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Football News: Premier League Matches Preview 7 October 2018

Premier League Matches Preview 7 October 2018
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Fulham v Arsenal


Having won just one of their seven Premier League games so far this season, Fulham face an Arsenal side that they have only beaten three times in 26 Premier League meetings - an incredibly difficult challenge for the Cottagers.


Arsenal have won five consecutive league matches and are in red hot form, their best within the same Premier League campaign since May 2017, in fact. The Gunners are now aiming to win three straight away league games for the first time since October 2016.


Indeed, Emery's side's current winning run is the best ongoing streak in the Premier League, which highlights how impressive it is.


The positive for Fulham is that Arsenal have lost two of their last four games against promoted sides, as many as their previous 42 combined, so they did slip up against such opposition last season. Arsenal have also only kept one clean sheet in their last 13 away league games - they are there to be attacked on their travels, and Fulham need to do just that, which could make this a very entertaining affair.


On a side note too, there have been four red cards in the last four league games between these two at Craven Cottage - this is a London derby after all, and perhaps that is a sign that things could get feisty again here today.


Key players:


Aleksandar Mitrovic - With nine goals in his last 10 home league games for Fulham, Mitrovic will be looking to exploit this Arsenal defence that has struggled for clean sheets on the road. He will be a major threat for Arsenal here, such is his form and presence up front, and Fulham will need that.


Lucas Torreira - Arsenal have kept two league clean sheets this season - and both came when Torreira played 90 minutes. You could say that is mere coincidence, but it is clear that Arsenal have played better when he has been on the pitch than when he hasn't since his arrival.




 


Southampton v Chelsea


With just one league win so far this season, it doesn't get any easier for Southampton as they face the unbeaten Chelsea at St. Mary's.


The Saints have lost each of the last six clashes between these two in all competition, including three meetings last season, so Chelsea clearly have their number. Indeed, Southampton last beat Chelsea in the Premier League at home when Mauricio Pochettino was in charge of them (and Rafael Benitez leading Chelsea) in March 2013. Since, then, they've managed one win in 10 league meetings with the Blues.


Indeed, in this exact fixture last season, Mark Hughes' side surrendered a 2-goal lead to lost 3-2, and that memory will always make this game difficult for them even if they go ahead. Hughes' record against Chelsea isn't great either, losing his last five in a row against them in the league, and winning just once in his last 10.


Maurizio Sarri's side are playing some excellent football already this season despite his recent appointment, and could go eight league games without defeat for only the second time since the start of last season.


But Chelsea haven't done so well in Sunday fixtures of late - winning just one of their last five away league games on this day, so they will look to improve upon that here today and continue their strong early season form.


Key players:


Mario Lemina - Chelsea rank second in the Premier League this season for average possession and successful passes. As such, Southampton are going to have to get used to long periods without the ball, winning it back when they can. Lemina ranks top of Saints players for interceptions this season, and he'll have to do a lot of that today to give his side a chance of a foothold in the match.


Olivier Giroud - Giroud loves playing Southampton, with five goals in his last four games against them in all competitions, including three in two for Chelsea. If the Saints don't handle him today (on his 200th Premier League appearance, should he play), it will be a tall order for them to get anything from the game.





 


Liverpool v Manchester City


The big one. This game needs little introduction really - it is undoubtedly the biggest of the Premier League season so far against the two sides occupying second and first in the table respectively at the start of MD8.


Their rivalry even last season, when Man City romped away to the league title, was immense, with Liverpool winning three of the four meetings in all competitions - they could become only the third side to be the Citizens four times in the same calendar year in the club's history, after Spurs in 1993 and Grimsby Town in 1936.


Their Anfield record will give them hope of that too. Not only are they without defeat in 24 home league games, but Man City are winless in their last 17 visits to Anfield too in all competitions. As a matter of fact, City have lost more Premier League games at Anfield than they have any other away venue.


But Guardiola's side are top of the league. And that's where they have been at the start of the day for 34 of their last 40 league games before today. They have only lost once in their last 25 away league games, which was of course to Liverpool in January, but the fact still is that they have been the dominant force in the Premier League since the start of last season.


They are already the Premier League's top scorers this season - and whilst they face a Liverpool side one clean sheet away from equalling their record of nine straight home games without conceding a goal in the Premier League, they will be confident they can come to Anfield and get goals - they scored three here in that January meeting last season.


Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp are incredibly familiar foes - Klopp has beaten Guardiola seven times, more than any other manager has been able to do. He will be hoping that that record will improve even more here as Liverpool look to make what would be their biggest statement of the season, whilst Man City will hope to shake off their Anfield woes and stamp their authority in the Premier League again.


Key players:


Mohamed Salah - Salah has scored three and assisted two goals against Man City in 2018 already. He's received some criticism of late, with some saying he isn't the player he was last season, but today is an ideal game for him to silence those critics in an instant. He has an incredible record of 22 goals in 22 Premier League games at Anfield for Liverpool, and he will be desperate to keep that goal-a-game record up today.


Sergio Aguero - Whilst Aguero has six league goals against Liverpool to his name, he has never found the back of the net at Anfield. How he would love to change that to help his team earn a crucial three points today. He has an incredible record in big games, and scores goals when it matters for Man City (not least the equaliser against Hoffenheim in midweek), and Guardiola will be hoping he does so yet again today.

Written by Reid the Red October 07 2018 10:11:35

 

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