SOCCER:  Man United, Chelsea both at home as Arsenal travels away to Wolves on Saturday

SOCCER: Man United, Chelsea both at home as Arsenal travels away to Wolves on Saturday

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Norwich vs Brighton and Hove Albion
Carrow Road, Norfolk
Saturday, 04-07-2020 @2:30pm
Ref: Scot Attwell

Norwich have won seven of the past 10 meetings in all competitions, drawing one and losing two. Brighton’s 2-0 win in November’s return fixture was their first top-flight encounter since 1983.

Norwich City defender Timm Klose is available after a one-match ban, but Moritz Leitner won’t play again this season because of a hernia problem. Grant Hanley, Christoph Zimmermann and Sam Byram are long-term absentees.

Brighton will assess the fitness of defender Adam Webster, who missed Tuesday’s defeat by Manchester United with a hamstring injury. Davy Propper has overcome the minor calf issue that led to his substitution during that match.

Norwich have lost five straight games in all competitions, their worst run under Daniel Farke. They have also lost six of their past seven Premier League matches, failing to score in each defeat. The Canaries have failed to score in eight of their most recent 11 top-flight matches and could go three home games without a goal for the first time in the Premier League. They scored nine goals in their first five league fixtures this season but have since only managed 16 in 27 matches. Top scorer Teemu Pukki is on a 10-match goalless run.

Brighton have only won one of their past 13 matches in all competitions (D7, L5), keeping just two clean sheets. They are winless in eight Premier League away games, drawing the last four. Albion’s tally of one Premier League win in 2020 is the fewest in the division. The Seagulls have failed to score in four of their past five league matches.

Leicester City vs Crystal Palace
King Power Stadium, Leicestershire
Saturday, 04-07-2020 @5pm
Ref: Jonathan Moss

Leicester midfielder James Maddison is doubtful after aggravating a hip complaint in midweek, but Ayoze Perez, Demarai Gray and Kelechi Iheanacho are all under consideration to start. Defenders Ricardo Pereira and Daniel Amartey are long-term absentees.

Crystal Palace are boosted by the return of Christian Benteke after a two-match absence because of injury. Martin Kelly has stepped up his fitness but remains on the sidelines alongside James Tomkins and Jeffrey Schlupp.

Leicester’s 2-0 win in the reverse fixture ended a four-match losing streak against the Eagles. Palace have won on their past two visits to the King Power Stadium, scoring seven goals in the process. The past seven meetings have produced 24 goals.

Leicester have earned just seven points from their past eight league matches (W1, D4, L3), with only the current bottom four of Norwich, Aston Villa, Bournemouth and Watford faring worse over the same period. They have recorded just two home league victories in eight attempts (D3, L3). Since the restart, Leicester have scored twice from 41 goal attempts – a conversion rate of just 4.9%. They had the second-highest conversion rate of 14.3% prior to lockdown. Only Manchester City have score more goals in the last 10 minutes of league matches than the Foxes’ tally of 13. Twelve of Leicester’s 16 league wins have come against sides currently in the bottom half of the table. Jamie Vardy scored 26 goals in his opening 28 league appearances under Brendan Rodgers but has found the net only twice in 11 games since then. Vardy’s next goal will be his 100th in the Premier League.

Palace have lost consecutive games without scoring, having previously managed four straight wins without conceding. The Eagles have won just two of their past nine away league matches. They are the only side yet to score more than twice in any of their 32 Premier League fixtures. Roy Hodgson’s men have recorded just two wins in 15 games against the current top-10 clubs (D4, L9). The Eagles have scored nine first-half goals, the fewest in the division. Wilfried Zaha has scored five goals and provided four assists versus Leicester, his highest goal involvement against a particular opponent.

Man United vs AFC Bournemouth
Old Trafford, Manchester
Saturday, 04-07-2020 @5pm
Ref: Mike Dean

Manchester United are unbeaten at home against Bournemouth in all competitions, winning seven and drawing one. However, Bournemouth are vying to complete their first league double over Manchester United following a 1-0 victory at home in November.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has hinted at making changes to his starting line-up in order to give some players a rest. Defenders Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones remain injured, so teenager Ethan Laird has been promoted to the senior squad.

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe said he will need to check on the fitness of two unnamed players. Leading goalscorer Callum Wilson remains unavailable as he completes a two-match suspension.

United’s 15-match unbeaten run in all competitions (W11, D4) is their longest since a streak of 17 games without defeat between November 2016 and January 2017. They’re looking to win four consecutive home league matches without conceding for the first time since a run of six ending in October 2017. The Red Devils can keep a clean sheet in six successive home fixtures in all competitions for the first time since October to December 2015. United have kept eight clean sheets in their past 13 league games – one more than in their first 40 fixtures under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Mason Greenwood’s six goals in 2019-20 is the most by a player aged 18 or younger in a Premier League season since Wayne Rooney scored nine for Everton in 2003-04. Bruno Fernandes has been directly involved in eight goals in his first eight league games for United, scoring five and setting up three.

Bournemouth have lost 10 of their past 11 Premier League away fixtures. The Cherries have suffered 16 defeats in 21 league matches, including each of the last four. Eddie Howe’s side are enduring a run of seven straight away defeats in the league. It’s 15 league games without a clean sheet for Bournemouth, their longest such run since a 21-match streak between April and October 1994. They haven’t scored a league goal from open play in five hours and 51 minutes. An unrivalled 53% of their 30 goals this season have come via set pieces.

Wolves vs Arsenal
Molinuex Stadium, West Midlands
Saturday, 04-07-2020 @7:30pm
Ref: Michael Oliver

Head coach Nuno Espirito Santo has a fully-fit squad ahead of his 150th match in charge of Wolves. Adama Traore is the player most likely to break into a settled side, having started Wolves’ previous home fixture against Bournemouth.

Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira is available after recovering from an ankle injury. Head coach Mikel Arteta must decide whether to recall Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi to his matchday squad.

Wolves are undefeated in the past three meetings (W1, D2). Victory in the corresponding fixture last season ended Wolves’ 20-game winless run in all competitions against the Gunners, which stretched back to 1979.

Wolves are on an eight-match unbeaten Premier League run, winning five, drawing three and keeping seven clean sheets. They can win four consecutive top-flight fixtures for the first time since December 1971 to January 1972. Wolves are the only side with a 100% winning record in the Premier League since football’s resumption. Nuno Espirito Santo’s side have gone 405 minutes without conceding a goal and can equal the club top-flight record of five consecutive clean sheets, set in 1959 and matched in 1981. They have drawn seven home games this season, the joint most in the division.

Arsenal have won eight of their past 11 matches in all competitions. However, they are winless in their 17 most recent Premier League away games against sides starting the day above them in the table (D5, L12). The Gunners are attempting to secure back-to-back away league victories for the first time since August. Arsenal have only won three of their 16 top-flight away fixtures this season. They can keep three successive Premier League clean sheets for the first time since November 2017. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang needs one goal to become only the second Arsenal player to score 20 goals in consecutive Premier League seasons, emulating Thierry Henry.

Chelsea vs Watford
Stamford Birdge, London
Saturday, 04-07-2020 @10pm
Ref: Kevin Friend

Watford have won only one and lost 13 of their past 17 meetings with Chelsea in league and cup. Chelsea are unbeaten in 12 home meetings with the Hornets since a 5-1 loss in May 1986 (W8, D4). Watford have conceded 11 goals on their last three trips to Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea will be without midfielder Mateo Kovacic, who has an Achilles injury. Head coach Frank Lampard has also confirmed that young defender Fikayo Tomori remains on the sidelines.

Watford trio Andre Gray, Nathaniel Chalobah and Domingos Quina have been recalled after being omitted last week for disciplinary reasons. Gerard Deulofeu, Daryl Janmaat and Isaac Success are the Hornets’ only certain absentees.

Chelsea have won three successive home league games. However, the Blues have lost eight home matches in all competitions this term, their most since 1985-86. They have lost 10 league matches in a season for only the second time during the Roman Abramovich era, having been beaten in 12 during the 2015-16 campaign. Chelsea have conceded 29 of their 44 league goals in the second half of games. They have dropped 18 points from winning positions. Tammy Abraham, the club’s 13-goal league top scorer, has failed to score in his last seven appearances. Frank Lampard has finished on the winning team in all five Premier League matches against Watford, four as a player and once as a manager. Lampard celebrates his one-year anniversary as Chelsea boss on the day of the game.

Watford have won only one of their past 10 league matches (D3, L6), and are winless in four. They have claimed just two victories in 16 away league games this season (D4, L10) – those triumphs came at fellow strugglers Norwich and Bournemouth. The Hornets have failed to score in eight away matches, including each of the past three. They have scored just three second-half away goals this season. Watford have conceded 17 goals without scoring in their five fixtures away to the current top-six clubs. The Hornets have scored just 29 league goals, with only Crystal Palace and Norwich managing fewer. If selected, Ben Foster will become the eighth player to make 100 Premier League appearances for Watford.

The other upcoming Premier League games

Sunday, 05-07-2020

-Burnely vs Sheffield United @2pm
-Newcastle United vs West Ham United @4:15pm
-Liverpool vs Aston Villa @6:30pm
-Southampton vs Man City @9pm

Monday, 06-07-2020

-Tottenham vs Everton @10pm

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