Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal will be hoping that his side can bounce back from the spectacular collapse at Leicester City last weekend and that indeed the season will start again with a much needed home win over West Ham United.
However, that task will not be easy as the Hammers are on the crest of a wave at the moment following the 3-1 win over Liverpool last weekend and the general novel verve and swagger in a Sam Allardyce-managed team. Also, United’s task is made all the harder without a defender that can keep himself fit for any decent length of time lending to a possible defensive crisis for the United manager to contend with.
What is clear is that United have a very good forward line but without the defensive security behind them, there is always the danger of scorelines like the one seen at Leicester. West Ham will look to pounce upon any insecurity there and with the power and pace their forwards now possess along with the confidence boost received last weekend at Liverpool’s expense, there is now a real possibility that West Ham could secure the 3 points at Old Trafford.
The first meeting of the Merseyside clubs is this weekend and as ever it is hotly anticipated. However, neither side come into the game in the greatest form with Liverpool managing to scrape through against Middlesbrough in the 3rd round of the League Cup after one of the longest penalty shootouts in English football history and Everton being roundly handed a beating 3-0 at manager Roberto Martinez’ former club Swansea City.
Everton have only managed two wins out of their opening seven games while Liverpool have lost the last two Premier League games. Both clubs need the win in terms of their form but form will count for nothing when the whistle blows at Anfield at 12.45pm at Saturday lunchtime. Expect fireworks, goals, controversy and the usual sending off.
Arsenal and Tottenham also showdown in the first North London derby of the season at the Emirates Stadium with both clubs looking to gain the upper hand and much like the Merseyside Derby, there is expected to be a fiery atmosphere as well as a game of football that will not only produce the goods in terms of goals and talking points but also in terms of entertainment too.
While a midweek win over Nottingham Forest in the League Cup will go some way to alleviate the slump that Spurs seem to find themselves in as they are without a win in three league games which has also brought two home defeats, it doesn’t exactly fully prepare them for showdown with Arsenal this weekend.
Leicester will look to build upon their magnificent 5-3 comeback win over Manchester United by following it up with a win over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. As they are under the spotlight now following that win there is reason to see whether the promoted side can find some consistency in results which will go along way to ensuring they stay up.
Newcastle will want to build upon their morale-boosting win over Crystal Palace in the League Cup in midweek and what better way to do it than travelling to a ground no opposition player wants to play at? Of course, we’re talking about Stoke’s Britannia Stadium.
Newcastle are desperately in need of a league win as they have three draws and two defeats in five league games. The defence needs plugging as they conceded six in the last two league games and eight in the last three in all competitions.
Stoke will provide a stern test and will frankly be expected to win at home and judging by the seeming improvement in their play, will possibly have too much for Newcastle but the morale-boost of midweek should provide Newcastle with at least a fighting chance.
Categories: Premier League