Manchester United v Manchester City, Old Trafford, Sun 25, 14:05
It’s the clash of the two Manchester giants with the Red Devils hosting their moneybag rivals City in a match that may go a small way to proving the potential title credentials of the two clubs.
Louis Van Gaal’s men come into this match on the back of a comprehensive 3-0 victory away at Everton and a decent Champions League point in Moscow. The late window addition of Anthony Martial has added some much needed freshness to a United team that had appeared a tad laboured in attack up until that moment.
City meanwhile has a few injury issues. The loss of Sergio Aguero and David Silva in the offensive department and Wilfried Bony doesn’t seem to match the stature of the former. The signing of Kevin De Bruyne though does appear to have lessened the hole vacated by Silva with the Belgian proving as effective as his Spanish counterpart in the number ten position. The eventual return of Vincent Kompany however does benefit the defence.
It’s a hard one to call this as there are faults in the systems of both of these teams. City quite frankly rely a little too much on De Bruyne without Silva and Aguero on the pitch and United can often look a little slow and pedestrian in their passing. Neither of these teams are in their peak at the moment but I’d suggest that United could just take the three points given home advantage.
Round up of the rest
Aston Villa v Swansea, Villa Park, Sat 24, 15:00
The pressure is mounting on Tim Sherwood who hasn’t managed to net a victory for his team since the opening day win at Bournemouth. It seems a tad bizarre as well that Gary Monk’s Swansea are struggling in fourteenth at the moment with the goals of Batetimbi Gomis and Andre Ayew having dried out. Both in need of a win and can’t afford to lose – a draw on looks likely.
Leicester v Crystal Palace, King Power Stadium
Two teams overachieving at the moment and two teams that plays a similar style. Both teams have pace in abundance and their style suits playing away from home more than on their own turf. Palace lost last week against West Ham and will be seeking an immediate response while Leicester have been in excellent form all season. Goals galore here with Palace to nick it.
Norwich v West Brom, Carrow Rd, Sat 24, 15:00
It was a shock for the Canaries last Sunday when they were hammered 6-2 by then winless Newcastle. Alex Neil will want to make sure they tighten up defensively after that shambles and this match with West Brom should be the complete opposite of a goal-fest. Tony Pulis will be no doubt looking for an important goalless point. I’d back Norwich to edge this by the one goal though.
Stoke v Watford, Britannia Stadium, Sat 24, 15:00
Watford began the season excellently but have hit a slightly sticky wicket of late with two losses and a draw in their last three – and only one goal in that time. Stoke meanwhile are flying with four straight wins and look to have turned a corner after their dismal start to the campaign. The Hornets will give it a go but the hosts should have enough to win fairly comfortably.
It’s another cracking game in prospect with arguments that could be made for both teams here. Chelsea’s form has been largely dreadful all season with a win against Arsenal a rare highlight when juxtaposed with defeats to the likes of Palace, Everton and Southampton. The Hammers have been in superb form but the Blues are slowly improving. A narrow, low scoring away win I foresee.
Arsenal v Everton, Emirates Stadium, Sat 24, 17:30
This truly is a game week with lots of fascinating fixtures and this is no different. Arsenal’s confidence will be really high with their victory against Bayern Munich on Tuesday still very much in the memory. It epitomises their outstanding form over the past number of domestic games in which they have blitzed teams. Everton are a tough opponent but Arsenal should win this one.
Sunderland v Newcastle, Stadium of Light, Sun 25, 12:00
Sunday kicks off with an explosive Tyne-Wear derby affair with both teams absolutely desperate for the points. Newcastle will be brimming with confidence after their 6-2 win over Norwich while Sunderland’s woes continue as they search for their first win. The Magpies have proved that they can score goals but Sunderland can also. Both need victories but a draw seems probable.
Bournemouth v Tottenham, Dean Court, Sun 25, 14:05
Tottenham will be licking their wounds after their 2-1 defeat to Anderlecht in the Europa League but in the league, Spurs have been excellent without a defeat since the opening weekend. Bournemouth’s injuries have been mounting recently and that 6-1 thumping away against City at the Etihad was testament of that. Spurs should feel confident of a return to three points.
Liverpool v Southampton, Anfield, Sun 25, 16:15
Jugren Klopp will be hoping to build on the stalemate in his debut Premier League match at White Hart Lane. The Reds played with an intensity that wasn’t really present for much of the latter stages of Brendan Rodgers’ tenure and they looked better for it. Southampton will pose a stern test of the hosts but with the ‘Klopp factor’ still fresh, you’d back them to see off the Saints.
Team of the week
GK: John Ruddy (Norwich): He shipped six goals last week for the Canaries but against West Brom, he’ll feel he has a more realistic chance of keeping a clean sheet.
RB: Carl Jenkinson (West Ham): Two goals in the last two matches for the England Under 21 international and Jenkinson is in good form. He’ll be looking to push Nathaniel Clyne and Kyle Walker all the way for the main England right back slot with both his competitors not in scintillating form of their own.
CB: Vincent Kompany (Manchester City): He has to play surely doesn’t he? The skipper is a huge, huge player for City on the team sheet and his inclusion could be the difference between getting something from the derby or not.
CB: Martin Skytel (Liverpool): Liverpool need him to be on his game with Southampton coming to town. He’s their most reliable man at the back and his performances will help inspire confidence to the team.
LB: Brendan Galloway (Everton): Tough game for the young starlet in prospect, taking on the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott is no mean feat at all. Will definitely be a good lesson in his development no doubt.
RM: Sadio Mane (Southampton): Arguably one of Southampton’s most vital players, Mane has proven to be a real handful for opposition defenders. He gave John Terry and Gary Cahill the run around at Stamford Bridge not too long ago. He’s testament to the fact that Southampton won’t just roll over and let Jurgen Klopp get his first win at Anfield.
CM: Adam Lallana (Liverpool): He’s not quite alleviated the £25 million flop tag from his neck but under Klopp, it looks like the England international just might start performing a tad better. He had the ability at Southampton but for whatever reason Brendan Rodgers never got the best out of him.
CM: Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace): He’s been amongst the goals in recent weeks and he’ll want to continue that trend against Leicester. More importantly however, he’ll want to make sure he is on form in order to dictate the game against the Foxes who themselves have a wily midfield.
LM: Eden Hazard (Chelsea): There are two big questions here. Will he or won’t he make the starting line-up after a decent, if slightly underwhelming performance against Dynamo Kyiv? Then will he be able to transfer the magic of last season’s performances into this one against a very difficult West Ham team?
ST: Harry Kane (Tottenham): He’s still not in the imperious form of last season despite getting off the mark against City last month. In Spurs’ Europa League clash with Anderlecht, Kane missed a few opportunities you’d have backed him to stick away in the last campaign but the fact he’s still making those runs is key. The goals should come flooding back sooner rather than later.
ST: Jamie Vardy (Leicester): He’s up there in the same bracket as Thomas Muller, Robert Lewandowski and Cristiano Ronaldo for his goal-scoring antics thus far since August 8th. He’s in a run-of-form at the moment that makes him nearly unstoppable over a 90 minute period for opposition defenders. Palace’s backline should be worried.