Gameweek 6 of the Premier League brings to us some very interesting match-ups, including two of the most feisty derbies in the country. The league table will slowly start to take shape from here on in, and with some of the bigger teams yet to get going, sides like Southampton and Swansea will be looking to cash-in as much as possible.
Here are five things to watch out for this weekend:
1) The North-London Derby:
Arsenal and Tottenham square off at the Emirates Stadium in what promises to be a very entertaining derby. Even at this early stage in the season, this match may have a lot of implications. Arsenal were looking to be on the up when they beat Aston Villa 3-0 last weekend, but were brought crashing down by a 2-1 midweek defeat to Southampton in the Capital One Cup. They currently lie 4th in the league table, and will need a victory this weekend to prevent teams from overhauling them.
Spurs, on the other hand, are on a winless streak of 3 games and have slipped from 1st to 9th during this period. This is manager Mauricio Pochettino’s first taste of a North-London derby and he faces a stern test to get his side’s season back on track.
2) The Merseyside Derby:
When the last Merseyside derby between Liverpool and Everton was played in January at Anfield, both sides were in scintillating form and had high expectations from the remainder of the season. Liverpool, of course, went on to win 4-0 en route to an incredible 11-match winning streak that nearly saw them snatch the title from Manchester City.
This season though, everything is different. Both sides have struggled to get any sort of momentum going. Liverpool have lost 3 matches out of 5, including the last two, and currently lie in 11th. Everton are three placed below their near-rivals in 14th after managing just one victory thus far.
3) Chelsea Look To Score Big Again:
After an absolutely electrifying start to the season, Chelsea have gone off the boil a bit in their last three games. A 1-1 draw against Schalke in the Champions League was followed by another stalemate against Manchester City last weekend. In their midweek Capital One Cup game, they were anything but convincing, as they struggled to put Championship side Bolton away in a 2-1 win.
The Blues though, are still top of the league by 3 points and manager Jose Mourinho will want his side to regain that early-season swagger. Diego Costa didn’t start in 2 out of the above-mentioned 3 games, but will certainly do so in this one, and the Premier League’s top-scorer will be looking to add to his tally of 7.
4) Must-Win Games for United and Liverpool:
Manchester United and Liverpool both find themselves in the bottom half of the table and anything less than a win this weekend will see them more or less drop out of the title race. Even at this early stage in the season, the pressure is well and truly on. Two of the most successful clubs in England have had a difficult campaign, with 5 losses between them already.
Louis Van Gaal’s United face a seemingly straightforward tie against West Ham United at Old Trafford. Last week saw the Red Devils relinquish a 3-1 lead against Leicester City, while the Hammers picked up an impressive win against Liverpool. Sam Alladryce’s men will go to Manchester high on confidence, and with United’s defensive frailties so shockingly exposed last Sunday, they will be looking to cause another shock.
Liverpool, as mentioned earlier, face Everton in the Merseyside derby. Some may say that this is the perfect opportunity for the Reds to regain their lost confidence. Brendan Rodgers’ side are struggling to meet the high expectations set by last season’s 2nd placed finish thus far, but will know that it only takes one victory for the tables to turn.
5) The Relegation Dogfight:
Although we are only 5 weeks in, the sides set for a battle to stay up are already becoming clear. Queens Park Rangers, Burnley and Newcastle United make up the bottom three at the moment, but West Brom, Sunderland, Stoke and Crystal Palace are not too far away from danger.
This week sees some intriguing ties among these sides near the bottom, with West Brom facing Burnley and Newcastle travelling to Stoke. Crystal Palace have a winnable game against Leicester City, but the high-flying Foxes will be buoyed by their win against Manchester United last week. QPR face a huge task away at 2nd-placed Southampton, while Sunderland will feel they can get something out of their home game against Swansea City.