The Premier League weekend includes a match-up of two of the biggest clubs in the league, as well as two closely positioned upstarts aiming for a possible Top Four place.
It’ll be a good one, sandwiched between the League Cup and UEFA Champions League.
Revamped Man City back line meets stiffer away test
- Everton v. Man City, Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC
The blowouts of Watford and Shakhtar Donetsk were nice, but the challenge presented by Everton’s group is a much trickier one for, presumably, Fernandinho and Nicolas Otamendi. The Toffees give up the second-fewest shots per game in the Premier League. First is City. Someone will give at Goodison, and many would bet on that being inconsistent Everton. That might be too easy of an assumption.
Alarmed Arsenal meets finish-lacking Manchester United
- Manchester United v. Arsenal, Monday, 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN
Arsenal is out-scoring folks in three competitions now, but the Gunners haven’t been able to keep the door closed at the back in Premier League play. Manchester United has generated chances without finish for several games, and Arsenal is integrating a number of now-fit defenders. That’s good, but there could be growing pains for the Gunners. If there are not, United will likely find itself bottom half after seven match days.
Can Chelsea begin a soft stretch of schedule in style?
- Chelsea v. Brighton and Hove Albion, Saturday, 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN
The numbers say Chelsea has been very unlucky over the course of its 2-2-2 start, while Brighton has scored two goals in five matches since clobbering Watford on Opening Day. The Blues are coming off a 7-goal show from their backups, and ornery after an unlucky loss to Liverpool. Can Frank Lampard‘s men make a statement of intent?
Liverpool must be wary of Chris Wilder‘s gnarly, unfazed Blades
- Sheffield United v. Liverpool, Saturday, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN
Sheffield United has been in every match its played this season, beating Everton, drawing Chelsea, and staging tight contests with upstarts Bournemouth and Leicester City. Liverpool has been a bit open at the back, and the Blades have been opportunistic. The Reds should ease past this one, but can’t be caught looking ahead to Red Bull Salzburg in the Champions League.
Low-key litmus test on the South Coast
- Bournemouth v. West Ham United, Saturday, 10 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold
Weakened lineups cost both sides in the League Cup, as Eddie Howe and Manuel Pellegrini are clearly focused on Saturday’s match at the Vitality Stadium. As they should! This one has all the signs of a beauty, with the winner sitting fifth or higher after seven weeks. That’s a decent prize.