THERE are only three Premier League fixtures this Sunday, but don't worry, we have three potential thrillers in store… well, alright, two and also Wolves vs Newcastle. Even then, everyone loves watching Adam Traore and Allan Saint-Maximin, right?
Elsewhere, table-topping Everton travel to Southampton where they will be cashing in their Get Out of Facing Theo Walcott Free Card, and Jamie Vardy seeks to add to his fantastic record against Arsenal. There's lots of value to be had.
Southampton's two defeats to start the season look anomalous if you take a broader look at their recent form. Otherwise in their last 12 Premier League matches, it's six wins and four draws. Last week's fully deserved comeback draw at Chelsea underlined the belief Ralph Hasenhuttl has instilled. Saints have more clean sheets against Everton than against any other Premier League side, with 10 of 13 coming at home. Five of the last seven meetings at St. Mary's have been won by Southampton.
Unfortunately for some of the UK's more hyperbolic pundits and supporters, Jordan Pickford will not be banned for the length of time it takes Virgil Van Dijk to recover and, following David Coote's inexplicable use of VAR, he will return an Everton lineup likely to be missing Seamus Coleman through injury and definitely missing Richarlison through suspension. If Jonjoe Kenny steps in for Coleman, he must be considered the Toffees' weak point though with Moussa Djenepo and Theo Walcott unavailable, Saints' options out wide are limited.
I anticipate a tough afternoon for the league-leading Toffees who've struggled to overcome Southampton in recent times. Across his whole career, Danny Ings six goals in 10 appearances against Everton. As for the Blues, Dominic Calvert-Lewin can become the only player other than Sergio Aguero to score in the first six games of a Premier League season. I'm going back both men to do the business, and the spoils to be shared.
Among Premier League fixtures to have been played at least 10 times, Wolves vs Newcastle has the joint-highest percentage of draws with seven of the last 10 finishing all square including three consecutive 1-1s. However, it is also the most played fixture in which both teams have scored – no side has ever shut out the other in the Premier League.
Wolves have kept seven clean sheets in their last nine home games with five wins and a draw in that run. That bodes well given Newcastle's struggles in front of goals on the road – in their last 13 away games, the Magpies have scored just 13 goals and four of them were at Bournemouth.
Since the start of the 2019/20 season, Raul Jimenez has scored more winning goals (10) than any other Premier League player. The Mexican's deflected solo effort ensured all points against Leeds on Monday with Wolves restricting their opponents to just two shots on target, and none after the 40th minute. Back the big man to score again, and Wolves to get their third straight win to nil.
Arsenal have gone 27 matches at home without losing to Leicester with last year's 1-1 draw snapping a run of 12 straight wins, but the conditions are there for an upset. Hear me out. The Foxes' Jekyll and Hyde season so far suggest they perform better on the road. Although the Foxes have lost their two home games without scoring, they've won their last two away games averaging four goals per win.
With the best shot conversion in the division this season – 25%, 12 goals from 49 shots – Leicester will be confident of creating chances against a middling Arsenal defence, and taking those chances when they arise. Mikel Arteta's side have managed just 13 attempts at goal in their two home games this season, which makes the decision to exclude Mesut Ozil from their 25-man squad all the more baffling. Only Crystal Palace (32) and West Brom (40) have had fewer shots than Arsenal (41) this season.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has never gone five league games without a goal for Arsenal but if he fails to find the back of the net on Sunday, he will have done. His counterpart Jamie Vardy has 10 goals in his last 10 starts against Arsenal with only Wayne Rooney (12) ever scoring more against the Gunners. A Vardy breakaway goal, a Vardy penalty – we've seen this film before with Arsenal. Back Leicester to sneak the away win.