There is no doubt over the biggest game of the weekend in the Premier League as league leaders Liverpool take their 100 percent record to Old Trafford to attempt to pour more misery on Manchester United’s worst ever start to a Premier League campaign, but there are other very relevant clashes in the coming days.
Sunday afternoon will take most of the headlines with Liverpool perhaps mindful of the fact that a rare conservative display at Old Trafford last season saw them held to a 0-0 draw, which eventually cost them the title as Manchester City beat them by a solitary point.
Manchester United are rumored to be planning big moves in the January transfer market to help resolve their situation, but with doubts also surrounding the future of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the Norwegian knows a win would see rumors of Massimiliano Allegri being lined up as his replacement go quiet for a while.
Second place Manchester City have little room for maneuver as they visit Crystal Palace on Saturday evening.
Pep Guardiola’s men kick off eight points behind Liverpool and anything other than a win would very much put the ball in Liverpool’s court 24 hours later. The good news for Guardiola is that John Stones is available again after injury and Stones’ return will allow Fernandinho to return to his most influential role in midfield.
Tottenham should expect all three points as they entertain rock-bottom and winless Watford, but the pressure is on Spurs coach Mauricio Pochettino after his side shipped 10 goals in defeats to Bayern Munich and Brighton before the international break. The Spurs boss will hope the break has helped change the mood among his squad and that key players will come back in form after representing their countries.
Everton boss Marco Silva is under even more pressure than Pochettino, with his side slipping into the bottom three after four straight defeats. Failure to win at home to West Ham United on Saturday lunchtime could well see Silva sacked, but in order for Everton to take all three points they need to tighten up at the back, especially from set pieces.
Leicester City go into the weekend in fourth, but face a difficult home game to Burnley, who have moved almost under the radar to seventh in the table and have only one away defeat this campaign.
Part of Leicester’s success has been the huge effectiveness of their strikers with Jamie Vardy netting five goals from just seven shots on target and Brenden Rodgers will need that to continue if they are to maintain their impressive challenge.
Chelsea’s young guns are at home to Newcastle United and Callum Hudson-Odoi could start for Frank Lampard’s side at Stamford Bridge against a rival that is likely to sit back and play on the break.
Southampton look to end a three game losing streak away to Wolverhampton Wanderers, who are returning to form after a slow start due to their European commitments. Meanwhile Brighton look for their first ever league win at Villa Park in their 12th visit there, as Aston Villa aim to build on their impressive 5-1 win at Norwich, who could be in for more misery with a difficult trip to face a free-scoring Bournemouth.
Finally Arsenal, whose league position of third in the table is better than some of their performances this season, visit Sheffield United on Monday in what promises to be an evenly matched game.