It is a measure of how low Manchester United have fallen that practically everyone, including the club’s manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, felt they had a brilliant weekend by managing to play a draw at the Old Trafford against Liverpool. This would never have happened during the Alex Ferguson days. Back then, any draw at Old Trafford was seen as two points dropped and not the one point gained that the present squad is celebrating.
United will probably go to Norwich this weekend with renewed hopes that they can get their season back on track. The sad part of the story is that if they lose to the newly promoted Norwich not many people will be surprised. Manchester United don’t have any scorers, it is now being said that if you score one goal against them in a match, you can be sure you are not going to lose that game.
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They are okay in defence but rubbish in midfield and attack. Two years ago, who would have thought a Manchester United team would be described as such? Norwich are playing at home and they have a striker who is in form, the Finn called Teemu Pukki. Somehow, I can’t see United not losing this.
Chelsea defeated Ajax in the Champions League on Wednesday night. It was a brilliant result for Frank Lampard’s young ones but their hosts this weekend, Burnley are a different breed. Burnley pride themselves on using their big and strong strikers to bully opposing defenders. This is going to be a test for Lampard, especially in his central defence pairing. I would think he would prefer Kurt Zouma who had experience of battling big and troublesome strikers at Everton where he played on loan last season. The issue now is who will partner him on the day. Will it be the more experienced, skilful albeit lightweight Christiensen or the relatively inexperienced but powerful Tomori? The developing partnership between Zouma and Fikayo Tomori has rarely let him down this season, so most likely he will stick with them. Hopefully, Chelsea’s youthful and pacy attack will keep Burnley players occupied in their own half so they won’t have enough chances to trouble Chelsea’s defence. A key part of the matchup will be on how Chelsea defends set pieces. I have a feeling Lamps Lads will have too much quality for Burnley.
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Arsenal will be smarting from the damaging defeat they suffered from Sheffield United as they host Crystal Palace. The Sheffield United defeat was worrisome not because of the goal margin but because of the way Arsenal players seemed to have just surrendered meekly for the better part of the game. Their performance only improved when Alexandre Lacazette came on in the second half, despite that, they could not score a goal and were even vulnerable to counter attacks as Sheffield United looked to double their lead. Palace is a well-organised team but as Manchester City showed last weekend, they find it difficult to cope with a team that plays expansive football.
If Arsenal can be confident and maintain possession, they should be able to win this one. They should also make sure they are on their game while defending set-pieces.
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Manchester City host Aston Villa and it is safe to say City will win this one. They will go out of their way to win this particular game if only to put pressure on Liverpool who doesn’t play until the next day.