The 29thEnglish Premier League resumes after a 12-day international break with the very first game on schedule promising to be a blockbuster.
Champions Liverpool and Everton set the 10-game schedule rolling with the famous Merseyside derby at the latter’s home in Goodison Park. And a Tier-3 lockdown in the City of Liverpool, has done little to diminish the enthusiasm of adoring fans.
Champions versus Challengers??
It’s a shame really that a game that has been dubbed in various quarters as “Champions versus Challengers” will be played to empty stadiums. That is because never have the two sides been so evenly matched going into one of the biggest games of their season, in recent times.
The legendary Carlo Ancelloti has transformed Everton since taking on. A Seven-game winning streak including four out of four wins in the League going into the derby is ample evidence of that. Despite that record and his legend, this would be his biggest test at Goodison thus far.
The faithful will be wise to not read much into Liverpool’s 2-7 defeat to Aston Villa in the game before the international break . This is a derby. Nothing before counts and it’s all to play for on the pitch.
Both teams loaded with exceptional talent. Mo Salah, James Rodrigues, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Thiago Alcantara, Diogo Jota, Richarlison, Virgil Van Dyk to name only a few. The Champions will be hurting. The Challengers will want to drill it in. Do not miss this one.
In-fact it would be tough for fans of the game to leave their screens the entire Saturday, so partners and family please be alerted.
Chelsea take on the challenge of Southampton in the second game, but the one that follows is probably bigger worldwide than even the Merseyside derby.
Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal, travel to the Etihad stadium to measure up against a Manchester City side, which has not quite done the job yet for Pep Guardiola. On the other hand, Arsenal has been pretty solid, with their only blip coming against the Champions.
Premiere League fans will also look forward eagerly to the debut of highly rated Ghanian midfielder Tomas Partey in this game with Arteta completing his transfer on the last day of the international window.
It just doesn’t end on Saturday with the fourth and final game on the day featuring Manchester United, the 13-time Champions, travelling to St. James’ Park for another fairly even clash against Newcastle United. Here too, Uruguayan stalwart Edinson Cavani’s debut in the League and what difference he can make to the former Champions will be followed with great interest.
Will Gareth Bale make it? Will Villa continue to rule?
Sunday too has four games on schedule, but the biggest question in everyone’s mouth for the day is whether Welsh winger Gareth Bale, will get a first game after returning to his old club Tottenham Hotspurs. Bale was one of the League’s most high-profile transfers of the summer window, coming over from Spanish giants Real Madrid. By most reports, coach Jose Mourinho will start him on the bench.
The final game on Sunday could actually turn out to be the most mouth-watering of the weekend with Leicester City hosting Aston Villa at the King Power stadium.
Both the Foxes and the Vilans have been on top of their games in the beginning of the league season and although the Hammers in the last game hammered Leicester 3-0, the Foxes would like to believe they were caught on an off-day. However, they would also be aware of the fact that Villa are the only other team in the League with a 100% win record thus far, besides Everton and that is no mean feat in the world’s most competitive Football league.