A long international break saw heartbreaks for nations like Italy, Ireland, New Zealand and pure ecstasy for the likes of Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden and Peru in terms of FIFA 2018 World Cup qualifications. We saw the likes of Gigi Buffon and De Rossi retire after Italy’s loss to Sweden.
Now, the English Premier League is back with a great opening fixture. Here’s a quick look of all the fixtures with local TV listings in IST:
ARSENAL VS TOTTENHAM
We start the Game Week with an absolute cracker of a game at The Emirates. Arsenal are win-less in their last 6 Premier League matches against Tottenham. Since taking charge at Spurs, Pochettino is unbeaten in the PL North London Derby; Harry Kane has scored in all 5 North London derbies that he has played.
Tottenham are proving to be a real threat to Arsenal’s dominance in the derby and another win will surely make them the biggest club in North London at the moment. Spurs are playing delightful football at the moment and Harry Kane would love to inflict more misery on Arsene Wenger’s men.
With Erikksen scoring a hat-trick in Denmark’s 5-1 rout of the Ireland, he is expected to continue his rich form on Saturday. With Alli, Kane and Erikksen, Spurs possess a lethal attacking trio and Arsenal have to put on their best defensive performance to stop them. Spurs are solid at the back and will neutralize the Arsenal attack; expecting a great match with Spurs to win.
Meanwhile Bournemouth have struggled so far with just a point above the relegation spots. A win for Huddersfield will see the good work of manager David Wagner continue. Bournemouth are in need of points. A win for the visitors looks on the cards.
Swansea make a visit to Burnley at Turf Moor. Burnley have been the surprise package this season and manager Sean Dyche has done an excellent job as they sit 7th in the league. Swansea have been disappointing and are currently in 19th place. They need to get some points in their belt quickly. Swansea have won all of their 4 matches against Burnley in the Premier League. Burnley look strong enough to break this record this time around.
Crystal Palace vs Everton should be a tight affair as both sides are in dire need of points – Palace more than ever. With the same number of points (4) in their last 5 PL matches, both managers are under immense pressure. Palace are at the bottom with 4 points and another loss would be detrimental to their survival cause although the return of Wilfred Zaha has revitalized their game play. A last minute win in their last match has lifted the spirit of Everton faithful and they would be expecting the same. A draw looks more likely with both teams going all out for the win.
The last time Leicester City hosted Manchester City at the King Power Stadium, Jamie Vardy tore apart the City defense with his only PL hat-trick. Things have changed now and Man City are in a rampage mode this season. With 38 goals scored in their 11 matches so far, City have been crushing opponents on a weekly basis.
Can Leicester stall the City juggernaut? Leicester are in a good form off late and will be looking to cause an upset. However, I feel City will win this one quite comfortably. If Vardy and co are in the mood, we might have a exciting match in store for us.
Leicester themselves have a lot of pace in their team with the likes of Gray, Vardy and Mahrez and look dangerous on the counter. I seriously hope City will slip up so that we can have a title race yet I feel they will prove too strong for Leicester.
Liverpool host Southampton at the Anfield knowing that another setback will seriously affect their title challenge. Liverpool have won only 2 of their last 5 PL matches and a win will make it 3 in a row for the first time this season.
During their last visit to The Hawthorns, Michy Batshuayi’s goal sealed the Premier League title for Chelsea. A similar result can be expected this time although Michy is out injured. Chelsea have won 3 matches on the trot and have the momentum to make it 4. Meanwhile West Brom have suffered 3 straight defeats and are winless in their last 5 matches. I feel Chelsea will win comfortably.
The return from injury of a certain Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba along with Marcos Rojo has excited the Manchester United fans worldwide as they welcome Newcastle United at Old Trafford. They are unbeaten in 22 PL matches at Old Trafford and haven’t conceded a goal yet.
Lukaku would want to end his goal drought in this match. Jose Mourinho has a point to prove to his critics and this match is an perfect opportunity for him. A big win will silence all his critics and put United back in the title race. If Newcastle United win, Rafa Benitez can become the first manager in Premier League to win at Old Trafford with 3 different clubs (Liverpool and Chelsea).
Watford against West Ham United at the Vicarage Road is one match to watch out for. Newly appointed manager David Moyes would want a positive start to his campaign and Marco Silva’s Watford will try their level best to ruin his day.
Brighton and Hove Albion against Stoke City will conclude the Game Week. It’s been a season of promoted teams so far and Brighton is another one which is doing exceptionally well. With 2 wins and 2 draws in their last 4 PL matches, Brighton have established themselves as a mid-table team so far.
Stoke City have struggled this season and Mark Hughes needs to improve his side. A win at Brighton will certainly help their cause although a draw looks more likely. It may all come down to a narrow victory. Check out my preview of the last game week here!
That’s it for the weekend guys. If you like what you’ve read, check out more stuff from: