Written by Kurt West
Last week was another huge week for the Guardiola reign with City beating Bournemouth and expected title rivals Chelsea and Manchester United both dropping points. These chain of results now give City a five and six point gap on the teams most likely to challenge them this season and they’ll look to extend that run this weekend when they take on Swansea, for the second time in a week. It’s another exciting week of Premier League action and here at AllOutFootball we are going to pick the three games you should be looking out for during game week six.
credit Sean MacEntee
Manchester United vs Leicester City
The Premier League action this weekend kicks off with a tasty looking tie between Jose Mourihno’s Manchester United and the champions of England, Leicester City. This game is a huge one for Manchester United as they look to recover from a disastrous run of games which saw them lose back to back against their blue neighbours and then an even more shocking result against Watford at Vicarage Road. The form of Paul Pogba has been a huge talking point over the last week or so and understandably so after the huge transfer fee United paid for their ‘lost son’. I think the change to a three man midfield would be highly beneficial for the Frenchman to really express his true ability and give him more license to do what he does so well and Mourihno flirted with this tactic on Wednesday night in their 3-1 win over Northampton. A midfield three of Michael Carrick, Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba is something I think could work really well and would mean all three can play their natural game and really control the midfield. Another man making the headlines, but for all the good reasons is eighteen year old Marcus Rashford who has been a shining light in a poor run of games for Manchester United, his inclusion in the starting eleven should not even be discussed and I’d be very surprised not to see him start in a three man attack alongside Anthony Martial and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Leicester City have made a mini recovery since their poor start to the season and I think their purchase of Islam Silimani is from the very top drawer. An impressive brace in his Premier League debut really showed what the big Algerian is all about and although it was only against Burnley, do not be fooled because this man is the real deal and has scored goals everywhere he has been. The attacking force Leicester have this season looks actually quite frightening and I would not be shocked to see the likes of Jamie Vardy and Ahmed Musa rip United’s fragile defence to pieces with their electric pace. Another concern for United has to be the supposed injury to Luke Shaw which means Marcos Rojo (most likely) will be coming up against a Riyad Mahrez who is just coming into form and I think this could spell huge trouble for United. Another player I have been impressed with this season for Leicester is Daniel Amartey who has very patiently waiting on the sideline for his chance and the sale of N’Golo Kante seems to have opened this gap up for him.
I really do think this game could go either way after the differing couple of weeks both sides have had and I think it’ll be a very good watch. I really do think the key battle will come in midfield and if Mourinho continues to pick a midfield of Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellani then he could be in trouble due to Leicester’s sheer pace on the counter attack. The likes of Mahrez will be able to take advantage of gaps left by the United midfield and it could be a very fruitful day for the Algerian. Dropping Wayne Rooney and Marouane Fellani and a change of to a three man midfield for this game will significantly boost United’s chances.
credit Lloyd Morgan
Arsenal vs Chelsea
The late kick off on Saturday sees two huge rivals clash together in what is sure to be another exciting game. It’s fair to say Arsenal are in top form at the moment and after a shaky start, look the real deal especially with the inclusion of Mustafi from Valencia which seems to have sured their shaky defence up. Another player who has excited at Arsenal recently is the nephew of Jay-Jay Okocha, Alex Iwobi who has got into the starting team despite strong competition on the bench and a change in role for Alexis Sanchez means the Nigerian has been able to shine, especially against Hull last week where he was unlucky not to score. Granit Xhaka will be looking for a starting place after his impressive performances against Hull and Nottingham Forest which saw him score two great strikes and Lucas Perez will hope to continue his goal scoring after grabbing a brace against Forest.
This is a huge game for Chelsea who have dropped five points in their last two games and will want to get back to the form they had during such an impressive start to the season. Conte will look to sure up his defence for this game after a shaky week which has seem them let in four goals in two games, surprising for a manager like Conte, who prides himself on his defensive organisation. The purchase of David Luiz has been called into question over the past week and it does seem like a bit of mis-match. Gary Neville even described it as a bigger mis-match than him and Miss World. It seems crazy to say but I think Chelsea have missed their captain John Terry over the past two games and Gary Cahill really has looked awful, so to blame David Luiz for recent defensive performances is perhaps slightly harsh. One mans form who cannot be questioned is that of Diego Costa who has been scoring for fun recently and his record against Arsenal is very impressive. The battle between him and the Arsenal defence will be as interesting as ever especially after last years events at Stamford Bridge where he was very fortunate to not be sent off and played a huge part in the sending off of Gabriel Paulista.
This is a huge game for both teams and dropping any points could be disastrous in a title race that already looks incredibly one sided. A loss for either side could potentially see them eight points behind Pep’s City and even at such an early stage in the season, it would not be a very good position to be in. I don’t think it’ll be a high scoring game but it’ll definitely be a game full of passion and controversy and I look forward to watching it.
credit John Seb Barber
West Ham vs Southampton
It could be said that these two teams overachieved last year with their sixth and seventh place finishes but they certainly haven’t made a good start to this season. West Ham sit just inside the relegation zone with three points after their first five games, a solitary win against Bournemouth make up these points and after such a good summer of strengthening, Slaven Bilic will be very disappointed with the start they have made in the league and crashing out of the Europa League in the qualifying stages was also a big blow for West Ham. The obvious problem at West Ham is their ability to defend, I don’t mean keeping clean sheets, I mean the literal ability to clear the ball from their own penalty box which is obviously hugely worrying. In their last two Premier League games they have let in eight goals against Watford and West Brom which is a truly horrific stat especially against a West Brom side who look about as dangerous as a litter of new born puppies. One player in particular, Arthur Masuaku, has been nothing short of abysmal compared to the reliable Aaron Creswell, luckily for West Ham fans Masuaku has been ruled out for seven weeks and whilst short of options in the position, no one can perform as bad as he has.
One player who will be licking his lips at the West Ham defence ahead of their showdown at the Olympic Stadium will be Charlie Austin, who is in great goal scoring form after struggling during his first six months at Southampton. He has scored four goals in his last three games including a brace in the Europa League against Sparta Prague and I’m sure he’ll be a problem for the Hammer’s defence come Sunday. Another player in great form is the man playing just off Austin, Nathan Redmond, his new manager Claude Puel has changed him position from a winger to more of a central attacker and has reaped the rewards from this. Redmond looks like a different player to what he was at Norwich and Puel even described him as the ‘next Henry’, something I’m sure Redmond will take in his stride and help him improve as a player. Redmond’s directness and willing running will make him difficult for anyone to pick up, let alone a defence in bad form and I think Redmond could be the difference on Sunday if given the chance.
I think going into the game with current form, Southampton have to be seen as slight favourites but West Ham definitely have the ability to win this game and in Dimitri Payet, have one of the most talented players in the league who can win any game as seen on Tuesday night, against Accrington Stanley. With both teams looking shaky this game could be a goal-fest and is definitely a game I recommend to watch this weekend.
What is the standout match this weekend? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image by Lloyd Morgan