With Chelsea not in action the Premier League’s big boys have a chance to put pressure on the league’s early leaders this weekend. The stand out fixtures are surely David Moyes’ Manchester United facing age old rivals Liverpool, while the North London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham will no doubt offer entertainment and drama and you can back your favourites on William
Wayne Rooney finally broke his silence after United’s draw with Chelsea to thank the fans for their support, but there is still no news on any potential transfer. The forward impressed in front of his potential London suitors, and if he puts in a similar display then Liverpool’s injury-hit defence could be in for a long afternoon.
Liverpool fans couldn’t have asked for a better start – having won all three games, albeit with a cup scare, and with the club seemingly holding onto Luis Suarez they are starting to believe in the coming season. But their defensive injury list does not make pleasant reading, and while Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho have impressed, they will find it hard against an in-form Nemanja Vidic. On that basis, and with Robin van Persie still as sharp as ever, United should have the edge in a close encounter.
The North London derby is always a feisty affair. Tottenham have invested heavily, with Gareth Bale likely to head for Real Madrid. However, they have so far spent well – Paulinho and Etienne Capoue have brought solidity to the midfield while Roberto Soldado has scored four in three games. The addition of the exciting Erik Lamela will only add more attacking flair.
Arsenal, on the other hand, have not. Two free transfers in Mathieu Flamini and Yaya Sanogo represent Arsene Wenger’s only signings to date. Yet the Gunners have steadily improved since the opening defeat to Villa, and convincingly qualified for the Champions League group stages. But Tottenham will provide a stern test of character and they may well come away from a fiery Emirates Stadium with the three points.
Manchester City have been a mixed bag so far. They beat a lacklustre Newcastle side in impressive fashion before conceding two very sloppy goals from corners against newly-promoted Cardiff. There still seems to be an air of uncertainty about City and how they will perform when the pressure is on, but they will be firm favourites at home to Hull, despite the Tigers picking up their first points last weekend.
Predictions with William Hill
Man City vs. Hull City
Pellegrini’s men will want to bounce back, and at home will prove too much for Hull: 3-0
Cardiff vs. Everton
Cardiff will be on a high having come from behind to beat City, and at home they look very organised. Everton have been steady under Martinez and this will be a close game: 1- 1
Newcastle vs. Fulham
Pardew missed out on signing Darren Bent and the striker could haunt him this weekend. Newcastle have looked frail while Fulham’s new signings are still settling: 1-2
Norwich vs. Southampton
Rickie Lambert has inspired the Saints so far this campaign, and the signing of Pablo Osvaldo will ease the pressure on his shoulders. Norwich were unlucky against Hull but look to have quality about them: 1-1
West Ham vs. Stoke
West Ham have a solid side and will be very strong at home, while Stoke are still in transition under Mark Hughes: 2-0
Crystal Palace vs. Sunderland
Ian Holloway has seen glimpses of what his side can do after tough opening fixtures, while Paolo Di Canio is still juggling his starting XI to find his best side. This will be an even game: 1-1
Liverpool vs. Man United
Liverpool have played well in Luis Suarez’s absence but face their biggest test against the champions, who have produced good football under Moyes, and they should have the quality to get the points at Anfield: 0-2
West Brom vs. Swansea
West Brom will be comfortable this season and face a Swansea squad without enough depth to cope with the travel of the Europa League, and may be suffering from a European hangover: 2 -1
Arsenal vs. Tottenham
This will no doubt be close without any of the anticipated drama, but Spurs have the edge with their new look side: 1-2