Newcastle haven’t won at Selhurst Park since December 2013
The insipid performance against Chelsea last week in which Steve Bruce’s side mustered only one shot on target in a 2-0 home defeat did not go down well with supporters and they will be interested to see how Allan Saint-Maximin responds to criticism from Alan Shearer, who said the Frenchman “hasn’t broken a sweat” since signing his new six-year contract last month.
Lallana key for Brighton against his former club
Brighton have also picked up some crafty free transfers in Danny Welbeck and Adam Lallana. The latter two combined for the opener in the win over Villa last weekend but the focus is on Lallana with his former club Liverpool coming to town. The midfielder is carrying a knock from Villa but looks a shrewd purchase having featured in all nine league matches this season, and brings a winning mentality.
Agüero’s return can get City to start firing again
Pep Guardiola’s side have never had any trouble creating chances but converting them is becoming a bit of a worry for Manchester City. Against Olympiakos, City had 22 shots, half of which were on target, but only Phil Foden found the net. City have failed to score more than once in their past six Premier League outings, which is not good enough for a side targeting the title. The free-flowing move that ended with Foden’s winner in Athens was a sign of what City are aiming to do.
Rivals’ title credentials in focus at Stamford Bridge
Should Tottenham emerge from Stamford Bridge unscathed, their credentials for a long-haul title chase will start to look irresistible. If Chelsea make it seven straight wins in all competitions and leapfrog their London rivals then the same might be said of them. Sunday’s game is a huge one and, in the circumstances, the two days’ extra preparation Frank Lampard’s side will have enjoyed could prove crucial. They beat Rennes on Tuesday night while Tottenham had to wait until Thursday to see off Ludogorets.
Everton without their left back
Sadly for Carlo Ancelotti, Baines retired in the summer and now Digne is out injured for a sustained period. Digne already has four assists in eight games this season, a sign of his importance to the Toffees. His replacement is Niels Nkounkou, a 20-year-old compatriot of Digne but without the experience of his more-esteemed teammate.
Ceballos needs to step up for Arsenal
Dani Ceballos’s form is a particular cause for frustration: the Spaniard is clearly gifted and, in the first half at Leeds last weekend, showed some welcome vigour and intent around the attacking third. One early shot flew not far wide and there was a purpose to his passing and movement that has sometimes been lacking. Ceballos needs to begin imposing himself on games regularly and the visit of Wolves would be a good place to start, particularly given there is no guarantee Partey will be passed fit for an assignment in which defeat would usher in some dark clouds.
Fernandes and van de Beek potentially to be paired
In the majority of games, two defensive midfielders have been selected and the Norwegian has been unable to find a way to fit Donny van de Beek into his first-choice team. Against Istanbul Basaksehir, however, the Dutchman was deployed – in a deeper role than normal – alongside Fred, as United picked off the Turkish champions with their first-half display the best of the campaign. Some feared Van de Beek and Bruno Fernandes would not be able to operate successfully in the same side but they proved on Tuesday this was more than possible.
Leicester to get going after Anfield no-show
Scoring in stoppage time at Braga to qualify for the knockout stages of the Europa League was a fine way for Leicester to respond to last weekend’s flop at Liverpool, even if their first-half display in Braga was not much better. The game in Portugal turned with the introductions of Jamie Vardy, Youri Tielemans, James Maddison and Wesley Fofana, all of whom are likely to start against Fulham. Monday’s match is a prime opportunity for Leicester to get back on track in the league before they are bolstered by the long-awaited returns in the coming weeks of Ricardo Pereira, Wilfried Ndidi and Caglar Soyuncu.