There haven’t been many football match previews posted on The Vic Page so far this season, with part of the reason for that absence being a whole host of other sporting events, including two major cycling stage races and also the start of the Champions League too, which required full coverage.
But part of the dearth of match previews is also a deliberate choice, with four games under the belts of Premier League teams and the first week of European action too making one much better informed when trying to call the games, whilst we’ve also need new signings bed into their teams.
One factor which many pundits are still talking to death even as we’re through mid-September is the ‘Wembley factor’ for Tottenham, but all evidence suggests that this has been overplayed to a great extent and it looks pretty clear that Spurs will be major players on a domestic stage – and perhaps European – over the coming months.
They have played three home games at Wembley this season and won, lost and drawn one, but the loss came to a side that we can expect to see put in a bold title defence in Chelsea and the draw against Burnley was thanks to a moment of sloppiness in a game that they dominated from the first to the last minute.
The end of August and the return to goalscoring form of Harry Kane has seen them hit their straps, making Everton look ordinary at Goodison Park before they beat Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League in midweek with another impressive performance.
Kane scored twice in each of those successes and it looks like their striker has never been happier to welcome in the ending of summer and he was ably supported by Hueing Min-Son and Christian Eriksen too.
Swansea have made a decent start to the season with four points a fair return at this stage but it will take time for Renato Sanches and Wilfried Bony to replace Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente. Spurs should be set to kick on at the national stadium and they can win with something to spare. Tottenham to score in both halves is an attractive 6/4 shot, as Spurs have done so in their last two games, although the -2 handicap is also an option.
Liverpool’s return to the Champions League was a frustrating one and once again their defence looks set to cause them considerable strife through the season once more. They should have beaten Sevilla on Wednesday night – not forgetting a missed penalty from Roberto Fiminho in the first half – but whilst standards remain that low they looks to be trouble about and the visit of Burnley might not come at the best time.
Sean Dyche’s men have adapted well to what appeared at face value to be quite a bad transfer window for them by taking advantage of a dreadfully sloppy first half from Chelsea before then riding out a battering from Tottenham only to grab a late point at Webley.
They had to ride out their luck to beat Crystal Palace but Dyche’s side remain a tough, compact, very competent unit who have quickly found a decent centre back partnership in James Tarkowski and Ben Mee whilst upfront Sam Vokes and Chris Woods will at least be looking forward to getting some chances to make an impact.
Liverpool have been brilliant going forward this season apart from the obvious throwout game against Manchester City but they took 73 minutes to break down Crystal Palace when the now absent Sadio Mane broke the deadlock, and today’s game could follow a similar pattern and a start of two for the visitors appeals.
There’s no appeal to try and support Manchester City given how impressive Watford’s displays under Marco Silva have been so far. The Citizens have begun to hit their straps, but Marco Silva’s men can be expected to offer stern resistance and they’ve got a punch going forward too so one would rather leave the game.
Crystal Palace and Southampton are both easier to avoid, whilst Newcastle and Stoke and West Brom and could take some separating in their clash as well. Leicester too, may not find going to Huddersfield that much easier than the bad run of fixtures they’ve had to start the season given the atmosphere there that has seen Huddersfield take four points from their first two home games.
2 pts Tottenham to score in both halves v Swansea (6/4 general)
1 pt Burnley +2 (evs general)