There are six games kicking off at 3pm in the Premier League today. We have: Arsenal vs Watford, Everton vs Fulham, Huddersfield vs Spurs, Man City vs Brighton, Newcastle vs Leicester and Wolves vs Southampton.
Arsenal vs Watford
Arsenal have got a nice winning run going; winning their last six games in a row in all competitions. They haven’t been flawless and there has been a bit of fortune in most of their games. Still, with Unai Emery still trying to get his philosophy across to his players, winning games is positive. While performances can improve, winning games is the most important part of his job. There have been signs of improvement from the Gunners, but they still look shaky at the back. They let the opposition have too many chances, especially against Everton last weekend. They needed Petr Cech at the top of his game last week, and they needed quality from their strikers to score when chances came their way. They’ll be hoping to be less reliant on their goalkeeper today, because he won’t be able to come up with performances like that every week.
Watford flew out of the blocks at the beginning of this season, winning their opening four games. They haven’t won in two, but a defeat against Manchester United and an away draw against Fulham isn’t too bad. The Hornets should have beaten Fulham comfortably last weekend, but wastefulness in the first half cost them. They’re fourth in the table, and they haven’t looked out of place. They have looked extremely organised in defence, and Javi Gracia deserves a lot of praise for how he has set his side up. I wasn’t convinced by him last season, but he is beginning to prove that he is the right man for the job. After going through manager after manager over the last few years, they’ll be hoping to have a positive season and keep hold of the Spaniard; some stability could go a long way. Watford will be hoping to cause an upset at the Emirates today. They have a good record against Arsenal in recent years, so they can take some confidence from that.
Sokratis is fit for Arsenal after suffering a dead leg in the game against Everton last weekend. Aaron Ramsey is expected to play, despite negotiations over a new contract falling through.
Daryl Janmaat will miss five to six weeks following knee surgery. Christian Kabasele is available after his red card against Spurs in the Carabao Cup was rescinded. Troy Deeney could start, despite suffering an ankle injury last weekend.
Everton vs Fulham
Everton haven’t managed to really get going so far this season. Just one win – against Southampton – from their six games leaves them 12th in the table. Three draws and two losses from their other games means they have six points. It’s not quite where they would like to be, and their performances haven’t been quite as good as they would have hoped. It’s still early days in Marco Silva’s reign at Goodison Park, and he will likely sort things out. He hasn’t yet had a full squad of players to choose from, and there are a couple of issues for him to sort out. An ever-changing defence in front of Jordan Pickford hasn’t helped matters; he needs to find a solution. Yerry Mina, signed from Barcelona, may be the answer, but he’s yet to make his debut due to injury. Who to play up front is another issue for Silva. Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Cenk Tosun have both had chances, but Calvert-Lewin’s one league goal is all they have to show for their efforts. He did score twice in midweek against Rotherham though, so maybe he’ll be given another chance.
Fulham have also won just one game this season, which came against Burnley. Like Everton, they probably would have expected a better start. There have been positives for Slavisa Jokanovic though, and he’ll be hoping his side can improve. Aleksandar Mitrovic is one of those positives; he’s scored five Premier League goals already this season. He has missed quite a few chances along the way though, and will be hoping to more clinical in future. He brings more to this side than just goals though; his physicality and hard work have been evident. The Cottagers showed fight last week to come back from a goal down against Watford and get a draw, but they’ll be hoping to start today’s game better than last week’s, because Watford should have been out of sight at half time.
Phil Jagielka is available for the Toffees today, but Seamus Coleman and Andre Gomes, along with Mina, are out.
Alfie Mawson may be fit for Fulham, and Tom Cairney is back in training. Tim Ream is also fit again.
Huddersfield vs Spurs
Huddersfield, who were a lot of people’s picks for relegation this season, haven’t done anything to change people’s minds. They sit bottom of the table with just two points, which came in draws against Cardiff and Everton. Everybody said they would go down last season, but they managed to surprise everybody and stay up. They had a good start to last season though, and that proved decisive in the end. They haven’t managed that this season, and all signs point to a struggle. They’ll undoubtedly pick up points here and there, but whether they’ll be able to pick up enough points to survive is another question. A win today against Spurs would be a huge boost to their confidence and may spur them onto more points in upcoming weeks, but it would be a surprise if they weren’t beaten today.
Spurs went through a tricky patch, losing three in a row – against Watford, Liverpool and Inter Milan – but they got back to winning ways last week against Brighton. A 2-2 draw against Watford in the Carabao Cup – they won in the penalty shoot-out – followed. They will be desperate to get the win today, and they should manage it as they should have far too much quality for Huddersfield. They could do with a confidence boost ahead of their Champions League game on Wednesday, when they welcome Barcelona to Wembley. Spurs fans are beginning to grow frustrated with the club after they didn’t buy anybody in the summer and with the issues they’re having with their new stadium. They’ll always be behind their players and Mauricio Pochettino, but this is a testing time for them. They could be in for a testing season, but they’ll be confident that they’ll have enough quality to get into the top four, at least.
Ramadan Sobhi and Danny Williams both miss out for Huddersfield.
Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli will both miss out for Spurs, while Paulo Gazzaniga will start in goal with Hugo Lloris and Michel Vorm both out injured. Serge Aurier is a doubt.
I had planned on previewing every 3pm kick-off, but I won’t have time to go through the rest, unfortunately. I’m still trying to work out the best way to go about writing these 3pm previews, but they’re proving to be a bit of a challenge for me. It’s quite a bit of work! I’ll get there in the end and figure something out! Anyway, there’ll be a preview of this evening’s kick-off, which is Chelsea vs Liverpool, later on. Have a good Saturday!
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