Photo: Diego Costa (Getty Images)
After six rounds of games in the Barclays Premier League it is so close that 3rd placed Manchester City lead 12th placed Leicester City by only 3 points. Based on this weekend’s fixtures we could be in for another wild swing in the tables as some big names come head to head.
Among the games on Saturday, fifth placed Swansea City on ten points are set to heap the pressure on Newcastle and boss Alan Pardew as the Magpies lie second from bottom on just three points. The Newcastle fans are less than pleased with the performance of their team who have been struggling in front of goal since the start of the calendar year. The Swans have been flying high since their opening day win over Manchester United and will be looking to maintain their position in the top five.
Last season’s runners-up Liverpool are currently languishing in 14th position in the table on seven points and host West Brom who is one point, but four places above them. The loss of Luis Suarez from the strike force plus injury to Daniel Sturridge has seen the Reds struggle in front of goal after being the highest scoring team last season. Brendan Rodgers is confident his team will find form soon and is hoping that his charges will start by putting things right in front of the Kop on Saturday. Sturridge may be available to Rodgers on Saturday.
Sixth place Aston Villa host champions Manchester City at Villa Park in the late game on Saturday, separated by three positions but only one point and have been proving to be a handful for all their opponents so far this season. Christian Benteke should be available for the first time since and April will keep City captain Vincent Kompany honest but the “Citizens” will expect to bounce back from the disappointment of the midweek draw against Roma in the Champions League and claim all three points.
Three treats are in store on Sunday beginning with the early kick-off at Old Trafford. The last time Everton visited the Theatre of Dreams, David Moyes was in charge at Manchester United and they left with all three points. Now with Louis van Gaal in charge the former champions will be looking for all three points to register back to back home wins for the first time this season, despite the fact that they will be without captain Wayne Rooney who was red carded at the weekend. Juan Mata is expected to take Rooney’s place in the starting line-up.
Everton has been surprisingly open at the back and will need to sharpen up if they intend to leave Manchester with something to show. Gareth Barry will need to keep things tight in midfield to prevent the Mersysiders from being victims of Robin Van Persie and company.
The game of the weekend sees league leaders and odds on favourites to lift the title, Chelsea host fourth placed Arsenal in a massive London derby. Arsene Wenger’s men will be keen to avoid defeat, however if they are to challenge for the title then these are the games that they need to win.
Stamford Bridge has been a fortress for Jose Mourinho and the Portuguese will be looking to get another one over Arsenal’s French coach Arsene Wenger. Both teams have been doing well domestically and also in Europe and will be looking for a positive result on Sunday afternoon. Diego Costa may prove a handful for the Arsenal defence while Danny Welbeck who scored a hat-trick against Galatasaray will lead the line against the Blues.
The last time Arsenal went to Stamford Bridge in the league they were humiliated 6-0 on the Anniversary of Wenger’s 1000 game in charge. The performance of Cesc Fabregas against his old club will also be under the microscope as the Spanish international has done very well in the blue of Chelsea since signing from Barcelona in the summer.
Southampton has been the surprise team in the BPL since the start of the season. Raided by Liverpool and Tottenham of some of their best players in the off-season, they were one of the bookies favourites for the drop, but since their opening day defeat they have drawn one and won four on the trot to now occupy second spot with 13 points. On Sunday they will come face to face with eighth placed Spurs and their immediate past manager Mauricio Pochettino in what is sure to be a red hot atmosphere on the south coast. Ronald Koeman has made his team into a solid defensive unit and the Saints currently boast the best defensive record in the prem. Spurs will have their work cut out for them in their hunt for three points.
Other games on this weekend include, Hull City vs Crystal Palace, Leicester City vs Burnley, Sunderland vs Stoke City on Saturday and West Ham vs QPR on Sunday.