Kieran Davies looks ahead to a weekend of proverbial six-pointers and honeymoon periods.
No comment. I have nothing to say. No comment. I am not going to speak about this. I have nothing to say. I thought an intruder had somehow managed to get into the toilet of my fortified, gated mansion unheard! Okay the last part wasn’t true and these aren’t the ramblings of Oscar Pistorius, sweating like a 70’s radio DJ who had his laptop seized by police. This was the response of Jose Mourinho or the Incredible Sulk as he shall now be known on the back of a 3-1 drubbing at home against Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. If you are a Chelsea fan, you may well believe that the world is against you but in reality Chelsea are getting results their performances deserve. Even when 1-0 up against Liverpool you knew a goal would cause their own fans to get on their back and this nervous side would implode. Eventually, this is exactly what happened. Many thought Jose would be given his marching orders by his Russian boss but it seems he has a stay of execution currently. With a trip to Stoke City this weekend, the chances of Chelsea turning this around look bleak. The early kick off this week sees Bournemouth take on Newcastle. This is the proverbial six pointer already with the winner leaving their opponent in the bottom three. Both managers will be craving a win to stabilise their own precarious positions.
The team who keep surprising everyone, Leicester City take on fellow Premier League newbies Watford. Quique Sanchez Flores not only sounds like a dish you’d pick on holiday to be adventurous but is also a manager enjoying a fruitful start to Premier League life. This is a tough trip for them to in form Leicester but should be an interesting game if the Hornets bring their A-game.
Slaven Bilic might be looking to Shane Warne for hair transplant advice soon as he must be tearing his hair out with his West Ham side. Capable of besting the league’s big hitters, home or away but then just as capable to lose to sides already worrying about Premier League status. This week they host in form Everton and if previous form is anything to go by, this will result in a surprise Hammers victory. Martinez’s side have won the last six league encounters between the sides, surely West Ham cant do it again? Aside from a single goal against poor opposition in the week, LVG’s Man Utd are struggling to put the ball in the back of the net at the moment. A home game against West Brom should surely be the tonic required to get back to scoring ways. Sam Allardyce will by now know, if he didn’t already, what a huge task he has ahead of him if he is going to keep Sunderland up. After being thrashed 6-2 at Everton last weekend, they desperately need a win at home against Southampton. Koeman’s side have looked good this season but they still have that bad habit of inconsistency and a defeat here for the Dutchman would not surprise me.
Norwich City are already flirting with the bottom three. They thought Joe Hart had gifted them a point last week, only for their goalkeeper to return the favour minutes later. They really need a win at home against Swansea. Maybe Delia needs to give another rendition of her ‘Norfolk Braveheart’ to inspire their players! Let’s be ‘avin you Norwich (say in appropriate accent. Go on, it will sound great in your head!) Monk’s Swansea are showing all the consistency of the mood of Kerry Katona if you were to read her personal diary, so this is a chance for Norwich. The joint league leaders get to sit back and enjoy the action Saturday with both their fixtures falling a day later. Depending which way you look at it, Man City could face a tough or easy fixture at Villa this weekend. Remi Garde’s first game in charge in front of the home faithful could give Villa that honeymoon period that sometimes comes with the arrival of a new manager. It could the other way also and they could get found out as the weak side lacking confidence and struggling to create chances or goals. Agbonlahor shockingly only had eight touches of the ball in the first half against Spurs, much to the hilarity of the Monday Night Football pundits.
League leaders Arsenal will still be feeling punchdrunk after the hiding they received in Munich this week. It will be a big test to see how they can bounce back after this. They won at Swansea almost on autopilot convincingly, will they be able to step straight into that gear again? They couldn’t ask for a more testing fixture, a North London derby against in form Tottenham. Form does tend to go out if the window in these games and a will to win is all is that is needed for 90 hard fought minutes. Defeat will hurt, victory could be a springboard to a successful season. The stakes couldn’t be bigger. Finally, after a morale boosting win themselves at Stamford Bridge last time out, Liverpool need to follow this up with a win over Crystal Palace at Anfield. Chelsea win aside, the Reds are winless in five games and owe Palace for ruining Steven Gerrard’s last home game as a Liverpool player (that is unless you believe the loan rumours of him returning like a Messiah yet this time from the far reaches of Los Angeles and not heaven). With key players rested in Europe in the week Liverpool have to win this game if they want a successful first season under their new manager.