Premier League Preview – Sept. 19-20
It’s time for another edition of the Manchester Derby, and City must already be lamenting its bad luck.
With Emmanuel Adebayor suspended, Robinho and Roque Santa Cruz definitely out with injury and Carlos Tevez a serious doubt with a knee injury, the upstarts may be hurting for strike options in Sunday’s clash.
It seems there are nine other games on the schedule as well.
Here’s where you can see them on TV.
And now for the slate of games.
Burnley vs. Sunderland
After a start to the campaign that saw four matches against top-five teams last season, the Clarets entertain the Black Cats on Saturday.
Table watch: Sunderland is in seventh place on nine points, while Burnley is in 12th place on six points.
Striking options: Sunderland boss Steve Bruce faces a welcome problem on the weekend when he’ll decide which striker to trot out on Turf Moor.
“I didn’t consider Kenwyne (Jones) last weekend because of his long flight back,” Bruce told the Sunderland Echo. “I had Fraizer (Campbell) there, champing at the bit – I wanted to give him a chance to show what he can do – and Fraizer and Darren showed signs of developing an understanding and a partnership, both in training and in the match.
“We won 4-1 and now I have to decide whether to bring back Kenwyne or not. But that’s what I get paid for – management is all about making these kind of decisions.”
Arsenal vs. Wigan
Arsenal will seek to start a climb up the table when it hosts the Latics this weekend.
Table watch: The Gunners are on six points, which is good for ninth. Wigan is also stuck on six points, but sitting in 11th on goal difference.
A Dutch treat?: Robin van Persie may be back for this match, according to manager Arsene Wegner.
“Robin van Persie is the most likely to come back (for Saturday),” Wegner told the team’s Web site. “Denilson looks to be out for a few weeks with a back problem.”
Reserve keeper Vito Mannone will also feature for Arsenal after manning the goal in the team’s mid-week win in the Champions League.
Formation prediction: It will be interesting to see if Wigan plays Hugo Rodallega alone up front in a 4-5-1, which will allow the Gunners plenty of time and space on the ball.
Bolton Wanderers vs. Stoke City
Bolton will try to escape the bottom three with a home date with the Potters.
Table watch: Bolton is in 18th place on three points while Stoke City is in eighth place on seven points.
Sorensen ready: Stoke keeper Thomas Sorensen should be ready to go, according to The Sentinel.
They said it: “We now have the opportunity to go on a run. You can’t do that until you take that first step and we have done that now. It’s important that we follow it up with another good performance and hopefully another three points. The momentum that you are looking for will then exist and will help to change the season.” – Bolton manager Gary Megson, to the team’s Web site
Hull City vs. Birmingham City
The Tigers will be looking to pick up three points at home this weekend against newboys Birmingham City.
Table watch: Both teams have four points with Birmingham City 15th and Hull City 17th on goal difference.
Bouncing back?: Both teams lost last week with Sunderland pasting Hull City, 4-1, and Aston Villa earning a 1-0 win in the Second City Derby.
Aston Villa vs. Portsmouth
Villa will try to ride the wave of last week’s big win against struggling Pomepey at Villa Park.
Table watch: Villa is in sixth place on nine points while Portsmouth is still seeking its first point of the year.
Keeping the faith: “I’m very pleased with the caliber of players that have come in. It’s unbelievable considering we’ve spent no money. Peter Storrie and his staff have worked tirelessly to make it happen. We now have players in the squad who give us options and allow us to play different ways. We want a win at Villa but a point would be a good start.” – Pompey manager Paul Hart, to the team’s Web site.
Everton vs. Blackburn
The Toffees will try to shake off a disappointing loss to Fulham when Blackburn comes calling.
Table watch: Everton has three points and is mired in 19th place. Rovers are on four points in 14th position.
Reinforcements at the back: Everton is closing in on a deal to sign free-agent Lucas Neill to help fill the holes in the injury-depleted Toffee defense, according to ESPN.
West Ham vs. Liverpool
The Hammers hope to cool off Liverpool, winners of three straight in all competitions, on the weekend.
Table watch: West Ham is in 13th place on four points while the Reds are in fifth place on nine points.
Feeling good: “’Everyone knows we had a bad start, losing against Spurs and Villa, so we had to try and get the confidence back, try to change things. That’s what we’ve done by winning three games in a row, and now we’re looking forward to Saturday.”- Liverpool striker Dirk Kuyt, to the Daily Mail
Manchester United vs. Manchester City
Two top three clubs square off in what could be the game of the weekend on Sunday.
Table watch: United and City are both on 12 points, with United sitting second over their neighbors on goal difference.
They said it, part one: “We played well against Arsenal, now we have to go to Old Trafford and show our credentials. Man City will be a force this season.” City’s Kolo Toure, to Sky Sports
They said it, part two: “It will be difficult (on Sunday) because (City) haven’t lost. But we are confident because we are Manchester United. You need to show that you are Manchester United. Over the years we have won a lot more than City and we need to make sure we do that again.” – United defender Patrice Evra, to The Independent
Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Fulham
Wolves hope to put some distance between themselves and the bottom three when Fulham visits on Sunday.
Table watch: Wolves are in 16th place on four points while Fulham is in 10th place on six points.
Welcome back, gang: “Jody (Craddock), Kevin (Foley), (Michael) Kightly and Sylvan (Ebanks-Blake) all could return for Sunday,” Wolves boss Mick McCarthy told Sky Sports.
Mid-week: Fulham rested several members of the normal first-choice side in Thursday’s 1-1 draw at CSKA Sofia.
Chelsea vs. Tottenham
Spurs will try to pick up the pieces from a 3-1 loss to 10-man United last weekend as they make the short trip to Stamford Bridge.
Table watch: The Blues are in the top spot with a maximum 15 points. Spurs are in fourth with 12 points.
Fighting words?: “(Jermain) Defoe is on fire for club and country but our defenders will stop him. He is a great striker but our defense is one of the best in England. I don’t see why they can’t challenge for a place in the top four. They have big players and anything is possible but they will be behind Chelsea.” – Blues striker Nicolas Anelka