There are three weekends when fans of Premier League football see expectations heightened ahead of what’s on offer. One of them gets underway as it gives us the first glimpse of each team since the cattle market of August concluded.
Arsenal v Swansea
Some may say this heralds the beginning of a new era at the Emirates – Arsene Wenger’s last hurrah. After the 8-2 defeat to United Wenger spent big and will hope it secures them a season that runs past October. Up against a Swansea side that has yet to score masking the fact that they’re extremely brittle at the back. Last meeting: Arsenal 2-1 Swansea in 1983. This season: 2-0.
Everton v Aston Villa
Apologies in advance to any fans related to these two but it’s hard to get excited about this clash. The home side chose 31st August at the date of an every-must-go sale and it has left them rather bare going forward. Everton haven’t beaten Villa here since 2006 in the league. There are always goals though. Last Season: 2-2. This season: Same again. 2-2.
Man City v Wigan
Unfortunately for Roberto Martinez his side are the latest to be invited in the goal orgy that is Manchester City’s season so far. The fact that Samir Nasri broke a hand-bone playing for France is unlikely to give him anymore optimism and this could be another case of the net bulging on several occasions. Last season: 1-0. This season: 4-1.
Stoke v Liverpool
The potteries was the place to be on deadline day as Tony Pulis managed to procure more giants in his quest to be the Premier League’s resident freak show. Peter Crouch may get a chance to score against his former club. The visitors have never won at the Britannia and if Andy Carroll can tear himself away from one last pint then it may help them here. Last season: 2-0 This season: 2-2
Sunderland v Chelsea
The “will Fernando Torres ever score again” road show moves to the North East as Chelsea will be confident of taking all three points. The visitors haven’t lost here in their last seven visits and Steve Bruce’s side aren’t showing anything that makes you think this will change. Last season: 2-4. This season: 1-3.
Wolves v Tottenham
This is a fixture that rarely fails to excite and this season’s clash will be no different. Spurs haven’t won here since 2004 and last season’s game produced six goals. It will also be Emmanuel Adebayor’s debut in the white of Tottenham Hotspur. Last season: 3-3. This season: 2-2.
Bolton v Man Utd
Last season’s draw will give Bolton some confidence going into this game against the Champions-elect. United have won 11 of the last 13 meetings of the two and have Wayne Rooney on top form. Last season: 2-2. This season: 2-0.
Norwich v West Brom
Both teams currently sit at the lower end of the table after starting the season with similarly high expectations. Albion have won on their last to visits to Carrow Road but this is a different side to the one of years past. Last meeting: 1-2. This season: 1-2.
Fulham v Blackburn
This is one of those games that could produce a lot of goals. It’s more likely though that those who paid to attend will be ruing the decision. Last season: 3-2. This season: 0-0.
QPR v Newcastle
This is how it was always going to be. Joey Barton’s first game for QPR is against the side he left in August and you wouldn’t bet against him opening his account here. Newcastle have little to worry anyone up front and will be happy to come away with a point. Last meeting: 0-1. This season: 0-0.