f

FootTheBall.com breathes, eats and dreams ‘The Beautiful Game’! We are hyperlocal, we are for the FANS.

Premier League Preview 2020/21: Gameweek 2

The second gameweek of is on the horizon. The Manchester juggernauts will play their first game of the season as will Burnley and Aston Villa. The biggest game of the weekend will be played on Saturday at the Stamford Bridge. Chelsea FC will host the champions, Liverpool.

FootTheBall looks at the squad news and score predictions ahead of gameweek two of Premier League 2020/21.

 

Everton v West Bromwich Albion

(19 September, Goodison Park)

Everton

(Image Courtesy: Twitter/ @Everton)

It was a perfect start for Carlo Ancelotti and James Rodriguez. The Toffees clinched a one-nil victory over Tottenham in the first gameweek of the Premier League. James Rodriguez was the star performer after creating five big chances in his first Premier League game. Everton extended their winning streak by sealing a three-nil win over Salford City in the Carabao Cup. Michael Keane, Gylfi Sigurdsson, and Moise Keane appeared on the scoresheet. Anthony Gordon from the left flank tormented Salford’s defense.

Mason Holgate, Jean-Phillippe Gbamin, and Cenk Tosun are long-term absentees. Jarrad Branthwaite and Fabian Delph are doubtful for the West Brom clash.

The visitors experienced a disastrous start in the Premier League. The Baggies suffered a three-nil loss at the hands of Leicester City. Matheus Pereira looked sharp as he accumulated three shots of West Brom’s seven attempts. Bilic and men got back to winning ways against Harrogate Town in the second round of Carabao Cup.

New loan signing, Conor Gallagher is in contention to start on Saturday. Kenneth Zohore is unavailable as he is carrying a calf problem.

Expected Lineups

Everton (4-3-3): Pickford – Coleman, Mina, Keane, Digne – Doucoure, Allan, Gomes – Rodriguez, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison

West Brom (4-2-3-1): Johnstone – O’Shea, Ajayi, Bartley, Townsend – Livermore, Sawyers – Pereira, Gallagher, Diangana – Robinson

They last met in the 2017-18 Premier League season where Everton hosted West Brom in a one-all stalemate.

Score Prediction: Everton 2 – 1 West Brom

 

Leeds United v Fulham

(19 September, Ellan Road)

leeds

Leeds scored 3 stunning goals against Liverpool (Image Courtesy: Twitter/ @LUFC)

Marcelo Bielsa rolled the dice as Leeds rocked Anfield thrice last week despite losing by one goal. It was an impressive start for Leeds in the top flight. After a competitive display at the home of the champions, Leeds suffered a blow in the Carabao Cup this week. Hull City progressed to the third round following a nine-eight outcome on penalties.

Bielsa will shift focus on familiar rivals, Fulham for gameweek two of the Premier League. The hosts might see Liam Cooper back in the lineup after Bielsa gave a positive update to the media. Adam Foreshaw will, however, have to wait before making a comeback.

Fulham had a weekend to forget after Arsenal returned victorious in a three-nil dominance at the Craven Cottage. Scott Parker has a fully fit squad to choose from. Aleksandar Mitrovic is a favourite to lead the attack for Fulham at the Ellan Road.

Expected Lineups

Leeds (4-1-4-1): Meslier – Ayling, Koch, Cooper, Dallas – Phillips – Costa, Hernandez, Klich, Harrison – Rodrigo

Fulham (4-2-3-1): Areola – Odoi, Hector, Ream, Bryan – Reed, Cairney – Knockaert, Onomah, Cavaleiro – Mitrovic

The EFL Championship winners secured a three-nil victory over Fulham in their previous meeting at the Ellan Road.

Score Prediction: Leeds 2 – 0 Fulham

 

Manchester United v Crystal Palace

(19 September, Old Trafford)

The extended break comes to an end for the Red Devils. They open their Premier League campaign at home against Crystal Palace. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer rounded an impressive performance after the arrival of Bruno Fernandes. The Norwegian seem to have found a perfect mix with a 4-2-3-1 structure for his side.  Nemanja Matic will face competition after United secured the services of Ajax’s midfield genius, Donny van de Beek.

There is no major injury concern for Solskjaer apart from Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones. Paul Pogba is a doubt after he contracted Covid-19 three weeks ago. Luke Shaw, who picked up an injury in early July is a certain choice for the left-back role on Saturday. Solskjaer will be hoping to have an injury-free campaign for Marcus Rashford. Rashford won Manchester United’s Goal of the Season honour for his Ronaloesque free-kick against Chelsea last term.

On the other hand, Crystal Palace in their Gameweek two of Premier League will be aiming to contain United after a resolute display against the Saints last weekend. Makeshift striker, Wilfried Zaha scored the only goal of the game to earn three points for Roy Hodgson.

Despite Michy Batshuayi available in place of an injured Christian Benteke, Zaha is expected to be paired with Jordan Ayew upfront. Defensive woes continue for Palace as Gary Cahill, James Tomkins, Patrick van Aanholt, and Nathan Ferguson are injured.

Expected Lineups

United (4-2-3-1): De Gea – Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw – Matic, van de Beek – Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford – Martial

Palace (4-4-2): Guaita – Ward, Kouyate, Dann, Mitchell – Townsend, McArthur, Eze, Schlupp – Zaha, Ayew

The Eagles triumphed at Old Trafford last summer with a full-time score of two-one. Manchester United avenged their defeat by two-nil on their return trip to Selhurst Park.

Score Prediction: United 3 – 0 Palace

 

Arsenal v West Ham United

(19 September, Emirates Stadium)

Arsenal

Arsenal celebrating their goal against Fullham (Image Courtesy: Twitter/ @Arsenal)

Arsenal will be hoping to remain on top of the league table after another clash against local rivals on Saturday. The Hammers will visit the Emirates Stadium following a defeat against Newcastle United last week.

Mikel Arteta and his cavalry deservedly claimed three points against Fulham. The Brazilian duo of Willian and Gabriel Magalhaes played a key role. Gabriel headed home on his debut appearance. Willian bagged three assists to help Arsenal climb the top of the league table.

David Luiz will be out for a longer period than usually suspected due to a neck injury. The same goes for Calum Chambers who is suffering from a knee issue. Pablo Mari and Shkodran Mustafi are expected to return in October. Sokratis Papastathopoulos is a doubt. Granit Xhaka might also not feature in the starting 11 after he picked up a knock against Fulham. However, Arsenal fans will be buoyed by the news of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang putting his pen to another contract.

David Moyes got the Irons back on track in the Carabao Cup. West Ham knocked Charlton Athletic out after a convincing three-nil win. The 18-year old right-back, Harrison Ashby put up a show as a substitute at the London Stadium. Sebastian Haller fired a brace and is expected to return to the starting lineup against Arsenal.

Moyes has a plethora of attacking options to choose from. The Scottish manager needs to find the right balance for his team if the Hammers are to revive their post lockdown form. Jack Wilshere is uncertain to travel to North London.

Expected Lineups –

Arsenal (3-4-3): Leno – Holding, Gabriel, Tierney – Bellerin, Elneny, Ceballos, Maitland-Niles – Willian, Lacazette, Aubameyang

West Ham (4-2-3-1): Fabianski – Frederick, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell – Soucek, Rice – Bowen, Noble, Antonio – Haller

Arsenal have won four of their previous five games with West Ham. Their last meeting at the Emirates Stadium saw Arsenal winning by a slender one-nil score.

Score Prediction: Arsenal 3 – 1 West Ham

 

Southampton v

(20 September, Saint Mary’s Stadium)

Dele Alli against Everton on matchday 1 (Image Courtesy: Twitter/ @SpursOfficial)

It was an unexpected start for Ralph Hasenhuttl to the 2020/21 Premier League campaign. Southampton who were among the top attacking sides in the second half of last season. The previous week, however, was as disappointing for Danny Ings as it was for the gaffers. The English forward blanked in the opening gameweek against Crystal Palace. The situation worsened for Southampton in midweek after they suffered a two-nil defeat at the hands of Brentford in the Carabao Cup. The upcoming game is another stern test against Jose Mourinho’s Spurs.

Stuart Armstrong (thigh injury) is not available for the Spurs’ clash.

Jose Mourinho, too, endured a shocking start to a league campaign. It was the Portuguese’s first-ever opening day defeat in a league campaign. Mourinho seems adamant to get Tottenham back among the big six. The Lilly Whites have allegedly secured the services of Gareth Bale and Sergio Reguilon from Real Madrid. With Matt Doherty already in their ranks, Spurs are injecting speed in their flanks. The pair arriving from Madrid will likely not feature against the Saints.

Among the casualties, Japhet Tanganga won’t travel to the Saint Mary’s. Dele Alli was dropped by Jose Mourinho for their Europa League fixture against Lokomotiv Plovdiv. The circumstances hint at Alli not appearing in the starting 11 on Sunday.

Expected Lineups

Southampton (4-4-2): McCarthy – Walker-Peters, Stephens, Bednarek, Bertrand – Smallbone, Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Redmond – Adams, Ings

Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris – Doherty, Alderweireld, Dier, Davies – Hojberg, Winks – Moura, Ndombele, Son – Kane

They met last time in the FA Cup in February this year which saw Tottenham winning the five-goal thriller by three-two.

Score Prediction: Southampton 1 – 1 Spurs

 

Newcastle United v Brighton & Hove Albion

(20 September, St. James’ Park)

Newcastle

(Image Courtesy: Twitter/ @NUFC)

Having begun the new campaign with a bang, Newcastle will aim to continue their form at home against Brighton. The previous game saw Callum Wilson and Jeff Hendrick score to provide Newcastle a comfortable two-nil win over West Ham.

The injury list for Newcastle includes Fabian Schar, Matthew Longstaff, and Dwight Gayle. Paul Dummett lacks match fitness and has a low probability to play against the Seagulls. Allan Saint-Maximin gave an injury scare in Newcastle’s one-nil win over Blackburn in the Carabao Cup. Steve Bruce, nonetheless, remarked it as a minor knock.

Brighton, on the contrary, lost their first match by three-one to Chelsea. They, however, look sharper now having recently defeated Portsmouth by four goals in the Carabao Cup.

Adam Lallana might miss his trip to the Tyneside after he was replaced in the first half against Chelsea following a slight knock. Dale Stephens is a doubt for Sunday. Ben White also suffered a minor injury against Chelsea but made good progress in training over the week.

Expected Lineups

Newcastle (4-4-2): Darlow – Manquilo, Lascelles, Fernandez, Lewis – Hendrick, Shelvey, S.Longstaff, Ritchie – Wilson, Carroll

Brighton (3-5-2): Ryan – White, Dunk, Webster – Lamptey, Gross, Bissouma, Alzate, March – Maupay, Trossard

The previous season saw a goalless draw on both occasions between the two.

Score Prediction: Newcastle 1 – 0 Brighton

 

Chelsea v Liverpool

(20 September, Stamford Bridge)

Timo werner

Timo Werner against Brighton last week. (Image Courtesy: Twitter/ @ChelseaFC)

Chelsea’s campaign was off to a good start as they beat Brighton three-one. As opposed to high expectations from Chelsea’s revamped attack, it was their defense to the rescue against the Seagulls. They go up against Liverpool at home in what is expected to be a mouthwatering encounter between the two.

The squad in Gameweek two of Premier League is pretty similar to the preceding weekend. Hakim Ziyech and Thiago Silva shall not feature due to lack of match fitness. Lampard will have to do without Christian Pulisic and Ben Chilwell as they remain injured. Timo Werner will be fit to face Liverpool after the initial scare. The German forward was seen wearing an ice pack on his knee after his Premier League debut last week. Mateo Kovacic is also available after serving his suspension.

Jurgen Klopp will hope to avoid the “lucky escape” his team saw against Leeds. Liverpool were at fault for a few bad touches which changed the course of the game, allowing Leeds to score three goals at Anfield.

New signing, Kostas Tsimikas returned to training with the team but is unlikely to replace Andrew Robertson. Xherdan Shaqiri is doubtful due to lack of match fitness. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is carrying knee trouble and will miss the game.

Expected Lineups

Chelsea (4-3-3): Kepa – James, Zouma, Rudiger, Azpilicueta – Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic – Havertz, Werner, Hudson-Odoi

Liverpool (4-3-3): Alisson – Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson – Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum – Salah, Firmino, Mane

There is never a favourite for this clash. However, in their previous five meetings, Liverpool have won four times which includes a five-four victory on penalties in the UEFA Super Cup fixture last year.

Score Prediction: Chelsea 2 – 2 Liverpool

 

Leicester City v Burnley

(20 September, King Power Stadium)

Having scored three goals in the last league game, Leicester City remain hopeful of a similar result against their next opponents, Burnley. James Maddison and Wes Morgan continue to train with the squad. Ricardo Pereira is out till late October with an ACL injury. Jonny Evans is suspended until the next weekend.

Burnley who recently edged past Sheffield United on penalties in the Carabao Cup will play their league game of the new season at King Power Stadium. James Tarkowski is a slight doubt for their opener but Sean Dyche heralded his availability for Sunday. Ben Mee is out with a thigh injury. Johann Berg Gudmundsson might also feature as he is suffered a blow to his knee in the Carabao Cup fixture. Jack Cork and Ashley Barnes are long-term absentees.

Expected Lineups

Leicester (4-1-4-1): Schmeichel – Castagne, Ndidi, Soyuncu, Justin – Mendy – Perez, Tielemans, Maddison, Barnes – Vardy

Burnley (4-4-2): Pope – Bardsley, Long, Tarkowski, Taylor – Pieters, Westwood, Brownhill, McNeil – Wood, Rodriguez

The two sides shared the spoils last term. While Leicester won by two-one at home, Burnley reverted with equal momentum in January at Turf Moor.

Score Prediction: Leicester 1 – 1 Burnley

 

Aston Villa v Sheffield United

(21 September, Villa Park)

Aston Villa celebrating

Aston Villa celebrating a goal during Pre-season 2020 (Image Courtesy: Twitter/ @AVCOfficial)

Aston Villa, who beat Manchester United in a friendly game last week look to begin their Premier League campaign. With Jack Grealish extending his contract till 2023, Dean Smith is fired up to avoid a repeat of the previous campaign. Villa were on the edge of relegation and ensured their survival on the final day of the 2019/20 season.

New signing, Emiliano Martinez is Smith’s number one choice in goal and is likely to start against Sheffield. Wesley Moraes is probably the only injured member from the squad for Aston Villa in the gameweek two of Premier League.

Sheffield United looks out of stride this season. They lost their opening league game to Wolves. They were later shown the exit door from the Carabao Cup by Burnley in midweek. Nonetheless, the new wing-backs were impressive in the cup clash. Jayden Bogle and Max Lowe caught Wilder’s eye. Their appearance in the starting 11 on Monday, however, is a tough call. Lys Mousset remains injured. Oliver Burke might get some Premier League minutes.

Expected Lineups

Villa (4-3-3): Martinez – El Mohamady, Konsa, Mings, Targett – McGinn, Luiz, Hourihane – Trezeguet, Watkins, Grealish

Sheffield (3-5-2): Ramsdale – Basham, Egan, O’Connell – Baldock, Berge, Norwood, Fleck – McBurnie, Burke

Their last game at Villa Park in June ended in a goalless draw.

Score Prediction: Villa 0 – 1 Sheffield

 

Wolverhampton Wanderers v

(21 September, Molineux Stadium)

Kevin DeBryune & Raheem Sterling celebrating (Image Courtesy: Twitter/ @ManCity)

Wolves were off to a flyer in their opening fixture last week. Two quickfire first-half goals from Raul Jiminez and Romain Saiss ensured three points against the Blades. Jonny remains out and Fernando Marcal is expected to operate from the left flank.

Gameweek two of Premier League shall see Pep Guardiola visit the Molineux with his cavalry for the Cityzens first game of the 2020/21 season. Riyad Mahrez is available while Sergio Aguero and Aymeric Laporte will not be involved. Nathan Ake is expected to make his debut appearance.

Expected Lineups

Wolves (3-4-3): Patricio – Boly, Coady, Saiss – Traore, Dendoncker, Moutinho, Marcal – Podence, Jiminez, Neto

City (4-3-3): Ederson – Walker, Fernandinho, Ake, Mendy – De Bruyne, Rodri, Gundogan – Mahrez, Jesus, Sterling

Manchester City were the victims of a three-two defeat in their previous clash at the Molineux Stadium.

Score Prediction: Wolves 1 – 3 City

You don't have permission to register