Written by David Robinson
Gameweek five of the Premier League season kicks off on a Friday night when Chelsea host Liverpool. With a few entertaining and interesting matches already this season, fans will be hoping for the same but more importantly a positive result for their side. A few clubs will be returning to league action following European matches midweek and this could cause some interest with clubs struggling to juggle all competitions. I look ahead to the three fixtures you should keep an eye on.
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1. Manchester City vs Bournemouth
One that many will look at it and of course predict a home win, possibly a comfortable one at that but this game I think has some interest. Manchester City were fantastic against Manchester United in a huge game and they took apart Borussia Monchengladbach on Wednesday after the game was postponed on Tuesday. This in itself may hand Bournemouth an advantage of some sorts as the Citizens have less time to prepare and of course there could be an element of fatigue creeping in should Guardioula’s side be pushed hard. Another question is will the concentration be there? Playing the Spaniard’s style of football, which really is admirable when it comes off requires a lot of focus and quality week in week out. This is where we will find out early on if his players can keep on performing to such a high level with tasks that clearly have brilliant rewards but are not easy in execute.
Bournemouth themselves are coming into the game with a win and might well feel this is about the best possible time to be playing Manchester City this season. Callum Wilson found the winner last weekend and his pace and movement combined with a few of his teammates are very capable of catching City cold should they not be careful. The Cherries are also good on the ball which makes me think they have a decent chance of playing out in tight situations which gives them a better chance rather than having to park the bus. A tie that I think neutrals should be wary of on Saturday, it might not be as easy of a task as many would think.
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2. Leicester vs Burnley
Another side who played in Europe on Wednesday, a Saturday fixture will be another ask of Leicester who will have to go again although they should expect a tougher battle against Burnley than the one they faced in the Champions League. They were able to take off Mahrez and Vardy during that clash so there shouldn’t be too many concerns over tiredness. They will face a side that are physically strong but more importantly one that shouldn’t play into Leicester’s hands.
You would imagine Burnley will reduce the space in behind and be resolute with their own threat on the counter in Andre Gray. This will be an opportunity for both sides to lay down a marker even though Leicester would be deemed favourites, a win for the Foxes would be a good one following some dodgy displays so far this season. A game that is of intrigue to see if Ranieri’s men have enough attacking prowess in a match that might be frustrating at times. While Burnley will be desperate to react to a last minute equaliser from Hull last week, a game though that I think they shouldn’t be scared of at all so an interesting battle awaits.
3. Watford vs Manchester United
Mourinho’s men head to Vicarage Road with the possibility of losing a third straight game in a week, something you would never have seen coming with the side now at Old Trafford and the way the Red Devils started the campaign. A Thursday night loss in Holland puts an interesting spin on the game as there will be a desperation for nothing short of three points here for Man Utd. Watford themselves go into it following a 4-2 win against West Ham so their will be a sense of optimism even though there are a few things Mazzarri needs to work on. Performances on the whole though would suggest Manchester United might have to put on a strong showing.
We will see how much the Europa League will have an effect on Man Utd with this game again giving the Hornets an opportunity to test the away side. They will however have to sort out a few defensive issues and focus on themselves first and foremost, when the side has found the right tactic the levels of performance have been excellent however there is a real contrast when this hasn’t been the case, if Mazzarri can come up with a highly effective plan, the Golden Boys might finally get a win versus a side they undeservedly got nothing from last season.
Key players down the spine of United’s team such as Bailly, Pogba and Ibrahimovic all featured on Thursday so it will be interesting to see what reaction there will be. With Mourinho’s negative tactics in the Manchester derby costing him dearly we will find out what mentality both teams go into the game with. Watford are not a side that like to just defend but the onus will be be on the visitors to be the most attacking team. Plenty of points to take going into the game.
What are your predictions for the weekend’s games? Will the European games have an effect on any of these sides? Let us know in the comments below!
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