Search icon


21st Aug 2015

5 things to look out for in this weekend’s Premier League games

Kevin Beirne

The Premier League season is under way and things are already starting to take shape. Well, apart from Leicester sitting pretty at the top of the table perhaps.

Manchester City laid down a marker with their 3-0 demolition of Chelsea last week, while Bournemouth and Sunderland are still waiting for their first points.

As we head into the third weekend of action, here are the big questions to consider:

Can Arsenal expose Liverpool?

Both Arsenal and Liverpool have looked rusty in their opening matches of the new season. Despite a 1-0 victory in the Community Shield over Chelsea, the Gunners slumped to defeat against West Ham before responding to that setback at Crystal Palace.

Meanwhile, Liverpool have looked unconvincing in wins over Stoke and Bournemouth – the latter of which required an offside goal from Christian Benteke to seal the victory.

The two teams face off on Monday night at the Emirates Stadium, with both looking for a impressive display to kick-start their season.

Liverpool – who will be looking to avenge last season’s 4-1 loss at the Emirates – have yet to concede a goal this season, while Arsenal are in the unusual position of having a negative goal difference.

Arsenal v Liverpool - Premier League

The big question mark for Arsenal heading into this game – and the season in general – is whether or not Olivier Giroud is the man to lead the line. After rumours of Arsene Wenger bidding for Karim Benzema, Giroud will be under pressure to perform.

A goal and a convincing 90 minutes from the striker could signal the end of Arsenal’s business in the transfer window.

Will Chelsea get their first win?

Having started the previous campaign with four straight victories – avoiding a league defeat until December – it’s unusual to see Chelsea without a win after two matches.

Jose Mourinho’s men travel to West Brom on Sunday to take on a team who beat them 3-0 in the same fixture last season.

The Blues have looked sluggish so far. Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard look like they’re still in pre-season mode, while Thibaut Courtois will be looking to make up for the red card he received against Swansea.

After securing the signing of Pedro from under Louis van Gaal’s nose, Chelsea fans will be more optimistic than they were at the start of the week. But all that will count for nothing if they can’t take all three points back to London.

Is Andre Ayew’s hot streak set to continue?

After just two games, Andre Ayew already looks like an absolute steal as a free signing for Swansea. He has scored in both of his first games for the club and will be looking to continue the streak this weekend.

It’s impressive how quickly the Ghanaian has adapted to the English game, as well as his new team-mates. After selling Wilfried Bony to Manchester City in January, the Swans appear to have unearthed another gem.

Swansea take on a Sunderland team who have been absolutely abysmal so far, shipping seven goals in defeats to Leicester and Norwich.

Sunderland fans know all too well how a bad run can snowball and, given their dreadful start, they may fear a repeat of the 2005/6 season when they lost 29 of their 38 Premier League games.

As things stand, even their own sponsors have lost faith.

Do Manchester United need another defender?

Manchester United have spent an awful lot of money to revamp a squad that finished fourth last season. But for all the improvements in midfield, Louis van Gaal is yet to address the issues in the centre of his defence.

After being heavily linked with Nicolas Otamendi, United fans had to watch the Argentine sign for their cross-city rivals while Sergio Ramos finished his summer-long tease by signing a new deal with Real Madrid.

The United back line has held up so far in consecutive 1-0 victories over Spurs and Aston Villa, but there are still major concerns that they could fall apart against quality opposition.

Luckily for Van Gaal, they face Newcastle in the early game on Saturday, who notoriously struggle to impose themselves away from home against the bigger clubs.

That said, they could still pose a threat with several new signings looking to impress.

Perhaps Van Gaal and Ed Woodward should look at some alternative defensive options before the transfer window closes.

5. How long can Leicester stay unbeaten?

Leicester City have been by far the surprise package of the Premier League in 2015. Despite a slow start, the Foxes finished last season at a canter and have carried that form into this year.

Perhaps most impressively, they have taken Nigel Pearson’s replacement by Claudio Ranieri in their stride. The players haven’t missed a beat, with the Foxes remaining the strongest team in the league since the start of April.

As one of the four remaining teams with a 100% record, Ranieri’s men will hoping for more of the same as they host Spurs on Saturday.

The north London outfit will be looking for their first win of the season after throwing away a two-goal lead over Stoke last weekend, but face a tough test at the King Power Stadium.