The Prem is back on Saturday and there a few humdingers for us to look forward to. Let’s take a look at some of the potential highlights of another frenetic weekend of Premier League football.
Arsenal vs. Man City
The game of the weekend surely has to be Arsenal’s lunchtime date with champions Man City at the Emirates.
City have definitely got something to prove after a shock home loss to Stoke City two weeks ago, and they face a rather different test away to the Gunners in the first of the weekend’s fixtures. Pellegrini’s side will be wary of going hammer and tongs at Arsenal, and are likely to play a more patient style.
Arsenal, on the other hand, will play the way that they always play and try to out-football City. New boy Danny Welbeck is likely to start in the centre forward position, and his two goals for England on Monday night suggest that he’d be a decent bet for a scorer in this fixture, too.
Whilst not the most technical of players, Welbeck adds even more pace to an already pacey line-up, and this will most likely necessitate City sitting deep – expect a cat-and-mouse game with City attempting to catch Wenger’s side on the break.
Man Utd vs. QPR
Quite simply, Man Utd must get a result against Harry Redknapp’s side on Sunday afternoon. With a miserable haul of two points from their first three games against average opposition, time is fast running out for United to be considered as genuine title contenders.
As we wrote earlier in the week, it will be fascinating to see what line-up Louis van Gaal fields; plenty of speculation is being voiced about whether he might switch to a standard back four. For what it’s worth, I think van Gaal is likely to stick with his 3-5-2 formation – at least for now – and he’ll be hoping that it bears fruit.
For Redknapp and QPR, this is the ideal time to play United. All the pressure is off and they can focus on causing an upset. I wouldn’t write that off.
Sunderland vs. Tottenham
This is a big one for Mauricio Pochettino and Tottenham too.
After a decent start to the season, Spurs were torn apart by Liverpool in their last game, and simply must get back to winning ways if they are to show that their early-season form was not just a blip.
With no striker signed on deadline day, Spurs will have to make do with the strike-force available to them already, and this may make it tricky for them to take the lead at the Stadium of Light; Spurs fans will be hoping that Emmanuel Adebayor has one of those days that he has every once in a while.
Liverpool vs. Aston Villa
On the day that Mario Balotelli signed for Liverpool, he generated around £50,000 worth of shirt sales. Now it’s time for the Italian to have that sort of impact on the pitch, too.
Make no mistake, Balotelli has the potential to be a very good signing for Brendan Rodgers, but the manager and the player now need to focus on his performances on the field of play. He was industrious in his debut at Tottenham, but his finishing left a lot to be desired; and if he is to fill the rather large Suarez-shaped hole at the pinnacle of the Liverpool attack, he’ll need to start finishing off the plethora of chances that the Liverpool midfielders are sure to create for him.
Goodbye International Break
One more thing, who else has had enough of these international breaks?! The season had barely started and then there was no league football for two weeks. The sooner FIFA stops scheduling these breaks in and starts playing all qualifiers in summers that don’t have tournaments the better.
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