EPL Weekend Preview: The Race Heats Up


  Posted: 22 Oct 16, 10:29

By: Ronnie Aloyo

I have a strong feeling that another manager could face the axe this weekend.


There is immense pressure from all quarters and as we approach round nine, the spotlight will certainly be on some quarters, to see what pans out.


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Spurs have a trip away to AFC Bournemouth. Both sides are enjoying great run of form, and a tricky assignment lays in wait for Spurs. Harry Kane has made a return to training, and although the Englishman could be available for selection, Pochettino will prefer to stick with the on-song Son. Tottenham is yet to taste defeat, in what looks like a promising season. Bournemouth is fresh from a 6-1 victory over Spurs, and will be buoyed to stun Spurs. Certainly a key fixture worth keeping an eye on.


Arsenal is next up on the card, when it hosts newcomers Middlesbrough, in a tie the Gunners are expected to dominate. The Gunners are currently joint league leaders with Manchester City, and will want to keep up the pace. Granit Xhaka is out suspended, though that should not worry the Gunner’s faithfuls, whose team is currently boasting numerous options in different departments. This is in addition to the fact that Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey are on the cusps of returns.


Aitor Karanka’s  newcomers have a massive task to shut out a terrific Arsenal attack that is firing from all cylinders, with Theo Walcott the assasinator-in-chief. The defensive combination of Mustafi and Koscielny has remained solid, and there is little to suggest, that Boro can get a result here, leave alone a goal.


Leicester City has continued to silence critics in the Champions League with some convincing victories. After a cinderella match to the league title last season, another big question lingers; Can the Foxes replicate their domestic miracles in Europe? Well...Back home, it has been a wavy season tus far for Claudio Ranieri. His defense has been on sixes and sevens, conceding a higher number of goals compared to last season.It is difficukt to covince anyone that Leicester can maintain a good run, especially coming a compact Crystal Palace.


Alan Pardew seems to have found the winning formula, and he could collect maximum points at the King Power, should Christian Benteke come to the party.


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Then, there’s the small matter of two managers trying to fight for their jobs: Slaven Bilic and David Moyes. Both managers have seen their sides slip terribly this season, and nothing less than a victory could leave their jobs hanging loosely.


There is little margin for error. The Hammers are yet to find solace at home, and this season has seen them suffer back to back defeats in their own backyard. After adopting a new playing formation, 3-4-2-1, with Lanzini and Payet joining the attack, Bilic will be hoping for a change of fortunes, with his side collecting maximum points.


David Moyes and his men remain firmly rooted at the bottom of the log and the stadium of Light is in full panic mode. Jermaine Defoe has asserted that his team has gone backwards, calling on them to wake up. Sam Allardyce has already been identified as a potential replacement for David Moyes, who will be desperate for victory here. Their first this season.


Super Sunday awaits us, after the drama on Saturday.


Pep Guardiola has also adopted a 3-4-2-1 formation, which he will look to execute on Sunday as well, as his side welcomes Southampton to the Etihad.


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The Saints have proved be solid at the back, and Ronald Koeman will want to guide his side to frustrating The Citizens here. City has been on a slight decline and after a 4 goal loss to Barca in the Champions League, Pep has to make amends.


Nathan Redmond, Dusan Tadic, and Charlie Austin have formed a terrific partnership upfront, and will be keen to capitalize on City’s defensive errors. Claude Puel possesses strong players and a strong system that has the ability to stage an upset at the Etihad. City cannot afford to go to sleep.


A battle between the Blue and Red sides is certainly the headline for the weekend.


Jose Mourinho’s could adopt another ‘pack the bus’ setup in this one, to try and avoid a soaking at the Bridge. Diego Costa is certain to lead his side from the front. The Spaniard is enjoying great form, and will look to capitalize on United’s defensive frailties.


One thing for sure is United will not be looking to light up the match. Chelsea will be going all out, and taking all chances to try and slay United. This is certainly a highly anticipated encounter, with both sides desperate for a victory to assert their position in the league race.


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Time for another manager to be kicked out?

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