Arsenal’s Plan, Costa’s Comeback & 10 Things To Look Out For In The Premier League This Weekend

1 Forget About Tactics, What About Klopp’s Team?

The season-ending injuries to Joe Gomez and Danny Ings this week should have brought nothing other than sympathy for two young players who had enjoyed excellent starts to life at their new club. How the news affects Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is of secondary importance.

Now, though, the focus is not on the tactics that Klopp will employ on his Liverpool debüt at White Hart Lane, but rather the team he’ll select given these fresh blows and the continued absences of Jordan Henderson, Christian Benteke, Roberto Firmino and others.

Given the calibre of the opposition, you suspect that Klopp would be delighted to get out of North London with a point and no new problems.

Draw with both teams scoring 4.40


2 It Has To Change For Chelsea At Some Point, Right?

Fresh from his latest battle with the FA, Jose Mourinho takes his stuttering Chelsea team into a home clash with one of the few outfits who’ve fared worse than them this season – and this is where the madness ends, right?

Because whilst the vast majority of his teammates will have been performing all over the world this past fortnight, Diego Costa will have been kept on a leash at Chelsea’s Cobham training base, removing the extra timber he was carrying when he came back from his summer break and ready to show the division what he’s all about again.

Sorry Villa.

Diego Costa to score and Chelsea to win 2.23


3 London Calling… And So Is Second Place

Crystal Palace v Arsenal - Premier League : News Photo

If other results go their way then the winner of this Crystal Palace v West Ham clash could end Saturday in second place, although describing the position as ‘dreamland’ for either would be doing them both something of a disservice. They deserve to be where they are.

Who will snatch that second spot is likely to come down to a matter of consistency and these questions: Can Wilfried Zaha repeat his fine display against West Brom? Can Dimitri Payet keep scoring goals on the road?

And can I sit on the fence?

Draw 3.65


4 United To Lack Goodison Spark Again

Manchester United have returned pointless, goalless and in one case managerless from their last three trips to Goodison Park, where Everton look somewhat overpriced to extend that run to four straight victories.

Although yet again curiously low-key in a Merseyside derby they were favourites for two weeks ago, Roberto Martinez’s side should be fully up for this one against a team who’ve lost three of their last four on the road, and have an aversion to all things blue on Merseyside.

Everton to win 3.20


5 There Can Be No More Excuses For Wilfried Bony


Manchester City were pleased to see the international break end without any further damage to their galaxy of stars – a constellation that Wilfried Bony has really just been orbiting outside of ever since his £28m move from Swansea last January.

With Sergio Aguero and David Silva definitely out here, the onus is likely to fall upon the in-form Kevin De Bruyne for a home clash with Bournemouth that City will expect to win, but it is time that Bony started feeling the heat and performing like a man with his price tag should be expected to.

Wilfried Bony to score and Manchester City to win 2.28


6 Leicester Poke The Bear… Twice

Leicester City have spent an awful lot of time talking about Southampton ahead of their trip to the south coast.

First came Claudio Ranieri’s claim that he could have become his opponents’ manager before Ronald Koeman did last summer, and then there was the bizarre tweet pointing out that Saints forward Graziano Pelle has – despite notching five times this season – also shot off target inside the penalty area twice as many times as any other Premier League player.

The result of all that? A Pelle goal and a defeat for a Leicester side containing a jet-lagged Riyad Mahrez and Jeff Schlupp, who only returned to training on Friday.

Graziano Pelle to score and Southampton to win 3.10


7 Big Sam, Big Plans?

Whilst the ‘revelations’ that Sam Allardyce doesn’t like people who are more successful than him continue to tumble from his new autobiography, the man himself gets down to work as the new manager of Sunderland.

With defensive improvements surely priority No. 1 for Allardyce ahead of clash with Tony Pulis’s uninspiring West Brom, this one doesn’t exactly scream entertainment.

The thing is, Allardyce will probably love that.

Draw or Sunderland Double Chance 1.85


8 Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting

Crystal Palace v Arsenal - Premier League : News Photo

Having lost their opening two matches in the Champions League, Arsenal have decided that – actually, yes, please, thank you very much – they are concentrating on winning the Premier League this season, presumably having been rendered unable to consistently perform in it in previous years due to the constant wonder of whether they’d go out of Europe’s elite competition in the second round or the quarter-final.

But that’s just it. This is what Arsenal should have been doing all along.

Watford away is a tricky game, but one that a team with the Gunners’ resources should be able to negotiate with a bit of fight and a bit of quality, regardless of whether it is Bayern Munich or Bala Town who visit the Emirates on Tuesday.

Arsenal to win and both teams to score 3.20


9 Steve McClaren Faces A Trial By Television

Winless and bottom of the table, but is Steve McClaren really under pressure at Newcastle? Or has mediocrity become so engrained at that once proud club that we’re not really sure what pressure looks like there any more?

What the former England manager certainly didn’t need was the TV cameras turning up for Sunday’s only live match, ensuring that whatever happens will be magnified and devoured by millions of otherwise disinterested watchers over their Sunday lunch.

Norwich have only lost one of their last five away…

Draw with both teams scoring 4.40


10 Swansea & Stoke Go Full Circle

Colonia Cup 2015 - Day 1 : News Photo

Remember when Swansea were flying and Stoke were struggling? Well a win for the Potters at the Liberty Stadium on Monday night would see them go above their hosts. Football’s weird like that.

There’s plenty of evidence to point to a Stoke success too, but instead of focusing on the team how about backing the form of Marko Arnautovic, a gifted perfomer, the matchwinner for Stoke at Villa last time and a scorer in both of Austria’s games during the international break?

He’s the one who’s flying now.

Marko Arnautovic to score at any time 6.10


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