This weekend sees the final Premiership action before the international break. Despite Sky’s recent foray into Friday Night Football, its back to more of a traditional schedule with games on Saturday and Sunday only. There are 4 games on TV this weekend, with perhaps the biggest one kicking off the weekend.
Tottenham vs Liverpool 11:30am on Sky Sports 1 (KO 12:30pm)
Tottenham feature on TV for this first time this season, in one of the Premierships golden fixtures, against Liverpool. Spurs go into this game looking for their first league win against Liverpool since 2012. Tottenham will be without captain and mercurial goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, who will be out until after the international break. Tottenham have only scored 2 goals in the league so far this season, and will be looking for late starter Harry Kane to get his first goal of the season. Spurs have yet to score in the first half this season, and will most likely go into the game unchanged from last week’s 1-0 victory at White Hart Lane against Crystal Palace.
For Spurs their key player will be Toby Alderweireld, as he looks to contain Phillipe Coutinho. Jürgen Klopp has given the Brazilian more room to operate further up the pitch, and this has seen Coutinho averaging 2.5 chances created per game so far this season. This to go along with the 2 goals that Coutinho scored in his last visit to North London against Arsenal. Coutinho likes to shoot from outside the box, so Alderweireld will need to look to close him down early.
For Liverpool, they go into this game with manager Jürgen Klopp declaring, he wants to emulate the success of Liverpool “Grandfathers” Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley. But in order to do this, he’ll need to look at his backline. Although extremely early into the season into this season, Liverpool have conceded the joint most goals in the league (5) Liverpool were carved apart by Steven Defour last week at Turf Moor, and they’ll need to be wary of the ability of Christian Eriksen to do similar. Liverpool go into this game with 7 players out through injury, Emre Can being the latest to head to the treatment room. So except to see wide changes from the team that comfortably defeated Burton Albion 5-0 in the EFL Cup.
Hull City vs Manchester United 5pm on BT Sport (KO 5:30pm)
In what is a surprisingly early top of the table clash, undefeated Hull City take on undefeated Manchester United at the KC Stadium in Saturday evening’s game. Hull, went into the season with only 13 first team players and no manager. However they have won all 3 games they have played this season, including beating champions Leicester in the opening game, surely creating the case for ex-reds player, and assistant manager Mike Phelan to get the job on a permeant basis. Despite the winning start for the Tigers, they still have a lengthy injury list with 6 players missing for Saturday’s game. So it’s likely that Phelan will name an unchanged XI for the third game in a row.
If Hull are to continue on their winning run, then they’ll be looking to their Scottish midfielder Robert Snodgrass to carry on with his rich vein of form. So far this season he’s scored in both of Hull’s league games, and he put in a man of the match performance against Swansea last weekend. The task of keeping Snodgrass quiet, will most likely fall to the much improved Marouane Fellaini who has started all 3 of Man Utd’s game this season. Fellaini, who will likely play alongside world record signing Paul Pogba, has been guarding United’s defence in a 4-2-3-1 formation this season. This has not only given licence to his midfield partner to get forward, but has selflessly protected United’s defence from any runs from midfield, something Snodgrass specialises in.
United will go into this game with the luxury of a fully fit squad, with Jesse Lingard expected to make a return to fitness in time for the game. This is an unusual prospect for a Manchester United manager, as in previous years, Jose Mourinho’s predecessors have had injury lists as long as their arm. It’s likely that Mourinho will keep faith with the XI that comfortably beat Southampton 2-0 last Friday at Old Trafford meaning no starts for Chris Smalling, Memphis Depay, Michael Carrick, and £27 million new signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Mourinho will be looking forward to September where he can start to rotate his squad and give more fringe players, an opportunity to get games.
West Bromwich Alboin vs Middlesbrough 12:30 on Sky Sports 1 (1:30pm KO)
West Brom are another team that make the televised debut this weekend, as they take on undefeated Middlesbrough, in the first of a Super Sunday double header. West Brom go into this game having suffered a giant killing at the hands of Northampton in the EFL Cup, having lost 4-3 on penalties. They will be boosted by the likely return of Arsenal target Jonny Evans, in what could end up being his last game for the club. Tony Pulis will no doubt have a busy deadline day, with several clubs also monitoring Saido Berahino situation. West Brom will also be missing Chris Brunt until the start of October. West Brom go into this game looking for their first home victory in the league, since beating Man United 1-0 back in March.
For West Brom their key player will be Northern Ireland defender Gareth McAuley, will has started the season in fine form with 2 goals. He’ll have the job of keeping Alvaro Negredo and his strike partner Cristhian Stuani quiet. Between them they already have 3 goals this season, and Negredo impressed last weekend in the Teesside derby, by laying on 2 goals for his strike partner.
For Middlesbrough they come into this game, also off the back of an EFL Cup defeat, having lost 2-1 to Fulham. Their bright start to the season, has come despite having 7 injuries going into this game. This includes a hamstring injury to number 1 Victor Valdes, who has only been able to play 1 game for his new team so far. Middlesbrough’s good start will be tested on a ground that they haven’t won at since 2006
Manchester City vs West Ham 3:30pm on Sky Sports 1 (4pm KO)
The final game of the weekend sees title favorites, and current table toppers, Manchester City take on West Ham. Man City will go into this having guaranteed Champions League group stage football, following their 6-0 aggregate victory against Steaua Bucharest. City also have to contend with 5 injuries, with the majority of these players (including captain Vincent Kompany) expected to return in time for the Manchester Derby on the 10th September. So far Pep Guardiolas City have had everything go there way, in terms of results, but they will face their toughest test against a West Ham side who defeated them on their last visit to the Etihad Stadium.
City will be counting on in form striker Sergio Aguero who has already scored 6 goals this season, and has been involved in 8 goals in his last 7 league games against West Ham. You’d certainly back Aguero to continue his good run, he’s scored 37 goals in 47 league games against London teams. The good news for Slaven Bilic men, is that their own superstar player Dimitri Payet will be fit enough to start this game. Payett who impressed in last season’s fixture, will be crucial to West Ham’s chances. When Payett has played West Ham have won 48% of their league fixtures, as opposed to 22% when he’s not played.
For the visitors there injury list grew, when striker Andy Carroll once again returned to the treatment room following their 1-1 draw in the Europa League qualifying match with Astra Giurgiu. This makes 8 players currently unavailable for Bilic. With the Croatian admitting he is looking at bolstering his squad, ironically Man City’s Wilfred Bony has been a name touted for West Ham. For City they will be looking for their 5th straight victory of the season, as they go into the international break knowing that a visit to Old Trafford awaits them.
By Rich Lee @RichLee2202