Pay very close attention to this weekend’s Premier League matches. After the final whistle blows tomorrow at the end of the Man United against Arsenal match, we’ll have to wait 13 days until the Premier League returns “thanks” to the dreaded international break (a massive waste of time, but that’s another story for another time).
Today we have several intriguing matches in the Premier League.
First, many of you know the drill. Before, during and after the matches today, use this thread to share your rants, raves, observations, questions and more. We look forward to reading your thoughts on what is the biggest day of the week for fans of Premier League clubs (or the Premier League itself).
The early match today is Aston Villa against Wolves (7am ET). Not only is this a West Midlands derby, but there’s nothing quite like a derby at Villa Park where the thunderous noise from the Holte End spurs the Villa side on. Mick McCarthy’s side is flying high right now especially with the golden form of Matt Jarvis. Aston Villa came alive against Blackburn last week. But Gabriel Agbonlahor, scorer of that beauty against Rovers, is out injured. But expect Darren Bent, goal poacher extraordinaire, to play a part in this game.
Kicking off 30 minutes after the Aston Villa game starts is Wigan against Queens Park Rangers (7:30am). Normally this wouldn’t be a game to get the blood racing, but it looks quite likely that Joey Barton will get his debut for QPR and that alone is a reason why it’s worth watching this match.
At the traditional 3pm UK time (10am ET) today, there are three matches being played concurrently. Most readers will be interested in watching Chelsea versus Norwich, which will a brilliant opportunity to see how good Norwich and Chelsea are. The Canaries have impressed me immensely in each game I’ve watched them play so far this season (against Wigan and Stoke). For Chelsea, meanwhile, this will be a good test to see if they can get their chemistry going since they’ve had a tough time so far this month (against Stoke and West Brom).
Blackburn against Everton (10am ET) could be an eyeopening match. Rovers are obviously in trouble after losing their first two matches. And this is a game that you would expect Steve Kean’s men to win. But Everton are never an easy team to defeat and David Moyes’s side are desperate for points too after last week’s disappointing home loss against QPR. Expect this match to be full of a few surprises.
The third 10am kickoff is, gulp, a nervous one for me. I’ll be fascinated to watch Swansea versus Sunderland to see what tactics Steve Bruce employs. Will Sunderland go out with a team intent on launching blistering attacks, or will Steve Bruce’s side let Swansea play (like Wigan did) and soak up the pressure while getting their fast-breaking counter attacks ready to fire when needed? This is a game that both sides must win. Swansea need their first win of the season. So too does Sunderland. Both clubs need a win for different reasons. Steve Bruce needs to get the pressure off his back which is already mounting especially after the club lost at home to their closest rivals Newcastle. Brendan Rogers needs the win to prove to himself and his players that playing beautiful football can equal victories. Personally, I don’t want Swansea being tagged as entertainers this season. I want people to see them for who they are which is winners playing entertaining football.
When I tweeted last night and asked readers which game on Saturday most followers were looking forward to watching, the majority of people who replied said it was Liverpool against Bolton (12.30pm ET). Many were obviously die-hard Liverpool fans, but this match will be interesting for other reasons. First, can Liverpool find their best starting line-up? Andy Carroll, for all of the money spent on him, should be a super sub. Luis Suarez is, by far, a more natural Liverpool player and fits in better with Liverpool’s system. But can Dalglish get his team to gel? Bolton meanwhile have looked promising this season after spanking QPR and their fightback against Man City. Don’t be surprised if Bolton gets a draw here.
Again, don’t forget. Before, during and after the matches today, use this thread to share your rants, raves, observations, questions and more. And, if you need to figure out which games are on what channels (or where on the Internet), check out this Premier League TV schedule.