tuesday morning, here are the must-know stats from the last 10 Premier League matches.

Tottenham Hotspur 1-2 Liverpool
Spurs v Liverpool has become the highest-scoring fixture in Premier League history with 152 goals
AFC Bournemouth 4-2 Leicester City
AFC Bournemouth have faced Leicester City more often without losing in the competition than any other opponent, winning two and drawing five of their seven matches
Chelsea 4-1 Cardiff City
Eden Hazard became just the fourth player to score more than one Premier League hat-trick for Chelsea, after Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
Huddersfield Town 0-1 Crystal Palace
The visiting team have won all three of the PL meetings between Huddersfield Town and Crystal Palace, making it the fixture with the longest 100 per cent record for away wins in the competition’s history
Manchester City 3-0 Fulham
David Silva is the fifth player to score 50 PL goals for Manchester City, after Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure, Carlos Tevez and Edin Dzeko
Newcastle United 1-2 Arsenal
All 10 of Arsenal’s Premier League goals this season, including own goals, have been scored by different players
Watford 1-2 Manchester United
Chris Smalling has ended up on the winning side in all 11 league matches in which he has scored, the joint-best such record in the PL, along with Ryan Babel
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 Burnley
Wolverhampton Wanderers recorded 30 shots against Burnley, more than they have in any other match in Premier League history
Everton 1-3 West Ham United
West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini won on his birthday and was the first to do so since Arsene Wenger on 22nd October last season, coincidentally also against Everton
Southampton 2-2 Brighton
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s superb strike for Southampton came from 34.9 yards out, the longest-range strike in the Premier League this season                                                                       Courtesy – premierleague.com

MatchWeek 6 stats: Liverpool chasing rare six-win start
The Reds can achieve an opening winning run of six victories for only the third time, plus all the most intriguing facts on the weekend’s matches

Saturday, 22 September
Fulham v Watford
No side have scored more second-half PL goals than Watford this season, with Chelsea matching the Hornets’ eight. Only West Ham United, with seven, have conceded more than Fulham’s six after the interval
Burnley v AFC Bournemouth
AFC Bournemouth’s haul of 10 points from their first five fixtures is their best start to a league season since the 2009/10 League Two campaign, when they had 12
Cardiff City v Manchester City
This will be the third PL meeting between Cardiff and Man City, with the previous two providing 11 goals; the Bluebirds winning 3-2 at home and losing 4-2 at the Etihad in 2013/14
Newcastle United v Crystal Palace
Palace have won only one of their last 10 PL matches against Newcastle
Leicester City v Huddersfield Town
Jamie Vardy has found the net in his last two league appearances against Huddersfield
Liverpool v Southampton
Liverpool are looking to start a top-flight campaign with six consecutive wins for the third time in their history, after 1978/79, when they finished first, and 1990/91, when they came second
Man Utd v Wolves
Wolves have won their last two Premier League matches, both by a 1-0 scoreline. They have not won three in a row in the top flight since March 1980
Brighton v Spurs
Seagulls striker Glenn Murray has scored four goals in his five PL matches this season, including three in two at the Amex Stadium

Sunday, 23 September
West Ham v Chelsea
Chelsea’s Maurizio Sarri could become only the third head coach or manager to win his first six PL matches in charge, after Carlo Ancelotti and Pep Guardiola
Arsenal v Everton
Arsenal are unbeaten in 24 home matches against Everton in all competitions (W20 D4) since a 2-1 PL defeat in January 1996 under Bruce Rioch                                                          Courtesy – premierleague.com

Game Review – Our Super 8
Fulham vs Watford
History: Played 27: Fulham 10 – 9 Watford (8 Draws)
Last meeting: March 3, 2015 (Championship): Watford 1 – 0 Fulham at Vicarage Road

After a 4-2 win over Burnley and a 2-2 draw at Brighton, Fulham received something of a reality check via a 3-0 loss to Man City – their third loss in five games. Fulham were starved of possession by the champs and had just three shots on target.

Watford’s outstanding four-win start to the season – including an upset of Spurs in Week 4 – hit its first speedbump courtesy of a 2-1 loss to Man United. The Hornets were far from disgraced, though, and remain fourth on the ladder.

Fulham have a narrow lead in the all-time head-to-head but have won just one of their last six against Watford. Defence is an issue for Fulham, conceding a league-worst 12 goals, and Watford look the goods as slight outsiders on this road trip.

Our Super 8
Fulham: Alfie Mawson, Jean-Michael Seri, Andre Schurrle, Aleksandar Mitrovic
Watford: Troy Deeney, Roberto Pereyra, Jose Holebas, Abdoulaye Doucoure

Burnley vs AFC Bournemouth
History: Played 28: Burnley 11 – 6 Bournemouth (11 Draws)
Last meeting: May 13, 2018 (EPL): Bournemouth 2 – 1 Burnley at Turf Moor

Last season’s surprise package host a contender for this year’s mantle. But Burnley’s fortunes have plummeted dramatically after finishing seventh in 2017-18. The Clarets sit last courtesy of four straight losses since their opening-week scoreless draw with Southampton, including a 1-0 loss at Wolverhampton last weekend. Unfancied Bournemouth are fifth with a 3-1-1 record, bouncing back from their only loss of the season (2-0 at Chelsea in Week 4) by thumping Leicester City 4-2. Ryan Fraser scored a first-half double, while only ladder leaders Chelsea have scored more goals to date than Bournemouth’s 10.

Burnley have won five and drawn three of their last 10 against Bournemouth, but the Cherries have won two of their last three against the Clarets – including a 2-1 upset at Turf Moor late last season. At this stage it’s difficult seeing where a Burnley turnaround (or goals) comes from, and Bournemouth – who have won two of their last three on the road – deserve their favouritism.

Our Super 8
Burnley: Joe Hart, Johan Berg Gudmundsson,  Stephen Ward, Steven Defour
Bournemouth: Steve Cook, Jermain Defoe, Ryan Fraser, Callum Wilson

Cardiff City vs Manchester City
History: Played 50: Man City 21 – 9 Cardiff (20 Draws)
Last meeting: January 28, 2018 (FA Cup): Man City 2 – 0 Cardiff at Cardiff City Stadium

Cardiff City are still looking for their first win upon returning to the Premier League, following up scoreless draws against Newcastle and Huddersfield with losses to heavyweights Arsenal (3-2) and Chelsea (4-1). Their tough draw continues with a home assignment against Man City, who remain unbeaten and have won four of their five games – including a 3-0 blitz of Fulham last week.

Cardiff have won two of their last four against Man City, though the Citizens chalked up a 2-0 FA Cup win earlier this year with Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling notching first-half goals. The Welsh outfit have struggled to hold out the better attacking teams in recent weeks, and no team has more strike than Man City. The defending champs should rack up a decent score here.

Our Super 8
Cardiff: Neil Etheridge, Sol Bamba, Junior Hoilett, Harry Arter
Man City: Benjamin Mendy, David Silva, Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero

Crystal Palace vs Newcastle United
History: Played 43: Newcastle 26 – 9 Crystal Palace (8 Draws)
Last meeting: February 4, 2018 (EPL): 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park

Crystal Palace brought a three-match losing streak to an end with a crucial 1-0 victory at Huddersfield in Week 5. Wilfried Zaha, who has scored three of Palace’s four goals this season, produced the decisive score. Newcastle are sitting an unflattering second-last with just a scoreless draw against Cardiff to show for their efforts. All four of their losses have been by 2-1 scorelines against big guns Tottenham, Chelsea, City and Arsenal.

Palace have a shocking record against Newcastle, winning just one of the clubs’ last 15 encounters. Last season Newcastle prevailed 1-0 at home before the teams drew 1-1 at Palace. The Magpies will relish the chance to take on a team more on their level after negotiating a brutal draw, and they should head home from Selhurst Park with at least a point.

Our Super 8
Crystal Palace: Christian Benteke, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Jordan Ayew, Wilfried Zaha 
Newcastle: Federico Fernández, Salomón Rondón, Ayoze Perez, Joselu

Leicester City vs Huddersfield Town
History: Played 61: Huddersfield 28 – 23 Leicester (10 Draws)
Last meeting: January 1, 2018 (EPL): Leicester 3 – 0 Huddersfield at King Power Stadium

The early signs are Leicester’s campaign will again be characterised by wild inconsistency. The Foxes followed up back-to-back wins over Wolves and Southampton with a 2-1 defeat to Liverpool and a 4-2 drubbing at the hands of Bournemouth. The scoreline in the latter game flattered Leicester, who scored twice in the dying minutes.

Huddersfield are desperate for their first win of the season, going down 1-0 at home to Palace after chalking up consecutive draws against Cardiff and Everton.

Leicester have won eight and drawn two of their last 11 against Huddersfield. Town managed a 1-1 draw at home last season but the Foxes romped to a 3-0 victory in the return clash after a scoreless first half.

Huddersfield have scored a league-low two goals in five rounds, which should be the telling factor against a Leicester side that doesn’t have too many problems finding the back of the net.

Our Super 8
Leicester City: James Maddison, Harry Maguire, Marc Albrighton, Jamie Vardy
Huddersfield Town: Jonas Lössl, Philip Billing,  Aaron Mooy, Steve Mounie

Liverpool vs Southampton
History: Played 108: Liverpool 53 – 30 Southampton (23 Draws)
Last meeting: February 11, 2018 (EPL): Liverpool 2 – 0 Southampton at St Mary’s Stadium

Liverpool have made a perfect five-from-five start to the season, culminating in a 2-1 victory over Tottenham at Wembley – their first clash with a fellow heavyweight so far. The Reds were outstanding, with Spurs only getting on the board in stoppage time.

Southampton have turned around a disappointing start to their campaign with a win over Crystal Palace (2-0) and a draw against Brighton (2-2). But they will be ruing letting a couple of points slip against Brighton, conceding a stoppage-time goal.

Southampton have won three and drawn two other last seven against Liverpool, but the Reds won both games last season – 3-0 at home and 2-0 away – with Mo Salah scoring three goals at the Saints expense across both victories. Jurgen Klopp’s side have added defensive resolve to their kitbag this season are destined to extend their unbeaten streak of 23 league games (including 15 wins) at home with another victory here.

Our Super 8
Liverpool: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andrew Robertson, Saido Mane, Mohamed Salah
Southampton: Alex McCarthy, Ryan Bertrand, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Danny Ings

Manchester United vs Wolverhampton Wanderers
History: Played 98: Man United 48 – 34 Wolverhampton (16 Draws)
Last meeting: March 18, 2012 (EPL): Man United 5 – 0 Wolverhampton at Molineux Stadium

Under-pressure Manchester United are slowly rectifying a poor start to their campaign, bouncing back from consecutive losses to Brighton and Spurs with wins over Burnley (2-0) and Watford (2-1).

Wolverhampton have been the standouts of the promoted clubs, losing just one game so far. After securing a shock draw against Man City in Week 3, Wolves have chalked up 1-0 wins over West Ham and Burnley. Manchester United have won eight of their last nine against Wolverhampton – by a combined 23 goals to six. Wanderers’ last win at Old Trafford was back in 1980.

This is a tricky assignment for hot favourites United, and with Wolves only conceding five goals to date, this should be a close one.

Our Super 8
Manchester United: David De Gea, Marouane Fellaini, Romelu Lukaku, Paul Pogba
Wolves: Matt Doherty, Ryan Bennett, Ruben Neves, Willy Boly 

Brighton and Hove Albion vs Tottenham Hotspur
History: Played 26: Tottenham 12 – 6 Brighton (8 Draws)
Last meeting: April 17, 2018 (EPL): 1-1 draw at Amex Stadium

Brighton sit 14th with one win in the bank and 2-2 draws against Fulham and Southampton in their past two outings. They showed impressive resolve to overcome a two-goal deficit against Fulham and finding an equaliser in stoppage time at Southampton.

After breezing through the opening three weeks of the EPL – including a 3-0 rout of Man United – Tottenham have hit the skids with back-to-back 2-1 losses to Watford and Liverpool. They have had a paltry five shots on target in their past two games despite boasting over 60 percent possession in both losses. Spurs prevailed 2-0 at Wembley last season but Brighton held the heavyweights to a 1-1 draw in the return clash at home.

It’s hard to back Tottenham with a great deal of confidence against plucky Brighton given what both sides have served up recently.

Our Super 8
Brighton: Mathew Ryan, Glenn Murray, Shane Duffy, Anthony Knockaert
Tottenham: Lucas Moura, Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen, Harry Kane

West Ham United vs Chelsea
EPL History: Played 110: Chelsea 49 – 40 West Ham (21 Draws)
Last meeting: April 8, 2018 (EPL): 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge

West Ham put a woeful four-loss start to the season behind them with an emphatic 3-1 away upset of Everton in Week 5. Ukranian recruit Andriy Yarmolenko bagged a first-half brace before Marko Arnautovic sealed the result in the second half.

Chelsea sit atop the ladder with five wins from five outings and a league-high 14 goals (with just four conceded). They trounced Cardiff City 4-1 last weekend on the back of an Eden Hazard hat-trick.

West Ham scored a 1-0 upset at London Stadium last season and held Chelsea to an equally surprising 1-1 draw away. Those results continued an overachieving run in the rivalry for Hammers – they have now won three and drawn two of their last seven against Chelsea, including winning three of the last four at home.

Last week’s breakthrough win provides West Ham with some confidence but Chelsea are red-hot at present and are hard to resist.

Our Super 8
West Ham: Mark Noble, Pedro Obiang, Andriy Yarmolenko, Marko Arnautovic
Chelsea: Marcos Alonso, Pedro, Eden Hazard, Olivier Giroud

Arsenal vs Everton
History: Played 210: Arsenal 105 – 60 Everton (45 Draws)
Last meeting: February 3, 2018 (EPL): Arsenal 5 – 1 Everton at Emirates Stadium

Arsenal’s shaky start to the season – losing to Man City and Chelsea in the opening fortnight – has given way to three straight wins over West Ham, Cardiff and Newcastle.

Everton, meanwhile, are reeling from a 3-1 home loss at the hands of struggling West Ham. It was Everton’s first loss of the year after defeating Southampton and notching draws against Wolves, Bournemouth and Huddersfield. Everton have won just two of their last 24 against Arsenal and were twice put to the sword last season. The Gunners thrashed the Toffees 5-2 at Goodison Park and 5-1 at home, with Aaron Ramsey scoring four of Arsenal’s 10 goals.

Meanwhile, Everton are hunting their first win at Arsenal since 1996. It’s their first clash with one of the EPL’s big guns – who have run into a bit of form – and it shapes as a tough day at the office for the visitors at Emirates Stadium.

Our Super 8
Arsenal: Petr Čech, Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette, Granit Xhaka
Everton: Jordan Pickford, Cenk Tosun, Theo Walcott, Richarlison

Who doesn’t love the English Premier League? We’re five games into the campaign, and last year’s juggernaut defending champs sit in third place, while Chelsea and Liverpool have perfect records. Watford and Bournemouth sit above Tottenham, Arsenal, and Manchester United, the triumvirate only one point above the newly-promoted Wolves and just a game above the table’s lower half. Is there any other first-division domestic league that’s as competitive and entertaining as this one?

How is the New Season Shaping up for you? Jump on the Bandwagon folks!  It’s worth the ride!

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