Liverpool and Manchester City are so far ahead of the rest of the Premier League that every game looks like a guaranteed three points. Success is far less assured, however, for the rest of the “Big Six”, as the early part of this season has shown.
Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United have slipped up in games they would have been expected to win, and things are not going to get easier this weekend, with Spurs and Chelsea facing two of the toughest games that exist in the top flight.
Crystal Palace are the
visitors to north London, having won at Old Trafford last month, while Chelsea go to Wolves, where they, Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool were all defeated last season.
Since the start of the 2018-19 campaign, no team have won more points at the Premier League’s “Big Six” than Palace. Their 10 points are matched only by Manchester City (although they have played fewer games).
Palace’s counterattacking game perfectly suits facing teams who dominate possession. Spurs struggled to break down Newcastle’s deep block in their 1-0 defeat last month and the visitors today will have a similar game plan. Palace have the best defensive record in the Premier League this season, having conceded only two goals in four games, while the pace of Wilfried Zaha and Jordan Ayew on the break could cause problems.
Wolves have outplayed every “Big-six” team at some stage since their promotion a year ago, and today they will believe they can do so again when faced with a Chelsea team still adapting to life under Frank Lampard.
In home games, only Liverpool and City have taken more points off the “Big Six” than Wolves, with 11 since the start of last season.
Wolves won 2-1 at home to Chelsea last December and were only denied a victory at Stamford Bridge by a last-gasp Eden Hazard equaliser.