Norwich City vs Southampton
Carrow Road, Norfolk
Friday, 19-06-2020 @8pm
Ref: Kevin Friend
The break in play has given most injury concerns the chance to recover in time for the end of the campaign, but Southampton will be without Moussa Djenepo for this match following his red card against Newcastle last time out. Shane Long, who like his manager Hasenhuttl recently signed a new contract with the club, is the only injury doubt for the visitors due to a muscle problem which is likely to keep him out of this first game back. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg could also be left out after he was stripped of the captaincy amid speculation over his future, with James Ward-Prowse inheriting the armband. Danny Ings is expected to lead the line regardless of whether Long is fit, with the 15-goal striker having netted just once in his last seven Premier League outings following a run of 10 goals in 11 games before that.
Ings is second to only Pukki when it comes to players who have scored the highest proportion of their team’s goals this season, and the Norwich striker is expected to start again as he looks to fire his side to safety. Emiliano Buendia has provided Pukki with plenty of ammunition and his seven assists this season is among the best in the league, although he is yet to get on the scoresheet himself this term. Farke has been hit with a triple injury blow which will see Grant Hanley, Christoph Zimmermann and Sam Byram miss the remainder of the season. Timm Klose is now back in training, though, while Onel Hernandez, who was also due to miss a large chunk of the campaign through injury, could be in contention to feature too.
Southampton could complete a top-flight league double over Norwich for the first time. This is the 22nd season they have met in the top division. The last five Premier League meetings have been won by the home side. Saints have won four of the past six meetings in all competitions, drawing one and losing one.
Norwich have earned two victories in their past three home league matches, as many as they recorded in their first 11 top-flight games at Carrow Road this season. They have only won one of their last six matches in the Premier League, losing four and scoring just twice. The Canaries are the only top-flight club yet to earn a point from a losing position this season. Norwich have the lowest shot conversion rate in this season’s Premier League, converting 7.5% of their shots. Emiliano Buendia has provided seven assists in the Premier League this season, the most of any player who is yet to score.
Saints have lost five of their past seven league games. They have suffered three consecutive away defeats in all competitions. Southampton have lost their last four Premier League matches on a Friday by an aggregate scoreline of 17-2. However, they have won six successive league fixtures against promoted sides. Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men have won six Premier League away games this season, a total bettered only by the current top four. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has had a Premier League-high 40 attempts on goal without scoring this season.
Tottenham Hotspur vs Man United
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London
Friday, 19-06-2020 @10:15pm
Ref: Jonathan Moss
The Premier League made its much-awaited return on Wednesday with two games. And the action continues on Friday as Manchester United lock horns with fellow top four hopefuls Tottenham at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
It has been a disappointing campaign for Spurs following their UEFA Champions League finals run last time out. A poor start to the season saw the Lilywhites sack fan favourite Mauricio Pochettino in November with former Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho replacing him. After a positive start, it all went downhill for Mourinho since the turn of the year, with injuries to key players playing a role in the decline of form.
Spurs head into Friday’s game without a win in their last six games in all competitions, with their last fixture before stoppage ending in 3-0 loss to RB Leipzig in the Champions League. They are currently eighth in the Premier League table, seven points below Chelsea in fourth place. And Mourinho will be hoping to close that gap, while getting one over his former employers.
Manchester United, in contrast, were in brilliant form prior to the suspension of football. After a rather slow start to the campaign, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team had picked up momentum since January. Before the lockdown, the Red Devils had been on an eleven-game unbeaten run across all competitions, with their last defeat coming against Burnley back in January.
Manchester United’s last match before football was halted saw them thrash Austrian outfit LASK 5-0 in the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 stages. Sitting fifth in the table, just three points below Chelsea, the 20-time English champions will be aiming to put pressure on their rivals with a win at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Paul Pogba may have spent the past couple of weeks training, but he is reportedly set to start this match on the bench as Solskjaer is unwilling to risk him from the off. That leaves Nemanja Matic, Fred and Scott McTominay battling for the two holding-midfield berths, assuming Solskjaer sticks with a 4-2-3-1 that has served him well of late. McTominay certainly did his hopes of ousting Fred no harm with his goal from the bench against Man City just before the coronavirus pandemic struck. Elsewhere, Rashford is expected to slot back into the side down the left-hand side, with Anthony Martial – on course for his best goalscoring campaign – used through the middle. Bruno Fernandes is also a shoo-in to start, having been involved in more Premier League goals than any other United player – two goals and three assists – since his debut.
Mourinho is likely to make the most of having Kane, Son, Bergwijn and Sissoko back available for selection, with that quartet in line to start Friday’s huge match. Kane has netted 11 goals this season and will be eyeing up the division’s leading scorer Jamie Vardy over the final nine matches. However, one big absentee for the hosts will be Dele Alli, who has been handed a one-match ban by the Football Association for improper conduct after posting an offensive video on social media relating to the coronavirus outbreak. Mourinho has a number of central-midfield options, though, with Giovanni Lo Celso, Tanguy Ndombele, Sissoko, Harry Winks and Gedson Fernandes all pushing for inclusion. At the back, Japhet Tanganga’s absence with a back injury will likely mean Spurs reverting to a four-man defence, with Ben Davies and Serge Aurier the preferred full-back options of Mourinho when available.
Manchester United have won three of the last four meetings in all competitions, losing one. United could win consecutive Premier League away matches against Spurs for the first time since a run of six between September 2001 and February 2007.
Tottenham are winless in their last six games in all competitions. They have kept four league clean sheets this season, the joint fewest in the division. Spurs have never won a competitive match in June. most recently losing last season’s Champions League final against Liverpool. Jose Mourinho has lost all three of his league games as Spurs head coach against sides he has formerly managed. Harry Kane has scored just twice in 11 Premier League appearances against United. Kane’s ratio of a goal every 457 minutes is his worst against any Premier League opponent. Son Heung-min has scored in five successive Spurs appearances in all competitions.
United are unbeaten in 11 matches in all competitions, winning eight, scoring 29 times and keeping nine clean sheets. They have kept four clean sheets in their last five top-flight matches, as many as in their previous 35 Premier League games combined. However, United have only won four of their past 18 Premier League away matches. Nemanja Matic could make his 200th Premier League appearance. Since his Premier League debut, Bruno Fernandes leads United’s charts for goal involvement (two goals, three assists), chances created (11) and most shots (19).
The upcoming Premier League games this weekend
-Watford vs Leicester City @2:30pm
-Brighton vs Arsenal @5pm
-West Ham vs Wolves @7:30pm
-Bournemouth vs Crystal Palace @9:45pm
-Newcastle United vs Sheffield United @4pm
-Aston Villa vs Chelsea @6:15pm
-Everton vs Liverpool @9pm
-Man City vs Burnley @10pm