By Ryan Moran
- Pressure mounts on both sides of Tyneside, filling the bottom two places in the league.
- Diego Costa banned after clashes with Laurent Koscielny.
- Key players return for Manchester City after their loss to West Ham.
Manchester City travel to White Hart Lane to face a Tottenham side on the up while Chelsea start their first of three games without Diego Costa.
Sunderland and Newcastle are in danger of drifting from the pack if wins don’t come soon. With that comes the added pressure on the squad and managers to produce results as jobs start to hang in the balance. Newcastle take on Chelsea at St James’ Park while Manchester United welcome Sunderland to Old Trafford.
Manchester United vs Sunderland
Anthony Martial is fast becoming a fan favourite with his goal scoring prowess in recent weeks. The striker’s goals have lifted his side to second filling a much need piece in the puzzle at Old Trafford. After closing the gap to two points on rivals Manchester City, a sorry looking Sunderland side will be against all the odds to take three points back to the Stadium of Light. Having been beaten 2-0 last weekend, they were seen off by City in the League Cup as fans start to slowly turn on last season’s saviour Dick Advocaat. Paolo Di Canio and Gus Poyet suffered the same fate after saving the Black Cats only to be sacked midway through the following season.
Newcastle vs Chelsea
Without a win to their name, the Magpie’s are up against a Chelsea side finally on the path to recovery after a torrid start to the season. After picking up wins in the Champions League, then against Arsenal in the Premier League as well as a comprehensive 4-1 win over Walsall in the League Cup with a weakened side, the Blues are building confidence with every result. Under Alan Pardew, the Tyneside club had been a bogey team in recent years. A win for the black and whites would relieve a lot of pressure from Steve Mclaren without a top flight win to add to his accolades. With a win, Jose Mourinho’s side would be on 10 points from a possible 21, a long way off champion quality.
Tottenham vs Manchester City
After picking up six points in their last two Premier League games, Spurs have momentum as they make their surge towards the top ten. Last time out, City were defeated by West Ham at the Etihad, with that said Vincent Kompany and David Silva did not feature. The loss proved how key both players are to the sky blues as their return looks likely at White Hart Lane, providing a boost alongside the creativity of Kevin De Bruyne. A key player in the home side’s camp is new signing Son Heung-min who has provided firepower in his first few games, one the away side will be aware of. The tie at White Hart Lane kicks off the weekend’s action as the table toppers look to extend the gap over the chasing pack.
Leicester City vs Arsenal
After having Gabriel Paulista’s red card rescinded and knocking out Tottenham in the League Cup, the tables have turned for the Gunners after two consecutive losses firstly to Dinamo Kiev and then to Chelsea. Unlikely hero Mathieu Flamini provided the goals for the away side in midweek but it is unlikely the Frenchman will be rewarded with a place in the Premier League side against the Foxes. If the reds defeat the blues, they will go ahead of them in the league, if Claudio Ranieri’s side beat Wenger’s side, they will open up a five point gap over their opponents.
Liverpool vs Aston Villa
Christian Benteke returns to face his former side for the first time since his departure. The Belgian has been a bright spark in an underperforming Liverpool side who have failed to reach the potential with the summer influx with Roberto Firmino being the other big signing. The return of Daniel Sturridge may have to wait before the striker makes a major impact having been out of the game for a while. For Villa, a local derby win to knock Birmingham out of the League Cup brings the away side in better shape having won the game in 90 minutes. Carlisle United took the home side to penalties, 120 minutes takes its strain on the players with three days to recover. Rudy Gestede scored his second goal, against Championship opposition, the Benin striker is yet to prove he is capable of playing at that higher level; a goal against Liverpool will only help his cause. A win would take Tim Sherwood’s side within a point of their opposition while a win for Brendan Rodgers’ side will take pressure away from the manager and may move his side into the top 10 providing results go their way.
In the weekend’s other fixtures:
Southampton vs Swansea City
Stoke City vs AFC Bournemouth
West Ham United vs Norwich
Watford vs Crystal Palace
West Bromwich Albion vs Everton
Tottenham face Manchester City in the next round of fixtures for the lunchtime kick off next Saturday 26th September.