Chelsea and Liverpool kick-start proceedings this weekend in the Premier League. It’s a game rich with history and be rest assured that it will not be a dull one – not when David Luiz would be making his (second) debut for Chelsea.
Both teams had a full week to prepare for this fixture as they are not involved in either European competitions. Not sure if that’s a good thing – if you remember that these English powerhouses were once two of the famous BIG FOUR. How times have changed!
Liverpool showed some swagger in their win over Champions Leicester. Some of the football on that day was a joy to behold. The truth is, when Jurgen Klopp’s gegenpressen style works, it’s beautiful and when it doesn’t work, it’s awful. Another truth is, Liverpool do raise their game against the top teams so don’t expect the usual capitulation that comes after a big win (like the one last weekend).
Chelsea should have won that game at Swansea. How did they lose a game they had in their palms? Ask Cahill – or maybe the referee, depending on which side of the argument you’re on. There’s no time to moour over that result and they will have their hands full in this one.
This game is Chelsea’s first real test of the season for me. On the other hand, Liverpool have had about three real tests already (Arsenal, Tottenham & Leicester) and they have not failed anyone. Take a moment to think about the Reds’ start to the season and you’ll realise they have had a great start.
I expect goals. This one could be a thriller!
Take your mind back to the beginning of the season, Hull City didn’t have a permanent manager, just 14 senior players (including two goalkeepers) and overall, a club in turmoil. Fast forward a few weeks and the team have seven points from a possible 12. They would take that – or even less. To put it in perspective, Hull have same point total as Arsenal who are expected to challenge for the title.
It won’t be a walk-in-the-park for Arsenal. They will only get a result in this one if they desire one and appear on Saturday evening ready for a slug.
Leceister City played in Europe for the first time in their history and what a night it was. A 3-0 victory in Belgium and the English Champions proved they belong on the biggest stage in club football. The question now is, can they go again on Saturday and grind out another victory? It’s an unusual terrain for the Champions and Burnley may not be the most kind visitors.
They said Spain was Spain, and this is England, he couldn’t possibly beat Jose Mourinho in the Premier League, he did. They said he couldn’t do it on a sunny, windy afternoon in Stoke, he did. They said this ‘playing out from the back style’ can’t work in this country, well it’s been so far, so fantastic. After four rounds of matches, Pep Guardiola has his Manchester City team on top of the pile with a 100% record. This is no validation that after 38 games, Pep and City will win the league. But the City fans are surely in for one amazing ride. And Bournemouth are probably in for a tough afternoon.
Three games into the season and Jose Mourinho must have been feeling giddy. Fast forward two games later, his team has lost two consecutive games. The writing was on the wall but it needed a Pep Guardiola – inspired victory to make it ever clearer. Wins over Bournemouth, Southampton and Hull papered over the deficiencies in the team. It’s not looking nice for Manchester United and a trip to Watford, who have suddenly found a way to win could make the situation even bleaker.
Everton have 10 points from a possible 12. Since the opening day draw at home against Tottenham, Ronald Koeman has guided the team to three successive wins. That’s brilliant! And Lukaku-back-to-scoring-ways means it can only get better, especially with Ashley Williams doing a job at the back. It’s no coincidence that no one ever talks about Everton missing John Stones.
West Ham have started the season poorly but Bilic will be looking at the fixture as a must-win – especially when the opponent aren’t exactly flying either.
Alan Pardew must be a relieved man. Not necessarily happy. He’ll be happy if his team can follow up last weekend’s win with another one at home to Stoke who will be looking for redemption after that chastening defeat at home to Tottenham.
Southampton were unlucky to lose to Arsenal last weekend. But a win in the Europa League should help confidence as Claude Puel searches for his first Premier League win. Swansea could just be obliging opponents.
Tottenham were brought down to earth on their return to Europe with a defeat at home (or should it be away at Wembley?) to Monaco. Good for them though, they will have a hopelessly low on quality team in Sunderland to get back to winning ways.