EPL weekend fixtures at a glance

AFTER a fortnight without club football due to the international break, fans of the English Premier League will be eagerly anticipating Round 9 of fixtures, with some choice derbies to spice things up. These are some of the talking points from each of the upcoming games.

Liverpool v Everton (Sat, 7.30pm)

Another international break, another early kick-off for Liverpool. Manager Jurgen Klopp has every right to question the discrepancy his side faces with early starts, but he knows full well that it will fall on deaf ears. He has several injury issues to contend with, not least Andy Robertson who dislocated his shoulder during the Spain v Scotland fixture.

Cody Gapko also faces a late fitness test to determine his availability. Expect another fiery contest as the Merseyside derby is the fixture with the most red cards in EPL history.

Manchester City v Brighton & Hove Albion (Sat, 10pm)

The reigning champions have lost two on the trot—away to both Arsenal and Wolverhampton Wanderers. Pep Guardiola will be keen to ensure that his side return to winning ways against a tough Brighton side, who can beat the very best with their fluid attacking football but can also be undone, as their trouncing at Villa showed.

If one team can exploit the spaces that open up behind Brighton’s high press, it’s City, who will be buoyed by the return of Rodri from suspension.

Newcastle United v Crystal Palace (Sat, 10pm)

Sandro Tonali


The Magpies have been rocked by news that star midfielder Sandro Tonali may soon be facing a lengthy ban for contravening betting rules. The former Italy U-21 captain has been in sensational form this season, as he has gelled magnificently with Joe Linton and Bruno Guimareas to form a formidable midfield that can compete at the very elite end of European football.

Newcastle’s comprehensive dismantling of Paris St Germain is proof of that. How they will cope without him will be a stern test of their top four credentials.

Brentford v Burnley (Sat, 10pm)

After a couple of seasons confounding critics by playing fearless attacking football, Brentford find themselves somewhat lacking in energy for this campaign. Separated by just three points from the drop zone, Thomas Frank will be hoping to secure the first home win of the season against Burnley, who have leaked goals for fun. A potential relegation six-pointer.

Bournemouth v Wolverhampton Wanderers (Sat, 10pm)

Bournemouth controversially sacked manager Gary O’Neil after he took over from Scott Parker last season and guided them to safety. Thus, his sacking was met with surprise as befuddled supporters were left wondering what on earth the board was thinking. His replacement was Andoni Iroala who was appointed to bring a more swashbuckling and entertaining brand of football to the Vitality Stadium.

The Cherries have yet to register a win this season while O’Neil’s Wolves managed to put one over Pep Guardiola’s City in the last round of fixtures.

Nottingham Forest v Luton Town (Sat, 10pm)

Forest’s form suggests that they will be safely ensconced in mid-table safety. Luton Town will be precisely the type of side they should be able to beat but the Hatters can be difficult, stubborn opponents. Having won at Goodison Park recently, Luton may feel that they can add another valuable three away points to help them in their quest for survival.

The end result of this game could well have a clear signal as to where each will end up come May next year. Forest must avoid the dreaded complacency that comes from players knowing they are safe from the drop.

Chelsea v Arsenal (Sat, 11.30pm)

Mauricio Pochettino (Photo credit: Sky Sports)

The second mouth-watering derby of the weekend sees rejuvenated Chelsea take on high-flying Arsenal, the latter fresh from recently beating Manchester City.

Mikael Arteta and Mauricio Pochettino were former teammates at PSG and both will be desperate for a win in a high-profile London derby. The former seeks to keep Arsenal’s momentum going in the title chase, while the latter seeks to bring about some consistency from a bloated squad.

Chelsea fans will be mindful of the return of Kai Havertz to Stamford Bridge, who will be keen to emphasise that the Blues were wrong to sell him to their cross-town rivals.

Sheffield United v Manchester United (Sun, 3am)

Injury woes at the back for the Blades put this as a no-brainer: three points for Manchester United. Having just a solitary point on the board thus far, Sheffield United prop up the table and look destined for a quick return to the championship.

Erik Ten Haag is facing a few issues himself, starting with a goalkeeper short on confidence and looking vulnerable every time a ball is hit in his direction. The Red Devils are also overly reliant on Marcus Rashford upfront and having Jordan Sancho frozen out of the team for being a tad too lippy against his manager does not help their cause.

Aston Villa v West Ham United (Sun, 11.30pm)

The Battle of the Clarets takes on extra significance as both sides aim to continue their upward trajectory. After a humiliating 5-1 reverse at St James Park on opening day, Unai Emery has managed to steer Villa to fifth in the table.

Part of their success is striker Ollie Watkins superb form as he continues to underline why he should be Harry Kane’s partner upfront for England at next year’s Euros. The Hammers aren’t far behind in seventh and are being fired by Jarod Bowen’s impressive form who has scored in each of the first five away games this term. Goals are expected at Villa Park.

Tottenham Hotspurs v Fulham (Tues, 3am)

Another London derby sees the Cottagers visit North London to take on table-topping Spurs who have made their best ever start to a campaign in the Premier League era. Spurs supporters are clearly delighted at the brand of football being produced under new manager Ange Postecoglou and will be dreaming of an unexpected title challenge.

Spurs will, however, be missing Yves Bissouma through suspension, who has been at the driving heart of Spurs’ impressive form. A home win will make many Spurs fans think that this could well be the year they finally bag a trophy. The fact that this is being done without talisman Harry Kane speaks volumes about Postcoglou’s transformation of the Lilywhites. – Oct 21, 2023

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