Chelsea fire power to prove decisive at Everton
Arguably the most intriguing fixture in the Premiership this weekend is the Saturday evening clash between Everton and Chelsea. Both teams are still settling down after the appointment of a new coach in the summer and both remain unbeaten in the Premiership, albeit with three draws in Everton’s case.
The Toffees racked up 15 draws last season and would probably take a point against Mourinho’s Chelsea if they were offered it. The loan signing of Lukaku may go some way to resolving Everton’s goalscoring issues but he is unavailable for Saturday’s game.
Chelsea fought out a goalless draw at Old Trafford before suffering penalty shoot-out agony in the final of the Super Cup and should have too much fire power for the home side.
Manchester United can bag a welcome three points in the early kick-off game at home to Crystal Palace. After their stalemate against Chelsea and a 1-0 defeat at Anfield, David Moyes will be hoping that this inviting fixture enables the team to settle down and start rolling over teams in the manner to which they have become accustomed.
Newcastle have left it late to secure victories at Morecambe in the League Cup and at home to Fulham. That will have eased the pressure slightly on Alan Pardew but there was considerable disappointment among the fans at their inactivity in the transfer market and they face a difficult match at Villa Park.
Aston Villa have started with matches against Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool and have performed with credit on each occasion. This looks like an opportunity for them to add to the three points gained at Arsenal on the opening day of the season.
Manchester City’s defeat at Cardiff was an early jolt to their confidence but they put up an assured performance to grind out a 2-0 victory over Hull and now visit Stoke. The appointment of Mark Hughes was not greeted with universal approval but his side have already picked up six points and the Welshman will relish the prospect of putting one over his old club.
Stoke can also boast four draws and a 1-0 victory from their last five home games with City so Manuel Pellegrini’s men may have to work hard to secure all three points on Saturday.
The headline transfer, aside from that of Gareth Bale, was undoubtedly Arsenal’s capture of Mesut Ozil and he could make his first start for the Gunners at Sunderland. The Black Cats suffered a 3-1 defeat at Crystal Palace and will be apprehensive about the visit of an up-beat Arsenal side fresh from defeating their North London rivals Tottenham. Sunderland have won only one of their last nine encounters with Arsenal at the Stadium of Light and it will be a brave man that backs them to improve on that statistic on Saturday.
Tottenham will be hoping to start life after Bale with a victory over Norwich at White Hart Lane. Spurs have won 10 of their last 14 home games in the Premiership and look a safe bet to grab the three points here. Liverpool currently sit at the summit of the League with three straight wins and have the luxury of watching their title rivals toil over the weekend before travelling to Swansea on Monday.