SPORTS

EPL Is Back With The Most Mouthwatering Match Of Year

Nov 22, 2019, 3:17 PM | Updated: 3:17 pm
Armando Shashoua of Tottenham Hotspur scores his second goal during the Premier League 2 match betw...
Armando Shashoua of Tottenham Hotspur scores his second goal during the Premier League 2 match between Everton and Tottenham Hotspur at Pure Stadium on November 22, 2019 in Southport, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The international break is over and that will be the last disturbance to enjoying our beloved English Premier League until March 2020. Yippee!

We were left in limbo as Liverpool turned over Man City 3-1 in the final fixture before players joined their various nations for international duty.

Raheem Sterling carried his minor spat that happened on the pitch with Joe Gomez into the national team set up when things boiled over again for a split second. The result? Sterling was almost sent home but instead missed one game. Gomez was booed by his own fans when he came on.

In other news, Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino was relieved of duties by Spurs chairman, Daniel Levy. The Spurs almost immediately appointed Jose Mourinho as the new Tottenham manager. Pochettino’s men suffered a poor start to the season and it felt like only a matter of time before a change was made. However, I believe Pochettino will manage again and quickly – he is a good coach.

Mourinho being back in the league will certainly get the media excited despite him fizzling out at Manchester United. This is something to keep an eye on, and whatever direction it goes I expect fireworks.

West Ham United v. Tottenham Hotspur

How could we start this weekend’s review any other way? Eyes around the world will be on London Stadium as Mourinho takes charge of his first Spurs match against the Hammers. Both teams have underperformed if we’re being honest. West Ham sits in 16th, while Spurs are 14th – well below both teams’ expectations at the start of the season.

Mourinho has been promised funds for January but with nine matches before the transfer window opens, he’ll have to make do. I say “make do,” this squad in my opinion was good enough to close the gap on last season’s title chasers. Mourinho has a better squad at the start of Spurs career than he did when he went to United. If anyone can tighten up the backline for Spurs, it’s their new manager.

Add the attacking talent of Kane and Son, who are deadly, my theory is the platform for Spurs is to try and cut the gap and make a move for the top four. That might not be realistic, but 11 points out of fourth; would you put it past a Mourinho led team to grind away and make a charge?

West Ham, the hosts, are in free fall. At the start of the season, you thought they could legitimately target a top-six spot. They had a good start to the season as well, but they now haven’t won in the league since September 22, picking up just two points out of a possible 18.

Manuel Lanzini, the Argentine playmaker fractured a collarbone against Burnley right before the international break. They’ll once again be looking for Sebastien Haller to add to his four goals and for Brazilian Felipe Anderson to provide more assists, as he’s stuck on three.

The injury to Goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski has been a huge downer and no surprise that since his injury West Ham haven’t won or kept a clean sheet. The Polish international isn’t set to return until the new year, and I fear the Hammers could be dragged into a relegation dog fight if something doesn’t change.

I can only see a Mourinho inspired Spurs victory early Saturday morning.

Prediction: 2-0, Tottenham Hotspur

Manchester City v. Chelsea

Without a doubt this is the game of the weekend, and you’ll be able to catch it on KSL 5. The 10:30 a.m. kick off between reigning EPL champions Man City, currently in fourth position against Chelsea sat in third.

Chelsea are the hottest team in the league right now, claiming maximum points in their last six matches. City, on the other hand, lost to Liverpool in the last round of fixtures, and now sit nine points behind the table-toppers.

This has everything waiting for us. Two good teams; the City team on their day can dismantle anyone in Europe. This same City team that must have some kind of response. They have three losses on the season. They only had four the whole of last season. Another one and you feel they’ll have to go on a crazy run like they did in the second half of last season to chase Liverpool down.

Sergio Aguero with nine goals is as dangerous as ever. If he can stay niggle free, you’d expect him to challenge Jamie Vardy and Tammy Abraham to sit atop of the scoring charts. Then you have the magic of Kevin De Bruyne supplying ammunition, with nine assists on the season. Right now, he is arguably the best player in the league and I’m excited to see how Chelsea’s young guns adapt.

A well-publicized transfer ban left Frank Lampard with no choice but to turn to the huge youth movement. I thought it might be a season of learning for the inexperienced Stamford Bridge outfit, and yes there is a long way to go in the season but this team is fun to watch. More and more young players come into the side and impress hugely.

One sigh of relief across the U.S. is that young American attacker, Christian Pulisic is settling in and finding his finishing boots with five goals in his last three games.

I expect a huge response from the home side, there quite frankly must be one. This Chelsea side is exciting, and it is hard to rule them out from getting a result. For now, Pep Guardiola’s team will get the job done.

Prediction: 2-1, Manchester City

Sheffield United v. Manchester United

The last preview for week 13 will be Sunday’s sole match – fifth against seventh with just a point separating the two sides.

The Blades are unbeaten in their last five matches as well. At Bramall Lane we’ve already witnessed some fantastic crowds and to top that off, they claimed one big scalp in South Yorkshire when Arsenal came to visit. They also gave Liverpool a tough time.

A great old stadium and a perfect setting for what will be a great battle. They are a blue-collar team from a blue-collar city, but they have some class about them, despite the workmanlike performances.

Look out for wing-backs George Baldock and Enda Stevens. They make the team tick on both sides of the ball. Defensively they’ll drop back and make a back five but it’s the attacking transition where they’re fantastic to watch, providing width and almost playing like true wingers.

They’ll certainly give Manchester United’s backline plenty to deal with. However, United just feel like they’re starting to turn a corner. Whilst I think results will yoyo for the rest of the season, there are injured players returning.

Martial made his return just before the international break. Daniel James continues to impress as he’s transitioned from the Championship to the EPL with relative ease, but it’s Marcus Rashford that deserves special praise with six goals and three assists on the season. The young attacker will only get better as he continues to mature.  Able to play in various attacking positions, he is most comfortable wide.

Players get injured but you’d hate to think about what United would do if they lost Rashford. He is a game-changer, not only because of his blistering pace but more the fact he is able to produce something out of nothing.

The United front three can rival anyone in the top four right now but like the backline, it can go missing on occasion or be overly wasteful in front of the goal. I feel Man United could pip Sheffield this time around in a closely fought battle.

Prediction: 1-0, Manchester United

 

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