Harry’s Picks: Week 148 min read
Time to put the hammer down at the London Stadium
West Ham would have been disappointed to only pick up a point from last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Sheffield United but the Hammers have another strong opportunity to improve on this when they host Newcastle at the London Stadium.
The Toon also drew 1-1 with Wolves at home and continue to find scoring goals a real issue with just six from ten Premier League matches a big concern.
The jury is still out on big summer signing Joelinton although in fairness he is often isolated alone up front and there is little service to him.
United rely on keeping things tight at the back and trying to nick a goal on the counter but West Ham will be eager to convert draws to wins and look to put pressure on the clubs currently above them.
Midfield star Robert Snodgrass was very influential last week in a man of the match performance which also saw him net the hosts sole goal and another repeat performance should ensure three points this time around.
Harry's picks this week are:
✅ West Ham
✅ Leicester City
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Foxes flying too high for Eagles
Leicester created a bit of top-flight history with their astonishing 9-0 win at Southampton in the last round of fixtures and the Foxes are arguably looking stronger than their title-winning team of 2016.
They followed up with a 3-1 win at Burton to reach the last eight of the League Cup and are playing with so much confidence at present.
Jamie Vardy was given the night off in midweek but after his hat trick on the south coast will be eagerly looking forward to testing himself next at Crystal Palace on Sunday.
The Eagles were delighted to secure a point from a tough trip to Arsenal and remain in sixth place. In all honesty, they did ride their luck at the Emirates and will do well to hold a rampant City team who seem able to score for fun and create chances galore.
England midfielder James Maddison continues to impress and has been at the heart of many of Leicester’s strong performances. City will feel they have a huge chance of breaking into the top four this season and who’s to say they wont even challenge for the title again. Three points at Selhurst Park will certainly keep them in the frame on both counts of course.
Chelsea’s big guns to add to Watford’s woes
Chelsea were beaten at home in the cup by Manchester United on Wednesday, thus ending a good spell of form for the Pensioners. However, only a majestic free kick from Marcus Rashford spilt the teams and the Blues can bounce back with victory at bottom club Watford.
The Hornets have still to taste victory in the top flight this term and will be mindful of Chelsea’s excellent away record and ability to score big. An eye-catching sixteen goals in their last four away PL matches has seen them enter the top four and it’s hard to see how Watford can stop this impressive free-scoring outfit from adding to that total.
Many Chelsea regulars were rested Wednesday and with Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham ready to start again I envisage a long afternoon for the hosts.
Cottage becoming ‘home sweet home’
Fulham have just slipped out of the Championship playoff zone, sitting in seventh but only a point adrift.
A draw at Middlesbrough from a stalemate was probably viewed as a point gained after goalkeeper Marek Rodak saw red after just eighteen minutes.
Their away form has been indifferent but back at Craven Cottage, where they have only tasted defeat once, they should begin to make a promotion push.
Visitors Hull City have defied the critics and will be pleased to find themselves away from the drop zone, hovering around mid-table.
Forward Jarrod Bowen is one of the stronger strikers at this level and bagged a brace during an impressive 2-0 win over Derby County last weekend. However, a recent 3-0 loss on the road at lowly Huddersfield is cause for concern and the Tigers still remain inconsistent and easily prone to some strange score lines.
The tight and very congested nature of the Championship allows teams to drop points but remain in the battle for promotion and any side stringing a consistent run together will most certainly be in the shakeup.
Fulham have a strong squad and plenty of forward power and they will be one of those teams looking to make the Premier League.
Four on the bounce for Bees?
Brentford are starting to climb the table and a 3-1 victory at fellow Londoners QPR on Monday confirmed them as genuine promotion hopefuls.
Ollie Watkins scored twice and this exciting forward is a real handful for most defences at this level.
The Bees now have a run of five matches against teams in the bottom half and could easily find themselves challenging for a top-two position at the conclusion of that spell.
Admittedly this Saturday’s visitors to Griffin Park, Huddersfield, have improved under the new management of the Cowley brothers but I can’t imagine even they are relishing this trip south.
Town will look to keep things tight and I suspect would happily take a point but Brentford sense blood and have the quality to dispatch the Terriers. They enjoy turning on the style in front of their own fans and optimism is growing that the club may well be celebrating the opening of their new stadium with Premier League football next season now.
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