Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Predictions For Premier League Gameweek 12

It’s that time of the week again when I attempt to predict the outcomes of the upcoming Premier League games. I did reasonably well last week with six correct outcomes and four incorrect outcomes, but I dropped to ninth place in my predictions league with others doing better. Here’s a look at how the top five in that league looks.

Pos.        Player.                      Points
1 (1).      L’O’M.                      1145
2 (6).      Forty Celsius FC       1065
3 (8).      Terry Mills.               1050
4 (7).      David96.                   1050
5 (3).      ArsenalJosh95.         1045
5 (2).      Arssenal14.               1045

Saturday November 10

Cardiff v Brighton And Hove Albion

12.30pm GMT, Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff

Cardiff lost 1-0 at home to Leicester last week and they’re only off the foot of the table on goal difference. They have lost four of their six home games and no other team has conceded more goals at home. They have lost seven of their last eight games and only two other teams have conceded more goals.

I can't see any Cardiff players to interest fantasy managers even if Josh Murphy is available at a very good price.

Brighton's good run came to an end last week when they lost 3-1 away to Everton, but they’re still a healthy eight points above the relegation zone. They have lost four of their six away games and only three other teams have scored less goals on the road. They had won three games in a row before losing last week and they kept clean sheets in all of those three wins too.

As I've said previously Glenn Murray is the Brighton player most likely to make a difference for fantasy managers, but only when they're at home except perhaps in this game.

This is a big game for two teams who's main aim is to stay in the Premier League and I think Brighton might just nick it.

Prediction: 1-2

Huddersfield Town v West Ham United

3pm GMT, John Smith's Stadium, Huddersfield

Huddersfield won 1-0 at home to Fulham last week to get their first win of the season and move off the foot of the table. They have lost four of their six home games and no other team has scored less goals at home. They have lost seven of their 11 games and no other team has scored less goals with only three other teams conceding more.

I can’t see any Huddersfield players to recommend to fantasy managers.

West Ham were pegged back twice at home to Burnley last week, but they ended up winning 4-2. They have only won once in five away games, but they will think they can get their second away win in this game. They have only kept one clean sheet in their 11 games, but they are the top scorers in the bottom half of the table.

Marco Arnautovic showed his worth to fantasy managers last week and he’s still the only West Ham player to seriously consider.

I think this will be a close game with West Ham probably just taking the three points.

Prediction: 1-2

Leicester City v Burnley

3pm GMT, King Power Stadium, Leicester

Leicester won a very emotional game 1-0 away to Cardiff last week to move back into the top half of the table. They have taken more points and scored more goals away from home than they have at home. They’re the only team who have scored in every game so far and they have a good run of games coming up.

Leicester players haven’t exactly set the world alight for fantasy managers recently, but Jamie Vardy and James Maddison could do well in this game.

Burnley lost 4-2 away to West Ham last week and the amount of goals they are conceding is becoming a real concern for them. They have lost four of their six away games with only Fulham conceding more goals on the road. They have conceded 13 goals in their last three games and only Fulham have conceded more goals.

Johann Berg Gudmundsson is by far the best option in the Burnley team for fantasy managers.

I think Leicester will be the latest team to benefit from Burnley’s dodgy defending to take the three points.

Prediction: 3-1

Newcastle United v Bournemouth

3pm GMT, St. James's Park, Newcastle

Newcastle got their first home points of the season last week in a rather lucky 1-0 win against Watford. They have lost five of their six home games with only Palace taking less points at home. They have only won once in their 11 games, but Wolves are the only team in the bottom half of the table who have conceded less goals.

I still can’t see any Newcastle players to recommend to fantasy managers.

Bournmouth led at home to United last week, but a very late goal meant they ended up getting nothing from the game. They have won three of their five away games and have scored seven goals without conceding any in their last two away games. They had kept three clean sheets in a row before losing to United last week and only four teams have scored more goals.

Callum Wilson is almost a must have for fantasy managers at the moment while Ryan Fraser, Josh King (if he’s fit) and David Brooks are all doing very well too.

I think Bournemouth will take advantage of Newcastle’s lack of firepower to take the three points in this game.

Prediction: 0-2

Southampton v Watford

3pm GMT, St. Mary's Stadium, Southampton

Southampton were thrashed 6-1 away to City last week and they’re now only one point above the bottom three. They’re one of two teams who haven’t won at home yet and only Palace have taken less points at home. Their consolation goal at City was their first goal in six games and only Huddersfield have scored less goals.

Southampton’s defenders had done well in recent weeks for fantasy managers until last week’s game and they still have the potential to do well again.

Watford just couldn't put the ball in the net away to Newcastle last week and it cost them dearly when Newcastle scored with virtually their only real chance to win 1-0. They have won two and lost two of their five away games and only four other teams have conceded less goals on their travels. The defeat against Newcastle saw them drop to eighth place, but they’re only one point off the top six

Ricardo Pereyra has done very well for fantasy managers this season and he’s definitely worth considering.

I think Watford might just have enough to take the three points in this game if they can finish their chances better than they did last week.

Prediction: 0-1

Crystal Palace v Tottenham Hotspur

5.30pm GMT, Selhurst Park, London

Palace lost 3-1 away to Chelsea last week and they’re now only two points above the bottom three. They are one of two teams without a win at home and no other team has taken less home points with only Huddersfield scoring less goals on their own ground. They have only taken two points from their last six games  with only three other teams scoring less goals.

I’m not sure there are any Palace players to recommend to fantasy managers right now.

Spurs led 3-0 away to Wolves last week, but they nearly let that lead slip after conceding two second half penalties. They have taken more away points than any other team and no other team has scored more goals away from home either. They have won five of their last six games with clean sheets in three of those games.

Harry Kane is still the best of the Spurs players for fantasy managers while Eric Lamela has done well in recent weeks.

I think this will be a very close game and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it end with the spoils shared.

Prediction: 1-1

Sunday November 11

Liverpool v Fulham 

12.00pm GMT, Anfield, Liverpool

Liverpool led at Arsenal last week, but they were pegged back and dropped back to third place on goal difference as a result. They are one of three teams unbeaten at home and no other team has conceded less goals at home. They’re one of three unbeaten teams with six clean sheets in their 11 games and only City have conceded less goals.

Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are the best fantasy choices in the Liverpool team along with their defenders and keeper and they could all do very well in this game.

Fulham lost 1-0 away to Huddersfield last week and that defeat saw them drop to the foot of the table. They have only taken one point away from home and have conceded 11 goals in their last four away games. They have lost their last five games and conceded 16 goals in the process with no other team conceding more goals.

Andree Schurrle and Aleksandar Mitrovic have done well for fantasy managers so far, but it might not be the worst time to cash in on them.

I can’t see anything other than a comprehensive Liverpool victory in this game.

Prediction: 4-0

Chelsea v Everton 

2.30pm GMT, Stamford Bridge, London

Chelsea won 3-1 at home to Palace last week to move up to second place ahead of Liverpool on goal difference. Only City have taken more points and scored more goals at home, but their defence has been a lot better away from home. Again only City have more points and goals overall with only City and Liverpool conceding less.

Eden Hazard and Marcos Alonso are still the Chelsea players to have for fantasy managers while Alvaro Morata and Willian have looked good recently too.

Everton won 3-1 at home to Brighton last week and they’re now only two points behind the top six. They have only won once in five away games and that away form has to improve if they’re going to challenge the top six. They have won four of their last five games and they have only failed to score in one of their 11 games.

Richarlison is still the Everton player to have for fantasy managers with Gylfi Sigurdsson doing pretty well too.

I think Chelsea will be too good for Everton and should take the three points with a couple of goals to spare.

Prediction: 3-1

Arsenal v Wolverhampton Wanderers

4.30pm GMT, Emirates Stadium, London

Arsenal came from behind to get a 1-1 draw at home to Liverpool last week, but it meant they dropped out of the top four. They have taken 13 points from their six home games, but they have scored more goals away from home. They are unbeaten in nine games and only the top two have scored more goals.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette are the best choices in the Arsenal team for fantasy managers with Mesut Ozil doing quite well too.

Wolves nearly fought back from 3-0 down at home to Spurs last week, but the 3-2 defeat meant they dropped into the bottom half of the table. They have won two and lost two of their five away games, but only Cardiff have scored less away goals while only Chelsea and City have conceded less on the road. They have lost their last three games after keeping four clean sheets in their previous five games.

Wolves defenders and keeper had been doing very well for fantasy managers until recently, but it’s looking like they might not be the best choices any longer.

I think Wolves will give Arsenal a real challenge, but Arsenal will just about get the better of them.

Prediction: 2-1

Manchester City v Manchester United 

4.30pm GMT, Etihad Stadium, Manchester

City strolled to a 6-1 victory at home to Southampton last week to open up a two point lead at the top of the league. They are the only team with a 100% home record and they’re the leading scorers at home with only Liverpool conceding less goals on their own patch. They have won seven of their last eight games with clean sheets in six of those games with no other team scoring more or conceding less goals.

Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling (if he plays) are the best fantasy options in the City team, but David Silva, their defenders and keeper are all very good choices too.

United left it very late at Bournemouth last week, but their come from behind win moved them up to seventh place and only four points behind the top four. They have won half of their six away games and they have scored in each of their away games so far. They have only kept one clean sheet so far and only five teams have conceded less goals.

Anthony Martial is doing very well for fantasy managers at the moment and he’s listed as a midfielder too while Paul Pogba continues to rack up the points.

Despite United’s recent improvements I think City will be too strong and will win by at least two goals.

Prediction: 3-1

That’s it for this week.

See you next week.

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Arsenal v Liverpool: Premier League Preview

Arsenal face Liverpool this evening in a real test of their progress so far under Unai Emery. The first season under Arsene Wenger’s successor started with defeats against two of the “top six” when they lost to City and Chelsea. It was a baptism of fire, but the team responded brilliantly by winning their next 11 games in all competitions with seven of those victories coming in the Premier League.

That run came to an end in a 2-2 draw at Palace last week, but it was a soft landing at least. The team responded with a 2-1 win in midweek against Blackpool in the Carabao Cup even if it was more or less a reserve team. The big test comes today when unbeaten Liverpool come to the Emirates and it’s a daunting one for an Arsenal team still learning to play under the new manager.

To make matters worse we have a defensive crisis and it’s our defence which has been the most worrying aspect of our game so far this season. It looks like we’ll be without Hector Bellerin, Nacho Monreal, Sead Kolasinac and Sokratis Papastathopoulos while Laurent Koscielny still hasn’t kicked a ball this season. It means we are likely to see a back four of Stephan Lichsteiner, Rob Holding, Shkodran Mustafi and one other who might have to be Granit Xhaka.

Despite his shortcomings I think Xhaka is an important part of our midfield and we clearly missed him in midfield against Palace last week. He did reasonably well at left back until Wilfried Zaha suckered him into conceding a penalty which a more experienced defender might not have given away even if Zaha “made the most of it.” I suppose you could scratch that comment about a more experienced defender when you consider the penalty Mustafi gave away earlier in the game.

Anyway if Xhaka has to play in defence it would probably mean Mohamed Elneny would play in midfield with Matteo Guendouzi suspended after his red card in midweek and again he’s a player who doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence. He’ll do a good job and give his all if he plays, but we’re not as good with him in the team.

Also having Xhaka at left back severely hampers our attacking capabilities on that side as it’s just not natural for him to play there in a fashion similar to Monreal or Kolasinac. I suppose Carl Jenkinson or Ainsley Maitland-Niles could play, but I think it would be a huge risk to start either of them and I think Xhaka will probably get the nod in that position.

So many of our goals so far this season have come from players in and around the penalty spot after that ball has been cut back to them and we lose that part of our game on the left without Monreal or Kolasinac. With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in great scoring form at the moment we need to make chances for him as he seems unable to miss right now. His last six attempts on target have all ended up in the back of the net and I would be very surprised to see him on the bench as he has been a few times recently. I know his pace off the bench when the opposition are tired is great, but that pace could be crucial if Liverpool try to press us today. I have no doubt they will try to press our defenders into mistakes and it’s a tactic which could work with us trying to play the ball out, but it could also open the way for Aubameyang to get in behind them. 

In possession much will be expected of Mesut Ozil and we need him to be at his best today. He can be the difference against any team when he’s at his best, but getting him on the ball in positions where he can make that difference won’t be easy. We most certainly have the attacking players who can get us the goals we need with only City scoring more goals after 10 games, but our attack might not be what makes the difference today.

Liverpool haven’t exactly set the world alight this season, but they are only behind City on goal difference after eight wins and two draws from their 10 games. I think they have become more pragmatic in their approach because a stronger defence means they don’t have to score a shed load of goals to win games. They might not be as free scoring as they were last season, but they have only conceded four goals in their 10 games.

If it comes down to a battle of who has the better defence then we are in trouble, but home advantage is hard to estimate. We lost our opening home game against City, but we have won all four home games since then and we won 15 of our 19 home games last season. Let’s just hope we can make that home advantage count today and come out with a positive result.

I think anything other than a defeat would be a positive result for us, but of course a win would be ideal. If the pkayers can put in a performance to give the fans hope I’m sure those fans will get behind them and do all they can to pressurise Liverpool and the referee too. Liverpool are very fond of their tactical fouling to stop opponents breaking and we cannot let them get away with it today. The players and crowd have to get on the referee’s back to make sure they are appropriately punished every single time they do it.

Our goal for the season has to be a top four finish and maybe some silverware in a cup competition and a win today would be a big step towards a top four finish. We have struggled badly against the rest of the top six for too many seasons and we need to start getting results off them soon. The manager got a pass for the first two games of the season, but he will be judged more harshly if he gets it wrong today. I’m not exactly overly confident of getting anything from the game, but I think we are capable of doing so and I really hope for the sake of confidence and progress we can do it.

That’s it for today.

See you tomorrow.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Predictions For Premier League Gameweek 11

It’s that time of the week again when I attempt to predict the outcomes of the upcoming Premier League games. I did quite well last week with two perfect predictions, four correct outcomes and four incorrect which moved me up to fourth place in my predictions league. Here’s a look at how the top five in that league stands with me in at last.

Pos          Player                   Points
1. (3)        LOM.                    1020
2. (8)       Arssenal14.             975
3. (1)       ArsenslJosh95.        965
4. (6)       JamrockRover.        955
4. (1)       Richey Mac.            955

Saturday November 3

Bournemouth v Manchester United

12.30pm GMT, Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth

Bournemouth won 3-0 away to Fulham last week and they’re only two points outside the top four. They are still unbeaten at home with only City, Liverpool and Chelsea scoring more home goals. They have taken 10 points from their last four games and kept clean sheets in their last three with only the top four teams scoring more goals.

Callum Wilson, Ryan Fraser, Josh King and maybe even David Brooks have all done very well for fantasy managers and all of their prices are increasing with each week.

United just about held on to win 2-1 at home to Everton last week, but they’re still only eighth in the table. They have lost as many away games as they have won and they have only managed one clean sheet away from home so far. They have only managed one clean sheet in their opening 10 games and only four other teams have conceded more goals.

Paul Pogba showed why he can be so good for fantasy managers last week while Anthony Martial has done very well in recent weeks.

I think this will be a very close game and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it end in a draw.

Prediction: 2-2

Cardiff City v Leicester City

3pm GMT, Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff

Cardiff lost 4-1 away to Liverpool last week and they’re only above the relegation zone on goal difference. They have lost three of their five home games with only Fulham conceding more goals at home. They haven’t kept a clean sheet in seven games with only Fulham conceding more goals.

I’m not sure Cardiff players can do much for fantasy managers, but maybe Josh Murphy can be a good bet for someone looking for a cheap midfielder.

Leicester came back to draw 1-1 at home to West Ham last week, but they couldn’t get a winner and the sad events after the game overshadowed everything else. They have lost three of their five away games with only four teams conceding more goals on the road. They have only taken one point from their last three games, but they’re the only team to have scored in each of their 10 games so far.

I’ve being plugging James Maddison to fantasy managers for weeks now and he hasn’t done anything for them in that time, but maybe he can turn things around in the next few weeks.

I think Leicester will be strong enough to take the three points even after what has been a very tough week for the club.

Prediction: 1-3

Everton v Brighton And Hove Albion

3pm GMT, Goodison Park, Liverpool

Everton were probably a little unlucky to lose 2-1 away to United last week, but they’re still just in the top half of the table. They have taken 10 points from their five home games with only four teams conceding less goals at home. They had won three in a row before losing last week and they have only failed to score in one of their 10 games.

Gylfi Sigurdsson is the in form Everton player for fantasy managers at the moment with Richarlison worth considering too.

Brighton got a very good 1-0 win at home to Wolves last week to move within one point of the top half of the table. They won their last away game, but only Cardiff have scored less away goals so far. They have won their last three games by the same 1-0 scoreline to help them climb to 11th place.

As I’ve said a few times before Glenn Murray is the best fantasy option in the Brighton team, but only when they’re playing at home.

I think Everton should have more than enough to win this game with a couple of goals to spare.

Prediction: 2-0

Newcastle United v Watford

3pm GMT, St. James’ Park, Newcastle

Newcastle failed to score yet again last week when they drew 0-0 away to Southampton. They are the only team without a point at home with only Huddersfield and Palace scoring less goals on their own patch. They’re one of two teams without a win and they have failed to score in four of their last five games with only Huddersfield scoring less goals.

I can’t see any Newcastle players to recommend to fantasy managers at the moment.

Watford looked very good in their 2-0 win at home to Huddersfield last week and they’re only one point and one place behind the top six. They have only lost once away from home with only three teams conceding less goals on their travels. They won their last two games and kept clean sheets in both of those games after failing to win in their previous four.

Roberto Pereyra has been the best of the Watford players for fantasy managers this season and he’s scored in his last two games.

I think Newcastle might just do enough to get their first home point of the season in this game.

Prediction: 1-1

West Ham United v Burnley

3pm GMT, London Stadium, London

West Ham nearly held on for a 1-0 win at Leicester last week, but they had to settle for a point. They have only won once in five home games and they failed to score in three of those games. They haven’t won in three games and they failed to score in two of those games.

If he’s fit to play Marco Arnautovic is the best of the West Ham players for fantasy managers.

Burnley lost 4-0 at home to Chelsea last week and they’re only three points above the bottom three. They have only won once in five away games and only two teams have conceded more goals away from home. They have lost their last two games without scoring and they conceded nine goals in those games with only Fulham and Cardiff conceding more goals.

This isn’t an easy game to call, but I have a feeling West Ham might just sneak a win.

Prediction: 2-1

Arsenal v Liverpool

5.30pm GMT, Emirates Stadium, London

Arsenal were probably a little lucky to get a 2-2 draw at Palace last week and that point was enough to keep them in fourth place. They have won their last four home games and only three teams have scored more goals at home. They have taken 22 points from their last eight games and only City have scored more goals so far.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is scoring for fun at the moment while both Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette have done well for fantasy managers recently too.

Liverpool won 4-1 at home to Cardiff last week to stay second behind City on goal difference. They’re one of three teams unbeaten away from home with only City and Chelsea conceding less goals on the road. They’re still unbeaten in their 10 games with only City conceding less goals and only three teams scoring more.

This is a big game for both clubs with Liverpool probably the favourites to win, but as always my heart rules my head and I’m predicting an Arsenal win.

Prediction: 2-1

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Tottenham Hotspur

7.45pm GMT, Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton

Wolves lost 1-0 away to Brighton last week, but they’re probably still wondering how they didn’t get anything from the game. Their only home defeat came in their last home game against Watford and only four teams have conceded less goals at home. They have lost their last two games and they failed to score in both of those games with only four teams scoring less goals so far.

The Wolves defenders and keeper have done very well for fantasy managers this season, but they have slipped in the last few weeks.

Spurs lost 1-0 at home to City last week, but they’re still only five points behind them at the top of the table. They have won five of their six away games with no other team taking more points away from home and only Arsenal and Chelsea scoring more goals. They have only conceded one goal in their last four games with only the top three teams conceding less goals.

Harry Kane and Kieran Trippier are still the best fantasy options in the Spurs team, but Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen should be back soon.

This is another very tough game to call and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it end all square.

Prediction: 1-1

Sunday November 4

Manchester City v Southampton

3pm GMT, Etihad Stadium, Manchester

City won 1-0 away to Spurs last week to stay ahead of Liverpool at the top of the table on goal difference. They’re the only team with a 100% record at home and they’re the highest scorers at home with only Liverpool conceding less goals on their own patch. They’re one of three unbeaten teams and they’re the top scorers with the least goals conceded too as well as keeping clean sheets in their last six games.

Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling, David Silva plus all of the City defenders and keeper are all doing very well for fantasy managers at the moment.

Southampton could only draw 0-0 at home to bottom club Newcastle last week and they’re only two points above the bottom three. They’re one of four teams without a win at home and only two teams have scored less goals at home. They have failed to score in their last five games with only Huddersfield scoring less goals, but they have kept four clean sheets in their 10 games.

I can’t see any Southampton players to recommend to fantasy managers at the moment although their defenders and keeper have done well in recent weeks, but this might not be the best game to have them.

I can’t see anything other than a comprehensive City win in this game.

Prediction: 3-0

Chelsea v Crystal Palace

4pm GMT, Stamford Bridge, London

Chelsea strolled to a 4-0 win away to Burnley last week to stay two points behind City and Liverpool at the top of the table. They’re unbeaten at home with only City scoring more home goals, but they actually have a better record on the road so far. They one of three unbeaten teams with only City scoring more goals and only City and Liverpool conceding less.

If he’s fit to play Eden Hazard is the best fantasy choice in the Chelsea team with all of their defenders and keeper worth considering too while Ross Barkley has done very well in recent weeks.

Palace got a very good point when they drew 2-2 at home to Arsenal last week. Their only wins so far have come away from home, but they have lost their last two away games. They haven’t won in five games and they failed to score in three of those games with only three teams scoring less goals.

Wilfried Zaha remains the Palace player most likely to make a difference for fantasy managers.

I think Palace will give Chelsea a run for their money, but Chelsea will take the three points.

Prediction: 2-0

Monday November 5

Huddersfield Town v Fulham

8pm GMT, John Smith’s Stadium, Huddersfield 

Huddersfield lost 2-0 away to Watford last week as they again paid the price for failing to put away their chances. They have lost four of their five home games and they’re the only team who haven’t scored a home goal yet. They have lost five of their last six games with no other team scoring less goals and only Fulham and Cardiff conceding more.

I can’t see any Huddersfield players to recommend to fantasy managers at the moment. 

Fulham lost 3-0 at home to Bournemouth last week and they don’t seem able to find a way to stop conceding so many goals. They have lost four of their five away games and have conceded more away goals than any other team. They have lost their last four games and conceded 15 goals in the process with no other team conceding more goals.

Aleksandar Mitrovic and Andree Schurrle are the Fulham players most likely to make a difference for fantasy managers.

This is a big game for two teams at the wrong end of the table and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Huddersfield get their first win of the season.

Prediction: 2-1

That’s it for this week.

See you next week.

Friday, 26 October 2018

Arsenal Go For Their Elevenses

Arsenal went to Sporting Lisbon last night looking for their eleventh win in a row in all competitions. This was the third game in their Europa League group and the other two games came during that run which meant we had a 100% record. Sporting had won their opening two games too which gave an added edge to the game with the winners becoming favourites to win the group.

The Europa League might be European football’s secondary competition, but Porto had only lost once at home in almost two years and the team that beat them was Barcelona. They were more than capable of giving a rotated Arsenal team a tough ride if we weren’t up to the task in hand. While winning wasn’t ultra important in the group the chance to keep our winning streak going was one we didn’t want to give up on.

Unai Emery made six changes to the starting 11 that came from behind to win 3-1 at home to Everton on Monday night. Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Mohamed Elneny, Aaron Ramsey, Matteo Guendouzi, Danny Welbeck and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang came into the team with Hector Bellerin, Shkodran Mustafi, Lucas Torreira, Mesut Ozil, Alex Iwobi and Alexandre Lacazette making way. Granit Xhaka continued in the left back role that he played in for the last 20 minutes on Monday night while Stephan Lichsteiner switched to right back as Rob Holding kept his place yet again. Xhaka switching to left back meant we saw a combination of Guendouzi and Elneny in midfield and it’s still a combination which fails to convince me.

Guendouzi is making so much progress since joining us in the summer that it’s a joy to watch him, but it’s hard to see where Elneny is going at the club. He’s not the most spectacular player and he looks a fair way short of the level of Guendouzi never mind Torreira. It can’t be easy for him and our squad needs the depth he offers, but I can’t see us controlling a game with him in the team.

The first half wasn’t much to write home about with very little happening at either end, but Arsenal picked up the pace after the break. They dominated that second half and that domination only increased when Torreira came on for Elneny around the hour mark. His ability to control a game and drive the team forward is a joy to watch and he looks more and more like the player we have needed for years with each passing game.

In that second half Aubameyang had a couple of one on ones with the keeper after we found good passes in behind them, but he couldn’t make either chance pay. The first was wide on the right of the goal and he probably should have gone for the far post, but went on the near side. He got in on the left the next time and had to go with his left foot which meant he couldn’t do an “Henry” into the far corner and the keeper made a good save from an attempted clip over him. Maybe he wasn’t as spectacular as he was when he came off the bench on Monday night, but then again he didn’t have Ozil to pull the strings.

When the goal came it was Welbeck who got it after he took advantage of a slip from the Sporting central defender to finish crisply through the keeper’s legs. He had an earlier effort disallowed after he was rather harshly adjudged to have push a defender before an excellent header back across the keeper in the top corner. He has only had a bit part to play with Aubameyang and Lacazette ahead of him, but he has done very well and has five goals already from his limited chances.

All in all it wasn’t exactly a game to write home about, but it was a job well done in a stadium where away teams simply don’t win. It’s kept our incredible winning streak going and can only help to strengthen the belief and confidence in the team as well as letting the first choice players know they need to keep looking over their shoulders with others looking to take their places in the team. As I said in my preview the game away to Palace on Sunday is far more important, but it’s nice to be going into that game on the back of 11 consecutive wins and a clean sheet too.

That’s it for today.

See you tomorrow.