Leeds United left the ranks of the Premier League’s winless with its win over Watford on Saturday, leaving a genuine wonder as to which of the four remaining teams would be the last standing with a 0 in the standings.
Newcastle United couldn’t find a second goal against Wolves at the Molineux, Southampton hung with Chelsea before a red card made the task too much, and Burnley and Norwich City wasted the three-point chance across from them.
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So who will come out first? And who’ll be staring longest at a goose egg (and why will it be a magpie egg?) the longest?
See below for the matches between international breaks. We’ll underline where we think the win arrives… if it arrives.
Southampton (0-4-3, 4 points)
The struggles in two sentences (or less): The best bet to emerge from its morass due to an ease in fixtures alone, Saints have not been bad this year.
Manager under fire? Shouldn’t be, as Ralph Hasenhuttl has not been given proper ingredients to even make a nice stew and has faced a brutal run of opponents to start the season.
Magic man? James Ward-Prowse on set pieces, of course (though he’s out for Leeds with a red card).
Oct. 16 vs Leeds United
Oct. 23 vs Burnley
Oct. 30 at Watford
Nov. 5 vs Aston Villa
Burnley (0-3-4, 3 points)
The struggles in two sentences (or less): Burnley losing the xG battle to Norwich City at Turf Moor when the visitors only managed 0.67 should be a clarion call to the Clarets.
Manager under fire? Unless Sean Dyche is the reason they’ve barely addressed need in the transfer market and keep just running veterans into the ground, then he not only should be safe but just signed a new long-term deal.
Magic man? Maxwel Cornet was the surprising signing of the summer and is capable of anything.
Oct. 16 at Man City
Oct. 23 at Southampton
Oct. 30 vs Brentford
Nov. 6 at Chelsea
Newcastle (0-3-4, 3 points)
The struggles in two sentences (or less): This one is a lot more about how long Mike Ashley allows Steve Bruce to run rule over a barely-guided Newcastle and, failing that, how soon Callum Wilson, Jonjo Shelvey, and Martin Dubravka can return from medium-to-term injuries.
Manager under fire? On almost any other team, given rumors of team discontent and haphazard training times, Steve Bruce would be gone. So, you’re asking the wrong people. And there’s only one person to ask (and he owns Newcastle).
Magic man? With apologies to Callum Wilson and Miguel Almiron, French wizard Allan Saint-Maximin is the bottle of rare single-malt scotch at the “cream ale is pretty decadent” corner pub.
Oct. 17 vs Tottenham
Oct. 23 at Crystal Palace
Oct. 30 vs Chelsea
Nov. 6 at Brighton
You’ll note a distinct lack of underlining. If we had to, we’d say Palace away. Spurs could slip on a post-break banana peel, too, we guess.
Norwich City (0-1-6, 1 point)
The struggles in two sentences (or less): Realistically, aren’t they trying to pluck 1-3 points from any team outside the top six and then hoping ownership sees their January position as reason enough to invest in safety?
Manager under fire? Unsure how Norwich City can say, “Yeah we stuck with him through a relegation and promotion, didn’t ask him to really change his open style nor invest a ton in it, but it’s his fault he hasn’t overachieved.”
Magic man? Milot Rashica’s done it before, at least in terms of providing improbable wins, but Teemu Pukki’s status as the Finnish Vardy probably pushes him higher in the ranking.
Oct. 16 vs Brighton
Oct. 23 at Chelsea
Oct. 31 vs Leeds
Nov. 6 at Brentford