Kieran Davies looks ahead to a weekend of pearly whites and big asks.
‘The Kevlar Kid’ takes his Liverpool team into battle this weekend against Aston Villa at Anfield. The man who seems bulletproof as fans endure dire performance after dire performance is slowly but surely pushing the hand of the most undemanding owners in football, FSG. Irrelevant to whether Liverpool have fallen from grace from a Champions League win only ten years ago, this is a club with stature and history, yet the only shining beacon from Anfield at the moment is from Brendan Rodgers set of pearly whites. It won’t be long before the fans do the unthinkable and packs start descending upon Anfield with the ‘We Want Brendan Out’ banners and plane owners start doubling their revenue on weekends as hired planes fly over the ground with messages for the owners. Liverpool are better than what Brendan is creating, players coming in look world class on the international stage or with their previous employers, so how do they look circus acts as soon as they don that liver bird? There can only be one response, poor management. This job is too much for a man way out of his depth, the club need a big name manager. There is no Luis Suarez to make Rodgers’ abilities as a coach look good anymore. A result from Aston Villa today would surely force FSG’s hand before another season is a damp squib for reds fans.
The early kick off this weekend sees Tottenham take on Man City. Despite defeat against their fierce rivals in the league cup this week Spurs fans do have one positive to take into this game and that is the form of their new signing Son. Whether that is enough to take on Sergio Aguero and his mates is another thing. After the shock of a home defeat to West Ham last week, Man City will be looking to right some wrongs with a convincing victory no doubt so will take this game to Spurs from the outset. Eyebrows will no doubt be raised if the once unbeaten City suddenly have lost two games on the spin! LVG’s United face a poor Sunderland side at Gold Trafford this weekend. No that isn’t a typo we are talking about a man who since he has come to the helm has spent more than the United States black ops budget after all. Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you some very overpriced footballers. It will all be worth it though when they are champions of the world again as their fans would lead you to believe. For me what seems a most appealing game this weekend is the match up which sees Leicester City host Arsenal. This will be a real test for the tinkerman and will show where is side really is in the grand scheme of things. They have been fantastic this season and particularly Mahrez who has been one of the form players of this season so far. This has the potential to a great game.
Mark Hughes Stoke team will be desperate to get three points for their cause against Bournemouth today as they find themselves in the bottom three, a position their fans are not accustomed to in their time in the Premier League. After spending big on some big names in the summer the pressure will be on Hughes to turn things around. Eddie Howe’s side haven’t looked so good on the road in recent weeks so this will be a tough test for them. After beating one of the worst teams in the league at home recently, West Ham will be hoping they can get back to winning ways in their final season at their beloved ground with Norwich the visitors this weekend. The beauty of the league we love at the moment is that the table is so tight that even one win and can change your fortunes drastically. Take for example Southampton who face Swansea this weekend. You mention Swansea to anyone currently and they will talk about what a great start to the season they have had. Where as you mention Southampton and they will immediately question whether Koeman is struggling with those second season blues. Yet if Southampton beat the travelling Welshman today, they will be level on points with potentially the odd goal or two separating them.
If you think Brendan Rodgers has some pressure on him at the moment, surely the real pressure on Steve McClaren usurps that. Ex Middlesbrough manager, side beaten at home by Sheffield Wednesday in the league cup in the week and beaten at home by Watford last time out. Time is not something McClaren has in abundance at the moment and has the big ask of needing to beat a Chelsea side at home this weekend. Now should they perform that miracle, the fact its Chelsea may give him another month in the job, but I can’t see this happening. His side looks devoid of confidence currently. Two sides that have impressed this season meet each other in the Sunday match up as Watford play Crystal Palace. This almost a team who want to be exactly where there visitors are in terms of progression and Palace want to take it up a gear now and look at a top ten finish if not better. Tony Pullis has done at West Brom of late what Tony Pullis does so well, tighten things up at the back of one of his sides. It is no coincidence as soon as this happened the baggies start picking up points. Ah football, such a simple premise (TAKE NOTE BRENDAN!). Everton will be hoping to undo Pullis’ good work in Monday Night Football. So as we embark on another nail biting weekend of Premier League action, my prediction for the weekend………….we will see our first managerial casualty of the season this week! Watch this space!