Premier League weekend preview: 10 things to watch

Premier League weekend preview: 10 things to watch

The Premier League is back for another weekend of action, with a number of intriguing fixtures to look forward to, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

PosTeamPGDPts
1Man City51115
2Tottenham Hotspur5813
3Liverpool5813
4Arsenal5513
5Brighton5812
6West Ham5310
7Aston Villa519
8Nottm Forest507
9Crystal Palace5-17
10Fulham5-57
11Brentford526
12Newcastle516
13Man Utd5-46
14Chelsea505
15AFC Bournemouth5-43
16Wolverhampton5-63
17Sheff Utd5-41
18Everton5-71
19Burnley4-81
20Luton4-80

1.Eagles need to keep things fresh

In their past two Premier League games Crystal Palace have conceded three goals past the 90th-minute mark. Against Wolves it was a mere consolation but at Villa Park it cost the Eagles a point. Matches are, obviously, lasting longer and longer in a desperate attempt to cut out time-wasting and the like, which seems to be adversely affecting Palace. One issue is that they do not like making substiutions. At Villa Park, the assistant manager Paddy McCarthy brought on Jean-Philippe Mateta in the 25th minute because Jordan Ayew was injured and their next sub arrived in the final 60 seconds of normal time, with a further coming in the 99th. Similarly against Wolves, a game Roy Hodgson was on the sidelines for, Mateta was the only change in the first 90 minutes. If Palace are to avoid late goals, they will need to put faith in their subs to ensure the team stays fresh, otherwise these setbacks will become more common as the season goes on.

Crystal Palace v Fulham, Saturday 3pm

2.Dyche Supports Beto’s Aim to Confront the Bees

Has Sean Dyche actually improved Everton? The underlying numbers suggest so – the metrics are on an upward curve under him – yet three 1-0 home defeats this season and just a solitary point from five matches indicate the same on-field problem is haunting them; a lack of goals. Dyche has a trump card, though, and it’s not the takeover by the 777 Partners consortium, which he believes won’t affect playing matters anytime soon. It’s Beto. The 25-year-old striker scored on his club debut in the Carabao Cup, starred without scoring on his league debut at Sheffield United and, while he was stymied by Arsenal last time out, he’s shown he can carry the fire up front for Dyche. Given Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s struggle to rediscover his pre-injury self, Everton must do what Saturday’s opponents have done – renew their frontline. Beto’s and Bryan Mbeumo’s respective battles with hardened backlines will define the outcome – the latter continues to impress in Ivan Toney’s absence.

Brentford v Everton, Saturday 5.30pm

3.Onana’s Form Raises Concern for Ten Hag

Excuses and diversion techniques have accompanied Manchester United on their well-trodden path towards early-season crisis but Erik ten Hag does not get a free pass for André Onana’s worrying start to his Old Trafford career. The Cameroon goalkeeper had the decency to front up after his costly error at Bayern Munich on Wednesday, when United suffered their fourth defeat in six games, but already appears bewildered by the chaos that Ten Hag’s tactics have sown in front of him. More puzzling, of course, is why United agreed a £47.2m deal for the goalkeeper this summer when Onana – Ten Hag’s player at Ajax for five years – was available for free 12 months earlier. Confidence could now be an issue for United’s new No 1, and others. It says everything about their dismal start that a newly promoted, newly constructed Burnley team without a Premier League win this season will sense opportunity at Turf Moor.

Burnley v Manchester United, Saturday 8pm

4.Gunners face a new-age Spurs in NLD

Harry Kane has scored 14 goals in 19 north London derbies. Over the last decade he has almost invariably had his say against Arsenal whether Spurs win, lose or draw – even if they have not taken three points in a league game at the Emirates over that time. But he will be watching from Bavaria when Sunday’s proceedings kick off and will probably be as interested as anyone in what a post-Kane tussle looks like. On the surface his absence denudes Tottenham of their most reliable weapon but there is a sense that, in Ange Postecoglou’s brave new world, all bets may be off this year. Tottenham are fast reshaping into a slick, exciting outfit that shares the goals around and can go toe-to-toe in these encounters. The likelihood is that they find Mikel Arteta’s side, who are much further into their rebuild, too hot to handle once again but it would count as genuine progress if they improve on the sterile performances that brought successive 3-1 defeats in the last two seasons.

Arsenal v Tottenham, Sunday 2pm

5.Are injuries the sole threat to Manchester City?

Manchester City has had an excellent start to the Premier League season with fifteen points from their opening five games and a 3-1 win against Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League. However, injuries have been a concern for manager Pep Guardiola, with key players like Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Jack Grealish, John Stones, and Mateo Kovacic sidelined.

De Bruyne is expected to be out until next year, and Guardiola has indicated that only Kovacic has a chance of returning for the upcoming match against Nottingham Forest. There is hope that Grealish may also recover in time. Despite the injuries, Guardiola still has options in Matheus Nunes, Phil Foden, Kalvin Phillips, and Rico Lewis, who can contribute to the team’s creative play alongside Rodri.

Manchester City v Nottingham Forest, Saturday 3pm (all times BST)

6.”Fortress Kenny” faces a significant test.

The early signs are ominous for Luton Town, with four games played, two goals scored, and no points earned. Some are beginning to draw comparisons to Derby County’s dismal 2007-08 season, where they only managed 11 points. However, Luton fans are not giving in to such predictions, especially when they’ve only played one of their opening five games at Kenilworth Road.

Manager Rob Edwards has expressed his concern over the absence of Ross Barkley due to a hamstring injury, particularly after their 1-0 defeat to Fulham last Saturday. Luton’s survival bid relies on three key pillars: Edwards’s calm leadership and trust in the methods that got them promoted, the Premier League flair provided by Barkley, and the intimidating atmosphere at Kenilworth Road.

Even after a £10 million refurbishment that increased the capacity to over 11,000, the talk of turning it into a “fortress” holds weight. Striker Cauley Woodrow has used that exact word, believing that it will become a hostile environment for opponents. However, Luton must translate this into positive results, especially when facing teams like Wolves, to truly make Kenilworth Road a daunting place to visit.

  • Luton v Wolves, Saturday 3pm

7.Bournemouth’s Need for Kelly as a Defensive Key

Andoni Iraola is yet to win a Premier League match as Bournemouth head coach but a first clean sheet, against Chelsea last weekend, in their best performance to date under the manager will give hope. Considering one of the pillars of Iraola’s style is chaos, having some organisation at the back is important. Lloyd Kelly returned to the side that drew with Chelsea after being left out before the international break because of a failed move to Tottenham. The centre-back’s attitude has impressed Iraola and he should become the key man to build a defensive unit around, especially with new arrivals at full-back and a 21-year-old, Illya Zabarnyi, alongside him. Being an integral part of a team on an upwards trajectory could convince Kelly to stay beyond his current contract, which ends next summer, but in the meantime any Bournemouth side with the centre-back in the team is better for it and a solid defence will allow Iraola’s attackers greater hope of finding that elusive victory.

Brighton v Bournemouth, Sunday 2pm

8.The Failed Chilwell Experiment

An extensive injury list has forced Mauricio Pochettino to alter the enterprising approach that Chelsea used during pre-season. Christopher Nkunku’s knee injury has disrupted the attack and Pochettino’s most notable change, the use of Levi Colwill rather than Ben Chilwell at left-back, has brought mixed results. The balance does not feel right and, as Pochettino looks for ways to solve his side’s lack of ruthlessness, perhaps he may decide it is time for Chilwell to return to his favoured position when Chelsea host Aston Villa. So far the evidence suggests that the England international is not suited to playing as a left-winger. Colwill, meanwhile, does not quite offer the same thrust on the left – his long-term role lies in the centre, where his incisive passing can be more effective. If Chilwell overlaps from left-back, there is more space for another attacker to accompany Nicolas Jackson and Raheem Sterling in Chelsea’s front three. Mykhailo Mudryk will hope for another chance but it could be time for Cole Palmer.

Chelsea v Aston Villa, Sunday 2pm

9.Klopp’s Defense Holds Strong Despite Van Dijk’s Suspension

After the midfield rebuild that lasted until the final day of the transfer window, the focus switched to whether Liverpool had sufficient cover in central defence to sustain their Premier League aspirations this season. While the clamour for a big-money recruit will continue – for ever – Joe Gomez, Joël Matip and the developing Jarell Quansah have eased immediate concerns in that department since Virgil van Dijk was sent off at Newcastle and Ibrahima Konaté was sidelined by injury. Liverpool have not looked impregnable since Van Dijk received his red card at St James’ Park, but have conceded one Premier League goal in the captain’s absence. Van Dijk and Konaté should both be available for West Ham’s visit and, while any of their deputies can count themselves unfortunate to miss out, they have justified Jürgen Klopp’s confidence in the depth available.

Liverpool v West Ham, Sunday 2pm

10.How Eddie Howe Decides on His Midfield Selection

If Sheffield United have been a little unlucky at times this season – and never more so than when losing 2-1 at Tottenham last Saturday – Newcastle have enjoyed a bit of fortune in the past week. Indeed, a 1-0 home win against Brentford and, especially, a 0-0 Champions draw against Milan at San Siro flattered Eddie Howe’s side. Arguably the biggest problem lies in central midfield where Sandro Tonali and Bruno Guimarães are not connecting as envisaged. It speaks volumes that, in Italy, Milan’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek was the game’s best midfielder and Sean Longstaff the pick of Howe’s engine room. This prompts the question: does Newcastle’s manager drop either Tonali or Guimarães at Bramall Lane? It would represent a politically freighted decision as the £55m Italy international still seems to be struggling to overcome the heartbreak of leaving his beloved Milan this summer, while the Brazil midfielder is close to signing a new contract on Tyneside.

Sheffield United v Newcastle, Sunday 4.30pm

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Ingrid Mueller

Ingrid Mueller, a literary expert with a Ph.D. in Literature from Yale University, brings a touch of artistry to her writing. Her critical analyses and cultural insights provide a fresh perspective on trending news. Ingrid's articles are a treat for those seeking a deeper understanding of the world around them. Explore the trends through her unique lens.

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