Sheffield United vs Wolves
Bramell Lane, Sheffield
Monday, 14-09-2020 @8pm
Ref: Mike Dean
Two sides that had memorable 2019/20 campaigns in Sheffield United and Wolves will clash on Monday in their opening fixture.
Sheffield upset the odds to finish in the top half last season while Wolves reached the quarter finals of the Europa League before losing to eventual winners Sevilla.
Sheffield United can win consecutive league matches against Wolves for the first time since 1996. The Blades won the only previous opening day top-flight meeting back in 1961. Wolves’ most recent away win came on the 125th anniversary of Sheffield United’s formation, a 2-0 triumph in League One on 22 March 2014.
Sheffield United midfielder Sander Berge sustained a knee problem on international duty with Norway and might miss out on Monday. Summer signings Aaron Ramsdale, Jayden Bogle, Max Lowe, Oli Burke and loanee Ethan Ampadu could all be involved.
Wolves head coach Nuno Espirito Santo must decide whether to give debuts to teenage record signing Fabio Silva, Fernando Marcal and Vitinha. Adama Traore is set to start at wing-back following Matt Doherty’s sale.
Sheffield United are yet to lose on the opening day of a Premier League season, winning two and drawing two. However, they have won their opening league match just once in six seasons, a 1-0 home victory versus Brentford in the Championship in 2017. The Blades could lose four successive league matches for the first time since a run of six defeats in September 2013 in League One. Chris Wilder has won 99 of his 195 matches as Sheffield United manager and needs one victory to become the first Blades boss to reach 100 wins in fewer than 200 games. Their ninth-place finish last season was the first time the Blades had ended a top-flight campaign in the top half of the table since 1991-92. Last season, Sheffield United recorded a league-low 114 shots on target. However, they conceded only 39 goals, a Premier League record for a newly-promoted club.
Wolves played 59 matches in all competitions in 2019-20, with their season lasting for 383 days. Last season, Wolves set new club Premier League records for most points (59) and most goals scored (51). They have finished seventh in both of their Premier League seasons under Nuno Espirito Santo, their best top-flight returns since finishing sixth in 1980. Wolves are unbeaten in their opening league match in the past seven seasons since defeat against Leeds in 2012. They won only three of their 18 Premier League matches in 2019-20 against the other teams who finished in the top half of the table (D8, L7). Wolves recovered an unrivalled 21 points from losing positions last season and dropped the fewest points when ahead.
Brighton and Hove Albion vs Chelsea
The American Express Community Stadium, East Susex
Monday, 14-09-2020 @10:15pm
Ref: Craig Pawson
Chelsea have made a number of key signings this season and all eyes will be on them on Monday when they take on Brighton and Hove Albion in their opening game of the 2020/21 campaign.
Brighton’s new signing Adam Lallana will be looking for his first Premier League start since December 2019. Jose Izquiedero and Christian Walton are Albion’s only injury absentees.
Chelsea’s expensive German signings Kai Havertz and Timo Werner are in line for their debuts. Hakim Ziyech and Ben Chilwell are injured and Thiago Silva lacks fitness, but Christian Pulisic and Cesar Azpilicueta have overcome hamstring problems.
Chelsea are the only opponents Brighton have played a league fixture against without ever winning. The 1-1 draw at Amex Stadium on New Year’s Day was Brighton’s first point against the Blues, and came at the 10th attempt. Albion’s only competitive victory in 14 attempts against Chelsea came in their first meeting, an FA Cup tie on the south coast in January 1933.
Brighton’s tally of three victories in their 18 Premier League fixtures in 2020 is the lowest of any side currently in the division (D9, L6). Nonetheless, they recorded their highest Premier League tally of points (41) and goals (39) last season, as well as registering their fewest defeats (15). They can win their opening league fixture in successive seasons for the first time since 2010-11. Albion haven’t lost a league game on a Monday in 10 attempts since an April 2015 defeat by Rotherham. All five of their Premier League games played on Mondays have been drawn. Adam Lallana’s failure to score or provide an assist in his nine league games against Chelsea is his worst record against a top-flight club.
This is the third time Chelsea are starting a Premier League campaign on a Monday, with the Blues going on to win the title on the previous two occasions in 2014-15 and 2016-17. Twelve league defeats in 2019-20 equalled the most by a Chelsea side in a season since Roman Abramovich became owner in 2003. They lost their final two competitive fixtures of the 2019-20 campaign and could suffer three straight defeats for the first time since May to August 2006. Chelsea conceded 54 Premier League goals last season, just one short of their club record. Nine clean sheets was their joint-fewest in a Premier League campaign. Frank Lampard’s side kept only one clean sheet in their 19 Premier League away matches of 2019-20, in a 2-0 win at Tottenham in December. New signing Timo Werner scored 28 league goals for RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga last season, the fourth highest tally in Europe’s top five leagues.
Premier League results
-Fulham 0-3 Arsenal
-Crystal Palace 1-0 Southampton
-Liverpool 4-3 Leeds United
-West Ham United 0-2 Newcastle United
-West Bromwich Albion 0-3 Leicester City
-Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 Everton