Chelsea face tricky opponent as they return to league action against Watford
Chelsea look to return to league form this weekend as they welcome Watford to Stamford Bridge. It is, however, the away side who sit highest in the league at the moment, their win last weekend taking them up to 4th. You have to go back to 1999 for the last time Chelsea lost to Watford in the Premier League. Given both sides recent form though, Chelsea will need to improve to be sure that record stays the same. Having lost their last two league games and losing twice at home also this season the champions are losing sight of the top of the table. Last season was a 4-3 win for the home side as Cesc Fabregas scored a late winner.
Table-topping Manchester City host Burnley this week having won seven of their eight league games so far. Last season saw City win both games against Burnley 2-1 but the away side had drawn on both trips to Manchester before that. Burnley are unbeaten away from Turf Moor this season but now must test their defence against a side which has scored 24 goals in their last five games.
Manchester United remain in second place but lost a little ground after drawing last week. They travel to Huddersfield who have not won any of their last five Premier League games. United are yet to be beaten this season and have kept seven clean sheets, conceding just two goals away to Stoke. Huddersfield, on the other hand, have scored only the one goal in their last five.
Tottenham have not beaten Liverpool in the league since November 2012 but have won four of their last five league games this season. Liverpool’s last win at Spurs came in 2014 but only one win in their last five has seen them slip down the table. Tottenham got their first league win at Wembley last week in a narrow win over Bournemouth. Liverpool have drawn four games already this season and are four points behind 3rd place Spurs in the league table.
Arsenal’s trip to Everton is their third away game in a week. Having just returned from a win in Serbia they will be hoping to continue the trend at Goodison. Everton faired worse in their Europa League game and have only beaten Arsenal seven times out of 50 Premier League meetings. They did, however, win 2-1 in this fixture last season but currently sit in 16th place in the table. Arsenal are 6th following the defeat at Watford, their first loss in four games.
This week sees the return of Friday night football as West Ham host Brighton. Both sides are separated by goal difference alone, having both won twice this season. West Ham have only one defeat in five league games whereas Brighton have lost their last two away trips.
Crystal Palace got their first win and goals last week and will hope for more as they visit Newcastle on Saturday. Newcastle have not lost a home league game against Palace since 1998 though and it was a 1-0 home win in their last meeting in April 2016. Two draws in their last two has kept Newcastle inside the top half whereas Palace couldn’t move away from the bottom despite last weeks win.
Bournemouth won their trip to Stoke last season 1-0 but have so far lost all away games this season. Both of Stoke’s wins have come at home this season but they come into this game on the back of a 7-2 loss at City.
Having sacked their manager this week, Leicester go into their game at Swansea looking to improve. The former champions dropped into the bottom three last week and have just one win so far this season. Swansea got their first win in five last week to climb the table and will be hoping to repeat February’s 2-0 win over Leicester from last season.
Southampton take on West Brom on Saturday with both sides in poor form. Saints have not won in their last three, while West Brom haven’t won in five. Both games between the pair last season were narrow away wins with West Brom winning 2-1 at Saint Mary’s in December.
Chelsea’s start to this season is similar to last year, but the club cannot continue in this way. Some disappointing losses already, two at home, have seen the side fall behind the top of the table. They now face a difficult opponent in Watford and will be looking to return to form.