Harry’s Picks: Week Eight8 min read
Toffees look a different team at home
Everton fans have been left frustrated with the clubs indifferent start to the season but a visit from Sheffield United this Saturday should give them a winning opportunity to start climbing the Premier League table. The Toffeemen may only find themselves in eleventh position but are looking to make it a hat trick of victories at Goodison Park where they are generally hard to beat.
United, like many promoted clubs, started their campaign promisingly and secured four points from their opening two games. However, the Blades find themselves in fifteenth with five points and were hugely disappointing in a 1-0 home loss against Southampton last weekend. Star forward Billy Sharp was dismissed late on and is now missing the trip to Merseyside with suspension and despite a slow start, Everton have a side packed with quality and I fully expect them to celebrate three points in front of the home faithful.
Clarets Can Cull Canaries
Pride of place last Saturday went to Norwich who put on a marvellous display to beat champions Manchester City 3-2 at Carrow Road. Despite a lengthy injury list, the Canaries played some exciting football and although riding their luck later, fully deserved their prized scalp.
However, a trip to Lancashire to face Burnley now represents a different challenge with the hosts eager for the win that would see them move above City, and a style of football that will ensure a warm welcome at Turf Moor.
The Clarets were delighted to nick a late point from a long trip to Brighton and will feel their next two fixtures offer a great chance to obtain maximum points. Ashley Barnes has been in good form and has bagged four times already, and he will be vital if Burnley are to find the net again. I just can’t see how Norwich will be able to follow up that amazing win last week, and Burnley are strong mentally at home and won’t allow the visitors time or space on the ball.
Bees to inflict more pain on Potters
The new stadium at Brentford is starting to look impressive and the club will hope to match off the field progress with a win over Stoke at Griffin Park.
The Bees were expected to be challenging for promotion but find themselves off the pace and needing to close the gap quickly. The fixture list hasn’t been too kind with a tough set of opening opponents and they will feel they have an opportunity to force themselves back into a playoff race starting with a clash against a team who currently sit at the bottom of the Championship.
City have picked up just a solitary point from seven fixtures and these are worrying times for the Potteries outfit. Their squad remains strong but confidence is low and despite being competitive, they have been unable to secure that crucial first win. They let a lead slip at home to Bristol City last weekend and Brentford’s exciting brand of football will mean there is no rest bite again here.
Ollie Watkins is a lively striker and with three goals already is a man to be feared. He will be looking to increase his tally and the hosts can inflict further pain on their beleaguered opposition.
Forest hitting form
I was impressed by how Nottingham Forest nullified the Swansea attack in their last match and the Tricky Trees with only one defeat look likely to make a promotion assault this season.
Lewis Grabban and Albert Adomah have been in good form and amongst the goals, and the team will be looking forward to a contest with Barnsley. The South Yorkshire club were unable to prevent title favourites Leeds from wining 2-0 at Oakwell last Sunday and have fallen into the bottom three.
It was always going to be tough for the Tykes back in this level after promotion and a Forest side in buoyant mood will show no mercy. The red side of Nottingham can continue their fine form and confirm themselves as playoff hopefuls with three more points here.
Tractor Boys can claim another win on the road
Ipswich were stifled at Portman Road last weekend when well-marshalled Doncaster fully deserved a share of the points. The Tractor Boys bounced back with a narrow 1-0 win away at MK Dons on Tuesday and find themselves in second place, just a point behind surprise early leaders Coventry but with a game in hand. They are on their travels again over to Gillingham and backed by another big support should maintain their impressive early-season form.
Over 3000 were in attendance at Milton Keynes and the buzz is starting to return to the club as performances on the field improve. The key has been a strong, well-organised defence who have only conceded four times. With James Norwood and Kayden Jackson bagging for fun at the other end, Ipswich look a side that will take some stopping and with rivals faltering can maintain their super start.
Gillingham picked up a useful point at Bristol Rovers on the same night but, with only two wins from eight, lack the cutting edge and are vulnerable against stronger clubs such as Ipswich. Town should reward backers in Kent and be celebrating three more points Saturday evening.
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