After an average set of fixtures gave us many talking points last weekend, this weekend’s fixtures has some crackers lined up. A north-east derby and four of the top six sides play each other to bring the Premier League well and truly back.
The first derby of the season kicks off the weekend’s action with a Tyneside derby which are always entertaining. An impressive opening weekend for both sides with draws against top four sides will give them confidence coming into this derby. Newcastle looked the better of the two sides last weekend holding Arsenal to a 0-0 draw and looked very solid at times. Joey Barton will again be under the spot light as he was a talking point last weekend and will need to keep his temper in check for Newcastle to gain bragging rights over their neighbours, Sunderland.
The first meeting of two of the top English sides gives us the second game of the weekend with Arsenal hosting Liverpool. Both sides drew last weekend and will be looking to close the gap on both of the Manchester sides who won on the opening set of fixtures. Liverpool looked the more impressive of the two sides on the opening weekend and are my tip for an away win at the Emirates Stadium.
Aston Villa host Blackburn with both sides looking for their first win of the season after mixed opening weekends. Aston Villa will be the more confident of the two sides after a solid 0-0 draw at Fulham. Last season Villa were very good at home only getting beat four times so will be favourites going into this one. Blackburn will be disappointed after getting beat at home to Wolves last week but new centre forward Formica did get off the mark with a debut goal.
Everton host Premier League new boys QPR after having their opening fixture last week was postponed. But everyone knows what to expect from an Everton side who are very organised and lethal at finishing, especially at home. QPR will be very wary travelling to Everton and will have to be much more solid at the back to avoid a repeat of their 4-0 thrashing last weekend.
Swansea host Wigan this weekend after impressing against Man City on Monday even though they did get beat. Wigan on the other hand were unimpressive in an opening 1-1 draw against relegation favourites Norwich. Swansea gave Man City a good game for 45 minutes and were only beaten by the pure class of Aguero when he made his Premiership debut. Swansea are my favourites in their opening home game of the season and looked like they could prove their doubters wrong in the survival battle.
Chelsea will be unhappy after drawing on the opening weekend and host West Brom this weekend. All is not well in the Chelsea camp after a draw with Stoke on Sunday after not creating enough chances to threaten the stubborn Potters and all eyes will again be on Fernando Torres. West Brom on the other hand will take confidence in their performance against Man United on Sunday and will be confident that they can get a result at Stamford Bridge.
Norwich have their first home game of the season on Sunday against an injury hit Stoke side jaded from a European trip. Stoke played in Switzerland on Thursday in the Europa League then travelled straight to Norwich to play the confident new boys. Norwich will be on a high after picking up their first points of the season away at Wigan and had the chances to take all three points. This could be the upset of the weekend although Stoke will still be favourites in this one.
Wolves host Fulham chasing back to back wins in their opening games on Sunday after an impressive comeback against Blackburn. The two sides drew 1-1 last season at Molineux and this meeting is set to be just as close. Wolves may just come out favourites having the home advantage. But Wolves look a much better side this season and the addition of Rodger Johnson helped the team in their win on Saturday.
The final game of the weekend brings another local derby with high-flying Man City travelling to Bolton. Both of these two won their opening fixture in emphatic style with 4-0 wins to boost their confidence. On paper this should be a Man City win as they start to build a title-winning campaign to reflect their money spent. All eyes will be on Aguero after his magnificent debut getting two goals and showing some pure class.
The final fixture on Monday night could prove another close encounter as reigning champions Man United host Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford. Man United came out 2-1 winners in their opening match after losing a 1-0 lead due to an error by new goalkeeper De Gae. Man United could be found out by the visitors after losing both centre backs Vidic and Ferdinand with injuries on the opening dy. We didn’t get to see how Tottenham look this season but after another good campaign last year any weakness shown by the hosts they are sure to take advantage of.
Written by Ben Goddard