Preview and Predictions for Matchweek 5 of the 2021-22 Premier League Season – Bleacher Report - Techy Hunters

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Friday, September 17, 2021

Preview and Predictions for Matchweek 5 of the 2021-22 Premier League Season – Bleacher Report

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    Chelsea will be a force to be reckoned with this season.

    Chelsea will be a force to be reckoned with this season.Steve Bardens – UEFA/Getty Images

    It was nice of European football to keep us busy during the week, but we shall turn our focus back on the English Premier League this weekend.   

    In the UEFA Champions League, the EPL clubs were 3-of-4 on the win count, with Manchester United’s shocking last-minute 2-1 defeat at Young Boys (a second-ever UCL win for the Swiss lads) being the only blemish on an impressive start to the campaign.

    West Ham United fought for a deserved win in its Europa League opener against Dinamo Zagreb, while Leicester City played an entertaining match against Serie A high-flyers Napoli that ended 2-2. Outside of the United result, a solid start for the Premier League teams abroad.

    With European football kicking off, the fixtures, as they say, are coming thick and fast, and we’ll be at the busy holiday period before we know it with a clear idea of how the table is shaking out for the back half of the campaign. Without getting too far ahead of ourselves, let’s dive into this weekend’s action, starting with a tasty matchup in north London.

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    Don't look now but Chelsea may have found its long-term manager.

    Don’t look now but Chelsea may have found its long-term manager.Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

    Sunday, September 19, 11:30 a. m. ET

    Streaming: Peacock Premium

    Out of the gate, both sides have been strong—Chelsea in particular. The addition of Romelu Lukaku, as we’ve stated many times, is a clear call to the rest of the league that Chelsea isn’t resting on its Champions League success from a year ago and is fully focused on bringing the EPL title back to Stamford Bridge for the first time since the 2016-17 season. 

    And wouldn’t you know it, the $135 million spent on Lukaku is already paying off, as the hulking Belgian has already netted three goals in three Premier League matches for the Blues. It goes without saying that he’s not the same player he was when he left the club in 2014 and will be in contention for the EPL Golden Boot this year. Against a Spurs side that is weakened by a number of niggling injuries and quarantine regulations, he could be in line for another big performance for manager Thomas Tuchel.    

    The Blues’ 1-0 win over Zenit St. Petersburg in the Champions League (in which Lukaku scored the lone goal) wasn’t as convincing as some may have hoped, but Chelsea will take the three points and build on that success in a group that should see it advance rather easily. All told, it’s been a perfect start to the season, and this fixture against Spurs is probably the toughest test yet.

    As noted, Spurs come in a little banged up. What’s more, the availability of Davinson Sanchez, Cristian Romero and Giovani Lo Celso remains up in the air. The trio have been training alone in Croatia after the international break, as a direct return to the UK from South America would have required 10 days of self-isolation in a hotel room. They are only expected to arrive on Saturday, and they could all be considered for the starting lineup Sunday because of Spurs’ injury woes. However, Lo Celso and Romero could yet be disciplined by the club for reporting for international duty without permission. 

    The concerns run deeper than that for head coach Nuno Espirito Santo, as key attacker Heung-Min Son and defender Eric Dier missed Spurs’ UEFA Conference League match against Rennes and could be out for this match against their London rivals. One thing Spurs have in their favor is the fantastic home atmosphere at their gem of a stadium, one that helped lift them to an opening-day 1-0 win over champions Manchester City. The home side will rely on that support if it is to propel beyond a superior Chelsea side.

    Chelsea is just too strong, however, and will continue its unbeaten run to the season with another big three points.

    Match Prediction: Chelsea 2, Tottenham Hotspur 0

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    If United can get Sancho going...

    If United can get Sancho going…Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

    Sunday, September 19, 9 a.m. ET

    Streaming: NBCSN, Telemundo

    The Hammers have started the new campaign in solid form, taking two wins and two draws from their opening four matches. This will be their biggest test against an aggravated Manchester United side that has something to prove after the midweek disappointment in Switzerland.    

    Unfortunately for the home side, it will be without league joint-top scorer Michail Antonio as he’s serving a suspension. It could be Jarrod Bowen and Said Benrahma leading the line against the Red Devils’ strong back line, which is headlined by Raphael Varane and his increasing influence in the squad.

    One thing Manchester United does well at the back is tackle, with the likes of Varane, Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka all being excellent at getting the ball back. Play in transition will be a big factor in this match, given the numbers the visitors will undoubtedly send forward.

    One player to look closely at is Jadon Sancho. He has not lit the world on fire since joining Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s ranks from Borussia Dortmund for a cool $100 million in the summer. Playing a lot of minutes ahead of a number of quality attacking options, Sancho has been good but not great. He’s been involved but not integral. United fans would love to see more from him not only in the wide spaces but also getting himself in the area and creating havoc for opposing defenses. West Ham’s defending has been decent, allowing five goals in four matches, but Manchester United is a different beast.

    If Cristiano Ronaldo can continue his scoring run to start his second stint at Old Trafford, West Ham could have a long night. The visitors can’t always rely on CR7, however, and the rest of the squad (read: Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood and, at some, point Edinson Cavani) will need to continue chipping in goals.

    It’ll be a close one at the London Stadium, but Ole simply cannot afford a second consecutive slip-up, even if it is against much tougher competition.

    Match Prediction: West Ham United 1, Manchester United 3

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    It's been a tough start to the year for Patrick Bamford and Co.

    It’s been a tough start to the year for Patrick Bamford and Co.Associated Press

    Friday, September 17, 3 p.m. ET

    Streaming: NBCSN, Universo

    An interesting battle here of two clubs who are in that bigger-in-scale-but-not-necessarily-in-stature category. Classically big clubs with devoted followings, large stadiums and solid reputations, this contest should be spirited, to say the least.   

    Trouble is, both have been pretty awful to start the season and could really, really use a result here against their relative equal. Sitting in 17th and 19th, respectively, Leeds United and Newcastle United are two of the more disappointing clubs to start the campaign, particularly when you factor in that they both have a goal differential of minus-seven. The teams have shown a penchant for losing and losing big.

    If nothing else, we could get some goals in this one, as both teams will be hungry for a result. Newcastle will be without Callum Wilson, who is usually a key factor in its game plan going forward. Allan Saint-Maximin, Miguel Almiron and Joelinton will likely be tasked once more with picking up the slack.

    Leeds face a dilemma defensively with Diego Llorente and Robin Koch out injured and Pascal Struijk unavailable because of the red card he received last week against Liverpool. It may mean attack is the best defense for Marcelo Bielsa’s men, which could lead to a wide-open game against the Magpies. 

    Friday night under the lights at St. James’ Park should make for a great atmosphere, one that has a bit of desperation to it as both teams will fancy their chances to take all three points. It will likely end in a draw.

    Match Prediction: Newcastle United 2, Leeds United 2

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    Jack Grealish has been everything City fans hoped he would be so far.

    Jack Grealish has been everything City fans hoped he would be so far.Rui Vieira/Associated Press

    Saturday, Sept. 18

    Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Brentford (7:30 a.m. ET): 1-1

    Norwich City vs. Watford (10 a.m. ET): 2-1 Norwich

    Burnley vs. Arsenal (10 a.m. ET): 2-1 Arsenal

    Manchester City vs. Southampton (10 a.m. ET): 3-1 Manchester City

    Liverpool vs. Crystal Palace (10 a.m. ET): 2-0 Liverpool

    Aston Villa vs. Everton (12:30 p.m. ET): 2-2

         

    Sunday, Sept. 19

    Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Leicester City (9 a.m. ET): 2-1 Leicester City



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