By Ryan Moran
- Manchester United vs Liverpool the stand out fixture of the weekend’s action.
- Berahino still at the Baggies with the transfer window shut.
- Bournemouth’s record signing Mings is out for the season through injury.
With the international break over, inconsistent Liverpool face a trip to face Manchester United both having lost their last games to West Ham United and Swansea respectively. Manchester City face Crystal Palace, with Chelsea against Everton.
Manchester United vs Liverpool
The international break was timed well for both sides and the restart at Old Trafford presents an opportunity to start an unbeaten run against a top four rival. Michael Carrick won’t appear because of injury and Phil Jones is suffering through illness. As for Liverpool, Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana will miss out through injury along with Joe Allen. The big exclusion is Philippe Coutinho who misses out because of the red card received against West Ham, which leaves a big gap in midfield most likely to be filled by Roberto Firmino. The Red Devils have an opportunity against a weakened Liverpool side but goals have been a struggle in the league, epitomised by the blank record for Wayne Rooney so far this year.
Everton vs Chelsea
Chelsea’s defensive fragilities were exposed by a counter attacking Crystal Palace side. John Terry is back in the side after completing his suspension, Oscar looks set to miss out with a muscle injury. It is yet to be seen whether Branislav Ivanovic will lose his place after a poor run of games at right back, being targeted by opposition as the weak link. Roberto Martinez has quick options in wide positions with Gerard Deulofeu and Aiden McGeady. The champions currently sit eight points behind leaders Manchester City so three points at Goodison Park is a necessity and will also take Jose Mourinho’s side above the Toffees.
Crystal Palace vs Manchester City
If Crystal Palace manage to break Manchester City’s winning streak, the Eagles will only be second on goal difference. The international break was the last thing City wanted with rampant displays in all four of the opening games. After containing Diego Costa, Damien Delaney now faces a duel with Sergio Aguero while Alan Pardew may be missing Yohan Cabaye for the encounter at Selhurst Park through injury.
Arsenal vs Stoke City
In contrast to Manchester City, the break stalls Stoke City’s negative momentum. With two points from four games after a summer of spending, the Potters would have been hoping for better. As for Arsenal; two wins, a draw and a loss is an average start and one they will need to build on to claim their consistent Champions League place. Mark Hughes is missing Charlie Adam and Ibrahim Afellay through suspension for their trip to the Emirates.
Norwich City vs AFC Bournemouth
Record signing Tyrone Mings faces watching the rest of his debut season watching from the sidelines after picking up an injury against Leicester City. Three points are crucial for any new side, but to pick up three points against teams likely to be around you come the end of the season is vital. Joint top goal scorer Callum Wilson will hope to add to his four goals in four games while the signings of Dieumerci Mbokani and Matt Jarvis on loan shows the Canaries’ intentions.
West Bromwich Albion vs Southampton
Talk focuses around whether Saido Berahino will feature this weekend having started training again. The striker was angered by the Baggies’ refusal to allow him to leave. His goals will be crucial given they have only picked up a win and draw in four games. As for Southampton, Victor Wanyama remains with the Saints having also tried to push for a move away from St Marys. Virgil Van Dijk is also a new face in the Saint’s squad list as is Jonny Evans for West Brom.
Of the other weekend’s other fixtures;
Watford vs Swansea City
Sunderland vs Tottenham
Leicester vs Aston Villa
West Ham United vs Newcastle United
Chelsea travel to Goodison Park for the lunchtime kick off against Everton on the 12th September.