Another international break looms ominously on the horizon, so we must make the most of the Premier League action this weekend.
Liverpool’s 5-1 mauling of Hull City was another huge result for Jurgen Klopp‘s men, and they visit Swansea City on Saturday lunchtime.
Elsewhere, a unstoppable-looking Man City kept up their 100 per cent record with a 3-1 win at Swansea, while Arsenal were impressive in dispatching of Chelsea 3-0 at the Emirates.
Man United steadied the ship with a 4-1 victory over champions Leicester City, while Tottenham‘s 2-1 win at Middlesbrough saw them continue to go quietly under the radar.
At the bottom of the table, Sunderland squandered a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2 at home to Crystal Palace, while West Ham were defeated 3-0 by Southampton.
Stoke City drew 1-1 at home to West Brom to remain in the relegation zone, and Everton‘s promising start to 2016/17 came to a crashing halt at Bournemouth.
There’s five live matches this weekend before the international break, with Liverpool not in action for 16 days after the Swansea match!
Pochettino vs. Guardiola
Sunday’s showdown between Spurs and Man City pits two of Europe’s best managers against each other: Mauricio Pochettino and Pep Guardiola.
Both are famed for their high-intensity tactics both on and off the ball, and it should make for a thrilling contest in north London.
The two sides remain the only unbeaten teams in the Premier League this season, and this will be the biggest examination of Guardiola’s title favourites yet.
Spurs have gone quietly but effectively about their business in the first month or so of the campaign, and in Son Heung-min, they have one of the league’s most in-form players.
City will have to make do without key man Kevin De Bruyne, and should they leave White Hart Lane with another three points, it will be a worrying sign for their rivals at the top.
Arsenal Aim Not To ‘Do A Liverpool’
Much was made of Liverpool’s 2-0 loss at Burnley earlier in the season – a result that, fortunately, is now being discussed far less, given the Reds’ current form.
Arsenal make the trip to Turf Moor on Sunday looking to avoid a similar fate, but they are a side brimming with confidence right now.
Arsene Wenger’s team have recovered impressively from their opening weekend defeat at home to Liverpool, going undefeated in the eight games since.
Their performance against Chelsea really caught the eye, with the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott on fire throughout.
Given how strong the Gunners are against lesser sides, it would be a real surprise if they slipped up against Sean Dyche’s well-drilled Clarets outfit.
‘Sparky’ Returns To Old Trafford
Mark Hughes enjoyed a stellar career at Man United, but things are not going swimmingly for him and his Stoke side at the moment.
Hughes heads back to Old Trafford with the Potters lying in 19th place, and there is increasing talk that his position is becoming untenable.
United’s drubbing of Leicester will have given them plenty of confidence, and if Stoke fail to start quickly on Sunday, it could be a long afternoon for them.
Key players such as Bojan and Xherdan Shaqiri must start pulling their weight, or Stoke’s eight-year stay in the Premier League could start to look under threat.
Jose Mourinho will be keen for his side to pull off what should be a routine victory, ahead of their trip to Anfield after the international break.
Has The Everton Meltdown Begun?
Ok, so that’s probably a slightly hyperbolic sub-heading, but Everton are never too far away from capitulating before our very eyes.
Their 1-0 loss at Bournemouth last Saturday was not a result that many predicted, and the insipid way in which they succumbed to defeat was particularly surprising.
Ronald Koeman is clearly a very good manager, however, and after back-to-back defeats – they lost at home to Norwich City in the League Cup – he should have them revved up ahead of the visit of Crystal Palace.
The Goodison Park clash gets the Premier League weekend underway on Friday evening, and it has the potential to be an entertaining game.
Palace’s remarkable second-half turnaround at Sunderland will have given them such a confidence boost – can they carry that momentum into their encounter with Everton?
Let’s hope so.
Must-Win Game For Under-Fire Chelsea
Chelsea may have won their first three league games of the season, but two very late winners, against West Ham and Watford, masked what were some fairly average performances.
Their 2-1 defeat at home to Liverpool on September 16 exposed their weaknesses, though, and last weekend’s embarrassing display at Arsenal was further evidence to suggest that all is not right.
Chelsea are an ageing team, particularly in defence, while too many of their attacking players look either lazy or ineffective. Some fresh blood within the squad is badly needed.
Antonio Conte’s men travel to Hull on Saturday in desperate need of a win, but should they fail to, their chances of a top-four finish will start to look rather bleak.
It is still very early days, of course, but considering how strong most of their rivals look, Chelsea cannot afford to be losing too much ground.
Fixtures & UK TV Info
Everton vs. Crystal Palace – Goodison Park, Friday 8pm, Sky Sports 1 — Live stream via NOW TV
Swansea vs. Liverpool – Liberty Stadium, Saturday 12:30pm, Sky Sports 1 — Live stream via NOW TV
Hull vs. Chelsea – KCOM Stadium, Saturday 3pm
Sunderland vs. West Brom – Stadium of Light, Saturday 3pm
Watford vs. Bournemouth – Vicarage Road, Saturday 3pm
West Ham vs. Middlesbrough – London Stadium, Saturday 3pm
Man United vs. Stoke – Old Trafford, Sunday 12pm, BT Sport 1
Leicester vs. Southampton – King Power Stadium, Sunday 2:15pm
Tottenham vs. Man City – White Hart Lane, Sunday 2:15pm, Sky Sports 1 — Live stream via NOW TV
Burnley vs. Arsenal – Turf Moor, Sunday 4:30pm, Sky Sports 1 — Live stream via NOW TV