EADF is back with another monthly recap of the English Premier League.
Club supporters can put the final international break of 2018 behind them, and turn the footballing world’s attention back onto domestic football and the leagues they follow.
Due to the interruption of the recent UEFA Nations League and international friendlies, this recap looks back from the end of October and all matches played so far, leading up to this weekend’s return of Premier League football.
As we head into the final match week of November, three teams remain unbeaten in the league with Manchester City leading the pack followed closely behind by Liverpool and Chelsea. 12 matches into the season without a defeat for either of them, the upcoming winter period of the Premier League will likely separate the contenders and pretenders with games coming thick and fast.
But before relishing in the thought of regular week-in week-out action, here is a reminder of where things were left off before the break.
Manchester City – Will They Hit a Century Again?
Current champions Manchester City won the league last year with a 19 point gap over cross-town rivals Manchester United, finishing the season with a staggering 100 points. Ominous at the very least, City look on track to achieve that tally again this season.
A 5-0 win over Burnley was followed by an edgy 1-0 win at Wembley against potential challengers Spurs to finish October undefeated which includes a 0-0 draw away to Liverpool as well. November has been even better by City’s standards, drubbing Southampton 6-1 at home before a relatively comfortable 3-1 victory in the first installment of this season’s Manchester derby.
While whispers of another invincible season may yet seem far-fetched, it remains difficult to argue that this crop of City players are incapable of emulating Arsenal’s feat over a decade ago. With the squad likely to only get better post the January transfer window, Guardiola’s men look set for yet another record-breaking season.
Manchester City travel to the London Stadium to face West Ham next on Saturday, November 24th. K/O is at 8:30 pm IST.
Liverpool – Can They Catch City?
Hot on the heels of Manchester City are Liverpool, who remain just two points behind them going into Matchweek 13.
Liverpool had an easy end to October with a 1-0 away win to Huddersfield followed by a 4-1 win at home to Cardiff. What will delight Liverpool fans more than those six points will be the return of goalscoring form of talisman Mo Salah. His returns show two goals and two assists at the end of the month.
Liverpool than traveled to Arsenal who were yet to steal even a point against Top 4 opposition, but were unable to leave London without more than a point, finishing the match a goal apiece. Their final outing before the break saw Salah score once again in a 2-0 win over relegation-threatened Fulham.
Liverpool now have a tough schedule ahead, with trips to Watford and Bournemouth to come, along with a Merseyside derby at Anfield and a visit from Manchester United in December. Sandwich that with a couple crucial ties in the Champions League in between and the winter period certainly looks to be a season-defining few weeks for Jürgen Klopp and his men.
Liverpool travel to Watford next on Saturday, November 24th. K/O is at 8:30 pm IST.
Chelsea – Striker Shopping for Sarri in January?
The last of the three undefeated teams this season are Chelsea who sit third on the table.
Chelsea had to come from behind to equalize late against Manchester United at home in a thrilling match that ended 2-2, but results since have been positive for new manager Maurizio Sarri.
The Blues won 4-0 away to Burnley and 3-1 at home to Crystal Palace, with Alvaro Morata scoring in both matches which included a brace against Palace. However, the striker’s inconsistent form in front of goal was highlighted once more after a goalless draw at home to Everton last time out at Stamford Bridge.
This leaves a rather growing dependence on Eden Hazard and his goals. When an expected dip in his form will appear at some point during the season, Sarri may want options up front other than Morata and Olivier Giroud. January could see the arrival of another striker at Chelsea.
Chelsea will face Tottenham in a London Derby at Wembley next on Saturday, November 24th. K/O is at 11:00 pm IST.
Tottenham Hotspur – A Formula on How to Win Ugly
Rounding up the European places on the table is Tottenham in fourth. A lack of goals from Harry Kane this season has seen the club slightly off the pace when chasing City for the title, but Pochettino’s men still remain an outsider’s hope for winning the league.
Spurs have been consistent with a Top 3 finish in each of the last three seasons, but never finishing higher than second in 2016/17 behind Chelsea who are their next opponents this weekend.
Spurs have also managed a string of 1-0 results in recent times, winning with such a scoreline against West Ham and Crystal Palace. Spurs also lost at home 1-0 against Manchester City.
A 1-0 scoreline will be less anticipated when Chelsea come to Wembley looking to keep their unbeaten streak alive. A resilient and dogged performance against Chelsea could see Tottenham leapfrog their neighbors into third on the table. The match is poised for goals, but fear of losing by either side could see this game lack entertainment.
Tottenham host Chelsea next on Saturday, November 24th. K/O is at 11:00 pm IST.
Arsenal – Moving in the Right Direction, Slowly
Unai Emery has become an instant success at Arsenal, having transformed the Gunners into a free scoring side that have not lost in the league since August. While the club outside the Top 4 for now, the mood at the Emirates is far from despondent.
12 points from 12 in September saw the Gunners on a high, but disappointment will derive from their recent results. Draws in their last three games against Crystal Palace, Liverpool and Wolves has slowed the Arsenal juggernaut. Arsenal now face a tricky fixture list that sees them face Spurs and Manchester United in early December.
A return to winning ways will be crucial for Arsenal to remain in the conversation of title contenders this season.
Arsenal travel to Bournemouth next on Sunday, November 25th. K/O is at 7:00 pm IST.
AFC Bournemouth – The Revolution Under Eddie Howe
Bournemouth have come up from the depths of English football to cement themselves as a Premier League club, and the next step under their manager will be to fight for European places this season.
Bournemouth sit just four points behind Arsenal, whom they play next at home. The Cherries ended October with a 3-0 win away to Fulham, before losing in the dying minutes of the game at home to Manchester United. Going into the break, Bournemouth were unexpectedly beaten by Newcastle at St. James Park by a 2-1 scoreline.
The revolution under Eddie Howe has seen the likes of Calum Wilson receive an England call-up and deservedly so. The recent signing of David Brooks in the summer has strengthened the attacking power up front. Wilson and Brooks showing good form in recent matches.
Their next few round of matches sees them face Arsenal, Manchester City, and Liverpool but results against opposition below them in the table will be key for Eddie Howe to once again take Bournemouth to new heights in English football, and perhaps beyond to Europe.
Bournemouth host Arsenal next on Sunday, November 25th. K/O is at 7:00 pm IST.
Watford – Honeymoon Period is Over
After four wins from four to start their season, Watford have had a mixed bag of results thus far.
A 4-0 loss at home to Bournemouth then led to an impressive 2-0 win away to Wolves. Another home victory against Huddersfield then saw the Hornet fall 1-0 away to Newcastle, with the last outing ending in a 1-1 draw at Southampton.
Moments of flair and brilliance in front of goal has put the club upto seventh in the table, but games to come against Liverpool, Manchester City, and Everton could see the club drift further down the table.
Watford host Liverpool next on Saturday, November 24th. K/O is at 8:30 pm IST.
Manchester United – Unconvincing and Unconventional
Languishing in eighth at the moment are Manchester United, who were brushed aside in the derby by City 3-1 last time out.
A defense that looks unorganized at the best of times was picked apart with ease by City’s players, and United already look out of the title race.
After the 2-2 draw at Chelsea, United seemed to gain momentum with consecutive 2-1 wins at home to Everton and away to Bournemouth, but each result was unconvincingly achieved.
A lack of goal scoring appetite for Romelu Lukaku has seen the Belgian dropped from the starting XI but Anthony Martial has now scored six goals in his last five games for the Red Devils.
Manchester United have increasingly become a team unsure of their own potential, lacking the ability to command and dictate games from the off. Results in Europe have softened the blow for Mourinho, but a busy winter period will again show whether United have the stomach to fight back and pull themselves up the table.
United host Crystal Palace next on Saturday, November 24th. K/O is at 8:30 pm IST.
Everton – Comfortable at mid-table
Everton sit comfortable mid-table going into the final match week of November, with comfortable home wins against Crystal Palace and Brighton. Brazilian striker Richarlison has started repaying the faith shown by manager Marco Silva with six goals so far after bringing the player to Merseyside from Watford with him.
A goalless draw away to Chelsea will feel like a point won rather than two dropped and Everton end November with what should be another comfortable match at home to Cardiff. Newcastle and Watford will visit Goodison Park in early December, but trips to Liverpool and Manchester City could hamper their push towards the Top 6.
Leicester City – RIP KHUN VICHAI
In what can only be termed as the most difficult time for the club, its players, and its fans, football simply doesn’t seem important. After the tragic loss of chairman and owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha in a helicopter crash following their 1-1- draw at home to West Ham, Leicester City and indeed the city of Leicester has been in a state of rebuild and recovery.
Emotions were at fever pitch when the Foxes came to the field once again at Cardiff, winning 1-0 in a match where the result barely mattered. Their first game at home since the tragedy was a goalless draw against Burnley.
Leicester City will look to redefine the rest of the season as a tribute to their great and beloved owner, a rare relationship in the context of foreign ownership in English football.
Khun Vichai set the bar for how to run a football club, showing with humility and kindness the way to not only make a lasting impact on the club, but the city in which it hails and the people of the community it affects.
RIP KHUN VICHAI
Leicester City will travel to Brighton next on Saturday, November 24th. K/O is at 8:30 pm IST.
Wolverhampton Wanderers – Cause for Concern
After a positive start to life back in the Premier League, that saw them drawing against both Manchester clubs, Wolves have remained winless in their last five matches.
A 2-0 loss at home to Watford was followed by a 1-0 defeat away to Brighton, ending October without a point for the Wolves. November has seen them ship three goals against Spurs at home in a 3-2 defeat, before recovering with another draw against high-profile opponents at Arsenal.
While Wolves remain far from the dangers of relegation, a run of fixtures against lower table opposition in Huddersfield and Cardiff could help brighten the mood at Molineux.
Wolves host Huddersfield Town next on Sunday, November 25th. K/O is at 9:30 pm IST.
Brighton and Hove Albion – Work Yet to be Done
Brighton are moving in the right direction, but much is yet to do before the Seagulls consider them safe for yet another season.
Nine points from nine in October saw them gather three consecutive 1-0 results against West Ham, Newcastle United, and Wolves but now remain winless in November after defeats away to Everton and Cardiff.
Brighton will host Leicester next on Saturday, November 24th. K/O is at 8:30 pm IST.
West Ham United – Improving Every Week
After losing 1-0 at home to Spurs, West Ham have steadily picked up points against Burnley in a 4-2 win at home and away to Huddersfield in a score draw pushing them up to 13th in the table.
The form of Felipe Anderson has certainly helped the Hammers slowly but steadily up the table. However they remain just four points above the relegation zone, and with games against Newcastle and Cardiff coming up, they will look to increase the gap further.
West Ham host Manchester City next on Saturday, November 24th. K/O is at 8:30 pm IST.
Newcastle United – A Sudden Change in Fortunes
After a dreadful start to the season that saw them collect just three points by the end of October, all of which came from 0-0 draws, Newcastle defeated Watford 1-0 at home to register their first win of the season. They followed that with another shock win at home to Bournemouth.
Those six points have got the club out of the relegation zone into 14th. Manager Rafa Benitez will hope to start winning away from home, with three of their next five games on the road.
Still, in the relegation scrap, Newcastle will hope their sudden change in fortunes helps to build momentum and points going into the busy winter period.
Newcastle travel to Burnley next on Tuesday, November 27th. K/O is at 1:30 am IST.
Burnley – A Month to Forget
Burnley ended October with just a point in a 1-1 draw at home to Huddersfield. A tough run of fixtures followed in which Burnley faced Manchester City, Chelsea, and West Ham in which they conceded 13 goals and scored two, both in a 4-2 defeat at West Ham.
Their last league outing was an emotional game to say the least, as they traveled to Leicester City who played at home for the first time since the tragic death of owner Khun Vichai.
Moving forward, massive games against fellow strugglers Newcastle United and Crystal Palace could threaten to make matters worse down at Turf Moor, unless a revival in their goal scoring ability saves the Clarets from falling further down the table towards relegation.
Burnley host Newcastle United next on Tuesday, November 27th. K/O is at 1:30 am IST.
Crystal Palace – The Eagles Are Not Soaring
Another team fighting for Premier League survival are Crystal Palace, who sit just above the relegation zone on goal difference.
An extremely tough run of fixtures saw the Eagles face Everton, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Spurs in consecutive matches. Their return being just a point against Arsenal.
It seems to get worse before it gets better with Palace traveling to Manchester to face Manchester United this weekend, but matches against Burnley, Brighton, and West Ham offer the Eagles opportunities to pick up vital points against teams just above them in the table.
Crystal Palace face Manchester United next on Saturday, November 24th. K/O is at 8:30 pm IST.
Southampton – Suffering Without Goals
Southampton simply cannot seem to score goals. Winless in their last eight games, they sit precariously above the relegation zone. They ended October without managing a single goal, but picking up two points through goalless draws with Bournemouth and Newcastle. November began with a 6-1 demolition at the hands of Manchester City at the Etihad before drawing once again at home to Watford in their last match.
December could see the Saints go through some more bad times, as three of their next five fixtures will be against the likes of Manchester United, Tottenham, and Arsenal. Mark Hughes will hope striker Danny Ings rediscovers his goalscoring form as soon as possible, or December may be far more dreary than cheery for Saints fans.
Southampton travel to Fulham next on Saturday, November 24th. K/O is at 8:30 pm IST.
Cardiff City – Showing Signs of Life
After a difficult start that saw them without a goal in August and without a win till October, Cardiff City are showing signs that they still have a fight in them to remain in the Premier League next season.
Their first win of the season came in a 4-2 triumph over Fulham in late October. This result was followed by consecutive defeats away to Liverpool and at home to Leicester City.
A Sol Bamba goal in the 90th minute however, gave Cardiff all three points in their last match at home against Brighton, bringing them upto 18th on the table with eight points.
Cardiff City travel to Everton next on Saturday, November 24th. K/O is at 8:30 pm IST.
Huddersfield Town – A Bad Start
Huddersfield Town have had a difficult start to life in the Premier League this season, with the club without a single win from the first three months.
Salvation finally arrived for the Terriers when they managed to hold onto a 1-0 lead to defeat bottom club Fulham at home in the beginning of November.
Huddersfield Town are also yet to score more than a single goal in a match with three of their four draws this season coming from 1-1 score lines.
Manager David Wagner will look to use the January transfer window to add fresh legs and ideas into a squad that looks destined for the drop already.
Huddersfield Town travel to Wolves next on Sunday, November 25th. K/O is at 9:30 pm IST.
Fulham – Dilly Ding Dilly Dong
The man behind the miracle at Leicester City will now have to come up with a very different sort of miracle for Fulham.
Claudio Ranieri is back in the Premier League as the newly appointed manager of Fulham, who sit rock bottom at the table with just five points and a single win so far.
After spending over £100 million in the summer transfer window, culminating in 12 new players – five of which were signed on deadline day itself, Fulham still find themselves at the foot of the Premier League table.
Such a return of investment was not enough to save Slavisa Jokanović from becoming the first managerial casualty of the season. Ranieri was swiftly announced as his replacement at Craven Cottage, with hopes for yet another miracle from the Italian manager.
Their goal difference which currently sits at -20, is the worst in the league. Fulham have not scored a goal in their last three matches and are yet to keep a clean sheet this season, two areas Ranieri will have to work on.
Fulham return from the international break with renewed optimism, but will look to Ranieri to find the winning formula that will save them from an immediate return to the Championship.
Fulham host Southampton in a massive six-pointer next on Saturday, November 24th. K/O is at 8:30 pm IST.
The festive period of the Premier League is about to begin, and by its end, we will have an even clearer picture as to who can challenge Manchester City to the title. Which teams are doomed to drop down and out of the Premier League and who can manage to conjure up a great escape… only time will tell. Enjoy the return of the Premier League!
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