Chelsea vs Luton Town
Mauricio Pochettino will need to speed up his process! Friday gives him the ideal fixture to claim three points and get a positive mood going. Chelsea looked like they meant business when they drew on the opening day against Liverpool. The Blues came back from a goal down to score two in two minutes, only for VAR to intervene and rule out the second one.
Then came last weekend’s calamitous 3-1 loss to ten-man West Ham. Mega signings Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caicedo missed and conceded a penalty respectively, and the jury is still out on the almost billion Pounds Todd Boehly has splashed out since his arrival at the Bridge. Chelsea has an abundance of quality and talent. Poch needs to galvanize them like yesterday and get them on track sooner, rather than later – or face the possibility of a rinse and repeat following last season’s catastrophe.
Luton’s home ground is currently being revamped to Premier League standards. This was the reason their home clash with Burnley last weekend was suspended. The extra time off was needed following that baptism of fire they suffered at Brighton, but now it doesn’t get easier. This game could be seen as a free hit as the pressure is on Chelsea to wipe the floor with them. This could be an opportunity to play some free football and maybe produce a major upset to earn Rob Edwards and his mad Hatters an historic win.
Manchester United vs Nottingham Forrest
Once again, the spotlight will be on Erik Ten Hag as he looks for a proper performance from his squad. The Red Devils needed their third game of last season to get into the swing of things. It seems like Deja vu all over again. United were unconvincing in their win over Wolves and lost to Spurs last weekend.
Questions were immediately asked about United’s midfield as they struggled to find their balance. What makes Ten Hag’s job a nightmare, is the ongoing takeover saga amid a transfer season where movement both in and out of the club has been difficult. United’s new signing Mason Mount has been ruled out for at least six weeks – so the need for at least one more midfielder is vital with the window set to close in seven days. Luke Shaw has also been ruled out. This is a problem to be addressed at left-back, as Tyrell Malacia has been missing for some time. We can see some shifting around here from Ten Hag.
Forrest was decent in their loss to Arsenal and went on to pick up a good win over Sheffield United, thanks to Chris Wood’s late strike. Anthony Elanga should feature and would love to get one over his former club. The Red Devils are expected to get the win, but their performance will be scrutinized as always. Rasmus Hojlund could make his eagerly awaited debut, but we should see Antony Martial returning to the line-up. This will be a gritty dogfight but United should bounce back and claim the three points.
Newcastle vs Liverpool
Newcastle would love to have a repeat of last season’s achievements but had mixed fortunes in their two games. A resounding 5-1 win over Villa was followed by a tight 1-0 loss to the champions. Things don’t get easier for the Magpies as Liverpool visit St James’ Park on Sunday.
Eddie Howe has done an amazing job and it didn’t require mountains of cash to be splashed around. The irony of that is Castle has a tremendously rich consortium, but they are operating within their means. The mixture of Alexander Isak, Bruno Guimaraes, Anthony Gordan, and new signing Sandro Tonali is working well – but another stern test awaits them on Sunday.
Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool got their first win after a shaky start. The scousers conceded early to Bournemouth, but their quality prevailed with a comfortable 3-1 win. Luis Diaz looks to be back to his best and new signing Dominik Szoboszlai is a crafty character, who links up very well with Diego Jota and Mo Salah. Alexis MacAllister had his red card rescinded so he’ll be available for the clash.
However, the elephant in the room needs to be addressed. Will Mo Salah leave for Saudi? It seems like he should play on Sunday as nothing has been set in stone on his future. Klopp isn’t concerned at this point and is focused on the game – which is expected to be end-to-end action. Hmm, tough one to call but Liverpool should grind out a narrow win.
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