Last week was a goal fest in the EPL with a whopping 29 goals scored in total. I’m not sure there will be quite so many goals in week 6, but there is sure to be exciting thrills and chills all round, so sit back, relax and let GotSoccer take you through the news, predictions and previews.
Mourinho is not my friend say Villas-Boas
Tottenham coach Andre Villas-Boas has said he no longer has a relationship with former mentor Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho.
Villa-Boas, who spent seven years working for Mourinho as an opposition scout at Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan, faces his old boss for the first-time when Chelsea visit White Hart Lane on Saturday.
“My personal and professional relationship with him was excellent as we worked for so many years together.” Said Villas-Boas.
“Our break-up point was because I was full of ambition to give him something extra and I wanted further involvement from the job I was doing at that time,”
Villas-Boas opted to split from Mourinho after his Portuguese compatriot rejected his plea to move to a more a senior role. He went on to enjoy tremendous success as a manager winning the treble in his debut season with Porto in 2011, before following in Mourinho’s footsteps to manage Chelsea between 2011.
However, Villas-Boas only lasted seven months but soon found himself back in the EPL when he replaced Harry Rednapp as Tottenham’s coach.
PFA calls for cleats safety checks
The Players Football Association chief executive Gordon Taylor has called on Fifa to do more to check the safety of soccer cleats following a number of serious injuries.
Taylor believes too many players are being hurt by the cleats – which have a mixture of studs and blades that can become sharp over time.
Last Month Wayne Rooney suffered a gash across his forehead that was caused by bladed cleats which kept him out of two crucial World Cup Qualifiers for England and continues to require him to wear protective head gear.
“The issue (with the cleats) was highlighted when you saw the extent of the damage to his (Rooney’s) head, near his eye,” Taylor said. “But this is also something that affects youngsters playing in parks.
“Five per cent of all injuries are down to cuts attached to boots (cleats). It’s not a high number but they can be very serious. So we need to do something about it.”
The first cleats with bladed studs were released in 1996. Since then so-called ‘hybrid boots’ have been developed, which have both metal studs and plastic blades.
Taylor wants FIFA to introduce regulations and guidelines for cleat safety as well as proper safety testing method.
At the moment the regulations with regards to cleats are for referees to check the safety.
|Norwich v Aston Villa||0-1||2-1|
|Liverpool v Southampton||0-1||1-0|
|Newcastle v Hull||2-3||2-0|
|West Brom v Sunderland||3-0||1-1|
|West Ham v Everton||2-3||0-0|
|Chelsea v Fulham||2-0||3-1|
|Arsenal v Stoke||3-1||3-0|
|Crystal Palace v Swansea||0-2||1-1|
|Cardiff v Tottenham||0-1||1-2|
|Man City v Man Utd||4-1||1-2|
A correct result is worth ONE point. A correct score earns THREE points.
Last week I got THREE correct scores, with ZERO perfect score giving me a dismal total of just THREE points.
The record score from last season was 14-points, on current form it does not look like I will have any chance of beating that this week, but lets hope I at least better the THREE points from last week.
|Tottenham v Chelsea||2-2|
|Aston Villa v Man City||0-3|
|Fulham v Cardiff||2-1|
|Hull v West Ham||1-1|
|Man Utd v West Brom||3-0|
|Southampton v Crystal Palace||2-0|
|Swansea v Arsenal||1-2|
|Stoke v Norwich||1-1|
|Sunderland v Liverpool||0-1|
|Everton v Newcastle||2-1|
Tottenham v Chelsea
Week 6 kicks-off with a bang as north Londoners Tottenham host west Londoners Chelsea. Being a London derby this game is always a fiery affair, however, this season’s game has added spice with former friends and colleagues Villas-Boas and Mourinho locking horns for the first time.
Tottenham are in such fine form at the moment that their fans have more or less forgotten about the sale of Gareth Bale. They have improved defensively and look dangerous going forward.
Chelsea were apparently in the midst of a crisis having made their worst start to an EPL season during the Abramovich era. But they won comfortably at the weekend and briefly topped the EPL to silence their critics.
However, the Blues are definitely in a state of transition at the moment and Mourinho still looks undecided about who his best eleven is. Nevertheless, Chelsea do have a terrific record against Tottenham in the EPL and will be confident of their chances at White Hart Lane.
Danny Rose is available for Spurs, while Aaron Lennon faces a fitness test on a foot problem.
Chelsea’s Marco van Ginkel is out for the rest of the season after injuring his ACL midweek against Swindon in the cup, while fellow midfielder Ramires is doubtful after also picking up a knock in that game.
Spurs failed to win any of their first 28 EPL games against Chelsea, but have improved recently losing just five and winning three of their last 14 clashes against the Blues.
They may fancy their chances against a Chelsea team that is still finding their feet, but I think these two teams are quite equally matched and so I’ll go for a draw.
Aston Villa v Manchester City
Aston Villa got a good win away to Norwich last week to put an end to a three game losing streak.
However, the Villains did not leave the game without any casualties with top scorer Christian Benteke picking up a knock that is likely to keep him out of action for six weeks.
Manchester City put in the performance of the season thus far, hammering their neighbors Manchester United 4-1. The Sky Blues look back to their free flowing best and also looked solid at the back with the returning Vincent Kompany a key performer.
Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke is out, but Gabriel Agbonlahor, Fabian Delph, Ciaran Clark and Antonio Luna should all be fit to face Manchester City, having missed the midweek League Cup defeat by Tottenham.
Sergio Aguero and David Silva, who are both nursing injuries and are likely to be rest ahead of City’s upcoming Champions League clash with Bayern Munich.
Manchester City have registered 18 Premier League victories against Aston Villa—more than against any other team—and have won the last four of these encounters, so this game should be in the bag for City.
Villa have looked better this season and with Benteke fit they may have had a chance against a Manchester City side that may have one eye on their midweek Champions League game. But as things stand I cannot see anything other than an easy City win.
Manchester United v West Brom
Champions Manchester United were pummelled last weekend by neighbors City and will want to bounce back with a good performance and result against West Brom.
The Red Devils were without key man Robin van Persie, but they were poor in midfield and defense, with Wanye Rooney their only real performer. However, they reacted well beating Liverpool 1-0 midweek in the League Cup.
West Brom beat Sunderland 1-0 last week to get their first win of the new campaign. They pushed Arsenal all the way in the cup midweek and almost won at the death before losing on penalties.
Robin van Persie is available, having returned to training following a groin problem, and is pushing Chicharito for a starting place.
West Brom are hopeful that Victor Anichebe, Nicolas Anelka, and Claudio Yacob will be available despite minor knocks, but midfielder Chris Brunt looks set to miss out again with a groin strain.
Manchester United have never lost to West Brom in the EPL with their last loss coming in a 2-0 defeat at The Hawthorns way back in March 1984. However, West Brom have beaten United in the Cup during the EPL era, winning a League Cup tie on home turf in 2003.
Seems like this one will only go one way.
Swansea v Arsenal
Both these teams won last week, playing nice stuff and are in good form, so this could turn out to be the prettiest game of the weekend.
Swansea got a good 0-2 win away to Crystal Palace and look to be hitting some form after a slow start to the new campaign. They have scored two or more goals in their last three EPL games and go into this weekend’s game with the best passing completion rate in the EPL this season (87.3%).
They lost midweek in the League Cup to Birmingham, but fielded a team of reserves with the EPL and the Europa League their priorities this season.
Arsenal won their fourth straight game in the EPL, beating Stoke 3-1 at home to send them top of the EPL. The Gunners are on a remarkable ‘away wins run’ at the moment, having won their last 11 away games.
Swansea will recall a host of players who sat out the League Cup defeat by Birmingham, but captain Ashley Williams looks a doubt with an ankle problem, while midfielder Pablo Hernandez is definitely out with a hamstring problem.
In-form Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey is a slight doubt alongside fellow midfielder Mathieu Flamini. But Santi Cazorla, Abou Diaby, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lukas Podolski, Yaya Sanogo, and Theo Walcott all remain out.
These two sides play attractive stuff and both won 2-0 away from home last season, so we should be in for some eye candy tomorrow. It should be a close game, but I think Arsenal will just edge this one because they have a player in Ozil who seems to be creating goals for fun at the moment—Ozil has created more chances (10) in two Premier League games than any Manchester United player has done all season.
Sunderland v Liverpool
Sunderland got rid of manager Paolo Di Canio last week after a poor run of results, but the Italian probably considers himself an unlucky causality with only five games played thus far this season.
However, it is reported that a players revolt led to Di Canio’s dismissal and the Black Cat players will now have to give a good account of themselves as they could soon be following the Italian out the door.
Liverpool lost their first game of the season last week going down 1-0 at home to Southampton. The Reds looked toothless in attack and could have lost by more to the Saints who keep continuing to improve.
Sunderland will be without striker Steven Fletcher, who suffered a shoulder injury in the defeat at West Brom.
Luis Suarez returns to play in his first Premier League game of the season after serving a 10-match ban. However, Philippe Coutinho, Daniel Agger, Glen Johnson and Aly Cissokho all out for the Reds with injury.
Liverpool have a good record against Sunderland in the EPL, losing just three of their 24 EPL meetings with the Black Cats.
Sunderland will be up for this game, especially as all the players are basically on probation following the sacking of manager Paolo Di Canio. I think they will work their socks off and cause Liverpool trouble, but I cannot see them scoring a goal and that is why I will back Liverpool to just pip this one.