Premiership Saturday 21st September
We’re only four games into the new Premiership season, but already it’s reasonable to talk about ‘six-pointers’ at both the top and bottom ends of the table.
The two Manchester clubs will be scrapping it out for an early edge up at the right end on Sunday, but in the meantime West Brom and Sunderland meet tomorrow in a relegation clash both sides will be fighting tooth and nail to, at the very least, not lose.
The Baggies and the Black Cats occupy the bottom two places in the table and a defeat for either might see them cut dangerously adrift from the rest. Yes, it’s very early days, but the fans won’t like it and the pressure will be on big-time.
This match has ‘draw’ written all over it (12/5 with Coral), as does the game between West Ham and Everton (23/10), two sides who have quickly settled in mid-table.
A feature of this Premiership campaign so far has been the shortage of goals – less than two per game – and these two clubs have certainly played their part in dragging down the average; between them they have scored just five goals and conceded four.
They have also drawn five of their combined eight games and with West Ham showing little attacking ambition at Southampton last week and Everton hardly displaying gung-ho tendencies under Roberto Martinez, this has all the makings of a stalemate.
Chelsea remain solid 5/2 second favourites with Coral for the Premiership, but two defeats on the trot is worrying for their fans and their problems aren’t the type that can be sorted out overnight – not even by Jose Mourinho.
They are crying out for a striker, or rather a striker Mourinho can trust, and until they get one they will surely not be able to capitalise on the array of gifted midfielders at their disposal. Fulham at home is perhaps seen as a perfect game to get Chelsea back on track, but it might not be a stroll in the park; maybe just 1-0 (13/2).
It will be interesting to see who Mourinho plays up front tomorrow evening, but it is a fact that only 11 of Chelsea’s 75 Premiership goals last season came from their strikers with the evergreen midfielder Frank Lampard (6/1 to score first or last, 7/4 at any time) leading the stats on 15 ahead of the now out of favour Juan Mata on12.
Liverpool (1/2) have a chance to go clear at the top with a very winnable home game against Southampton. Many will be surprised at their good start to the season, but generally the Premiership table has rapidly taken on a very familiar look with the ‘Big Six’ already occupying the top six positions.
Written by Jon Freeman