The second weekend of the new English Premier League (EPL) football season has one standout fixture as Chelsea host Arsenal at the Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening with both coaches having something to prove.
New Chelsea coach Mauricio Sarri saw his side take what eventually turned out to be a comfortable 3-0 win away to Huddersfield last week, but not before seeing them suffer when pressed down their flanks in the first half of that match.
Unai Emery meanwhile began his Arsenal reign with a defeat at home against Manchester City amid questions over goalkeeper Petr Cech and complaints that he has so far changed little since replacing Arsene Wenger at the end of last season.
Arsenal are unbeaten in their last six meetings with Chelsea, but need to show that Emery is getting across his message of building from the back, while the home side will probably welcome Eden Hazzard back into their starting 11 after his impressive World Cup showing.
Why the doom and gloom?
Mourinho always seems to struggle in his third season at a club, but should we be so certain the same will happen this time around?
Brighton entertain a Manchester United side that is without the injured midfielder Ander Herrera and where rumours of a falling out between coach Jose Mourinho and midfielder Paul Pogba just won’t go away.
While Manchester UnitedÂ insist all is wellÂ between star midfielder Paul Pogba and perpetually irritable coach JosÃ© Mourinho, theÂ formerâ€™s comments after a man-of-the-match performanceÂ in last Fridayâ€™s win over Leicester hinted (not so subtly) at tensions. Barcelona are reportedly interested in Pogba, who was inspirational in Franceâ€™s World Cup win, but surely United wonâ€™t sell before being able to buy a replacement.
Whatever the state of their relationship, if Pogba continues to turn in the all-action performances he is capable of, Mourinho has a huge asset to build his side around. They face a Brighton side who fell meekly to Watford last weekend. Their manager, Chris Hughton, offered â€œno excusesâ€� for the defeat, and may be tempted to include more of their 10 summer signings in his starting line-up this time around.
How City will they cope without KevinÂ De Bruyne?
Manchester City looked very comfortable beating Arsenal 2-0 last weekend, but lost midfielder Kevin de Bruyne to a knee injury in training during the week. De Bruyne shouldn’t be missed when Pep Guardiola’s side entertain Huddersfield on Sunday, but the league champions may have to be patient and work to break down their rival’s well-organised defense.
Lilywhites seek derby spoils
Tottenham fans who were disappointed by the news that their move to their new stadium has been delayed until the end of October at the earliest will seek consolation as their side takes on Fulham at Wembley.
Newly promoted Fulham are considered to have signed well over the summer, but their lack of experience was exploited by Crystal Palace last weekend and Totenham striker Harry Kane will view the game as the chance to end his surprising record of never scoring a EPL goal in August.
Cardiff City v Newcastle United and Everton v Southampton
Expect sparks to fly as Cardiff entertain Newcastle United in a game where it’s fair to say there is no love lost between rival coaches Neil Warnock and Rafael Benitez over a feud dating back to 2007.
Everton could hand a debut to summer signing Yerry Mina in place of the suspended Phil Jagielka in central defence when they entertain Southampton on Saturday.
Wolverhampton Wanderers aim to build on their positive start to the campaign with a visit to Leicester City, who impressed despite an opening day defeat to Manchester United and who will seek out the spaces that the Wolves’ attacking style sees them leave in defense.
West Ham are another side that has to improve in defense as Bournemouth are the visitors to East London and coach Manuel Pellegrini will also want more aggression in midfield in the wake of their 4-0 capitulation at Anfield a week ago.
Watford travel to Burnley with a dreadful record of scoring just one goal away from home in their last 11 away matches.
The last game of the week is played on Monday as Crystal Palace put Liverpool’s title credentials to the test in the wake of both sides’ impressive displays last weekend.
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Source: Matchday Frolics