This weekend’s EPL action at a glance

AFTER the massive VAR controversy from the Spurs v Liverpool game that overshadowed last weekend’s fixtures, it is hoped that it will be the on-pitch action that dominates conversations this time around.

Referees and their slow-mo review counterparts in Stockley Park will face intense scrutiny after a series of high-profile blunders this season have seemingly affected the integrity of the self-styled “world’s best league”.

Luton Town v Tottenham Hotspurs (Sat, 7.30pm)

Luton lost a six-pointer 3-2 to Burnley earlier in the week and will desperately be hoping for a quick turnaround but they face a high-flying Spurs side who will want to show they can get results without perceived helping hands from refs.

Given that they needed last-minute goals against a nine-man Liverpool as well as Sheffield United, both on home soil, Ange Postecoglou will be hoping for a drama-free three points. The fact that Spurs do not have European distractions could prove a massive boost for them as they seek to affirm their credentials as title challengers.

Manchester United v Brentford (Sat, 10pm)

Marcus Rashford


Manchester United’s less-than-stellar start to the season was further compounded by a mid-week defeat to Galatasaray in the Champions League. They are winless in their group after a narrow loss to Bayern Munich in their opening match.

Domestic form has not been great either with the Red Devils already registering four losses from their opening seven games. Central to their problems is a misfiring Marcus Rashford who seems to have lost his mojo since the arrival of Rasmus Hojlund. He needs to rediscover his form to help his boyhood club climb out of the rut.

Erik Ten Hag is confident he has the tools to turn things around but will need to do so quickly to avoid being yet another managerial casualty at Old Trafford.

Everton v Bournemouth (Sat, 10pm)

Everton desperately needs to kick-start their season after losing to Luton last weekend. Five defeats in the first seven games represent the club’s worst start to a campaign in 65 years.

Thus, the visit of The Cherries is the perfect time for Sean Dyche to try to turn things around, as the visitors have yet to record an away win this season and have already conceded 15. This is another relegation six-pointer neither side can afford to lose. Everton will be hoping the return of Dominic Calvert-Lewin will help alleviate their goal problems upfront.

Fulham v Sheffield United (Sat, 10pm)

Fulham are smarting after a tame derby defeat to Chelsea in the last round of fixtures and Marco Silva will be looking for a much improved performance against the Blades. Goals have been the main issue for Fulham since the departure of talisman striker Aleksandar Mitrovic to the Saudi league.

Sheffield United will need to show they are made of stronger stuff after their abject surrender to Newcastle last week when they conceded eight without reply. It’s early days yet but being stuck at the bottom of the pile will start to drain the morale of Sheffield United players.

Burnley v Chelsea (Sat, 10pm)

Chelsea’s mini-revival looks set to continue as their expensively assembled squad slowly begins to gel under Mauricio Pochettino. There is no doubt that the Argentine is a top-class coach and has the tactical nous to get the best out of his players.

The big question is whether the powers that be at Stamford Bridge will afford him the time to do so, having displayed a notorious lack of patience and having already axed Thomas Tuchel and Graham Potter since taking over from Roman Abramovich.

Burnley are sticking to their attacking principles but are finding it tough at the top level and will need a minor miracle to turn things around for a fast-improving Chelsea side.

Crystal Palace v Nottingham Forest (Sat, 11.30pm)

Fresh from their victory against Manchester United last weekend, the Eagles will again be looking to take flight against a very beatable Forest side. Injury to Eberechi Eze though has made that task a little bit harder as everything good Palace do seems to stem from the playmaker, who has played every single minute this season thus far, until his late substitution at Old Trafford.

Forest sits in 12th place and will be looking to secure mid-table safety a bit earlier this season and three away points here will greatly help their cause.

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

Jurgen Klopp will be hoping to harness the collective sense of injustice surrounding his Liverpool squad after the VAR controversy from last weekend to conjure up a worthy performance against Brighton.

Both teams had midweek assignments in the Europa League and it will be interesting how well each copes with the demands of Thursday-Sunday fixtures. Roberto De Zerbi’s side came from behind to draw at Marseille and the highly-rated Italian manager will be looking for similar passion and application from his players to once again outwit his German counterpart.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Aston Villa (Sun, 9pm)

The big midlands derby sees Wolves fresh from defeating the reigning champions while the Villans arrive after a narrow win against Zrinjski in Europe. Villa have pretensions of cracking into the top six while Wolves are looking to avoid being sucked into a relegation battle.

On the back of recent results, both can achieve their goals and will be hoping to add local bragging rights to the mix. Many Wolves supporters had questioned the appointment of Gary O’Neil as manager but his win against Pep Guardiola’s much-vaunted winning machine will have boosted his credentials no end.

West Ham United v Newcastle United (Sun, 9pm)

Miguel Almiron


The magpies are in spectacular form having scored eight against hapless Sheffield United last weekend and then following it with a massive statement win against Paris St Germain in the Champions League. To win against a side containing the likes of Kylian Mbappe is a mean feat in itself but to score four is another thing altogether.

Eddie Howe will have boosted his managerial credentials no end with that fine display against the perennial champions of France. The Hammers will be no pushovers as they themselves had a good week in Europe having won 2-1 against SC Freiburg.

Arsenal v Manchester City (Sun, 11.30pm)

The Gooners were labelled ‘bottlers’ for losing a massive eight-point lead last season as they allowed Manchester City to steam roll to yet another league title. The truth is, Arsenal fans will feel extremely aggrieved that they were on the receiving end of not one but two massive refereeing blunders last season requiring apologies from the PGMOL.

They will seek to set the record straight with a statement win over City and get their stuttering title challenge back on track. Pep Guardiola will want his players to respond to the setback against Wolves last week by collecting maximum points. Definitely the game of the week. – Oct 7, 2023


Main photo credit: SkySports

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