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Football News: Premier League Match Preview for 2 December 2018

Premier League Match Preview for 2 December 2018
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Chelsea v Fulham

After losing for the first time in the Premier League this season last week at Spurs, Chelsea will be looking to bounce back here at Stamford Bridge as they face their old boss Claudio Ranieri, now in charge at Fulham.

Ranieri has only won one of his four league matches against his former side as a manager, losing both of his last two as Leicester boss in 2016-17, and it has to be said that his record in Premier League London derbies wasn’t the greatest at the end of his tenure at Chelsea in 2004, winning just three of his last 13 away London derbies with the club in the league.

Indeed, no manager who has formerly managed Chelsea has won at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League after leaving the club in 13 previous attempts. It’s a tall order for Ranieri.

Chelsea themselves now have a very impressive home record against fellow London sides, losing just three of their last 27 in the league, winning 18.

Fulham’s record at Chelsea in the Premier League is a frankly awful one - just one win in their 26 meetings in the competition, a 1-0 victory in March 2006, with Luis Boa Morte bagging the goal. At Stamford Bridge, they have never won in the Premier League in 13 visits, losing eight of them.

But Fulham kick started life under Ranieri with a win against Southampton last week, and have a chance to win back-to-back Premier League matches for the first time since April 2014. But to do it, they’ll have to improve upon a rotten away record - just one point from their opening seven away league games this season is the worst points-per-game ratio on the road in the 2018-19 Premier League.

Key players:

Eden Hazard - Only Sterling and Aguero have been directly involved in more Premier League goals this season than Hazard’s seven goals and four assists, and he is clearly a huge danger man for Fulham to stop.

Aleksandr Mitrovic - The Serbian’s seven goals have earned Fulham seven of their eight league points so far this season, and with Fulham only having had three other goal scorers (excluding own goals) than him in the league this season, it’s clear how reliant they are on their front man.

Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur

The North London derby is always a big one. It means so much to both sets of fans, and with the two sides separated by just three points heading into this one, it is as important as ever.

It’s Spurs who’ve had the better of the recent clashes, with Arsenal only winning one of their last eight league games against their rivals, although that was in this exact fixture last season, 2-0 at the Emirates.

Indeed, Tottenham have an awful record when visiting Arsenal, winning just one of their last 28 trips there in all competitions, a 3-2 Premier League win in November 2010. And with Arsenal unbeaten in 11 league games, this won’t be an easy game for Spurs to slightly improve that dire record.

Tottenham themselves are currently enjoying a six-game winning streak in all competitions, including big results against Chelsea in the league last weekend and in the Champions League against Inter in midweek. And they have won seven consecutive London derbies in the Premier League since a 1-1 draw with West Ham in January.

But Arsenal themselves are unbeaten in 10 home league games against fellow London sides since Chelsea beat them 1-0 in January 2016. Something has to give here.

Unai Emery and Mauricio Pochettino will be facing off for the first time since their La Liga days, and Emery won all three of his home games against Pochettino in that competition - a good sign for Arsenal.

Further to that, Pochettino has faced Arsenal away from home more times without ever winning in the league (five) than any other side in his managerial career. How Spurs would love for him to put that right today.

Key players:

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - Incredibly, he has scored with all of his last eight shots on target in the Premier League, an incredible finishing record and shows that Spurs need to restrict him if they’re to win this match. The forward has also scored 14 of his 18 Premier League goals on a Sunday - he relishes this day, and Arsenal fans will hope he relishes this North London Derby too.

Harry Kane - With seven goals in seven league appearances against Arsenal, Kane regularly shows up for these huge clashes for Spurs

Liverpool v Everton

The final match of this so-called “Derby Day” is the Merseyside Derby. Liverpool will be desperate to bounce back from midweek disappointment in Paris, and what better an opportunity to do so than to get one up one their city rivals.

In recent years, Everton haven’t had much to shout about in these games. They are winless in 17 against Liverpool in all competitions, their worst ever such run in Merseyside Derbies, last beating the Reds in October 2010 at Goodison Park when Roy Hodgson was Liverpool boss.

Indeed, the Toffees are winless in their last 20 visits to Anfield in all competitions since a 1-0 win in September 1999. Kevin Campbell scored the winner that day in a game which saw three players sent off - Sander Westerveld and Steven Gerrard for Liverpool, Francis Jeffers for Everton.

Speaking of red cards, this is the fixture that has seen the most of them in Premier League history - 21 of them to be precise, although only two of which have been in the last 16 such clashes.

There’s another strange record this fixture holds in the Premier League - it has witnessed more goalless draws (nine) than any other. Ultimately, it’s a match where anything should be expected.

This will be Jurgen Klopp and Marco Silva’s third league meeting, and it’s Silva who has the better record of the first two, winning one (with Hull) and drawing the other (with Watford). Indeed, Silva is the only manager that Klopp has met twice or more in the Premier League without yet beating. How Everton would love for that positive record for Silva to carry on as they look to become the first side to take three points against Liverpool in the league this season.

They’re in the right form to take Liverpool on away from home too - they have won five of their last seven league games - that’s as many as their previous 17 combined, and with 22 points from 13 games, only once have they had a better tally at this stage in their last 13 seasons (24 points in 2013-14).

But it’s not just Everton who have started well - 33 points from 13 league games is Liverpool’s best start to a Premier League campaign, and all of that means that this will be a hotly contested Merseyside Derby.

Key players:

Mohamed Salah - This will be his 50th league game for Liverpool and he already has 39 goals in his first 49 - only Alan Shearer for Blackburn Rovers and Andy Cole for Newcastle United (both 41 goals) have netted more in their first 50 appearances for a club in the Premier League, so a hat-trick for Salah will see him overtake those two. It’s unlikely since he only has one hat-trick for the Reds, but what a stage this would be to do it.

Gylfi Sigurdsson - Both of his league goals against Liverpool have come at Anfield, and with six goals in his last nine league games, the Icelandic midfielder will be full of confidence that he can score more against the Reds today.

Written by Reid the Red December 02 2018 10:51:59


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