Sunday’s second game sees a West London derby at Craven Cottage. While Chelsea are obviously strong favourites, their last three away games in the league have seen them lose 2-0, 4-0 and 6-0.
That’ll be an 8-0 Fulham win in Scott Parker’s first game then?
Probably not, but Fulham will be hoping they can repeat their famous 1-0 victory in 2006, which was their last triumph over their near neighbours. It was the match where Jose Mourinho displayed his immense bravery by making two tactical substitutions in the 26th minute. The man’s a genius! Who still lost the match!
Chelsea’s goal difference might be -12 for the last three away games, but they should get back on the goal trail here. Fulham have kept just one clean sheet on home turf this season – and that was against Championship-bound Huddersfield – while the Blues had the third best away record in the division prior to their recent wobble. In terms of total goals, the Cottagers are a tough team to predict, and that’s made tougher by another change of manager. The Etihad and Anfield are the only Premier League grounds which have seen more goals per game, but 10 stadia have seen a higher proportion of matches featuring at least three goals.
This is because Fulham have had three 1-1s, but also a couple of 4-2s. However, their three home games against big six sides have all seen over 2.5 goals, as have 10 of Chelsea’s 13 away league matches.
The final match of the weekend is the Merseyside derby. Liverpool are desperate for every win they can get, while only Cardiff and Huddersfield have worse home form than Everton over the past six games.
The cliché states that form goes out of the window on derby day – why not by the front door? – but that rarely seems to apply in this fixture.
Everton have failed to win any of their last 18 matches with Liverpool, and as Roy Hodgson was in charge of the Reds the last time the Blues tasted victory, you’ll find very few Kopites who would acknowledge that match either.
Since the madness of the early Brendan Rodgers years, when his side’s first two visits to Goodison Park ended in a 2-2 and a 3-3 draw, derby goals have been at a premium on the blue half of Merseyside. There have just been three scored across the last four meetings, and one of those was Sadio Mané’s 94th minute winner in 2016.
Without that goal, this fixture would have seen three 0-0s in the last four matches.
With Liverpool not banging in the goals on the road recently (they’ve scored no more than once in their last four away league games), and the nerdy numbers pointing to a 1-0 win for the Reds, I think we can expect a low scoring away win in this one.