Howdy and welcome back to another exciting installment of the FPL Jingle newsletter. Written by everyone’s favourite podcast co host (beating out some tough competition) I take you through all the match ups for each game week, giving you my thoughts as to who may be an asset worth looking at as well as giving a prediction for the overall result. I had a pretty good return last week, predicting the correct result in 7 out the 10 games in week 2, including 3 draws! Was it just beginners luck or am I actually a football guru, lets find out!
Sat 12:30pm – Spurs v Wolves
Starting with the early kickoff game that see’s a frustrated Wolves travel to London to take on a battle hardened Spurs. The early kick off always likes to throw a wrench in the works of people’s prediction’s and bets so we could have a potentially tricky one here.
Starting with Spurs and the home side’s confidence will be sky high after being able to salvage a 2-2 draw with top 4 rivals Chelsea. They showed a lot of spirit and fight to come back from a goal down twice in the game which show’s the effect Conte is having on this side. In previous years you might have seen their heads drop and just chalk it up to not being there day but under Conte now they are willing to fight until the final whistle. What was also interesting was tactical changes Conte made during the game, brining off Sessegnon for Richarlison and leaving the front 3 unchanged. Then when 2-1 down bringing on Perisic and Moura for Son and Royal, changes which proved key as Perisic played in the corner that allowed Kane to get his head on it and equalize right at the death.
Some of the negatives would be that Son was taken out of the game almost completely by Recce James, hence him bein substituted, something we are not used to seeing from Spurs in the past but shows Conte’s willingness to win and not put any player ahead of the team. The other thing then is how easy they were to play through when they went to a back 4. Granted this might not be a formation they are used to playing but the way Chelsea were able to suck in the Spurs players down the right before playing it into Sterling in the middle and instantly making it a 2v1 and allowing Reece James to tuck the ball away.
The feeling in the Wolves camp on the other hand will be one of frustration about themselves than anything else. Now that Podence is back fully fit you can see the bright spark that he provides to the team, playing in nice passes to the left hand side and allowing FPL darling Pedro Neto to run at the defenders. Add to this the signing of winger Goncalo Guedes from Valencia and they have nice interesting pieces.
The only problem is trying to get them all to fit and put the ball in the net. So many times they were able to get in behind the Fulham defence and so many times they either shot straight at the keeper or played it across the box to nobody there. It feels obvious to say but they really do miss what Jimenez brings to the team but with him being out for another few of weeks and no sign of another striker coming in during the window you do wonder is pressure may start to mount on Bruno Lage.
Tottenham have been victorious in 3 of the last 6 meetings between these 2 sides and are 1/3 at the bookies but have only kept a clean sheet twice. Wolves will know they have a result in them if they can figure it out on the day and can prove dangerous on the counter attack given their pace up top. The early kick off is always hard to predict but I am going for a Spurs win and both teams to score.
Sat 15:00 – Leicester v Southampton
A game in which both sides will be desperate to get their first win of the season. Leicester blew a 2-0 lead at home opening weekend while Southampton had to come back from 2-0 at home in the game week just gone. Which begs the question of what happens when a stoppable force meets a movable object?
Starting with the away side first because why not really? The Saints would have been hoping for better fortune for their home opener but that did themselves no favours. Conceding 2 sloppy goals, 1 from poor defending by the CB’s by being static in the 6 yard area and not being aware of Rodrigo moving to the near post. The second then all because the man defending the short corner couldn’t be arsed to get back onsite and so Rodrigo has a tap in. These are things you are always going to get with inexperienced players and Southampton have the 2nd youngest starting XI behind only Arsenal. So what makes this Southampton side different to all the ones we have seen before? The answer is the bench.
At 2-0 down Ralph was able to bring on Armstrong, Aribo and Mara. All contributed in the goals that would see them get back to level pegging in the game. In the likes of Aribo and Mara, they may just have found some key players. Aribo’s composure when taking the his chance was a welcome change to this side. Rounding the keeper before finishing in the bottom left. What was even more interesting in my opinion was Mara’s slide rule pass to cut through the Leeds defence and play in Walker-Peters. It was almost a KDB like ball that is very easy on the eyes. Hassenhuttl may look to put them in the starting line up given their performances here.
One team that won’t have the issue of bench players pushing for a spot in the starting XI is the foxes though as they once again looked to have little to offer. They got off to a strong enough start at the Emirates with Fofana having the best chance of the first half but ultimately unable to finish. From that point on it became the Gabriel Jesus show and they soon found themselves 2-0 down after 35 mins. In the 2nd half then it seemed Arsenal could score anytime they wanted, doing so after an OG from Saliba and Maddison. The question now becomes the same as last season in that can they win games with such a poor defence?
Rodgers will be encouraged by the good form shown by Maddison and Dewsbury while also hoping Harvey Barnes can get back soon to bolster the attack. The real missing piece for this team right now seems to be Jamie Vardy misfiring. A very talismanic player for this team I feel that once he gets off the mark that the goals will be easier to come by. And well, it doesn’t get much easier than Southampton who they shipped 9 goals past not too long ago.
This is an interesting game to try and call as neither team is in what I would call good form. What I do think however is that this game has goals in it and so I would be looking to start any of Leicester assets if I had them. Leicester are the favourites here and rightly so as I fancy them to get the win here and think there will be over 2.5 goals.
Sat 15:00 – Everton v Nott Forest
A fixture which could have huge implications for both teams further down the line this season. The Toffee’s welcome new kids on the block Forest to Goodison park in what could be either a fascinating game or completely dull.
A somewhat predictable bad start for Frank Lampard see’s his side with 0 points form their opening 2 games. A team already dealing with injuries to key players such a Calvert-Lewin and Godfrey, Lampard would have been disappointed to see Doucoure go off with a muscular injury early in the game against Villa. What also wouldn’t have helped fat Frank was the goal they conceded from Ings who had enough time to take a touch and move it onto his right before smashing home. The goal they then conceded late in the game was due to pushing too hard for the equaliser and being caught out in possession. Something that can be excused given the scenario.
What did impress was Onana on his debut. When he came on he brought a real drive to the midfield, going box to box and while at fault for the 2nd goal, made up for it by playng the ball across the goal that Digne eventually put in his own net. Gordon is like the energizer bunny and just does not stop running and when moved back to his natural wing position was much more dangerous going forward. It will be interesting to see if they make any further summer additions as there are a couple of interesting pieces here.
Sat 15:00 – Palace v Villa
The first game of the season for Palace where you would have said that they have a good chance of winning and a fixture the Lions will be looking to use to keep that winning feeling going another week.
Viera’s men can feel proud of what they accomplished last week. Not many teams are able to go into Anfield and absorb the pressure they way they did. Even fewer are able to hit them on the break and take the lead like they did. Combine this with Darwin Nunez losing the run of himself and things were shaping up to be a historical night. Only for a piece of brilliance from Luis Diaz Palace to bring the teams back level shortly there after. There are a lot of positive’s for them to take form this game and with Villa coming to Selhurst park for this week they will fancy their chances of getting their first league win of the season.
Zaha impressed with a beautiful finish and arguably ahould have had another to put the visiting side 2-1 up. Eze impressed again and has moved into the Conor Gallagher sized hole in the team very well. The defence looks to be trying to carry on what it was able to do last season and could prove tricky for Villa. The only question mark you have with this team is over it’s strikers. Edouard was a fine player at Celtic but has yet to really catch fire in the premier league. Showing glimpses but never anything consistent. The same could almost be said of Mateta who has proved a bit elusive at times. Rotating strikers is fine for the moment but for either to get any sort of form they will need consistent game time.
Villa will also be in good spirits as they are fresh off a 2-1 at home to an Everton side that asked some tough questions of them late in the game. Gerrard’s decision to bring Watkins back into the team was vindicated early on in the game, causing no shortage of problems to the Everton back 3 and eventually assisted Ings for the opener. With Everton pressing for the equaliser, a great bit of work from himself and Buendia so the argentine in for the games second. The substitution of Coutinho for Buendia also proved to be a smart one, even if it was enforced by injury. Mings being back in the starting line up also proved to be important as he made a couple of key blocks late in the game.
With Diego Carlos out for what looks like the majority of the season with an Achilles tear, the lions will be forced to revert back to their original CB partnership of Konsa and Mings. They will also be unhappy with the manner in which they conceded the goal and is something they will need to learn from with this next game coming up. Coutinho’s injury makes him a potental doubt for next week but with Buendia performing well off the bench I wonder could he be outright dropped?
This game is a hard one to call, the record between these 2 is almost split straight down the middle and the bookies are finding it tough to predict a favourite as well. I can see both teams really giving it a go hear and hopefully it makes for an interesting game. My prediction is a score draw.
Sat 15:00 – Fulham v Brentford
A game that might fly under the radar of a few but these are 2 teams that are incredibly well coached by 2 good managers (fight me Everton fans). Brentford in their 2nd season in the premier league and Fulham doing everything they can to emulate them.
If you had told people within the Brentford set up 3 years ago that they would make it to the premier league and in their 2 season dismantle United 4-0 at home you’d have been thrown into a psychiatric ward. But this is the reality the club faces today. Under the guidance of Thomas Frank his side dominated those XI imposters in United jerseys and never took their foot off the gas. Each player knowing their role and executing it to perfection which goes to show what can happen when you get the right profile of player in. Everyone working for each other and giving absolutely everything, the players and the manager deserve huge credit.
Josh Dasilva was an important player under Frank before injuries last season derailed him and meant he hardly got any minutes. This season he has lept at that chance for redemption with both hands. 2 goals in 2 games and full of confidence, the former Arsenal academy player looks right at home and will be hoping to keep up his goal scoring form. Another 2 players who will look to keep up their impressive form are Toney and Mbuemo, Toney with 2 assists the last game and Mbuemo with his opening goal of the season. Toney is an absolute handful and completely bullied Martinez all game while also showing he has an all rounded game to him by playing in a great assist to Mbuemo. The new Cameroonian international did well to get on the end of Toney’s ball and finished well.
A player that was riding after week 1 but was maybe brought down to earth a bit was Alexander Mitrovic. Missing a penalty in a game where his team were under pressure for a lot of it. He had the chance to snatch what could have been a brilliant 3 points. Jose Sa however was equal to the task and saved relatively easily. This brings back the same old questions about the Serbian who no doubt will be keen to get back out on the field as soon as possible and forget this feeling. If you had offered Marco Silva a point from this game before kick off he would have taken it. This Fulham side are still not the finished article as new signings are still joining or getting their firs training sessions in.
Issa Diop, once a highly touted CB who was linked with United, joins to give them some experience at the back along with Shane Duffy. Kevin Mbabu made his debut in this game after singing form Wolfsburg, a Bundesliga veteran who should deputise well at RB. Bernd Leno has finally arrived from Arsenal and will be starting in between the sticks soon. The cottagers have built a well mixed squad of players from the championship squad last season as well as proven experienced players who can add quality.
Fulham have onlt beaten Brentford once in their last 6 meetings between the pair, with that 1 win being in extra time in the championship playoff. Fulham though pose a different threat now and will no doubt be marking this as a game they will feel they can get a result from. The boo makers have Fulham as the favoutites here but I am going to go for a Brentford win as I feel they will just have too much in the end for the home side to cope with.
Sat 17:30 Bournemouth v Arsenal
Arsenal are back on the TV, this time on saturday night football as they travel to south to take on newly promoted Bournemouth. The gunners are flying high having scored 6 goals in their last 2 games while the Cherries will be looking to double on their win tally at home this season.
Arsenal’s home opener against Leicester didn’t get off to the easiest of starts. Despite dominating possession they found themselves vulnerable on the counter, with Wesley Fofana having a great chance but failing to capitalise. After that though it was the Gabriel Jesus show, putting the home side 2-0 up after 35 mins. Arteta’s men seemed to be able to score at will, with Xhaka and Martinelli both getting on the score sheet in the 2nd half to maintain that 2 goal lead. They remain the only team to have 2 wins from 2 bar Man City and will absolutely fancy their chances here. The additions of Jesus and Zinchenko have proved crucial as this side look to try and change the atmosphere around the club and fans from hope to quiet confidence.
The goals they conceded were due to lapses in concentration most likely due to the players thinking that they had the game out of sight. Saliba gets himself caught in an awkward spot and ends up heading past Ramsdale. It was great to see the arsenal fans rally around him after this blunder and he showed good composure for the rest of the game. The next goal from Maddison was one that probably should have been avoided and no doubt Ramsdale will be furious if the new documentary all or nothing is anything to go by. With a good run of fixtures after this, Arsenal need to strike while the iron is hot and keep winning.
Bournemouth meanwhile will have quickly moved on following the Man City game. Camped inside their own box for the full 90+ mins, they did well to limit the damage to just 4 goals and managed to keep Haaland quiet. They will be back home and looking to bounce back but will no doubt have their work cut out for them. Solanke and Moore will try and impose themselves physically on the Arsenal back 4 with the wing backs looking to try and prevent Zinchenko and Ben White from moving into those midfield spots they like to take up.
I can’t see anything other than an Arsenal win here. They have too much quality and too much momentum and while I think the hand side will put up a stern fight, they will ultimately end up coming away empty handed.
Sun 14:00 Leeds v Chelsea
The first game on Sunday see’s a Chelsea side somewhat in the middle of a rebuild take on an interesting Leeds side that have been rejuvenated a bit under Jesse Marsch but also still haven’t got over some of the short comings that started under Bielsa.
Leeds have started off the season relatively well you would say. A win at home to Wolves and a draw away to Southampton and you would think that the fans would be delighted and most are. But if you were watching the match at Saint Mary’s last week you would have seen them blow a 2-0 lead with Marsch doing very little in the way changes to try and secure the win. When the full time whistle went this game would have been seen more as 2 points dropped then a point gained. What also might have been a familiar sight to many was Bamford going off early in the game with an apparent injury.
With Bamford going off injured it would have been a great relief to see Rodrigo step up and score twice in the game as well as a goal in week 1, even taking the captain’s armband. Include in that the new players he has brought in such as Aaronson and Adams in midfield especially. If he can get this team playing the way he wants the to there are a lot of reasons to be positive.
Positivity meanwhile might not be the word I would use to describe Thomas Tuchel right now. The Blues gave away a 1 goal lead twice against Spurs. The first in very controversial fashion as it looked like Bentancur fouled Cucurella in the build up. What tipped the game over the edge into the relms of a classic was the touch line bust ups (yes plural) between the 2 managers. Chelsea did well to adapt to the changes Spurs made in the game but ultimately were undone from a set piece. The thing of concern for Chelsea is that despite possession they seemed to lack any real cutting edge. Crosses into the box with only Sterling in there, lack of ideas and just finishing in general. With some time still left in the window I would expect Chelsea to try and make 1 more attacking addition to the squad.
What was interesting to see was Cucurella making his full debut at LWB and showed how important he could be to the team. Whipping in the ball from the corner for Koulibaly to finish brilliantly. Sterling also showed that he was is stating to adapt to his role within the team, making the key pass for James to score. What a good player Reece James is by the way. Starting the game as the right sided CB he kept Son quiet almost all game. Then when the changes were made he moved to his regular role of wing back and provided great attacking threat. With everything going on in the background in the club credit must be given to Tuchel for still being able to get these teams to a high level.
This promises to be an interesting game but I can’t see Chelsea losing this game. Even with the draw against Spurs Chelsea are going well and will have too much for this Leeds team. The last 6 games between this 2 have seen 19 goals (15 for Chelsea) so we could see a lot of goals in this game too.
Sun 14:00 West Ham v Brighton
David Moyes will no doubt be disappointed with West Ham’s start to the season while Graham Potter will no doubt be delighted with Brighton’s. Contrasting fortunes ahead of this match up where the Hammers will be eager to get their first points on the board.
After finishing in 7th last season and securing another European spot and making a deep run in the Europa league. Some thought this might be the season where West Ham could push on and challenge for the Champions league spots. Since then they have had somewhat of a reality check, losing both their opening fixtures. This isn’t to say that they have played bad. Had fortune gone their way last week they could have left the forest stadium with 3 points. Fornal’s hitting, the crossbar from range following up by Henderson saving well from Soucek. Benrahma hitting the crossbar from a free kick. Rice having his penalty saved. I think West Ham will be fine, they just need some of their key players like Bowen to get up and running.
Brighton in the meanwhile have fought and clawed very hard to get to the position that they are in. Grinding out a 0-0 draw at home to Newcastle is the type’s of performance’s we are used to seeing from this side. They ask questions of the oppositon and seek to exploit any weakness’s and bar a brilliant goal line clearance from Trippier they could have had their second win. They will be hampered slightly by the loss of Cucurella but have already a replacement LB and will no doubt be serviceable. If they can sort out the lack of threat in front of goal then there is no doubt that they will be in a position to go well. Trossard and Gross can add some much needed support for this and could prove some valuable assets given their prices.
5 of the last 6 meetings between these teams has ended in draws and with no clean sheets for either side. Taking this into account as well as the current forms of both teams I am leaning towards the same and predicting a score draw.
Sun 16:30 – Newcastle v Man City
The champions come to visit Tyneside as Eddie Howe and his men hope to give them an unwarm welcome in the battle to see who’s oil money is better.
While Newcastle can be content with 4 points from a possible 6 it would be wrong to say that they have been playing well up to this point. Up until Fabian Schar’s wonder strike Newcastle were really struggling to break down that Forest side. Even with all the possession they had. Then in the Brighton game if not for Kieran Trippier they would likely have left the Amex stadium empty handed. The test facing them this week is one that is going to be much harder to pass.
Howe may opt for a back 5 formation to try and strict Man City’s threat in the final third but with Targett a doubt with a hamstring injury a reshuffle might be needed. They still lack any sort of real cutting edge up top and while Callum Wilson is reliable finisher, his injury history show’s there might be a period where he is out of action. Pope has continued to prove that he is still 1 of England’s best keeper’s, making saves that continue to keep his team alive in games. you just question where the goals are going to come from up against this City team.
A City team fresh off a 4-0 win over Bournemouth and looking to pile the pressure on Liverpool after the Reds slow start. De Bruyne looked back to his best, providing assits and scoring goals as only he can. Phil Foden looked impressive as well, drifitng all over the pitch and helping himself to a goal and an assist also. He could of even had 2 if he had squared the ball to Haaland who was ready to tap it home but I feel that will come in time. The big Norwegian also showed he is capable of great hold up play, providing the assist to Gundogan.
This game was an all round domination and master class. What will be interesting will be the Pep roulette ahead of this game as Foden looks set to keep his spot, leaving Mahrez and Grealish to battle it out for the 1 remaining spot on the wing. With the news that Man City will only let Bernardo Silva go for 100 million euros it seems he is unlikely to leave and may not be integrated back into the starting line up. Meanwhile Ake looks to have beaten Stones to the other starting CB spot at least until Laporte is back.
This game, like last week is a game not who but by how much. City have won the last 6 meetings and kept a clean sheet in 5 and in this case I do see history repeating itself. Even with the change that is occurring in Newcastle it is still just a bit too soon to be challenging City.
Mon 20:00 – United v Liverpool
At last we arrive at the piece de résistance, the cherry on the top of the cake that is gameweek 3. By the end of this game either United or Liverpool or potentially both will be winless after 3 games. A United team desperate to put together even a half decent performance and a Liverpool side desperate not to slip any further behind in the title race. A game important to both teams on opposite ends of the scales.
The home side were absolutely and utterly humiliated by Brentford last week as they conceded 4 goals inside the first 35 mins of the game. Goalkeeping errors, breakdowns in communication, breakdown in the style of play, a lack of understanding and willingness to work. This team are starting at lower than rock bottom. The squad is largely the same as last season with hardly any players leaving or coming in.
Honestly I could go on and on but I’d rather not. The long and short of it is this team just isn’t good enough and it will be a real struggle to see them even get 6/7th place. Ronaldo want’s to leave, Rashford might be subject of a bid from PSG, Sancho looks lost, Bruno is a shell of himself, Eriksen wishes he probably stayed at Brentford, the back 4 are a joke and De Gea looks like the version of himself from the world cup all those years ago. Honestly just stay away from this team.
Liverpool meanwhile approach this game from the opposite side of the spectrum. It feels strange to call this a must win game so early on in the season but with the title being decided by such fine margins in the last 3-4 years it isn’t far off it. The loss of Darwin Nunez to suspension means a starting spot again for Bobby Firmino. Liverpool are a different kind of attack when he plays as he tends to drop a bit deeper and link the play to the wingers but he will fit into that team like a glove. It will also be interesting to see if Konate or Matip are fit in time for this game. Nat Philips deputised ok against Palace but he does not have the pace to play the high line that Liverpool love to do.
A lot of people are transferring out their Liverpool defenders but I can’t for the life of me understand why. This is still a great team that is just going through a small bit of a rocky patch but they will no doubt bounce back. Salah will love going up against this United defence. Luke Shaw and Martinez on the left hand side will no doubt have their hands full and that is before you throw Trent into the mix.
Even in years of old, when United dominated the league and Liverpool were struggling to get top 4 these game were always still exciting as you knew Liverpool could rise above their level and put in a good performance. Now that their fortunes have reversed the same cannot be said of United. Their best bet will be to play a 5 at the back and have McFred sit in front of the CB’s the whole game and try use pace to hit them on the counter. A bit like Palace. But Liverpool are not likely to fall for the same trick again……..