Arsenal need to tighten defence or else

April 2, 2021

You don’t always know what you’re going to get after an international break and with this latest one being particularly extended it will be interesting to see who arrived back at their English Premiership clubs with a bit of fatigue or carrying niggles.

For Chelsea, it wasn’t a great international window for their expensive striker Timo Werner who missed a sitter in the shock 2-1 defeat to North Macedonia in World Cup qualifying. His goal-scoring woes have continued from club to country and now Thomas Tuchel has a job on his hands coaxing goals out of the German.

England did well in the International window so their players will be back in their respective teams full of confidence, while France were another to pick up the points in World Cup qualifying. So, when looking at the next round of EPL fixtures be sure to look at team selection and you might find value in your fantasy selections going with those who did well on International duty.

Here’s a breakdown of this weekend’s selections.

Chelsea 2 West Brom 0: Chelsea are unbeaten in 10 League games under Tuchel and will be looking to make amends for the reverse fixture when they found themselves 3-0 down at half-time to fight back in the second half for a 3-3 draw. Given that Chelsea have only conceded 2 League goals under Tuchel, this result should be more straightforward.

Leeds 2 Sheffield United 0: The reverse fixture was a tight 1-0 win for Leeds but that came early in the season. The bottom feeders had scored 1 goals and conceded 13 in 7 games before the break and against a Leeds side that will come at them with their brand of attacking football, the hosts should have too much.

Leicester 1 Man City 3: City have won 16 of their last 17 in the League, a phenomenal 48 points from a possible 51 and look to be running away with the title. They’re also being spoken about as favourites to land Erling Haaland at the end of the season. Leicester actually won the reverse fixture 5-2 (!) and have remained resilient, sitting in third spot on the table, 5 points ahead of Chelsea.

Arsenal 1 Liverpool 2: The champions lost 6 of their last 8 League games before the break which couldn’t have come at a better time for them. Mo Salah has been making noises about joining Real Madrid and now he needs to put action where his words are. Arsenal have been tough to call this season but are unbeaten in their last 4 games. They lost 3-1 at Anfield in the reverse fixture though and they haven’t kept a clean sheet for their last 12 games.

Southampton 1 Burnley 0: Both teams are on 33 points and are 7 points ahead of the drop zone. Whoever wins here will probably feel safe but this doesn’t seem to be a particularly inspiring game on paper. Probably not on grass either. Southampton won the reverse fixture 1-0, so perhaps we can call a similar scoreline here with Danny Ings netting.

Newcastle 1 Tottenham 2: The Magpies have been sucked into the relegation scrap. They are fortunate that the three teams below them had such poor first halves of the season. Newcastle were fortunate to have got a point in the 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture, but here Spurs can make amends as they continue to push for a top four spot.

Aston Villa 1 Fulham 0: Key here is the form of Jack Grealish as Villa have shown they’re half the team when he’s not on song. Fulham have been scrapping manfully, but defeat to Leeds last time set back their chances of avoiding the drop. But a reminder that only 2 clubs, Man City and Chelsea, have conceded fewer goals than Villa this season.

Man United 2 Brighton 1: United were fortunate to win the reverse fixture 3-2 when a penalty was awarded after the final whistle. It was a bizarre end to a game that Brighton dominated. Since then United have kicked on and would expect to have too much at Old Trafford for a Brighton side that remains inconsistent and went into the International break on the back of 2 wins.

Everton 2 Crystal Palace 1: Everton won the reverse fixture 2-1on the way to winning their first 4 games of the season. Their form has been patchy subsequently, but the International break came exactly at the right time for them, as they’d lost to Chelsea and Burnley. Ancelotti will, I reckon, have been able to get the bulk of his squad refocused and I’m expecting a strong finish to the season for them.

Wolves 1 West Ham 1: A difficult tie to end the round, with the Hammers favourites to win on their travels. They battered Wolves 4-0 in the reverse fixture and will feel they have the rub on the hosts here. Wolves are 13th and presumably safe from relegation so have little to play for, while the Hammers are chasing a top four spot. 

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