Premier League Week 4 Picks: Teams Set to Upset the Odds Next Weekend
Moving into week 4 of the Premier League season, we take a look at what teams could upset their more illustrious counterparts in next weekend’s fixtures.
We have already seen Manchester City turned over by Cardiff City and an Aston Villa victory at the Emirates, but who look the likely contenders to take a coveted scalp following the international break.
Remarkably, Chelsea were actually the last team to go to Goodison Park and pick up a Premier League victory back in December 2012. The Toffees are unbeaten at home in league competition in this calendar year and have not conceded a goal on their own patch since Shane Long netted for West Brom on January 30th.
Prior to the inception of the campaign, the general consensus was that the Toffees would find goals easy to come by under Roberto Martinez, but they would find it difficult to stem the flow of opposition strikes. These preconceptions looked to be accurate after Everton drew 2-2 with Norwich on the opening day, but since then the Catalan boss has overseen two consecutive goalless draws.
Who will come out on top at Goodison Park?
In fairness to Martinez, the defense is looking good. Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin have resumed their excellent central defensive partnership and flanking them, full-backs Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman are two of the most dynamic full-backs in the Premier League.
Both Baines and Coleman will work tirelessly up and down the touchline, pinning back the Chelsea wide men in the process. The likes of Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne could potentially spend a lot of the game tracking back, and this would help the Toffees to nullify Chelsea’s attacking threat.
With Everton likely to dominate the ball, Mourinho will most probably set his team up to sit deep and spring forward on the break. But their attack still looks somewhat disjointed, and the integration of new signings Samuel Eto’o and Willian could take time.
By contrast, Everton need one of Kevin Mirallas, Arouna Kone or Nikica Jelavic to find their shooting boots; none of the aforementioned forwards have found the back of the net as of yet in the new campaign.
Expect a positive, raucous atmosphere at Goodsion Park on Saturday, especially after the prosperous deadline day the Toffees had. Marouane Fellaini will be a big miss, but Everton responded with some shrewd signings of their own.
Romelu Lukaku will not be able to feature against his parent club, but new acquisitions James McCarthy and Gareth Barry should earn a debut. They will give the Toffees a steadying influence in midfield and will help increase the ponderous passing tempo that had been set by Leon Osman and Fellaini thus far.
Everton have an excellent record in this fixture as of late, having won three of the last four meetings at Goodison. The addition of Premier League hardened players like McCarthy and Barry—both whom will be comfortable with Martinez’s passing philosophy—could see the Toffees secure their first win of the campaign against Mourinho’s side.
Stoke City vs Manchester City
Mark Hughes has lead something of a renaissance at the Britannia Stadium. Two wins from their opening three games, coupled with a more eye-catching attacking philosophy means a positive mood has descended over the club.
They have also maintained some of the principles that have seen the Potters to success down the years. The visit of Manchester City next weekend couldn’t come at a better time for the Potters.
Especially when you look at the Manchester outfit’s current woes. Martin Demichelis was drafted in to solve the defensive crisis, but he too has fallen foul of injury. It means City will most likely persist with Javi Garcia and one of Joleon Lescott or Matija Nastasic in the central berths.
Who will triumph at the Britannia?
Without skipper Vincent Kompany patrolling the back-line and with a goalkeeper looking particularly short on confidence, City look awfully frail.
Their flaws were obvious as they put in a spineless defensive showing at Cardiff City, and even in the 2-0 win against Hull last weekend, the Tigers could have easily gone in a couple of goals to the good at half-time. Dangerous balls whipped into the box look to be a real weakness at the moment.
This will have not gone unnoticed by Hughes, and whilst he is trying to move away from the style that had seen his predecessor much maligned, such tactics can cause their opponents plenty of problems.
Former City manager Hughes will be fired up for this one having been dismissed by his previous employers in circumstances he believed to be unfair.
With the Britannia Stadium likely to be a hot-bed of atmosphere, City may well suffer their second away defeat of the season against a rejuvenated Potters outfit.
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