10 things to look out for in the Premier League this weekend
Can Liverpool, Everton shake off struggles in Merseyside derby?
On Saturday (Watch live on NBCSN, 7:45 a.m. ET and online via Live Extra) both Merseyside teams collide after suffering poor starts to the current campaign. Replicating the success of last has proved difficult for Liverpool and Everton but they have the chance to put that all to one side at Anfield with bragging rights on the line. This derby provided a 3-3 draw at Goodison and a 4-0 win for Liverpool at Anfield last season and there’s sure to be plenty of drama this time around. Everton have just one win so far and Liverpool have lost three of their opening five games. A victory in this derby could be the catalyst for an upturn in results as early season struggles will be left behind.
Balotelli’s new hairdo
New Liverpool forward Mario Balotelli has struggled somewhat since arriving from AC Milan over the summer. Just one goal in five games across all competitions is a pretty poor return as he adapts to life back in the Premier League. Balotelli is hoping this snazzy new hairdo inspires him to greatness in his first ever Merseyside derby. Tiger print, blonde mohawk and a Liver Bird shaved into his head...
Arsenal’s panache vs. Tottenham’s power - Derby day in North London, too
There are derbies galore on Saturday as Arsenal host Tottenham (Watch live on NBCSN, 12:30 p.m. ET and online via Live Extra) in the battle between North London’s two clubs. Arsenal are unbeaten and despite a severe lack of depth in defense, attackers Mesut Ozil, Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez are starting to click through the gears. The midfield will be key to this battle as Arsenal’s creative duo Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey go up against Spurs’ bustling midfielders. Expect a tight game with few goals.
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Pochettino under-pressure already...
Scoring goals has been Spurs’ problem so far this season, as Pochettino’s arrival as manager initially sparked euphoria but they have failed to score in their last two home games in the PL and have lost to Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion. It’s silly to suggest Pochettino is under pressure, but fans are already bemoaning Spurs’ performance against West Brom last Sunday and I am struggling to see where there goals will come from. Let’s give the Argentine boss time. A win in the North London derby would certainly help his cause considerably after Spurs lost both league games and an FA Cup match to the Gunners last season.
Will Manchester United go all-out attack?
Still haven’t got your head around United’s collapse in that 5-3 defeat to Leicester City last weekend? Neither have I. Louis van Gaal’s new motto seems to be “all-out attack” as RVP, Falcao, Rooney and Di Maria all lined up in the same team last time out. Expect more of the same a United host West Ham at Old Trafford. This could go one of two ways, but at least they should be better equipped at the back with Luke Shaw returning from injury.
Hull will rough up Man City’s stars
Last season I witnessed Man City get an absolute battering at the KC Stadium after they were reduced to 10-man early on following Vincent Kompany’s red card. They bent but did not break and eventually ran out 2-0 winners. This time around against an improved Hull side, City will be looking to play their way into the game against Steve Bruce’s ultra-physical side. Good luck with that. Style vs. strength will clash, big time, on the banks of the Humber on Saturday. Very interesting.
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Four in a row for Southampton?
So, that meltdown at Southampton, when is it going to happen? On Saturday Saints host QPR and go in search of their fourth-straight win and if they do so, could go top of the Premier League standings. After losing five key players over the summer and their manager, new boss Ronald Koeman has done a wonderful job to steady the ship, bring in a plethora of new talent and Saints look stronger. Remarkable start to the season. Will it continue as they welcome back despised former boss Harry Redknapp?
Eagles and Foxes collide in good form
No defeat in three for either of these sides, as both teams will go into this clash as high as a kite. Neil Warnock has two draws and an impressive away win at Everton from his first three games in charges of Palace, while Leicester have won two-straight after hammering Manchester United last Sunday. Not a game which jumps out at you on the schedule, but expect plenty of confident players on display at Selhurst Park.
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Burnley, Newcastle search for first win
Without a goal for over seven hours, Burnley have struggled going forward but excelled at the back after three-straight 0-0 draws they face West Brom away on Sunday. Can they get their first ‘W’ of the season? As for Newcastle, the unrest is still around as Alan Pardew has kept his job but the protests continue as fans want to see him fired. A win for the Magpies away at Stoke would give them a huge boost. Can Pardew’s players step up?
Jozy Altidore to start for Sunderland?
U.S. national team striker Jozy Altidore banged one in for Sunderland in their midweek League Cup defeat to Stoke, his first goal of the 2014-15 season. Watch it, here. He is now back to full fitness following his hamstring injury, so will Gus Poyet play Altidore from the start at home vs. Swansea?