Arsenal hungry to settle nerves …as they engage West Ham
Premier League leaders Arsenal and defending champions Manchester City will be desperate to return to winning ways this weekend as Jurgen Klopp searches for answers to Liverpool’s dire form.
Chelsea face a tough trip to West Ham, with Graham Potter forced into a juggling act after an influx of expensive new players, while Manchester United take on Leeds for the second time in five days.
Arsenal travelled to Goodison Park last week as hot favourites to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League but left after suffering just their second league defeat of the season.
Mikel Arteta’s men chasing the Gunners’ first league title for 19 years struggled to silence the doubters earlier this campaign, even after starting at a sprint.
But in recent weeks they have shown their mettle, drawing against Newcastle before beating Tottenham and Manchester United.
Arsenal take on in-form Brentford at the Emirates on Saturday before hosting Manchester City next week.
The Gunners’ recent record against the reigning champions is woeful, they have lost the past 10 league meetings, with an aggregate score of 26-3.
Arteta said after the Everton defeat that his players were not
feeling the pressure, and they were helped by City’s loss at Tottenham the following day.
But he knows he must keep Pep Guardiola’s seasoned winners at arm’s length.
Liverpool need to find their mojo quickly after three heavy defeats in four Premier League matches left them floundering in mid-table but Jurgen Klopp will be wary of a reinvigorated Everton.
The Blues travel to Anfield on Monday with a spring in their step after last week’s shock win against Arsenal in Sean Dyche’s first match at the helm.
Liverpool’s home record against relegation-threatened Everton is impressive before their defeat at Anfield in 2021 they had not lost to their neighbours at home for more than two decades.
But if Everton can repeat the energy and intensity they showed against Arsenal, they will fancy their chances against a Liverpool team short of confidence after a terrible run.
A team once hailed by Klopp as “mentality monsters”, who came agonisingly close to winning an unprecedented quadruple last season, have lost their way quickly.
The German described last week’s 3-0 defeat by Wolves as the “pinnacle of our problems”. He will hope that gives him a vantage point to see the way ahead.
Can Joao Felix get Chelsea on the goal trail?
Graham Potter’s new-look Chelsea kick off the weekend’s Premier League action at the London Stadium on Saturday with Joao Felix likely to be back in the fold after serving a three-game ban.
The forward, on loan from Atletico Madrid, was sent off in his first appearance for the Stamford Bridge club at Fulham last month.
He will return to find a very different dressing room from the one he experienced in the Fulham match, which Chelsea lost 2-1.
The club splashed the cash in spectacular style last month, bringing in eight new faces in total, including wingers MykhailoMudryk and Noni Madueke, and breaking the British transfer record to sign Argentina midfielder Enzo Fernandez.
Potter knows his team must gel quickly if they are to have any hope of closing the 10-point gap to the top four.
They will have no chance unless they boost their disappointing return of just 22 goals in 21 Premier League matches. – AFP
West Ham v Chelsea
Arsenal v Brentford
Crystal Palace v Brighton
Fulham v Nottingham Forest
Leicester v Tottenham
Southampton v Wolves
Bournemouth v Newcastle
Leeds v Man United
Man City v Aston Villa
Liverpool v Everton