Football News: Premier League Match Preview Sunday 3rd December 2017

 

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Premier League Match Preview Sunday 3rd December 2017
Image from: redpepper.co.ug

Sunday 3rd December 2017



Bournemouth v Southampton 1:30pm kick off


Stanislas (groin strain) late fitness test
B Smith (hip injury) out
Mings (back injury) out
Federici (knee injury) out

Bournemouth looked to have got themselves out of trouble with a couple of wins in a row making it 3 wins in 4 games, but they have failed to win in the last 2 games and slipped back down the table again. Eddie Howe's struggled to build a team that can continue to score goals and be defensively solid at the same time. The Cherries used to score goals and ship them at an alarming rate, but now they have tightened up at the back but scored just 12 times in 14 matches. Howe needs to find a balance quickly, the Premier League is an unforgiving league and you need to pick up wins, even if it means losing a few to do so. Teams that are just defensively solid never go anywhere, eventually the fans get bored of the football and the manager ends up on the scrapheap. A couple of years ago Howe's name would have been in the hat for every job that came up, now he is barely mentioned, due to the change in the football.
Most important player: Nathan Ake. So far he has not come close to living up to the promise he has shown in the past.


Soares (hamstring injury expected return 10th December) major doubt
Long (calf injury) late fitness test
Targett (knock) slight doubt

Having struggled all season to adapt to Pellegrino, it seems the Saints' players have finally embraced his methodology. The last two games have shown a remarkable upturn in form, even if they did still end up losing against Man City. It was the performances that were more pleasing than the results, as the team showed cohesion and workrate to thrash Everton and then frighten the life out of Citeh. Away from home their results have left a lot to be desired, with just 1 win in their 6 games and only 4 goals scored. No one expects Soton to sweep all before them, but they do need to do a bit better than they have been. After all the years of forward progress, this is a difficult time for Southampton, who have hit a road bump in their forward momentum in recent years. Fans have come to expect more than the team have been able to deliver.
Most important player: Nathan Redmond. He seemed to handle Pep Guardiola's rant well at the time, but will any of it have got into his head and affected him?


Defining Battle: both sides are really struggling for goals, neither are getting the results they want. Neither have shown the attacking threat or even intent the fans would like, but this is a chance for them both to show something more against another struggling side. Saints managed to rest their main attacking players in midweek, so the key to this game will be how well Bournemouth can deal with Boufal and Tadic. On their day they can be a real handful for any team.


Editors' Predictions:
Ed002 - 0-0
Ed003 - 2-2
Ed004 - 2-1
Ed007 - 0-1
Ed018 - 1-1
Ed025 - 2-1
Ed033 - 1-0



Manchester City v West Ham United 4pm kick off


Sane (illness) slight doubt
Mendy (ACL injury expected return 18th April 2018) out
Stones (hamstring injury) doubt

Man City are currently running away with the league but the last few weeks have given the chasing pack reasons to stay hopeful as the Mancunians have struggled, though still got the results they wanted. The defence has begun to look as weak as people expected it to be, but they have been playing sides that retreated into their shells and just looked to hold on, rather than exploit the weakness. Today is likely to be a similar story with West Ham in real trouble and David Moyes not exactly known for attacking football, it is all about how quickly they can break down the defence. The last few games has shown they are beatable, but it will take a brave manager to beat them, as going at them risks getting a hammering. Who will want to risk their team's confidence on the chance of beating them?
Most important player: Fernandinho. His role in the team is key, there is no one else they have that can break up opposition play as he does.


Reid (hamstring injury) late fitness test
Collins (hamstring injury) major doubt
Carroll (knee injury expected return 9th December) major doubt
Chicharito (hamstring injury expected return 9th December) major doubt
Byram (thigh strain expected return 9th December) major doubt
Fonte (ankle injury expected return 20th January 2018) out
Hart (unable to play against parent club) out

Things are going from bad to worse for Hammers fans, the real problems at the club are not being fixed, but the manager has been replaced with an unpopular choice and the team has not responded the way it was hoped. Wednesday's 4-0 hammering at the hands of Moyes' former club Everton has made it 7 games without a win and there has been little sign of any hope that things will change quickly, if at all. At least this game is one they can just go out and play with freedom, as no one is expecting anything bar effort from the players. They have not won a single game away this season, so anything other than capitulation will be, at the very least, acceptable.
Most important player: Adrian. With Joe Hart unavailable, this is a chance for Adrian to show he should be the first choice.


Defining Battle: can West Ham find a way to stem the waves of City attacks before they are overrun? The Cityzens will use the wide areas to try and drag the Hammers players out of position, West Ham have to remain focused on defending the box and keeping the key central areas well marshalled.


Editors' Predictions:
Ed002 - 5-0
Ed003 - 3-0
Ed004 - 5-0
Ed007 - 4-1
Ed018 - 4-1
Ed025 - 4-0
Ed033 - 2-0



Editor's Predictions Table
1. Ed033 - 84 points
2. Ed018 - 83 points
3= Ed025 - 79 points
3= Ed002 - 79 points
5= Ed004 - 75 points
5= Ed003 - 75 points
7. Ed007 - 68 points


*1 point is awarded for the correct result, 3 points for the correct score.
**updated 1st December 2017

Written by Tris Burke



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