Premier League Preview – Aug. 29-30
Can Spurs be stopped?
Will the real Liverpool, Manchester United and Aston Villa please stand up?
When will Pompey spend some of their new found wealth?
Oh yeah, we have our first Big Four clash of the year with Arsenal visiting Old Trafford this week as well.
Perhaps this week in the EPL will get us closer to some of the answers to these and many other questions.
First, the TV schedule.
Now, on with the show…
Chelsea vs. Burnley
Burnley will try to replicate its recent giant killing ways when it invades Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Table watch – After three matches, Chelsea is on nine points, in second place on goal difference to Tottenham. Burnley is on six points which, coupled with their neutral goal difference is good for seventh.
Leavin’ on a jet plane – Blues’ boss Carlo Ancelotti will leave after the match to catch the Milan Derby, according to Goal Italia.
A confident Claret – Steven Fletcher is enjoying life in England early on this season.
“It’s been good so far and I’m looking forward to the challenge ahead. I’m looking forward to Saturday, it will be a big game at Chelsea. It’s on TV too and everybody likes to play on TV.” – Fletcher, to the Lancashire Telegraph
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Birmingham
High flying Spurs welcome new boys Birmingham to White Hart Lane on Saturday.
Table watch – Spurs are in first place with nine points (and a +6 goal difference) in three matches. Birmingham has four points from its three games, good for eighth.
Pinball wizards – Spurs have nine goals in league play this season and added five more in a Carling Cup win over Doncaster Rovers on Wednesday.
Blackburn Rovers vs. West Ham United
Blackburn will host the Hammers Saturday in search of their its point of the new campaign.
Table watch – Blackburn is in 18th place, pointless after two matches. West Ham has three points from its two matches, good for 11th.
Mid-week action – While Blackburn was notching a routine 3-1 win over Gillingham, West Ham had to endure pitch invasions in their triumph over Milwall. Maybe getting out of London will do them good…
Bolton vs. Liverpool
After a stunning 3-1 loss at home to Aston Villa on Monday, the Reds will try to snap back on the road against Bolton.
Table watch – Bolton is in 17th place after two matches, still seeking its first point. Liverpool has just three points in three matches, putting them in 10th.
Walking wounded – Liverpool will be without Alberto Aquilani (ankle), Daniel Agger (back) and Fabio Aurelio (knee) as the Reds try to get back on track.
Stoke City vs. Sunderland
The Potters entertain the Black Cats in this battle of top 10 sides.
Table watch – Stoke City has four points from three games, good for ninth place, while Sunderland is in sixth place on six points.
Adding depth – BBC Radio reports that Stoke City is about to add Middlesbrough’s Robert Huth and Tuncay in a deal reported to be worth £10m.
Dynamic duo – Sunderland strikers Darren Bent and Kenwyne Jones already have four goals between them this season.
Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Hull City
Wolves play host to Hull City Saturday in an intriguing battle.
Table watch – Both teams have three points from three matches. Wolves are 14th and the Tigers are in 15th.
Quick hitters – From Eurosport: Wolves and Hull City last met in the league in 2007-08 and the Tigers won both meetings on the way to promotion. … Hull conceded the most fouls in 2008-09 and are leading the way in 2009-10 with 59. … The Tigers have allowed the opposition 57 shots this season, more than any other side. … Wolves have only ever kept three clean sheets at home in the Premier League, in 20 games.
Manchester United vs. Arsenal
The Gunners bring their league-leading 10 goals to Manchester to face the Red Devils, who put five past Wigan in mid week.
Table watch – Arsenal are in third with six points from two matches while United also has six points (in three matches), good for fourth.
What they’re saying – “I am happy to go to Old Trafford because it is the first big, big test. You want always to have a high level of confidence when you go to Old Trafford – we have that at the moment.” – Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, to Sky Sports
Injury list – Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas’ status with his injured hamstring is still unknown. His presence, or lack thereof, could be key.
Portsmouth vs. Manchester City
A Sunday date at Fratton Park is the latest stop on City’s tour through the EPL season.
Table watch – City has six points from its two matches and is sitting in fifth place while Portsmouth has dropped all three league matches this term and are stuck in 19th.
Takeover complete – Portsmouth has a new owner as United Arab Emirates investor Sulaiman al-Fahim has wrapped up his takeover of the club.
I’ve gotta be me – “I don’t think I can fill the role that John Terry has at this moment in time. Obviously he has been the leader of his club and nation for a long time now so he has more leadership qualities than I have. But I look up to people like that and believe I can achieve what he has done.” – Joleon Lescott, on why he’s not Chelsea captain, and former City target, John Terry, to the Telegraph
Aston Villa vs. Fulham
A pair of Europa League clubs will try to climb back towards that territory in a Sunday meeting at Villa Park.
Table watch – It’s two matches and three points for both sides. Villa sits 12th, one spot north of the Whites.
Up and down – Villa is flying high after shocking Liverpool, 3-1, Monday while Fulham is trying to recover from a 2-0 loss at Craven Cottage to Chelsea on Sunday.
Everton vs. Wigan Athletic
The Toffees will be looking to get off the deck when Wigan visits Goodison Park on Sunday.
Table watch – Everton is in last place with no points from its two games. Wigan is on three points in 16th place.
In and out – Want away defender Joleon Lescott is finally on his way to Manchester City, but Russian International Diniyar Bilyaletdinov might swoop in for a Sunday start in his place.
“We’re really looking forward to bringing Diniyar in and there is a chance he could play on Sunday. There has been enough talk (about Lescott’s transfer) and now is the time for everyone to move on. My job is to try and make us stronger. That’s what I am aiming to do.” – Boss David Moyes, to The Liverpool Echo