It has been such a delightful week for football fans with a lot of continental football that produced some sensational goals. The English teams did fairly well in Europe this week except for the Merseyside teams who failed to win. As great as the week was, the football does not stop as the English Premier League Matchday 5 comes upon us from today; Friday the 15th.
Chelsea vs Arsenal
The biggest game this weekend has to be the London derby between Chelsea and Arsenal. In recent years, this fixture has produced a lot of goals and entertaining football. These teams already played once this season where Arsenal beat the league champions on penalties in Wembley to claim the Communuity Shield.
Chelsea has picked up a winning form like that home game against Burnley in August did not happen. With resounding victories against Spurs, Everton and Leicester last time out, the Blues have 9 points from a possible 12. Their delightful form extended to the Champions league game midweek against Quarabag where they scored 6 goals without conceding any. The Blues welcomed star man Eden Hazard back from injury and he is expected to be fit enough to start on Sunday.
Arsenal has had quite a nightmare of a start, they have won two games and lost two of the four league games this season. The manager still seems to be searching for his best 11 as nobody can predict the lineup before any game confidently. There is hope though as Alexis Sanchez remains with the club and he even got on the score sheet last night at the Europa League game against Cologne.
The game should be highly exciting but Chelsea have the firepower and mental strength to defeat the Gunners. However, Arsenal won two of the three fixtures against Chelsea last season before beating them at the Community Sheild in August so the Gunners should not be written off as underdogs.
Liverpool VS Burnley
Liverpool had a nightmare of an outing last time out as they were thrashed by the blue half of Manchester. As if that was not enough, Sadio Mane got sent off early in that game and now faces a three game suspension; this means that he would not be available until the Reds host bitter rivals, Manchester United in October. They can see a silver lining however in the return of Phillipe Coutinho who is expected to feature against Burnley
Burnley have had a decent start to the league with victories at Chelsea and a draw at Tottenham, they lost to West Brom but got a victory at the last game against Crystal Palace. They would be hoping to produce another performance that would be enough to prevent defeat from the hands of Liverpool.
Liverpool have been known to be called the Robin Hood of the EPL because they get important points when they play big teams but then lose these points when they play the small teams. Last season, teams like Watford and Burnley proved to be Liverpool’s undoing but they have enough in their squad to see of their weekend opposition.
Watford vs Manchester City
Watford has enjoyed an unbeaten start to the season that sees them 4th on the table going into this weekend. They drew Liverpool on the opening day and won last time out away at Southampton but they know that this Manchester City side will pose a totally different challenge.
Manchester City thumped Liverpool 5-0 last time out before beating Feyenoord 4-0 during the week at their opening group match of the Champions League. The expensively assembled squad of Pep Guardiola seems to have gotten their groove as they play seamless, constant attacking football with Kevin De Bruyne pulling the strings at the heart of midfield and Aguero and Jesus firing on five cylinders.
Home advantage may give Watford a bit of a fighting chance but it would be a major shock if Manchester City do not leave Vicarage Road with three points.
Tottenham vs Swansea
August is over and Harry Kane has started scoring again. With their talisman back to his firing ways, the Spurs have racked up victories against Everton and Borussia Dortmund. In both games, Harry Kane got two goals and created many chances. This form has improved the confidence of the Spurs and they know that other players like Ben Davies, Sanchez, Eriksson and Dele Alli would do their part to ensure that they challenge for the League title.
Swansea have just four points from the season and it sees them lying at 15th position on the log. They completed the loan deal that brought Renato Sanches to the club before the close of the transfer window but the portugese starlet struggled to have an impact in that game. They would hope that the man from Bayern Munich wil have a better time out at Wembley and attacking duo; Jordan Ayew and Tammy Abraham can cause an upset in London.
Spurs have too much quality and should be able to see off the Swans unless something dramatic happens. The curse of Wembley can be thought of as nothing but a sham after the impressive display that Spurs put up against a team with pedigree like Dortmund.
Manchester United vs Everton
This would be the last game of the weekend and it sees the return of former England and Manchester United captain; Wayne “Wazza” Rooney return to the Theatre of Dreams. Manchester United are on top of the table and have ten points from 4 games and would be hoping to continue that great start when they host Everton on Sunday. Big money signing Romelu Lukaku would also be facing his former club for the first time since he made the move to Old Trafford this summer.
Everton had a decent start to the season but have seen some runs of defeat that may have knocked the wind out of their sail. They lost 3-0 to Tottenham last time out in the league and then lost by the same scoreline to Atalanta on Thursday in the Europa league. There is a tendency for teams like Everton to put up a perfornmane of a lifetime when they play at Old Trafford and they would be hoping to do that on Sunday. Especially as United failed to beat Everton last season and with a legend like Wayne Rooney on the side of the Toffees, they cannot be ruled out of the game.
The Red Devils are without french man, Paul Pogba but have a decent squad depth as Fellaini, Herrera and Carrick can partner Nemanja Matic in the middle of the park. Manchester United would be expected to win but it would not be an easy game at all for both teams.
In other games, Bournemouth will be searching for their first points of the season as they host Brighton on Friday night. Huddersfield play Leicester who would be hoping to bounce back from consecutive defeats from the hands of Manchester United and Chelsea. Crystal Palace will be hoping that the depature of Frank De Boer would be a blessing as they search for their first points against Southampton.
West Ham won their last game and would be taking that form to West Brom who are in the top half of the table going into this weekend. Stoke city would be hoping to replicate the performance that earned a point against Manchester United when they travel to Tyneside to play Newcastle United.
The teams that finished in the top 7 last season all played during the week and the smaller teams may be able to take advantage of the extra days of rest and training. However the big teams are the big teams and should be able to have enough quality and depth to see off their oppositions.
There would be Carabao Cup fixtures during the weekdays of next week and that would be an appropriate time for the managers to rotate their squad, rest their ever present players and give the youngsters a chance to play for the clubs. Until then, we would be hoping that the magic of the Englis premier league makes this weekend a more delightful one.
Full Fixture list for matchday 5
AFC Bournemouth VS Brighton and Hove Albion 8:00 pm
Crystal Palace VS Southampton 12:30 pm
Huddersfield VS Leicester City 3:00 pm
Liverpool VS Burnley 3:00 pm
Newcastle United VS Stoke City 3:00 pm
Watford VS Manchester City 3:00 pm
West Bromwich Albion VS West Ham United 3:00 pm
Tottenham Hotspur VS Swansea City 5:30 pm
Chelsea VS Arsenal 1:30 pm
Manchester United VS Everton 4:00 pm