EPL fixtures at a glance

TOTTENHAM Hotspurs maintained their 100% start to the season with a 2-1 win away to Crystal Palace early this morning, opening a gap at the top of the Premier League. FocusM looks at the rest of the weekend’s fixtures and highlights some of the talking points.

Chelsea v Brentford (Sat, 7.30pm)

Chelsea’s curse of misfiring forwards seems to continue despite the bucketloads of cash being spent on finding an out-and-out no 9. Mauricio Pochettino’s solution is to play with a false no 9 and it nearly worked against Arsenal last week before a late implosion allowed Arsenal a share of the spoils.

In another London derby, Pochettino will be hoping for calmer heads to prevail and for his expensive stars to manage the game better, especially when trying to hold onto a lead.

Bournemouth v Burnley (Sat, 10pm)

A relegation six-pointer with the Cherries still yet to register a win for the season, while Burnley are in freefall.

Both sides desperately need this win in a fixture that may take on greater significance at the tail end of the season. Andoni Iraola was appointed to instill an attacking style in Bournemouth and he retains the faith of the board that was so impressed by his work at Rayo Vallecano but results count and he will have to deliver the points sooner rather than later.

Arsenal v Sheffield United (Sat, 10pm)

The Blades have made an awful start to their return to the top flight and there’s little chance things will change with their visit to the Emirates Stadium to take on the high-flying Gunners. Mikael Arteta’s side is bouncing with optimism after coming from behind to beat a highly fancied Sevilla side 2-1 away in Europe.

Paul Heckingbottom will be hoping for a similar battling display from the Blades in their last visit to North London when they were unlucky to concede two late goals to the Spurs.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Newcastle United (Sun, 12.30am)

The Magpies will be licking their wounds after being brought crashing down to earth after defeating Borussia Dortmund in Europe in midweek. Wolves will be hoping there will be no backlash as they look to stretch their unbeaten run to four games which includes a victory over reigning champions Manchester City.

The home side will be buoyed by their upturn in form as they seek to instill further misery on Newcastle who are still reeling from star midfielder Sandro Tonali’s lengthy ban for contravening betting regulations.

West Ham United v Everton (Sun, 8pm)

Everton will wish they still had David Moyes in charge, who for so long helped them punch above their weight. Now, he is doing it at West Ham and has even brought them European glory, with the UEFA Conference League trophy being their first cup in four decades.

The Toffees meanwhile, have the threat of points deduction hanging over their heads over alleged contravention of profitability and sustainability rules. If they are to be sanctioned, it is very likely the Blues will be mired in a relegation battle unless they can start picking up those precious points now.

Brighton & Hove Albion v Fulham (Sun, 9pm)

Brighton are currently the model club, with a solid scouting system seemingly able to unearth world-class talent at a drop of a hat. They also have a manager who plays an exciting brand of football bordering on reckless, which has made watching the Seagulls plenty of fun.

Robert De Zerbi insists that the risks are worth taking to establish a style that is entertaining to watch. Fulham, though, have become a bit of a bogey team for Brighton having won both fixtures last season.

Liverpool v Nottingham Forest (Sun, 9pm)

Mo Salah

Mo Salah came on for a brief cameo in midweek’s trouncing of Toulouse but still got on the scoresheet, making him the highest scorer in European competition for an English club, overtaking Arsenal’s Thierry Henry.

Forest will be hoping that the return of Divock Origi to his old stomping ground will help them pull off an upset against an in-form Liverpool side who will be fresh after Jurgen Klopp rang in the changes for the midweek clash against the French side.

Aston Villa v Luton Town (Sun, 9pm)

Aston Villa are seeing the vast improvements brought about by Unai Emery, whose European pedigree is beginning to rub off. Their impressive 4-1 away win against Dutch side AZ Alkmaar in the UEFA Conference League highlights the tactical nous that saw Emery stack up multiple European trophies with Sevilla.

The Hatters will be hoping Villa is suffering from an European hangover as they try to grab something at Villa Park to aid them in their bid to retain their premiership status.

Manchester United v Manchester City (Sun, 10.30pm)

The Manchester derby is the pick of the games this weekend, with Erik Ten Haag looking forward to the hard-fought victory over FC Copenhagen in Europe. The fact that the heroes in that match were the much maligned pair of Harry Macguire and Andre Onana will give him hope that the Red Devils have turned the corner.

Macguire scored the only goal of the game while Onana saved a last-minute penalty to give the Old Trafford faithful some semblance of optimism. Pep Guardiola must decide if to start with Jack Grealish who has been in impressive form and whose work rate has improved dramatically, making him the potential long-term successor to Ilkay Gundogan. – Oct 28, 2023


Main photo credit: SkySports

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