Last week we previewed three possible upsets and struck gold with two picks – Aston Villa’s 3-1 win over Arsenal and Norwich City’s 2-2 draw with Everton.
This week we keep the ball rolling by forecasting three more matches where the favorite could end up breaking hearts.
Fulham v. Arsenal (Craven Cottage)
Arsenal fans will cringe at this match being circled but it has to be done.
Did the Gunners look good yesterday in the first leg of their Champions League Play-Off against Fenerbahce?
No, they looked fantastic. Thus, the 3-0 score line.
But that came at a cost – namely Laurent Koscielny being taken to the hospital after taking a reckless boot to the head and suffering a massive gash to the skull.
Obviously the Frenchman was suspended for the Fulham match anyway after last weekend’s sending but the incident nevertheless underlines the point – Arsenal’s defense is severely depleted as Per Mertesacker is currently their only fit central defender.
On top of that, Arsenal is going to be quite tired. Yesterday’s 90 minutes was a battle and the 3,600+ mile round trip won’t help. Now they have to deal with a Fulham side riding the momentum of an opening week victory and playing at home.
Don’t be surprised if the Cottagers nip a point here.
Hull City v. Norwich City (The Kingston Communications Stadium)
No better match for Steve Bruce’s Tigers to grab their points than this fixture.
After a furious opening 30 minutes at Stamford Bridge, Hull City settled down and conducted themselves fairly well against Chelsea. When Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore came on the pitch, the Tigers shape and organization improved ten-fold. Assuming the pair starts on Saturday there’s no reason to think they can’t give the home fans something to cheer about.
That being said, Norwich City looked a decent size last week. Despite some defensive frailties, the attack was organized and unpredictable. There’s always the chance, however, that a Premier League mainstay underestimates a newly promoted club.
That would be a big mistake for the Canaries.
Aston Villa v. Liverpool (Villa Park)
Playing three Premier League matches in one week will be hard on Paul Lambert’s side but given their first two performances, we simply can’t count out Aston Villa. Especially when they’re hosting their home opener.
Liverpool should be able to take care of business in this match. They’re healthy, talented and seem to have really embraced Brendan Rodgers’ style of play in his second season at Anfield.
There are some cracks in the armor, starting with the attack. Despite enjoying a slew of wonderful opportunities last weekend, they only converted one. On defense, the Potters nearly scored from the run of play on a few occasions and but for Jon Walters’ poor penalty, could’ve shared the points.
They’ll be tired but Lambert’s wee Villans will be ready.