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Five things to look forward to this weekend in the Premier League

Srihari
FEATURED WRITER
Feature
27 Sep 2013, 22:55 IST
The Tottenham-Chelsea game will be the marquee game this weekend.

The Tottenham-Chelsea game will be the marquee game this weekend.

With goals seemingly drying up in the Premier League, will this week’s round of fixtures turn the tide and provide us with an entertaining set of fixtures with lots of goals? Will Arsenal continue their fabulous start to the season? Will Sunderland get their first win? There are plenty of questions that remain unanswered going into this weekend’s fixtures, so let us look the five things to look forward to, this weekend.

Master vs Apprentice at White Hart Lane

It has been more than a decade since Jose Mourinho and André Villas-Boas started working together at Porto. Their days at Porto were so fruitful that the pair of them went onto work together at both Chelsea and Inter. But, the relationship has soured in recent times, a fact recognised by Villas-Boas himself. Saturday will mark the first time, the master and the apprentice go head to head, in a game which promises to be fascinating.

Tottenham sit joint top of the league alongside north London rivals Arsenal, whilst Chelsea are in fourth just two points behind. Whilst both managers aren’t the best of friends off the pitch, the battle on the pitch is infinitely more intriguing.

Although Spurs have enjoyed almost 60% possession so far and have rattled in at least 21 shots per game, they only have five goals to show for it. Whilst their defense looks solid enough, their attack still looks like a work in progress and the same can be said for Chelsea’s offense as well.

Without a fit and firing centre forward, Mourinho has had to make do with a flurry of attacking midfielders and will be hoping that his tactic fires against his former protégé.

How will Aston Villa cope without Benteke?

After beating Arsenal on opening day, it has been downhill for Aston Villa ever since. Although they beat Norwich City last week, that was after a three game losing streak. Now, with Benteke out with a hip injury for close to six weeks, their attack looks a little blunt.

Whilst Benteke’s replacement, Libor Kozak looked lively and scored the winner against Norwich, he is less mobile than the Belgian.

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With four goals, Benteke has contributed to two-thirds of their goals and Villa’s three-pronged attack consisting of the Belgian, Agbonlahor and Weimann will now be broken up.

Whilst Villa are known for their attacking prowess, Lambert would do well to exercise some caution against City, who will likely have one eye on the visit of Bayern Munich on Wednesday.

Can West Brom continue their resurgence against United?

Thanks to their deadline day acquisition, Stéphane Sessègnon, West Brom saw off Sunderland and got their first victory of the season. After their disappointing loss to Arsenal on penalties in mid-week, West Brom’s next test is a daunting trip to Old Trafford.

Having been humiliated last week in his first Manchester derby, Moyes got some consolation from his side’s defeat of Liverpool in the Capital One Cup.

Moyes might well be boosted by the return of Dutchman Robin Van Persie, but even without him, their attack certainly looks capable of providing the response that Moyes will be looking for. West Brom will have their task cut out for them, if they are to take anything away from the game and if they do, that will certainly give them confidence as the season wears on.

Hughton is in trouble, but can Hooper help him out?

Three losses in five games, having scored just three goals whilst conceding double that wouldn’t have been the start Chris Hughton would have been looking for this year. But, after back to back losses in the League, their come from behind victory at Watford in the Capital One Cup, would have eased some pressure on Hughton.

And although that victory was a welcome relief, it will certainly take much more than that if he is to convince the canaries faithful that he is the right man for the job. He will go a long way towards proving that if he can defeat Stoke City on Sunday. Hughton will certainly be buoyed by the form of Gary Hooper, who provided the finishing touches to their victory over Watford, in his first start since moving from Celtic.

Hughton will be hoping that he develops an instant understanding with Ricky van Wolfswinkel as he looks to dispel suggestions that he is overly cautious and negative in his tactics.

Will things work out for manager-less Sunderland or will the returning Mignolet spoil the party?

There were plenty of Sunderland players who were jumping with joy after their former manager Di Canio was sacked. The Italian made no friends with his approach of publicly criticizing everybody and Sunderland will hoping for a new dawn as they move forward without him.

Their first test in the league will be against Liverpool, a side which will feature Luis Suarez making his first league appearance of this season and the returning Simon Mignolet.

The Belgian keeper started his Liverpool career with three straight clean sheets in the league and has gone from strength to strength in a very short period of time. Having conceded just three goals so far in the league, the Belgian will be looking to frustrate his former employers and keep his fourth clean sheet in six games.

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