After a fairly longer International break, league action resumes this weekend with a bang!
A highly tactical clash sees us off on Saturday afternoon, when Chelsea welcome Leicester to the Stamford Bridge. This goes beyond just the three points at stake. Manager Antonio Conte has been tipped to be the second Premier League manager to face the axe, and he certainly needs to save face pronto.
The double fixtures between the two sides were rather dramatic, with The Foxes winning 2-1 in the opener to effectively boot out Jose Mourinho, while in the reverse fixture, Ranieri was making a return to the Bridge as a champion. Conte finds himself in a tight corner, where a loss should activate the panic button and put his future in doubt.
Chelsea is 5 points ahead of Leicester, and will be keen to stretch the gap. Tactically, Chelsea has the league’s most in-form striker; Diego Costa. However, what matters most here is the 3 points and not the goals. Despite missing Brazilian Willian, who is away on compassionate leave, Chelsea should dominate possession.
In 5 of the 7 games played, Chelsea has scored at least twice, and should also find the net against Leicester. Diego Costa will have to earn every penny of his wages in this one, as he battles Robert Huth and Wes Morgan in the Leicester defense.
Leicester has so far lost all three away games this season, conceding 10 goals in the process which is in stark contrast to its form last season. We expect Claudio Ranieri’s men to sit back, soak the pressure, and catch Chelsea on the break. Islam Slimani has been a revelation at the King Power, and we expect him to replicate the form in this one, in what will be a must watch clash.
Ronald Koeman has a test away to the Etihad, when Everton tackles Manchester City. City was effectively demolished by a well-oiled Tottenham Hotspurs, and Pep must immediately conjure a winning formula to get his side back on track.
City has worryingly shipped in 5 goals in the last 2 encounters, and will need to seal any loopholes coming into this one. City still sits pretty at the top of the table, and has the potential to bounce back to winning ways in this one. Sergio Aguero has shrugged off an injury scare this week, and will be available for selection alongside Kevin De Bruyne and Nigerian sensation Kelechi Iheanacho.
Critics have labelled Everton an overrated side, and Koeman would be keen to drop that tag, with a better show away to City. Everton has not really had a tough test this season, besides Spurs, and this will be a real test to its mettle.
Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku comes up an equally strong opponent, and he will be keen to up his price tag with a great display here. Lukaku has bagged five goals in his last four Premier League appearances after a run of 11 consecutive appearances in the competition without a goal. He is likely to find the back of the net for his side here.
Bob Bradley is the first American Premier League manager, and has his work cut out ahead of the trip to the Emirates. Swansea is desperate for a win, and it promises to be a daunting task especially against a side enjoying a great run of form.
No visiting team has a better record at the Emirates that Swansea. History has facts, the say, and Bob will want to guard this record by silencing the Gunners on home soil. Swansea is certainly going to take Arsenal head on and could find the net.
Arsenal is on a run of 5 wins, and look unstoppable. Burnley attempted to stop Arsenal in their last fixture, and suffered a late controversial goal, for Arsenal to collect maximum points. However, Arsene Wenger will demand his side to be more clinical in front of goal, particularly Alexis Sanchez who has been guilty of missing a handful of sitters thus far. Aaron Ramsey is making a return to the team, and this gives Arsenal an abundance of attacking options to help them to a win.
Despite having an awful start to the season, pundits still believe that West Ham has an upper hand against an on-song Crystal Palace. Amazing! Christian Benteke is probably the best buy for Palace, and the Belgium is fit and firing. The former Kop returns to domestic league action after scoring a hattrick on international duty.
West Ham, is yet to get its right gear, and the break should hopefully have helped them to regroup. In 7 matches, the Hammers have picked just 4 points, and will be keen to start collecting points. This should be a really close tie, with West Ham likely to bounce back and start winning.
Two sides who are winless thus far; Stoke City and Sunderland face off in what could be one of the most ruthless encounters of the day. Both managers are under pressure to deliver. Whoever wants it more should come out on top here. David Moyes is under more pressure certainly than his opposite number, and should guide his side to a maiden victory.
Saints host Burnley on Sunday, as the league’s best defensive sides clash. Southampton and Burnley have kept five clean sheets between them in the opening 7 matches, and this is likely to be a really low scoring fixture.
Goals have evaded Burnley on the road, and coming up against a Saints side with 6 straight clean sheets, a goal here, leave alone a win, will be hard to come by.
Saints forward line has not been in good form lately, and this could play out to a low-scoring draw.
Great action coming your way this weekend. Grab your jerseys and be part of the action!
|JV De Pinte||