Rezzil’s Premier League Preview: Ten Hag clashes with Conte in one of nine midweek showdowns

With a packed-to-the-rafters Premier League schedule in need of playing out this side of the upcoming winter World Cup, the top-flight returns with a practically full fixture-list this midweek, and there are some corkers in the offering. 

There are two games taking place on Tuesday evening, as Brighton welcome rock-bottom Nottingham Forest to the Amex Stadium hoping to return to winning ways following a 2-0 defeat against Brentford on Friday evening. 

Since Graham Potter departed for Chelsea in early-September, Brighton haven’t won a game. The Seagulls are still in a good position in the table, sitting pretty in seventh place after nine matches, however need to reinstall some confidence after back-to-back defeats. 

Forest travel south void of any momentum after picking up just one point from their last seven league games. Steve Cooper’s side lie rooted to the base of the Premier League as things stand and have only won one game all season – a 1-0 victory over West Ham in August. An immediate upturn in form is required if the East Midlanders are going to stand a realistic chance of avoiding a quickfire return to the Championship. 

Crystal Palace welcome fourth-bottom Wolves to Selhurst Park in Tuesday night’s other game. The Eagles sit 13th in the table heading into the clash and have been largely inconsistent this season so far, drawing 0-0 with strugglers Leicester at the weekend. 

Wolves recorded just their second victory of the campaign with a slender 1-0 victory over Forest on Saturday and that win will give them some confidence heading into this midweek clash in south London, although with four defeats and a draw to show from their five away games so far, a win won’t be easy to come by for the West Midlanders. 

Wednesday night is when the bulk of the action takes place and the main clash of the gameweek undoubtedly comes from Old Trafford, where Manchester United and Tottenham lock horns in what should be a fantastic spectacle. 

Spurs have started the better of the two this time out and sit third in the division – level on points with Man City and behind leaders Arsenal by four points. Antonio Conte seems to have added a steeliness to this Tottenham team, and with Harry Kane in typically-clinical form, the north London side look like genuine title-challengers this season. 

Kane scored his ninth league goal of the campaign with a well-taken penalty against Everton on Saturday, as Spurs coasted to a 2-0 victory on home turf to make it three wins from three games this week after a 1-0 win over Brighton last weekend was followed by a 3-2 win over Eintracht Frankfurt in Europe on Wednesday.   

United were meek in their 0-0 draw against Newcastle on Sunday and have frequently looked too blunt in attack this season. Ten Hag’s side are fifth as things stand and have performed well on occasion, however a stark lack of consistency and not enough firepower in front of goal has seen them slip behind the likes of Arsenal, City and Spurs at the top of the pile. 

The Red Devils are just three points behind Chelsea in fourth, however, and with a place in the Champions League now the main objective for the club, still remain firmly in contention after ten games. Indeed, a defeat on home soil against in-form Spurs this week would put a sizable dent in their chances. 

Elsewhere on Wednesday, Liverpool host West Ham looking to build on their tremendous 1-0 win over Man City on Sunday, with Mohamed Salah appearing back to his best at Anfield, while Graham Potter takes his Chelsea side to Brentford in the hope of making it six wins on the spin in all competitions for his new-look Blues outfit. 

Meanwhile, Newcastle take on Everton at St. James’ Park, with a win potentially seeing Eddie Howe’s leapfrog United into fifth place should ten Hag’s side fail to beat Spurs, and there’s a clash on the south coast as Southampton make the short trip to take on Bournemouth desperately searching for a win which would put some breathing space between themselves and the bottom-three. 

The curtain is brought down on Thursday evening, with Brendan Rodgers facing a six-pointer as his Leicester side take on an out-of-form Leeds, and Fulham welcome Aston Villa to Craven Cottage, in a match the west Londoners may feel quietly confident in winning given Villa’s torrid form has seen them win just one of their last eight games and pressure is beginning to mount on manager Steven Gerrard.      

Premier League fixtures in full

Tuesday 18th October

Brighton & Hove Albion 19:30 Nottingham Forest

Crystal Palace 20:15 Wolverhampton Wanderers

Wednesday 19th October

Arsenal vs Manchester City – match postponed 

AFC Bournemouth 19:30 Southampton

Brentford 19:30 Chelsea

Liverpool 19:30 West Ham United

Newcastle United 19:30 Everton

Manchester United 20:15 Tottenham Hotspur

Thursday 20th October

Fulham 19:30 Aston Villa

Leicester City 20:15 Leeds United