PORTLAND, OR – FEBRUARY 17: Ryan Johnson #9 of Portland Timbers celebrates with fans and Diego Valeri #8 of Portland Timbers after scoring his second goal of the game during the first half of the game against the San Jose Earthquakes at Jeld-Wen Field on February 17, 2013 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
- Hull has only won four matches vs. Chelsea (4-10-30)
- Tigers have allowed nine goals in previous two PL matches
- Chelsea looking to rebound following Arsenal blowout
- Costa remains tied for league lead with five goals
Both Hull City and Chelsea come into the weekend on a poor run of form, giving both clubs plenty of incentive to push for a result.
The Tigers play host to Chelsea at the KC Stadium on Saturday (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
Following a pair of impressive victories to open the Premier League season, Hull has come back down to earth as of late, losing three of its last five matches in all competitions. With nine goals allowed in its last two PL matches (losses to Liverpool and Arsenal), Chelsea enters the fray with another dangerous attack that the Tigers will have to be wary of.
Antonio Conte‘s Chelsea have ironically enough seen their form dip at the hands of the Reds and Gunners, respectively, as well. Last Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at the Emirates Stadium wasn’t ideal for a Blues side that expects to be amongst the top four at season’s end.
Meanwhile, Diego Costa will have to continue to find the back of the net for Chelsea on a regular basis, after netting five times in the club’s first six league matches. The Spaniard has accounted for half of the squad’s offensive output, making the 27-year-old vital up front along with the likes of Eden Hazard and Willian.
What they’re saying
Hull City manager Mike Phelan: “What needs to be resolved is the terms of the deal. It keeps changing. One minute I think I’ve got something and the club are happy with it and the next minute it changes. So it’s just a case of thinking about all these new changes that are on the table and making a decision.”
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte: “It’s important not to forget the past, because the past is very clear. We finished 10th last season and that means there were problems. We don’t have a magic wand to change the situation in a few months. We must work hard together and we are doing this. We must understand that only through hard work can we close the gap.”
The Blues have struggled to play complete matches for much of the season, and this road fixture won’t make things easy for Conte and co. That said, Chelsea will surely be motivated to come out and give a strong performance following last week’s debacle against Arsenal. Hull 1-3 ChelseaFollow @MattReedFutbol
Everton is finding its stride under Ronald Koeman, and goals like this one surely make it easy for the Dutchman to manage the club.
[ Watch Live: Everton taking on Crystal Palace on USA Network ]
With the match scoreless with a half hour gone, Phil Jagielka drew a questionable free kick outside the Crystal Palace penalty area.
From there, Romelu Lukaku did what he does best: score. Watch the video above as the Belgian striker curls his lovely set piece into the near post, giving goalkeeper Steve Mandanda no chance at making the save.Follow @MattReedFutbol
- Swansea victorious 3-1 in May 2015
- Francesco Guidolin‘s job status unknown
- Reds have managed 16 goals in six PL matches this season
With their manager’s managerial position up in the air, Swansea City will host Liverpool on Saturday at the Liberty Stadium (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
Swansea have picked up just four points in its opening six matches this season, leaving Francesco Guidolin and his side fighting to keep the Italian manager in charge. With Liverpool’s attack clicking to start the season and Swansea’s front group struggling, the Eagles will have to remain compact defensively to absorb the pressure.
The Reds come into the weekend with the opportunity to move up to second place in the Premier League. Jurgen Klopp‘s side is firing on all cylinders in the attack, which has played a key role in Liverpool’s six-match unbeaten run in all competitions.
Liverpool’s depth at attack has surely become among the most dangerous groups in the PL, having scored 71 league goals since Klopp took off his role with the club in October 2015. Meanwhile, Daniel Sturridge has revitalized himself thus far in 2016, netting four goals and adding two assists for the Reds.
What they’re saying
Swansea City boss Francesco Guidolin: “It could happen. Maybe. But if we win on Saturday for the period of the international break you don’t speak any more about my position. But my position is not important, Swansea’s [league] position is important, and we must get a result.”
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp: “We will be prepared for this game. We know about the quality of Swansea. We lost there last year after coming back from Villarreal. We had to make a lot of changes at Swansea last season. In that moment it was too much for us. Now we have no excuses. We have time to recover, time to prepare and time to analyse.”
Prediction: Liverpool simply comes into Saturday’s fixture as the hotter side. Unbeaten in its last six matches, Jurgen Klopp and co. only trail Manchester City this campaign for most finishes to this point (16). While Swansea’s slow start to the 2016/17 season hasn’t done them any favors, Liverpool’s current form certainly doesn’t make the challenge any easier. Swansea 0-3 LiverpoolFollow @MattReedFutbol
Everton host Crystal Palace on Friday under the (3 p.m. ET live on USA and online via NBC Sports.com) with plenty of intriguing battles all over the pitch.
Ronald Koeman‘s Everton lost for the first time this season against Bournemouth last week, so he’ll be expecting a response from his Toffees. As for Alan Pardew, well, life is pretty good right now. Palace have won three-straight Premier League games and have a very good recent record at Everton, winning on two of their previous three visits.
Yannick Bolasie swapped Palace for Everton this summer and he could be key, as he has been in the past, to deciding this encounter.
In team news Everton’s star striker Romelu Lukaku is fit to start the game.
Palace start with Benteke up top an
Everton: Stekelenburg, Oviedo, Williams, Jagielka, Coleman, Gueye, Barry, Cleverley, Barkley, Bolasie, Lukaku
Crystal Palace: Mandanda; Ward, Delaney, Tomkins, Kelly; Puncheon, Ledley, McArthur; Townsend, Bentered, Zaha