Barclays Premier League Weekend Pre Match Reviews
February 9th Fixtures: Part Two
By Marc Gingell
Huddersfield (20) v Arsenal (6) – Kirklees Stadium Kick-off 15:00
Cut adrift at the bottom Barclays Premier League Huddersfield are now playing for pride and, hopefully, a goal to cheer their home fans! In 13 home games, they’ve only managed five goals and one win. That came on November 6th 1-0 against Fulham. Following that game, they drew 1-1 at home to West Ham and beat Wolves 2-0 away. That meant seven points out of nine and generated some hope for Huddersfield fans. Unfortunately, in the other 21 games, they’ve only managed four points.
Defensively they haven’t done too badly, apart from against Manchester City and Chelsea, who smashed them for six and five. Nine of their 18 losses have been by one goal in low scoring games.
New boss Jan Siewert, 36 from Mayen, Germany, will now be watching games with next season in mind. With Premier League parachute payments Huddersfield should have some cash to splash, on proven championship players, to help them back to the big at the first attempt.
Huddersfield Injury / Fitness Update
Isaac Mbenza: Calf. Expected back 16th March.
Danny Williams: Knee. Expected back 22nd February.
Abdelhamid Sabiri: Fitness. 50% chance of playing.
Arsenal in 6th place will still be thinking about a top-four finish but they struggled to beat their opponents at the Emirates in December. Lucas Torreira scored the game’s only goal in the 83rd minute. At least they kept a clean sheet and that’s only happened three times this season. Those three all came at the Emirates and they’ve not managed to keep out the opposition on their travels.
Arsenal Injury / Fitness Update
Héctor Bellerín: Knee. Return date unknown.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos: Ankle. Expected back 02nd March.
Rob Holding: Anterior cruciate ligament. Expected back 05th June
Ainsley Maitland-Niles: Knee. 75% chance of playing.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: Illness. 75% chance of playing.
Danny Welbeck: Ankle. Return date unknown.
It’s a game where something has to give and logic suggests that Arsenal will keep an away clean sheet for the first time this season. But new boss Siewert hasn’t seen a goal yet.
Huddersfield 2 Arsenal 1
Liverpool (2) v Bournemouth (10) – Anfield Kick-off 15:00
When teams win titles they normally have some kind of blip where they might lose and draw a few games. Arsenal, during their 2003/4 invincible season, drew 12. They dropped 24 points. Liverpool have dropped 13 with five draws and one defeat. Four of the draws were1-1 with Liverpool in front in three of them. At Stamford Bridge, Daniel Sturridge climbed off the bench in the 86th minute and fired the equaliser in the 89th.
Liverpool are in a blip zone right now. They needed a penalty to win 1-0 at Brighton and late goals to see off Crystal Palace 4-3 who put up a great fight. They followed that with 1-1 draws at home to Leicester and away to West Ham. That’s blip control. Eight points out of twelve.
Salah has 16 goals this season and leads the race for the Golden Boot. He’s not gone three games without scoring a goal. Four times he’s gone two games and he’s just gone another two with blanks against Leicester and West Ham. Salah, who scored a hat trick against Bournemouth at the Liberty Stadium, should at least score one on Saturday.
There is no doubt that Liverpool are missing Gomez. He’s quality and a future Liverpool and England captain. Full back Trent Alexander-Arnold has been another big miss and Jürgen Klopp is under fire for letting Nathaniel Clyne out on loan to today’s opponents. Plus Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren don’t really have enough quality to partner Virgil Van Dijk. Klopp’s aware of his and might even play the versatile Fabinho with Van Dijk again.
Liverpool Injury / Fitness Update
Trent Alexander-Arnold: Knee. Expected to be available.
Joe Gomez: Leg. Return date unknown.
Dejan Lovren: Muscle. 75% chance of being available.
Georginio Wijnaldum: Knee. 75% chance of being available.
Jordan Henderson: Muscle. 75% chance of being available.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: Knee. Return date unknown.
Bournemouth have won three games on their travels but the last one came at Fulham on October 27th. They’ve lost their last seven and conceded 27 goals away from home this season. Only Fulham, with 32, have shipped more.
Thirty-nine in a couple of weeks Boruc seems to have taken over from Asmir Begovic as Eddie Howe’s number one keeper. In three games he’s conceded only two goals and started with two clean sheets. He could be busy at Anfield.
Bournemouth Injury / Fitness Update
Simon Francis: Anterior cruciate ligament. Expected back in June.
Nathaniel Clyne: Unable to face his parent club
David Brooks: Ankle. Expected back 09 March
Jefferson Lerma: Ankle 75% chance of playing
Lewis Cook: Anterior cruciate ligament. Expected back in June.
Callum Wilson: Knee. Expected back 09 March
Bournemouth have injuries in key positions. Midfielder David Brooks, who signed from Sheffield United in the summer, must be up there as one of the top Premier League newcomers this season. Plus Wilson will be a bit miss up front. Dominic Solanke, signed from Liverpool last month might be out to prove a point. But Liverpool and Salah should get back on track this weekend.
Liverpool 5 Bournemouth 0
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