Premier League Preview – Sept. 26-28
If it’s lonely at the top, you wouldn’t guess it by watching Chelsea run rampant through the Premier League in the early stages of the 2009-2010 campaign.
With a perfect 18 points in six matches and a +12 goal difference to boot, the Blues aren’t letting their recent transfer ban get in the way of a rapid start.
Next up is a trip to Wigan. Can Chelsea make it seven wins in a row to start this season?
First, have a look at the TV listings.
Now, on with this week’s schedule:
Portsmouth vs. Everton
The search for points rolls on as Pompey entertains an Everton squad that may finally be getting its footing after a rocky start.
Table watch: Portsmouth is still pointless and rooted to the foot of the standings while the Toffees are on six points in 13th place.
Staying in the cup: Both teams advanced in the Carling Cup, as Pompey clipped Carlisle, 3-1, while Everton whipped Hull City, 4-1.
Fratton Park, a fortress?: “We’ve all got to stay together,” Michael Brown told the team’s Web site. “Portsmouth is known for being a very intimidating place and that’s what we’ve got to create.”
Blackburn Rovers vs. Aston Villa
After last week’s humbling loss to Everton, Blackburn plays host to Aston Villa looking to rebound Saturday.
Table watch: Rovers are in 18th place on four points while Aston Villa is sitting in fifth place with 12 points.
In and out: Steve Sidwell is an injury doubt with a thigh strain while Emile Heskey and Ashley Young might return to action for Villa.
Manic Monday: Following the effort against the Toffees, Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce ordered the team to the training ground at 7 a.m. Monday morning.
“It’s something I did once before at Bolton. Hopefully, it has had the desired effect,” he said. “Were they happy? I don’t think so. But everybody was on time and we sorted a few things out.”
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Burnley
After coming out on the wrong side of a 3-0 pasting against Chelsea, Spurs hope to change their luck at White Hart Lane against the Clarets.
Table watch: Tottenham is on 12 points in sixth place while Burnley is in ninth spot with as many points.
Flashback: These two sides played a memorable Carling Cup tie last season with Spurs advancing by the narrowest of margins.
Road woes: Burnley is still seeking a point away from home this season.
Birmingham City vs. Bolton Wanderers
Birmingham City looks to keep its spot in mid-table when Bolton comes calling.
Table watch: Birmingham is on seven points in 11 th place while Bolton has four points, which is good for 17th.
Under pressure: While City has done better than most observers thought early on, the noose may be tightening a bit on Gary Megson and Bolton.
“It (the booing) does not help the players one bit. That is the way it is,” he said after the Stoke stalemate last week.”One group of supporters thought it was OK, another didn’t. But that’s life and you have to get on with it.”
Wigan Athletic vs. Chelsea
The Latics will do their best to knock Chelsea from the unbeaten ranks on Saturday.
Table watch: Wigan has six points and sits in 15th place. Chelsea is in the penthouse with a max 18 points.
They said it: “Up to Arsenal I had been very pleased. It is going to be up to ourselves to reach certain targets and bounce back from that disappointment. To do that it doesn’t matter who you are playing against but it couldn’t be a better game to test ourselves than against Chelsea.” – Wigan boss Roberto Martinez
Stoke City vs. Manchester United
The Potters face a tough test as the Red Devils roll into town.
Table watch: Stoke City is on eight points in 10th place while United, after clipping Manchester City in a thrilling derby that may have lasted a tad bit too long, is in second place on 15 points.
Punchless?: Scoring goals against United may be challenge enough for Stoke, but the Potters may have to try it without strikers Ricardo Fuller and James Beattie, who have groin and ankle injuries, respectively.
Liverpool vs. Hull City
The Reds welcome in struggling Hull City to Anfield this weekend.
Table watch: Liverpool is in third place on a dozen points while Hull is mired in 19th place on four points.
Lesson learned?: Last year in this fixture, the Tigers nipped a 2-2 draw in a result that came back to haunt title-chasing Liverpool down the line.
Passing in the night: Liverpool edged Leeds United in Carling Cup play Wednesday while Hull was trounced by Everton, 4-0.
Fulham vs. Arsenal
The Whites welcome the Gunners to Craven Cottage hoping to duplicate last season’s shocking home win in this fixture.
Table watch: Fulham is in 14th on six points while Arsenal is in seventh place on nine points.
Where’s the net?: With only four goals in five league matches, Fulham has struggled to find points so far this season. Arsenal, on the other hand, have scored a league-best 17 times.
Sunderland vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers
The Black Cats will entertain Wolves on Sunday.
Table watch: Sunderland is on nine points in eighth place while Wolverhampton is in 12 place on seven points.
Let the light shine: Sunderland has won three straight in all competitions at The Stadium of Light but Wolves do have an away win to their credit already this season.
Manchester City vs. West Ham
City hosts West Ham in a Monday match set to air on the four-letter.
Table watch: Manchester City is on 12 points in fourth place while the Hammers are in 16th place on four points.
Options aplenty: Even with Emmanuel Adebayor still serving a suspension and Robinho and Roque Santa Cruz still nursing injuries, City will try to keep their perfect home record intact with Carlos Tevez and Craig Bellamy leading the line up front.
They said it: “”It’s been a bit strange, because there have been times when we’ve played some really good football and it hasn’t gone our way. At other times, we’ve struggled a little bit to play. We just need to find some consistency and to continue to play our football.”- West Ham defender and U.S. International Jonathan Spector, to the team’s Web site.