The English Premier League is back! here are 5 things to look forward to this weekend.
Kicking off this weekend’s action is the clash between Watford and Manchester United, Jurgen Klopp takes his Liverpool side to the Etihad stadium to confront league leaders Manchester City. Garry Monk would seek to end Swansea City’s poor run of form with a win over struggling Bournemouth, while Jose Mourinho will hope to turn around Chelsea’s nightmarish start to this campaign.
1. The Etihad showdown
The Man City VS Liverpool game throws up a lot of subplots; Raheem Sterling should expect an afternoon of boos from the away supporters as faces Liverpool for the first after his bitter transfer in the summer, Ex-City player James Milner would surely be getting a hero’s welcome from the home fans. Klopp’s unbeaten record against City is on the line as he confronts the Etihad outfit for the 4th time in his managerial career after 3 previous meetings with Mainz and Borussia Dortmund respectively.
City is boosted by the return of Sergio Aguero and David Silva, Daniel Sturridge should make his return for the visitors after an injury layoff. Philippe Coutinho will seek to extend his scoring streak against City-he has 2 goals in the last 3 games against Manuel Pellegrini’s men.
2. Will Louis van Gaal release the brakes?
Manchester United have been solid if very unspectacular this season, a club known for its attacking game during the Busby & Fergie era, the ‘Van Gaal way’ has been more of a safety-first approach; Keep possession of the ball, a 1-0 win is enough-this has led to chants of ‘’Attack! Attack! Attack!’’ by the United supporters; but history has shown shown Van Gaal does things his way and that doesn’t look like changing at Vicarage Road when United face Watford in Saturday’s early kickoff , especially with the injury enforced absence of strikers Wayne Rooney & Anthony Martial.
United have been winning matches by been solid at the back, they have conceded the fewest goals (8) in the division, scoring 17 in 12 games yet they are just two points off the top. Should United beat Watford, they would got top of the top for some hours till both Arsenal & City play. Maybe Van Gaal’s safety-first-approach could lead United to their first title since 2013.
3. The international break might do Chelsea a world of good
Cesc Fabregas shone in the international friendly against England for Spain-voted as the man of the match. His poor form has been a major conundrum for the Blues this season and Jose Mourinho will hope the aforementioned game is the turning point for his side’s most creative midfielder.
Chelsea can also take positives from the combination play between Louis Remy and Diego Costa in their last game against Stoke as both players combined well after the Frenchman entered the frail, Mourinho has always favoured playing just the lone striker but with Costa misfiring all season, a change in formation to partner him with Remy might just be the matchstick to ignite Chelsea’s missing fire.
4. Garry Monk and the England curse
Swansea City has won one in nine games, the poor form started after Garry Monk was being touted in the press as the next coach of the England national team. Other managers to have suffered same fate are Alan Pardew and Harry Redknapp; whose Newcastle and Tottenham forms nosedived after being linked with the England job.
Swansea made a blistering start to the season, but are yet to taste victory since the win over Man United in late August. Another factor is the poor form of Bafetimbi Gomis who has not scored a goal since that game. There are reports Monk might be sack if the rut doesn’t stop and what better way to end it than a win against struggling Bournemouth.
5. Vardy’s record equaling run
Jamie Vardy is on the verge of equaling Ruud van Nisterooy’s 10 successive game scoring run. But first, the Leicester City striker has to recover on time from the hip injury which kept him out of England’s friendlies against Spain and France.
It is a phenomenal return for a player who has risen from non-league football by virtue of his high work rate, unerring finishing, to become, on current form, the deadliest striker in England with 12 goals in 12 games.