Manchester United v Arsenal – Tom Cleverley v Emmanuel Frimpong

With Wenger looking to strengthen his midfield and M’Vila supposedly Emirates-bound that leaves only a couple more games for Frimpong to impress before he returns to the reserves to continue his development. If he manages to stay on the field for ninety minutes that would at least be a start.

The ankles in his scope belong to Tom Cleverley who will be expected to provide most of United’s central thrust and creativity. The youngster has had an impressive start to the campaign but drifted a little in last week’s 3-0 victory over Spurs. This is a huge game for him; an opportunity to prove that he can exert influence over a big game when it really matters.

Tottenham v Man City – Michael Dawson v Edin Dzeko

The Serbian hitman will be looking to continue his rich vein of form in front of goal – three in three already this term – but here he’s up against his toughest opponent since Vidic in the Charity Shield. Dawson is a bafflingly under-rated centre-back who is one of the best, no-nonsense destroyers around – one of the fairest too – and he can nullify straightforward targetmen to the point of anonymity in his sleep. Though Dzeko toils hard down the channels and is always available as a focal point for any burgeoning attacks his off the ball movement can be a little ABC but there were very encouraging signs against Bolton that Aguero seems to have inspired the burly striker to use his imagination more and be a little cuter.

This is a fixture that could define the opening ten games of the season for either club. A defeat for Spurs and they are playing catch-up – bottom of the league with a game in hand. Three points for City and talk will be of a title challenge.

Whoever gets the upper hand out of Dawson v Dzeko could have a huge bearing on the first third of the whole campaign.

Liverpool v Bolton – John Flanagan or Martin Kelly v Martin Petrov

With Chung-Yong Lee out for the season with a double leg fracture the baulk of the creative responsibilities currently lie with Petrov whilst his fellow wide-man Eagles finds his Premier bearings. The man who looks like an Eastern European baddie in a thriller on Five only needs one yard of space to whip in a pinpoint delivery with his sublime left peg for the bustling Davies or Klasnic to capitalise so whichever youngster Dalglish employs must be on their guard throughout. Both Flanagan and Kelly look very decent prospects and they’ve caught the eye with a series of marauding runs down the right flank. These must be curtailed – or at least very carefully thought through – when they’re up against such a wily old fox in Petrov. It will be an interesting test of concentration and patience for either kid because the Bulgarian can disappear for a large part of the game only to suddenly pounce from nowhere with a killer cross.