EPL MatchDay 18: News and Notes

Hello everyone!
Welcome to the 18th MatchDay of EPL action and a quick look at the news and notes leading into the weekend!

BOURNEMOUTH

Most Recent Result: Midweek Carabao Cup loss to Chelsea, 1-0
Notables Missing This Weekend: Adam Smith, Simon Francis (Q),

While Bournemouth has lost only three home games this season, they've lost six of their previous seven EPL games, including back to back losses as well. However, Bournemouth hasn't lost in nine straight to Brighton, winning three straight home games, and last losing to the Seagulls back in 2008. Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser are currently the highest scoring stack of the season, combining for six goals. Callum Wilson also has goals vs. Brighton in back to back games.

BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION

Most Recent Result: Last weekend EPL loss to Chelsea, 2-1
Notables Missing This Weekend: Shane Duffy (suspension)

Very simply, while there has been slight improvements, Brighton still remain a very weak away team, and it’s something to consider targeting every slate. They’ve won only two of their nine away games this season, losing six of the nine. Away form home Brighton has only scored seven times, with four of those goals coming from central defenders. So far this season Brighton has not defeated a team that resided above them in the standings, and in his career manager Chris Hughton has never recorded a victory vs. Bournemouth.

This season, no team has drawn more penalty shots than Bournemouth’s five, and no team has conceded more penalty shot goals than Brighton’s 5.

LEICESTER CITY

Most Recent Result: Midweek Carabao Cup loss to ManCity, 2-1 on PKs.
Notables Missing This Weekend: Ben Chilwell (Q), Wilfred Ndidi (Q), Jamie Vardy (Q)

Not only is Leicester coming into this fixture as one of the poorest in-form teams in the league, but they are also working with poor history. The Foxes haven’t won an away game in London since 2017, covering 10 straight games. Only ManUtd and Arsenal have beaten Leicester more times than Chelsea. Leicester has won only twice in their previous 10 games, and considering they haven’t beaten Chelsea since their title run in 2015, this doesn’t look good for the Foxes, at all.

CHELSEA

Most Recent Result: Midweek Carabao Cup win vs. Bournemouth, 1-0.
Notables Missing This Weekend: Alvaro Morata (Q)

As shown vs. ManCity, travelling to Stamford Bridge is never an easy task. Chelsea has won six of their nine home games this season, unbeaten in 12 straight at home, winning seven of the 12, and scoring at least twice in six of those seven victories. In their past nine meetings, Chelsea has won five of those by at least two goals, they’ve won five of the previous six meetings in all competitions, and nine of the previous 12 EPL games vs. Leicester. Chelsea has kept a clean sheet in three straight games, whereas Leicester has only scored four goals over their previous six away games. As the pricing shows, this is a Hazard slate; he has 17pts in 13 games this season, and with four straight games with at least an assist, he’s looking to be the first player since 2001’s Zola (arguably Chelsea’s greatest modern day player) who went five straight. More impressively, Hazard has 99 goals for Chelsea (all competitions) and is looking to be only the 10th player in club history to score 100.

SOUTHAMPTON

Most Recent Result: Last weekend, EPL win vs. Arsenal, 3-2
Notables Missing This Weekend: Cedric Soares (Q), Ryan Bertrand (Q), Mario Lemina (Q)

Under new management Southampton were finally able to change the tides last weekend, winning their first game in 12 straight. In fact, Southampton hasn’t won back to back games since April of 2017, and last weekend was the first time Southampton scored at least three goals since Feb. of this year. The Saints have been poor away from home as well, failing to find an away win since September. It will be interesting to see if the honeymoon is over yet, because the new coach push is all Southampton has going for them this weekend.

HUDDERSFIELD TOWN

Most Recent Result: Last weekend, EPL loss vs. Newcastle,1-0.
Notables Missing This Weekend: Aaron Mooy

If there was one team on the opposite side of the form spectrum, it’s Huddersfield. They are losers of four straight, and they also hold the unfavorable title of the league’s worst offense. They’ve scored only three home goals so far this season; a league worst record, which has only been seen twice, once by Everton in 1998, and once by Arsenal in 1912. Only Crystal Palace’s Sellhurst Park has seen fewer home goals than Huddersfield’s John Smith Stadium, with 13 and 14 respectively, they combine for most teams’ away goals this season. This game presents a strong GPP fade, but it’s not void of cash options.

So far this season in only two of the nine Huddersfield home games, and four of the nine Southampton away games, both teams have scored.

CRYSTAL PALACE

Most Recent Result: Last weekend, 1-0 EPL win vs. Leicetser.
Notables Missing This Weekend: Wayne Hennessey

There’s little and less to hope for with Palace in this one. The Eagles haven’t won away from home since September and find themselves winless in six straight EPL away games. Palace hasn’t beaten City since 2015 (at home), losing seven of the previous eight, conceding 25 times. This is a big one, Palace hasn’t scored at City since since 2005, hasn’t won at City since 1990, and Roy Hodgson coached sides have been shut out in five straight vs. City. Like I said, little and less to hope for here, but at least there’s always hope for Palace when Zaha starts. I’m not betting on hope this weekend.

MANCHESTER CITY

Most Recent Result: Midweek Carabao Cup win vs. Leicester City on Penalties
Notables Missing This Weekend: David Silva, Ben Mendy, Danilo (Q)

Where to even begin? City is on a current league historic run of 36 straight normal-timed Saturday games without defeat, winning 15 straight by 57-7. Once again City has won nine straight home games to start a season, only on 10 occasions have teams done it 10 straight (City are two of those 10). Since 2003 (opening of the Emirates for City) only Arsenal and Chelsea has scored more goals than City. They’ve won all their home games this season, winning eight of their previous nine EPL games, scoring 33 times over those nine home games, and avg. well over four goals/game at home this season. In seven of those nine home games City scored at least three times, and they are on a current run of five straight EPL home games with four goals. On top of all this, City has won 10 of the previous 13 games between these two side. With Raheem Sterling scoring in all but one EPL home start this season, and Kevin De Bruyne coming back, City are looking just as solid as ever.

FULHAM

Most Recent Result: Last weekend, 2-0 EPL loss to West Ham
Notables Missing This Weekend: Ryan Sessegnon

Here we have the league’s worst team, Fulham. They have yet to keep a clean sheet this season, conceding a league worst 45 goals. Including last season Fulham hasn’t kept a clean sheet in 21 straight, and in 18 of those 21 games they conceded more than once. Fulham hasn’t won away this season, losing five straight EPL away games, along with four straight losses as a whole, they’ve won only once in their previous five. Fulham hasn’t scored in six of their previous nine, all competitions, however to spite that, in any game Mitrovic has found the net, Fulham went on to not lose.

NEWCASTLE

Most Recent Result: Last weekend, 1-0 victory over Huddersfield
Notables Missing This Weekend: DeAndre Yedlin (suspension), Jonjo Shelvey (Q)

While Newcastle isn’t red hot, they are far from cold. The Magpies have won four of their previous seven, and two of their previous four EPL home games. In his long career Rafa Benitez has never lost to Fulham. In their previous three home goals and in five of the previous seven Newcastle goals, Rondon has been involved with either a goal or an assist. This biggest concern is Newcastle has lost nine of their previous 14 games vs. newly promoted sides, which does include their loss to Wolves already this season. So, while Newcastle is in a great matchup, they are still Newcastle.

WATFORD

Most Recent Result: Last weekend, 3-2 EPL victory over Cardiff City.
Notables Missing This Weekend: Andre Gray

Another team that is on a horrid run of form is Watford. The Hornets have only one win in their eight EPL away games this season, they haven’t found an away win in four straight, conceding in seven straight EPL games, including more than once in five straight. The Hornet’s only win in their previous six came last weekend, and while they aren’t inept at DFS, away from home they make for some of the worst options in the league.

WEST HAM

Most Recent Result: Last weekend, 2-0 EPL victory over Fulham.
Notables Missing This Weekend: Numerous bodies.

While the Hammers are the most injured team in the league, they don’t exactly show it. West Ham has won four of their previous six at home (losing only to Spurs and ManCity), and with winning four straight they are looking to make it five for the first time in well over a decade (2006). While West Ham has dominated this fixture, winning 14 of the previous 19 meetings, they’ve never won three straight in their new London stadium. Up against derby rivals Watford seems like a great time to set history right.

MANCHESTER UNITED

Most Recent Result: Last weekend 3-1 EPL loss to Liverpool.
Notables Missing This Weekend: Luke Shaw, Alexis Sanchez

If you haven’t heard, Mourinho has been (finally) fired, and United will be headed by the former star forward Ole Gunnar Solskjær (one of my personal fav United players of all time). While this should boost United to victory, what we are looking for is a ceiling (for a change). So far this season United has been one of the poorest away teams in the league, winning only once away from home (of six) and keeping only one clean sheet. So far this season they’ve conceded more than all of last season, and have only one home clean sheet to pair as well. This is the worst start for United since 1990; winning only once in their previous six had a lot to do with the firing. While United has lost only once to Cardiff in the previous 12, they’ve also failed to win in three straight vs. newly promoted sides. The biggest player to watch will be Lukaku, who was only one of two ManUtd players to openly defend Mourinho in front of the chairman, and he has the highest share of away goals in the league, well over half of his have come away.

CARDIFF

Most Recent Result: Last weekend, 3-2 EPL loss to Watford.
Notables Missing This Weekend: Joe Bennett (Q)

Don’t count Cardiff out yet, despite being this season’s new Welsh addition they have found incredible success in Wales. Cardiff has won three straight at home, four of the previous five home games, and this season has scored in six of their nine EPL home games. However, Neil Warnock is winless in seven straight vs. United, losing six of the seven. So, while I think Cardiff can score, they probably can’t beat the sexiest honeymoon of all time.