5 Potential November Premier League Shocks feat. Manchester City and Liverpool
Three months into a new Premier League season and everything, with the exception of Chelsea, seems to have calmed down. However, football is never that straightforward and another surprise is always just around the corner. So which fixture have the potential to provide these shocks in November?
1. Leicester City v Watford
Both of these sides have made an incredible start to the season with Claudio Ranieri’s Foxes, the second top scorers in the league, flying high in the Champions League places and Quique Sanchez Flores’ newly promoted Hornets nestled in mid-table. Leicester have been free scoring at home with 11 goals in five games and just a single defeat to a rampant Arsenal. In their previous home game, Ranieri’s men kept their first clean sheet of the season to earn some overdue pizza so will go into the fixture full of confidence.
However, Watford have impressed on their return to the top flight, particularly away from home where they won 2-0 at Stoke and picked up a point in an entertaining 2-2 draw at Goodison Park on the opening day of the season. Odion Ighalo has become the Hornets all-time leading scorer in the Premier League after just three months whilst captain Troy Deeney broke his Premier League duck in the victory at the Britannia.
Watford’s counter attacking style works well away from home whilst Leicester will be unable to play their natural game with the onus being on the home side. Jamie Vardy will fancy his chances of making it nine straight Premier League games with a goal but it may just be the match in which Leicester’s stunning run unexpectedly hits the rocks.
2. Liverpool v Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace were another side who made a fast start this season but three games without a victory including back-to-back defeats against West Ham and Leicester saw the Londoners fall back into mid-table, below Jurgen Klopp’s reinvigorated Liverpool. The Reds have gone unbeaten in 11 games following defeat to Manchester United at the start of September but a lack of cutting edge has seen the majority of those fixture end in draws. Additionally, they have conceded more goals than they have scored at Anfield in the league this season, and failed to win there in Jurgen Klopp’s first home fixture, epitomising their current struggles.
Despite Palace’s poor run of form and the Reds morale boosting win at Stamford Bridge, the Eagles are perfectly set up to play on the counter attack with the pace and trickery of Yannick Bolasie, Wilfried Zaha, Bakary Sako and Jason Puncheon a threat to any side. Palace did the double over Liverpool last season and the hosts face a trip to Russia three days before the fixture so despite failing to score in their last two league outings, Pardew’s men look like they could provide more misery for the Reds.
3. Swansea City v Bournemouth
Following a club record top flight points haul last season, many people were tipping Swansea City for Europe at the start of this campaign. Expectations were heighted with a draw at Stamford Bridge and comeback victory against Manchester United in their opening four fixtures but things have gone downhill for the South Wales outfit since then. September and October brought just one win and five goals in eight games in all competitions as Bafetimbi Gomis’ form matched that of the entire team.
Newly promoted Bournemouth had a mixed start to the season but endured a similarly tough September and October period with one win in eight games in all competitions and five goals conceded in back-to-back fixtures against Manchester City and Tottenham, leaving them just outside the relegation zone.
It means that both clubs are desperate for points throughout November and the Swans will fancy their chances of getting three in this fixture against a team without an away win since August. However, the Cherries will enjoy playing against a team that like to keep the ball on the deck and won’t bully them as others have done this season, meaning they could spring a surprise at the Liberty.
4. Crystal Palace v Newcastle United
As mentioned above, Crystal Palace are perfectly set up to play on the counter attack away from home, resulting in them winning more points away than at Selhurst Park this season.
Meanwhile, Steve McClaren’s Newcastle made a terrible start to the season, failing to win any of their opening eight fixtures and culminating in a second-half mauling at the Etihad. However, the Magpies followed that with a six goal showing of their own against Norwich before dominating the opening 45 minutes against arch rivals Sunderland and coming up against an inspired Jack Butland. One point from those two games was disappointing but showed significant progress in the side’s performances.
Facing former manager Alan Pardew will undoubtedly inspire the squad to greater heights and a trip to South London could provide an unexpected first away win of the 2015/16 campaign.
5. Manchester City v Southampton
Manchester City boast an outstanding home record in recent seasons, including the best so far in the 2015/16 campaign, but frailties still remain as West Ham proved. Southampton meanwhile, are yet to lose on the road this season and have already taken points at both Stamford Bridge and Anfield, although too many draws have dented their progress..
Stopping City’s attacking talent is a difficult proposition but Graziano Pelle, Sadio Mane and Dusan Tadic provide a great attacking outlet and constant goal threat themselves. After a shaky start to the season, including being knocked out of Europe, the Saints are now starting to play to the same standard as last year when they shocked many onlookers with the quality of their performances and 7th placed finish.
Whilst City at home always feels like a ‘banker’, Southampton may be the perfect team to cause another shock and take three points from the Etihad.