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Premier League Preview Week 3

Crystal Palace v Everton

The Premier League has stormed back to life in the first two-game weeks. No draws have been played out yet and the league is already starting to take shape with five teams maintaining 100% records last weekend.

Liverpool recorded the biggest win with a 2-0 victory over Chelsea thanks to another Kepa Arrizabalaga error while the Reds’ city rivals Everton also recorded a big 5-2 win over West Brom. Crystal Palace, Arsenal, and Leicester City also registered wins to make it two from two while the likes of West Ham, Fulham, Southampton, and Sheffield United are still fighting for their first win of the season. More big fixtures take place this weekend with Arsenal v Liverpool the flagship game on Monday evening. Manchester City host Leicester at the Etihad on Sunday while there’s a big Yorkshire derby between Sheffield and Leeds.

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Crystal Palace v Everton

Crystal Palace have won back to back opening games in the Premier League for the first time in their history. Following their 3-1 win over Manchester United last weekend, Roy Hodgson’s side are fifth in the league, have scored four, and conceded just one in their two games so far. Palace were the lowest scorers in the league at Selhurst Park last season and registered just 15 goals in 18 games.

Everton have started brightly this season with back to back wins over Tottenham and West Brom, scoring six in the process, and are now second in the Premier League. Everton struggled away last season and won only five matches on the road and only scored 20 goals in total. The Toffees beat Palace comfortably 3-1 in their last meeting.

Although both Everton and Palace have scored plenty of goals so far, they have two managers who prefer defensive football which may start to appear as the season progresses. There will be a low scoring game at Selhurst Park which Everton may just edge.

Scott Dann, Jairo Reidewald, Christian Benteke could be back in contention for Palace but Patrick Van Aanholt (shoulder), Gary Cahill (thigh), Nathan Ferguson (knee), and James Tomkins (thigh) are all ruled out. Everton will be without Cenk Tosun (ACL), Jarrad Braithwaite (ankle), Mason Holgate (ankle), and Jonas Lossl (back). Dominic Calvert-Lewin should recovery in time from a tight hamstring.

Crystal Palace – 14/5

Draw – 9/4

Everton – 21/20

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Sheffield United v Leeds United

Sheffield United are without a win in their first two games. They are the only team in the Premier League yet to score a goal. The Blades have registered around seven shots on goal per game this season, the lowest number in the league. However, they had the best defensive home record in the Premier league last season, conceding 15, so Chris Wilder will be desperate for a clean sheet and the odd goal to pick up three points on Sunday.

Leeds are the joint top-scorers in the Premier League with seven goals in two games so far. A 4-3 loss to Liverpool and a 4-3 win over Fulham showcase Marcelo Bielsa’s intentions to attack this season but, with six conceded, they also have the second worse defensive record after just two games. Leeds have lost four of their last six fixtures against Sheffield United.

These two sides are polar opposites in their play which is likely to suit Sheffield United more in this fixture. Wilder’s side will soak up pressure and hit Leeds on the break so a 1-0 win for the Blades could be likely in this Yorkshire derby.

The Blades will be without John Egan (suspended) and Lys Mousett (ankle). Adam Forshaw (groin), Gaetano Berardi (knee), and Pablo Hernandez (groin) are ruled out for Leeds.

Sheffield United – 17/10

Draw – 23/10

Leeds – 13/8

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Manchester City v Leicester City

Man City were back to their best against Wolves last weekend, recording a comfortable 3-1 win in their opening game. Pep Guardiola’s side dominated possession and were clinical in front of goal.  Despite their inconsistencies away from the Etihad last season, City were solid at home, only dropping eight points all season and scoring the most home goals (57) in the 2019/20 Premier Leagues.

Leicester have started strongly and sit at the top of the Premier League on goal difference after two games. Brendan Rodgers’ side have scored the joint most goals in the league (7) and have conceded just two. However, Leicester struggle against City historically having beaten them once in their last six meetings and conceded 12. The Foxes’ away form was also patchy las season winning just seven of their 18 away fixtures in 2019/20.

Both of these sides love to attack so expect goals and littler emphasis on defence. But Guardiola’s City will have too much quality over Rodger’s young Leicester side so there could be a two-goal margin in this fixture.

Aymeric Laporte may return for City form his COVID-19 quarantine but they will be without Sergio Aguero (knee), Bernardo Silva (thigh), Ilkay Gundogan (knock), Joao Cancelo (ankle), Oleksandr Zinchenko (knock), and Eric Garcia (head injury). For Leicester, Jonny Evans and Wilfred Ndidi should be back in contention but Filip Benkovic (groin) and Ricardo Pereira (knee) are out.

Man City – 2/7

Draw – 19/4

Leicester – 8/1

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Liverpool v Arsenal

Liverpool looked more assured in their 2-0 win over Chelsea in comparison to the haphazard 4-3 narrow win against Leeds on the opening day. The Reds were dominant against Chelsea last weekend and 2-0 flattered the Blues as Liverpool registered 20 shots on goal and enjoyed over 60% possession. Jurgen Klopp will be looking for a similar performance at Anfield, where Liverpool have dropped one point in their last 20 Premier League matches.

Arsenal scraped three points off West Ham in a narrow 1-0 last weekend thanks to a late Eddie Nketiah goal. Mikel Arteta’s side were far from their best and looked a different team that beat Fulham comfortably 3-0 on the opening day. However, Arteta will be pleased with back to back clean sheets and will hope his side can improve on their four wins in 18 away matches from last season.

Liverpool are finding their groove this season which will make things more difficult for Arsenal on Monday. The Gunners are still without a number of defenders so Liverpool may win by a two goals margin to extend their impressive Anfield record.

Kieran Tierney and Sokratis may return for Arsenal this week. Gabriel Martinelli (knee), Calum Chambers (knee), Pablo Mari (ankle), Emile Smith Rowe (shoulder), and Shkodran Mustafi (thigh) remain out for the Gunners. For Liverpool, Joel Matip (knock) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlin (knee) are ruled out but Jordan Henderson, Joe Gomez and Xherdan Shaqiri could return to the squad.

Liverpool – 4/9

Draw – 15/4

Arsenal – 5/1

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