After about 2weeks absence from action, the Premier League is back in action and is in full force as some very interesting games are going down over the weekend. Many clubs have been hit by a series of injuries to their key players – some more serious than the other. Manchester United alone has six players hit by a varying degree of injuries ahead of their 3 pm kickoff match against Crystal Palace at Old Trafford.
Here are 5 interesting things to watch out for as the premier league resumes action on Saturday.
1. Cardiff has got their tiki-taka groove on
Cardiff City style of football has slowly evolved this season, playing a passing-and-moving (tiki-taka) kind of football that is usually not expected from a team managed by Neil Warnock. Neil Warnock has trusted his players to distribute the ball across the field while they maintain ball possession and has given freedom to the goalkeeper and defenders to play the ball out of defense and get between the lines when necessary. This trust by the manager has reaped good result has we saw in Cardiff’s last game against Brighton, where a fantastic goal was scored from a 16-pass move by Cardiff.
Although it is unlikely that Cardiff score so many goals in this fashion, but if they continue to make progress in this stylish direction they may not be in a relegation battle at the end of the season.
2. Andy Carrol returns for West Ham
The last time 29-year old injury-prone West Ham striker Andy Carrol was seen by fans was against Manchester United in May. West Ham fans could see their striker in action on Saturday when they play Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side at home. It is very likely that Andy Carrol will star the crucial match on the bench. It has been 6months since Andy Carrol had an ankle surgery in the summer and he is expected to make a return to football action starting from the bench against Manchester City on Saturday.
3. Claudio Ranieri’s first match as Fulham manager might be Mark Hughes’ last match as Southampton manager
When Fulham welcomes Southampton to Craven Cottage on Saturday, it might just be a farewell match for manager Mark Hughes if Southampton were to lose away to Fulham who themselves just had a new manager. Fulham is currently languishing at the rock bottom of the premier league table in 20th position and the challenge for the new manager Claudio Ranieri, a premier league winning manager, is to guide Fulham away from the relegation zone to safety.
Southampton has only won 3 out of their last 20 league games since Mark Hughes was appointed as manager in March and have not scored in 5 of their last 8 premier league matches.
4. Chelsea faces title-winning test at Wembley
Chelsea will not face premier league champions until December, but a travel to Wembley on Saturday to face Tottenham is a big super-Saturday challenge. Although the league is still relatively young, an away match against Tottenham at Wembley stadium is a big challenge for Chelsea and a must-win match. If Mauricio Sarri’s Chelsea team are to prove that they ready and capable of stopping Manchester City from the summit of the premier league table to ensure that Pep Guardiola’s side doesn’t just stroll away with the premier league title once again, they need to grab an important win against Tottenham in the biggest match of Saturday.
5. Virgil van Dijk is unplayable for Liverpool
The international break was a success for Liverpool’s Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk as he scored a fantastic goal for his country in a match against Germany. Coming back from the international break, Liverpool travel away to play against Watford on Saturday and Van Dijk’s domineering presence at the back of Liverpool’s defense is essential to ensure that Watford does not bully the Liverpool defense like they did when the two teams last met in a game that ended in a thrilling 3 – 3 draw.
Although Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp might want to rest some big players because of their crucial Champions League game against Paris Saint Germain (PSG) in Paris on Wednesday, Van Dijk is not the kind of player he wants to leave on the bench on Saturday against the barrages of attack by the Watford team.
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