BEVERLY HILLS, October 17, (THEWILL) – THEWILL is certain that Matchday 5 of the English Premier League will fulfill its promise of edge-of-the-seat football entertainment especially given the pedigree of the fixtures lined up including a Merseyside derby like never before and the return to the Etihad of a familiar face.
Here, THEWILL presents what to look forward to in a weekend of English top-flight football.
As the League resumes after the international break, the headline fixture it is the highly anticipated match and arguably the most intriguing game that gets fans underway: the Merseyside derby between Everton and Liverpool, the two primary clubs in the city of Liverpool.
Named after the county of Merseyside, in which Liverpool is located, it is the longest running top-flight derby in England and has been played continuously since the 1962/1963 season.
In this first derby of the 2020/2021 season, Everton hosts the Reds from Anfield. Coach of the home side, Carlo Ancelotti, could not have desired a more confident start to the season. His side have not only won their initial four games, that have seen them top the table early, but have also scored 12 goals while at it.
A pair of his charges have been the stand-out players for the Toffees and have risen to the occasion this season. On the one hand is Colombian attacking midfielder James Rodriguez who was obtained from Real Madrid because he was believed to be surplus to the La Liga’s team requirements. On the other hand is the 23-year-old English striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who already has two hat-tricks to his name this season.
With those two, they will be confident marching out to confront neighbourly rivals and last season’s runaway Premier League champions Liverpool. For the Reds, the intervening period between their last game, and this derby has afforded them enough time to ponder the manner of the record trouncing they endured last time out – a 7-2 humiliation to Aston Villa. They may want to immediately get back to winning ways and preserve their decade long no-loss run against Everton which is at risk now than ever before.
Thiago Alcantara and Sadio Mane being available for the tie after recovering from their coronavirus infections will be morale boosting for the defending champions and provide an opportunity to clear niggling doubts of their credentials as title favourites for this season.
THEWILL believes these are but a few of the reasons why this is a crucial tie and one of the most anticipated for the weekend especially given the managerial savviness of the pair of coaches involved who have shown they possess the tactical and technical depth to get results.
Who triumphs and who loses remains to be seen.
Here is a rundown of all the games taking place this weekend, and on Monday, October 19 (*All times are local time in Nigeria)
Everton vs Liverpool | Sat 17, Oct 12:30PM
Chelsea vs Southampton | Sat 17 Oct 3:00PM
Manchester City vs Arsenal | Sat 17 Oct 5:30PM
Newcastle United vs Manchester United | Sat 17 Oct 8:00PM
Sheffield United vs Fulham | Sun 18 Oct 12:00PM
Crystal Palace vs Brighton & Hove Albion | Sun 18 Oct 2:00PM
Tottenham Hotspur vs West Ham United | Sun 18 Oct 4:30PM
Leicester City vs Aston Villa | Sun 18 Oct 7:15PM
Then, on Monday night football:
West Brom vs Burnley | Mon 19 Oct 5:30PM
Leeds United vs Wolves | Mon 19 Oct 8:00PM
The two Manchester clubs, just like Liverpool, will be making a determined push for victory this weekend. They have started the season at a level below expectations and should be looking to rebound with a home tie against Arsenal for City on Saturday and an away match at Newcastle for United. They both need big and convincing results to get themselves back on track and bring relief for their concerned fans.
So far, Pep Guardiola’s City followed up a 5-2 home defeat to Leicester City with a 1-1 draw against newly-promoted Leeds United while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United have lost two of their opening three games, including a 6-1 thrashing at home to Tottenham Hotspur last time out.
Guardiola’s men will do much for the reputation of their manager who once again welcomes his ex-assistant to the Etihad. Though the return of Sergio Aguero will be comforting, the remarkable absence of playmaker Kevin de Bruyne and injury to Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus means they welcome Mikel Arteta with fewer ammunition in the arsenal than they may have preferred.
The Red Devils will be without new signing Edinson Cavani, who is self-isolating, and striker Anthony Martial who was red-carded in the defeat by Spurs.
The headliner clash on Sunday’s pits Tottenham as host against West Ham United in what is expected to be Gareth Bale’s return game for the north Londoners after arriving on loan from Real Madrid.
And on Monday, new on-form boys Leeds hope to continue their dream start to life in the Premier League when they welcome Wolverhampton Wanderers to Elland Road in West Yorkshire.