The biggest news in the league this weekend is arguably the north London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham at the Emirates stadium, tantrums are flying from ex players and the brave ones are already sticking their necks out; this is one fixture that used to be extremely one sided, whenever Spurs line up against the Gunners, they used to return empty handed until the last few years, notably after the move to Emirates and the neighbors haven’t been the same afterwards. This would be Unai Emery’s first north London derby and he definitely knows what it means to the fans by now, for Arsenal, it’s about the bragging right as much as it is for the neighbors, but Spurs need more ambitions than finishing ahead of Arsenal. Both go into this fixture on the back of sensational wins, Spurs won a match of huge significance in Europe against Inter Milan to give themselves a chance of progressing albeit they still have to beat Barcelona in Spain, but they were on top of their game days earlier as they dispatched Chelsea like an unwanted mail, what a win it was as everyone came to party.
Arsenal halted a run of consecutive draws with a nail biting win over Bournemouth, not the kind of opposition you’d be struggling with but with what Eddie Howe has put into that team, it was a good feat away especially coming after a momentum breaking international break; Arsenal went on to win in Kiev as they confirmed their top spot in their Europa league group, now are they ready for Spurs?
Last season on this ground, it was a 2:0 success for Arsene Wenger’s men, a win that helped them steady the ship at the time, they need some win like that this time too as the race for top four heats up again, beyond derby day rivalry, beyond bragging rights, a club in the right direction needs a win here to prove points. Man for man some thinks it’s even, but which of the teams has the depth to call on when push comes to shove?
Manchester City will play Bournemouth with lots of pressure on them, the Cherries aren’t the type that sits back and let you run them over, we saw them against Arsenal and against United earlier, they’re a very brave side, but one thing that will interest neutrals here is the fact that it will be enjoyable.
Manchester City struggled again in Europe, they are in the next round with just a point next time and no worries, they want to win the group and they should, but are they happy? Lyon bested them over two legs and it’s a concern for a team that has UCL glory as the benchmark, but in the league, they are still the team to beat.
Bournemouth are moving in the right direction, Eddie Howe turned 41 the other day and he’d look back at his ten year reign as the Cherries boss with lots of joy, he took over during the tumultuous time when they were about to liquidate, the story is different now, harsh consecutive fixtures but they have earned the rights to be called an established premier league team.
Elsewhere, Manchester United are probably the most unpredictable giant in Europe, Jose Mourinho keeps looking for who to blame for everything and he should start taking responsibilities; they endured a stalemate last weekend, and needed a last gasp Fellaini goal to beat Young Boys at Old Trafford with David De Gea standing tall as usual to deny the Swiss club a famous upset but with Southampton at their erratic best, it’s a big chance for United to start picking points again in maximum fashion.
Chelsea are up against Fulham, Claudio Ranieri is the new man at the helm and he has a point to prove again to his old club, he has seen that Chelsea can be beaten, can he do it like Spurs? Chelsea were well beaten last weekend by their city rivals, their top four position is threatened but they are still very much in the running even for the title, the loss at Wembley was quickly put behind by a dominant win in Europe but does suffice for the fans? Here it’s about three points and they can’t even negotiate less, but with the Lilywhites rejuvenated, they will not come quite easy, and remember it’s also a derby in its own rights.
Liverpool are still unbeaten in the league alongside Manchester City, what a team Klopp has on his hands, they weren’t as convincing as ever against Watford and they got the job done, the score line flattered them to say the least and they were well exposed against PSG in Europe on Wednesday; After starting so well in the champions league where they were runners up last season, they are now very much at the risk of crashing out at the group stages of course except they beat Napoli very well next week when they meet at Anfield, would be a disaster of note for them to fail to qualify for the round of 16. They head into the Merseyside derby on the back of the loss to PSG and with Everton in such a fine form, expect it to be feisty and keenly contested, Marko Silva has done well with the Toffees and with the derby records firmly in favor of the reds, this is his chance to halt the rot.
We deliver our takes on the upcoming games as usual and will never forget to remind everyone that it’s strictly the writer’s opinion.
|Fixture||Player to watch||Verdict|
|Cardiff vs Wolves||Camarasa||Both teams to score|
|Crystal Palace vs Burnley||Wilfried Zaha||Palace to win or draw|
|Huddersfield vs Brighton||Glenn Murray||Brighton to win or draw|
|Leicester vs Watford||Jamie Vardy||Both teams to score|
|Mnchester City vs Bournemouth||Sergio Aguero||City to win|
|Newcastle vs Westham||Kennedy||Both teams to score|
|Southampton vs Man United||Romelu Lukaku||United to win|
|Chelsea vs Fulham||Eden Hazard||Chelsea to win|
|Arsenal vs Tottenham||Dele Alli||Both teams to score|
|Liverpool vs Everton||Mo Salah||Liverpool to win or draw|