The EFL Cup, Liverpool, and Everton gave us tastes of Premier League play this week, but Week 3 of the top flight has been dancing through our minds for some time.
[ WATCH: Sigurdsson’s outlandish Everton goal ]
There are several fantastic match-ups on the docket for Saturday and Sunday, so much so that we crammed six matches into our Top Five story lines for the weekend.
Will the real Arsenal please stand up?
Liverpool – Arsenal (Sunday, 11 a.m. ET, NBCSN) [ STREAM ]
Host side Liverpool could’ve easily had its name in the same question about, oh, 36 hours ago, but the Reds’ work in dispatching a decent Hoffenheim team from the UEFA Champions League deserves kudos.
So which Arsenal team is a better indication of the Gunners we’ll see for most of this season: the club that batted Leicester City to a 4-3 win, or the side that failed to find its finish (okay, okay, also got a load of bad decisions against it) in a loss to Stoke City? Probably the former, but Liverpool will be a step up in class.
Blues and Toffees aim to make significant statement
Chelsea – Everton (Sunday, 8:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN) [ STREAM ]
Two sides coming off quite decent results but still with plenty to prove. Chelsea won at Wembley against Tottenham but didn’t exactly look like the club that should’ve won the contest, while Everton came close to tossing away a 45-minute lead, up a man against Manchester City.
No shame in either of those facts, but here is a big chance to make a strong statement for the men of Antonio Conte and Ronald Koeman. That’s especially true for the latter, as Everton will be just over 60 hours removed from an elimination game in Croatia (The Toffees advanced and saw an amazing Gylfi Sigurdsson goal).
Jose Mourinho’s ruthless Red Devils step up in competition
Manchester United – Leicester City (Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET, NBC) [ STREAM ]
At the risk of speaking too soon, the Foxes look pretty darn good and are a seven-minute collapse at Arsenal from 2-0. Want to impress some more folks? Try and hold down a Manchester United side which is already recalling some of the better sides in recent history, with twin 4-0 wins to start the season.
We snuck a pair of matches into this one, because both Huddersfield Town and West Brom have eyebrows threatening to leap off foreheads given 2-0 starts to the season. Town beat unimpressive Newcastle and Palace, while West Brom knocked off Burnley and Bournemouth. Neither is expected to contend for the Top Seven, but perhaps will give more people reason to consider the idea with strong performances against better opposition.
Nobody wants to go 0-3
Newcastle United – West Ham United (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBCSN) [ STREAM ]
The Hammers have certainly looked much better than the Magpies, but both managers have been feeling the heat for different reasons. West Ham has spent good money this summer and last, and Slaven Bilic could have a red hot seat with a loss against the moribund Magpies. For the hosts’ part, Newcastle looked decent against Spurs before Jonjo Shelvey was sent off for a dirtbag move on Dele Alli. Then they didn’t bother to show up against Huddersfield Town. One may wind up 0-fer the season, though given what we discussed earlier a 2-2 draw sounds about fitting.