Preview: Chelsea Vs Sunderland

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The Special One is now the Sacked One. Chelsea’s disastrous defence of their title culminated in the exit of Jose Mourinho. It has been a difficult season for the Champions with key players failing to live up to their usual high standards. In such circumstances, the manager usually takes the fall. Due to Mourinho’s reputation at Chelsea, a poor start to the season meant he had more time to turn around the season. Every bad result meant that the patience of the hierarchy at Chelsea continued to wear thin. Sadly, it did not look that they had truly turned the corner at any point in the season.

The Chelsea star players have failed to perform this season (with the exception of Willian).

They will be expected to raise their game. If they miraculously do so in this game just 48 hours after the Portuguese manager was fired, will that make Mourinho’s claim that he has been betrayed by his players true? Chelsea’s recent form has been terrible. They have only taken four points from their last seven games, losing five games in that time.

Sunderland arrives at the Bridge in similar precarious position. This season has already seen a change of manager. They will be buoyed by the fact the miracle escape of 2014 included a victory at the Bridge and will hope for similar fortune against a Chelsea side lacking in confidence but with a lot to prove. Their records against Chelsea, however, have been poor with the Blues winning 18 of the last 21 meeting with the Black Cats. The Black Cats though will be encouraged by their improved recent showings which have seen them win two out of their last five trips to Chelsea.

Team News

Chelsea

Falcao is doubtful for the game with a calf injury while Hazard could miss out with a hip injury sustained at the defeat at Leicester City.

Sunderland

Lee Cattermole and Larsson are injured with back and knee problems respectively while Coates is doubtful due to illness.

Preview: Manchester United Vs West Ham

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Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea have been defeated by the Hammers this season. It has been a strange season for the London side. This season has seen them take to the cleaners the premier sides of the league. It has been against the so called lesser sides that they have been found wanting. Victory over Arsenal was quickly followed by losses at home to Leicester City and Bournemouth while an impressive win over Chelsea was quickly forgotten after defeat at the hands of Watford. If the trend is to continue, you will expect Slaven Bilic’s men to give Manchester United a very hard time and tough examination. After all, this is a side that has won convincingly at the Eithad, Anfield and the Emirates this season.

Manchester United are one point off the table but manager Louis Van Gaal has had to endure very strong criticism from the media and fans who feel the team is not playing the “Manchester United” way. Whatever way they are playing at the moment, Man United have been very comfortable at the back without giving too much away. It is in games like this that the English giants will be expected to go for the jugular but such gung-ho tactics will likely be punished if undertaken without some form of caution. West Ham’s results this season indicates this is a game they will believe they can pull off another upset.

The Red devils are unbeaten in their last 13 Premier League meetings with West Ham, winning 11 and drawing two.  West Ham’s recent results at Old Trafford offers little room for optimism with an awful record of seven successive away defeats. But the incentive available for the London side is very great. A victory for the visitors will make them the first team in Premier league history to beat Arsenal, Liverpool, Man City and Man United away from home in the same season.

 

 Team news

Manchester United

Wayne Rooney misses out due to an ankle injury he sustained in the draw at Leicester City last weekend. Marcos Rojo dislocated his shoulder in training on Wednesday and is therefore unavailable. Ander Herrera is a doubt due to a hamstring injury.

West Ham

Diafra Sakho’s injury means Andy Carroll is expected to start up front for the Hammers. Mark Noble and James Collins are available again after serving suspensions.

 

Preview: Swansea Vs Leicester City

 

Barclays-POTM-Vardy-04Claudio Ranieri takes high-flying Leicester City to Wales to face a team who are gradually finding their way down the table. Swansea City are on a poor run of form and have won just one in their last 10 Premier games, drawing three and losing the other six. They come up against a Jamie Vardy who is in the form of his life. The English forward has scored in his last 11 Premier League games and there is a sense of near certainty that he could add a Swansea side low on confidence to his list of victims and conquest.

Swansea City have an impressive record at home to the Foxes and have won their last three league games at home against their opponents this weekend without conceding a single goal. However, the contrasting fortunes of both sides could make such stats history and even irrelevant. Swansea City has failed to score in six of their last 10 Premier League games. Ranieri has tried to play down the significance of Leicester City’s fine start but such modesty can take nothing away from his side who have lost just one of their 14 Premier League games so far this season – their lowest tally of defeats at this stage of a top-flight season and they have scored in each of their 14 Premier League games this season. Even the biggest pessimist will admit that this side has to be taken seriously.

 

Team news

Swansea

Jonjo Shelvey is available again for selection after serving his suspension, but Franck Tabanou will be unavailable for several weeks after injuring a thigh muscle in training.

Leicester City

Leicester will be without Ritchie de Laet for around a month due to an ankle injury while Matty James will not recover in time for the game. Nathan Dyer is ineligible against his parent club following his loan move to the Foxes.

Preview: Arsenal Vs Everton

Chelsea v Arsenal - FA Community Shield

Arsenal’s disciplined and efficient performance against Bayern Munich in midweek has provided renewed optimism at the North London club. Confidence is flowing at the London club and the opening day defeat to West Ham seems like ages ago as they welcome Everton to the Emirates. Everton were well beaten by Manchester United last weekend in a game they lost 3-0. They face another difficult test when they travel to London to play Arsenal.

Roberto Martinez will hope his charges come up with a better performance in a game that they have not had too much success recently. The Merseyside club have won just once in the last 16 Premier League meeting between the sides with the Gunners recording nine victories in those meetings. Arsenal were starved of the ball for long periods in midweek against the German champions but Wenger will want his side to seize the initiative in this match. Arsenal ability to collapse and lose concentration is well documented and this Everton side will seek to capitalise on any such gifts. Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku will be the players Everton will hope turns up on the day if they are to get anything from the game.

Petr Cech has provided some much needed calmness to the Arsenal defence and already has seven clean sheets in his first 11 games. The veteran, who now has 167 clean sheets, is closing in on David James’ record of 169 clean sheets in the premier league and his recent form suggest that it is a record he is capable of beating in a matter of weeks. Olivier Giroud has found goals easy to come by in this fixture and has netted four goals in the last four meeting between the two teams. Wenger faces a selection headache and has to decide whether to bring in the French international or persist with Theo Walcott.

Team News

Arsenal

Aaron Ramsey suffered injury against Bayern in midweek and will be sidelined until after the next international break. Arteta is ruled out for the game against his former side after picking up an ankle injury in training. Gabriel Paulista is available for selection while Tomas Rosicky, Jack Wilshere and Danny Welbeck all have long term injuries. David Ospina is still sidelined with a shoulder injury.

Everton

Tom Cleverly and Steven Pienaar are available for selection after recovering from injuries.

Preview: Manchester United Vs Manchester City

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Photo Courtesy Independent

Recent games involving the two sides have thrown up some significant moments in the past few seasons. Games between these unfriendly neighbours have helped to laid down markers and decide the destination of titles. This match, however, coming relatively early in the season will not decide the destination of the title as there will be lots of twist and turns. For Manchester United, it represents their second big test of the season after they failed the first one woefully at the Emirates.

United responded at Everton last weekend following their abysmal showing at Arsenal and were duly rewarded with a solid win at Goodison Park. They will hope to carry on from where they left off when they welcome City. City so far has managed to navigate the first two games following injuries to Sergio Aguero and David Silva. But make no mistake, this will prove to be a big test for Wilfred Bony and Kevin De Bruyne as they seek to provide the goals and assists in the absence of the Argentine and Spanish superstars.

Rooney’s form has largely been criticised this season and there is a belief that if this United side is to really kick on, the English captain may have to be dropped if he fails to regain the form that made him one of Europe’s most feared strikers. He will look to prove his critics wrong in a game none of the two sides will want to lose. Rooney has scored ten goals in this derby and United faithful will hope he can improve on this record in order for his side not to lose ground in the title challenge. Manchester United, under Louis Van Gaal, have an impressive home record with 17 wins in 23 games under the Dutch manager. The continuation of this record will be largely dependent on which Man United midfield turns up on the day and the selection. A repeat of the same lethargic performance that characterized their performance will most likely be punished.

City have enjoyed success in this fixture recently with six wins in the last eight Manchester derbies and are looking to notch up half a century of wins over their arch rivals in this competition.

Teams News

Manchester United

There are no new injury worries for the host. Ashley Young could be fit in time for this game.

Manchester City

City are without several keys players. Sergio Aguero, David Silva, Gael Clichy, Samir Nasri and Fabian Delph are all sidelined. Vincent Kompany is available for selection again.

Preview: West Ham Vs Chelsea

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West ham and Chelsea face off in this London derby with the two sides in very unfamiliar positions in the league standings. West Ham have had a fine start to the campaign and sit in 4th place. Slaven Bilic has proven to be an inspired choice with the Hammers playing some very exciting football and claiming major scalps this season.

Chelsea has had a poor start to the campaign but last weekend’s home win against Aston Villa provided the league Champions with some much-needed points and confidence. They will look to continue in the same vein but must be wary that this will be a very difficult game against a side that has claimed wins at Arsenal and Liverpool. Chelsea knows that to win this game, they need to keep Dimitri Payet quiet. The French international has adjusted quickly to life in England and has aided his team’s cause with five goals and three assists.

Chelsea have enjoyed huge success in recent meetings with West Ham, winning 13 of the last 18 and have not conceded in the last five against the Hammers. Jose Mourinho’s side have a chance to build some momentum after a poor start to the season. They face a side capable of troubling any team in the country.

Team News

West Ham

Victor Moses is ineligible to play as he is on loan from Chelsea. Enner Valencia is in line to make his first start of the campaign. Winston Reid is however ruled out with a back injury.

Chelsea

Chelsea are without Pedro, Loic Remy and Branislav Ivanovic,. First choice goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is still sidelined.

Preview: Chelsea Vs Aston Villa

Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho has probably run out of individuals or bodies to blame following Chelsea’s poor start to the season. The doctors and physio have been blamed. Match officials and the FA have also taken some share of the blame. The star players of the team have also not been exempted. And of course, Arsene Wenger. Chelsea were taken apart by Southampton two weeks at Stamford Bridge despite taking the lead. Their defence has been poor with Ivanovic being the main culprit. The Serbian defender will miss the game due to injury but there will probably be no Chelsea fan that will lose sleep over this. The Serbian has been poor this season but has somehow managed to survive the chop.

Chelsea have another opportunity to kick-start their season yet again against an Aston Villa that has failed to win since the opening day victory at Bournemouth. Villa have picked up just one point since then and even with Chelsea’s current predicaments, the Champions will be expected to get a positive result against the Birmingham side who are having their worse start of a top flight season. Tim Sherwood will be looking to avoid a fifth consecutive league defeat. Mourinho will have to find a way to shore up his defence. Their defence has leaked in at least two goals in seven of their eight games.

Chelsea will welcome back Diego Costa from suspension and the Spaniard will aim to hit top form quickly to help Chelsea up the table. Aston Villa’s records at Chelsea are pretty poor and have conceded 30 goals from their last eight visits to the London club. Chelsea may have lost five of their last ten league games, but surely this is a game they will be expected to win. Villa on the other hand will hope that Chelsea will come bearing gifts.

Team News

Chelsea

Diego Costa returns after completing a three game suspension for violent conduct. Ivanovic is ruled out due to a hamstring injury sustained while on international duty. Thibaut Courtois is still sidelined with a knee injury and could return in December.

Aston Villa

Villa are still without Gabby Agbonlahor and Ciaran Clark who are both out with calf and thigh injuries. They are joined on the sidelines by Okore and Gardner.