League action returns after cup catastrophe
By Ryan Moran
- Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United were knocked out in mid-week.
- Klopp earns first win but is still in search of his first league win.
- Three points separate the top five going into match day 11.
Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United have one less piece of silverware to fight for after losing in the Capital One Cup, Arsenal and Manchester United losing to Championship opposition, with Premier League action a welcome return as Liverpool await Chelsea at Stamford Bridge for Saturday’s lunchtime kick off.
Chelsea vs Liverpool
A 1-0 win on Wednesday against Bournemouth earnt Jurgen Klopp his first win, while Jose Mourinho’s poor run continues as Chelsea lost to Stoke because of Eden Hazard’s saved penalty in the shootout. Two points from the German’s opening games hasn’t set the world alight, while modern football fans and the media build pressure on Mourinho’s torrid season with the Blues.
Recent injuries have affected Klopp’s selection with Daniel Sturridge yet to feature in attack while Christian Benteke kick started his tally under the German. As for Chelsea’s attacking options Pedro and Diego Costa are yet to be confirmed as fit. Nemanja Matic returns after serving a one game ban.
Six places separate the two sides with three points the difference going into the clash at Stamford Bridge. Liverpool’s ill-fated run towards the Premier League title two seasons ago was ended by a counter attacking Chelsea side, finished off by a certain slip by Steven Gerrard. With one win in seven games, making up the deficit on their opposition will help Chelsea’s position as well stalling hopes of many away fans that Klopp can change their fortunes.
Crystal Palace vs Manchester United
Both sides tumbled out of the League Cup, Crystal Palace falling to a 5-1 drubbing by United’s neighbours while Louis Van Gaal experienced his second loss in two League Cup runs to lower league opposition, losing on penalties to Middlesborough. The Eagles loosened their grip on the definite Europa League place, slipping to defeat against Leicester City while the Red Devils drew in the Manchester derby.
Palace can close the gap on United to two points with a win while the away side need a win to keep up the pace with Manchester City, Arsenal and West Ham with Leicester City sitting one point behind in fifth. A loss for the Eagles however allow the chasing pack, as far down as Stoke City in 14th, to push the home side down the table after an impressive start.
Memphis Depay is an injury concern after picking up an injury in the Capital One Cup while Yohan Cabaye looks unlikely to feature having missed the mid-week game through injury.
Swansea vs Arsenal
Lukasz Fabianski welcomes his former side to the Liberty Stadium as Swansea look to improve on last week’s 2-1 over Aston Villa. With a win against Everton temporarily placing them on the top of the pile, the Gunners cannot afford to slip up against the Swans if they are to keep the pressure on Manuel Pellegrini’s side. The Premier League becomes even more important following the away side’s exit from the Capital One Cup after being beaten 3-0 by Sheffield Wednesday of the Championship.
Bafetimbi Gomis soared to the top of the scoring charts at the beginning of the season but now finds himself slipping as a goal drought becomes ever more present with the striker’s last goal coming against Manchester United in August. The Frenchman’s partnership with fellow striker Andre Ayew scoring a goal every other game in the top flight.
Injuries were picked up by Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain against Sheffield Wednesday, Olivier Giroud therefore is likely to start up front for Arsenal. Wayne Routledge is the only doubt for Swansea with Garry Monk having a near full strength squad.
Manchester City vs Norwich
Manchester City remain the hunted in the league with three sides having the ability to overtake the league leaders, providing Pellegrini’s side lose. As for Norwich, a loss could see them drop into the bottom three. Recent results suggest this is not a good time to be travelling to the Etihad with City twice winning 5-1 goals in their last five games.
One positive to take for Norwich is that the away side will face a team two players short of their best side as David Silva and Sergio Aguero remain unavailable. This however doesn’t mean an easy ride with Kevin De Bruyne, Wilfried Bony and Raheem Sterling providing the goals. The only blip comes in their draw in the derby that kept the home side top of the league.
Watford vs West Ham United
After a dramatic victory filled with dispute and controversy, caused by Chelsea, the Hammers moved within two points of the top of the league. As for their opposition, a 2-0 win over Stoke earnt Troy Deeney his first Premier League goal. The striker’s goal tally has a lot of work needed to match Charlie Austin’s first season in the Premier League. A win for the Hornets would take the deficit from seven points to four points. Andy Carroll scored his first goal of the season to secure three points for his side and will look to add to his tally against Watford.
Tottenham Hotspur vs Aston Villa
As Aston Villa continue their search for a new manager after the departure of Tim Sherwood last weekend. Tottenham moved up to sixth in the league with a resounding win over Bournemouth. Three points away from fourth place acts as an added incentive for Spurs to beat Villa.
Harry Kane kick started his attempts to encapsulate last season’s successes with a hat trick at the Vitality Stadium. Jordan Ayew managed to pick up his first goal in the league in their loss to Swansea. Tottenham will provide a tougher test in terms of form and momentum. 13 points separate the sides with Villa rock bottom of the top flight, four points away from safety with results needed and fast starting at Tottenham’s expense.
In the weekend’s other fixtures:
Everton vs Sunderland
Southampton vs AFC Bournemouth
Newcastle United vs Stoke City
West Bromwich Albion vs Leicester City
Chelsea welcome Liverpool to Stamford Bridge for the lunchtime kick off on 31st October.
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