Preview: Premier League Matchday 3 already has decisive feel for some

Saturday, 2019-08-24 07:10:58
 Font Size:     |        Print

Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates with teammates after scoring their second goal. REUTERS/David Klein
 Font Size:     |  

It's only the third weekend, but a look at the Premier League fixture list shows this round of matches already has a decisive feel about it, with clashes that could define some club's entire season.

The biggest game of the weekend sees Liverpool entertain Arsenal with both sides having won their first two matches of the season.

Arsenal looks a more solid beast than the team that shipped goals with too much ease last season and with Alexander Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe all likely to start, it will be a real test for the Liverpool defense and goalkeeper Adrian.

If Liverpool wins, many will assume Arsenal are not going to be title contenders, but if Arsenal can escape with a point (or even three) maybe this title race will be more open than the last.

Manchester City's 15-game winning run came to an end last weekend after they were held 1-1 by Tottenham thanks to a controversial decision by the VAR to rule out a winning goal after an accidental handball in the attack.

City fans will be hoping for Guardiola's sanity that the VAR isn't needed when the side visits Bournemouth on Sunday.

Last season City won 1-0 on the south coast but dominated with over 80 percent of possession and their goal average against Bournemouth is 25-3 in their last eight meetings with Sunday's rivals.

It's been a difficult start for Frank Lampard at Chelsea with just one point from his first two games in charge and Saturday's trip to newly-promoted Norwich promises to be a vital test for the coach and his new-look team.

Norwich striker Teemu Pukki scored a hat-trick as they demolished Newcastle last week with some attractive attacking football and Lampard will welcome the return of Antonio Rudiger in defense as he searches for a much-needed win.

Last week's defeat at Norwich has already piled the pressure on Steve Bruce at Newcastle, who has kicked off his managerial term at St James' Park with successive defeats and a trip to face Tottenham promises to bring little joy to Geordie hearts, especially with Harry Kane already looking in impressive form for Spurs.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka is set to face his former club as Crystal Palace visit Manchester United. Morale is high at Old Trafford, despite Paul Pogba's missed penalty last Monday against Wolves, but the duel between Wan Bissaka and Palace forward, Wilfred Zaha (himself a former Man Utd player) promises to define Saturday's game.

Elsewhere the weekend will deliver a south-coast derby between Brighton, who have started solidly, and Southampton, who have probably been better than two defeats suggest.

Sheffield United aim to continue their solid return to the top-flight at home to a Leicester City side that probably deserved more than a draw at Chelsea last week, while Watford need to take something from their home game against West Ham to stop alarm bells ringing after consecutive defeats.