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Football

Liverpool, Arsenal in Premier League summit clash as United eyes return to winning ways

Norwich City vs Chelsea
Carrow Road, Norwich
Saturday, 24-08-2019 @2:30pm
Referee: Martin Atkinson

Chelsea will be hoping to pick up their first victory under Frank Lampard when they travel to Norwich City in Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off. The Blues have so far played three fixtures under Lampard, losing two and drawing the other and will be desperate to straighten that statistic against Norwich. The home side will however have different ideas after winning their first game back in the top flight last weekend in the 3-1 victory over Newcastle United-with Timo Pukki grabbing a hattrick.

Chelsea are on a 15-match unbeaten run against Norwich in all competitions, avoiding defeat in their seven trips to Carrow Road during that period (W4, D3). Norwich have only taken two points from 10 Premier League meetings since a 3-0 home victory in December 1994 (D2, L8).

Norwich defender Timm Klose could feature for the first time this season after recovering from a hip injury. Onel Hernandez will be out for three months after having knee surgery but Christoph Zimmermann could return next week from a knee injury.

Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante is a doubt with an ankle problem. The game will come too soon for defender Antonio Rudiger, but he could feature next week after four months out with a knee problem.

The Blues haven’t failed to win any of their opening three Premier League games in a season since 1998-99. They went on to finish third in that campaign. Frank Lampard is looking to avoid becoming the first Chelsea manager since Bobby Campbell in 1988 to fail to win any of his first four competitive games in charge. Chelsea have gone four Premier League away matches without a victory, failing to score in three of them (D2, L2). They last endured a longer winless away streak between September and December 2015, when drawing three games and losing four. Their only two defeats in the last 22 Premier League fixtures against newly-promoted teams came against reigning Championship title winners: Newcastle in 2017-18 and Wolves last season. Willian’s next Premier League appearance will be his 200th.

Brighton vs Southampton
The American Express Community Stadium, East Sussex
Saturday, 24-08-2019 @5pm
Referee: Kevin Friend

Brighton head coach Graham Potter has no new injury problems to contend with ahead of the visit of Southampton. Winger Jose Izquierdo, defender Ezequiel Schelotto and midfielder Yves Bissouma all remain sidelined.

New Southampton signing Kevin Danso could make his debut, having been an unused substitute against Liverpool. Back-up goalkeeper Alex McCarthy has recovered from the minor injury that saw Fraser Forster replace him on the bench last weekend. 

Brighton are yet to beat Southampton in the Premier League (D3, L1). The Seagulls have won only one of their last 10 matches with Southampton in all competitions (D5, L4), winning 3-0 at the Amex Stadium in the Championship in January 2012. Southampton won at Brighton twice last season, winning 1-0 in both the league and the EFL Cup.

Man United vs Crystal Palace
Old Trafford, Manchester
Saturday, 24-08-2019 @5pm
Referee: Paul Tierney

Man United must be furious for not having maximum points after two games following their disappointing 1-1 draw away to Wolves this past Monday. The game which they dominated saw Paul Pogba miss a second-half penalty, one which clearly would have seen them take all three points and put them joint top of the log with leaders Liverpool and Arsenal. On Saturday, they face a side that they have not lost to-at home in 30 years and will be favourites to win the contest.

Manchester United’s Diogo Dalot has been ruled out until after the international break next month due to injury. He joins fellow defenders and long-term absentees Eric Bailly and Timothy Fosu-Mensah on the sidelines.

Crystal Palace remain without injured central defenders Mamadou Sakho and James Tomkins. As a result, summer signing Gary Cahill could make his debut for Roy Hodgson’s side.

Manchester United are unbeaten in 22 league meetings since a 3-0 defeat at Selhurst Park in May 1991 (W18, D4). Crystal Palace are winless against United in all 20 Premier League meetings – the most any team has faced another in the division without ever earning a victory. The Eagles last won a league game at Old Trafford in December 1989 courtesy of a brace from Mark Bright in a 2-1 victory. They’ve failed to score in 11 of their subsequent 12 away league games at United, and earned a solitary point.

United have only won three of their last 14 matches in all competitions, as well as keeping a solitary clean sheet in 17 games. They have been beaten in two of their past four Premier League home fixtures, as many as they lost in their previous 27 at Old Trafford. A second successive home clean sheet would equal United’s league tally at Old Trafford for the whole of last season. Paul Pogba has missed four Premier League penalties since the start of last season, more than any other player. Anthony Martial could become the fourth player to score in each of United’s opening three matches of a Premier League season, emulating Dwight Yorke in 1999, Ruud van Nistelrooy in 2005 and Wayne Rooney in 2011.

Sheffield United vs Leicester City
Bramall Lane, Sheffield
Saturday, 24-08-2019 @5pm
Referee: Andy Madley

This is the first-ever Premier League match between the sides. They last met in the top flight back in 1976. The teams met twice last season – both times came in cup competitions, with Leicester winning on each occasion. In fact, Leicester are unbeaten in their last six meetings with Sheffield United (W4, D2).

Sheffield United midfielder John Fleck is a doubt after limping off in the win over Crystal Palace with a leg injury. But Callum Robinson, who went off with a thigh problem in that game, is fit again while midfielder Ravel Morrison could make his Blades debut.

Leicester’s Ben Chilwell is expected to miss out again with a hip problem. The left-back should be fit for the following weekend but in the meantime, Christian Fuchs is set to deputise, as he did against Chelsea last Sunday.

Watford vs West Ham United
Vicarage Road, London
Saturday, 24-08-2019 @5pm
Referee: Chris Kavanagh

Watford captain Troy Deeney will be sidelined for several weeks after having minor knee surgery. Abdoulaye Doucoure and Roberto Pereyra are injury doubts, but record signing Ismaila Sarr could make his debut.

West Ham captain Mark Noble has recovered from the calf injury that saw him miss the start of the season. Sebastien Haller and Felipe Anderson are both fit again after recovering from the knocks that saw them miss out last weekend.

West Ham won the corresponding fixture 4-1 last season, with Watford finishing the match with 10 men after Jose Holebas was sent off early in the second half for a professional foul; the red card was later rescinded. Watford have won five Premier League matches against West Ham, more than they have against any other side. The Hammers have scored four goals in two of their last five visits to Watford.

Liverpool vs Arsenal
Anfield Stadium, Liverpool
Saturday, 24-08-2019 @7:30pm
Referee: Anthoney Taylor

Liverpool and Arsenal clash in a top of the table game on Saturday afternoon. After two match-days, both sides still have a 100% record and that statistic will surely change at the end of 90 minutes at Anfield. In the recent past, this fixture has been dominated by the Reds but after a decent transfer window, the Gunners may once again have a good here.

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson remains on the sidelines with a calf injury so Adrian will continue to deputise. Naby Keita and Nathaniel Clyne are also out, but Dejan Lovren could be included in the squad following his return from illness.

Arsenal head coach Unai Emery may give club-record signing Nicolas Pepe his full debut. Mesut Ozil and Granit Xhaka face late fitness tests after illness and injury respectively.

Liverpool are unbeaten in their last eight matches against Arsenal. The Gunners are without a win in their last six league games at Anfield, and have conceded at least two goals in each of those matches (22 in total). This is the highest-scoring Premier League fixture with 155 goals across 54 games. It has also seen a record six hat-tricks. There have been 53 goals scored in the last 12 matches between the sides in all competitions, at an average of 4.4 goals per game.

Liverpool have not lost a Premier League match at Anfield for 41 matches, since a 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace in April 2017. Their only loss in their last 42 games in all competitions was a 2-1 defeat at Manchester City in January (W33, D8). Roberto Firmino has scored eight league goals in eight games against Arsenal, more than he has against any other side. He is one goal away from becoming the first Brazilian player to score 50 times in the Premier League.

Arsenal are aiming to win the first three games of a top-flight season for only the ninth time in their history and for the first time since 2004-05, when they finished second behind Chelsea. The Gunners are without a win in their last 22 Premier League away fixtures against other ‘big six’ teams, since a 2-0 victory at Manchester City in January 2015. They have lost only one of their past 26 league games when scoring first, winning 21 of them. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored nine goals in his last seven games in all competitions. However, he has scored just three goals in 13 league matches against fellow ‘big six’ sides, averaging a goal every 356 minutes. In games against other sides, he has scored 31 times in 38 matches, averaging a goal every 94 minutes.

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