5 matches to look out for this weekend
We take a look at 5 matches across the top 4 English leagues to look out for this weekend…
Norwich vs Chelsea (12:30)
This is an interesting one. Saturday’s lunchtime kick off sees newly promoted Norwich take on Frank Lampard’s gung-ho Chelsea.
Teemu Pukki’s hat-trick made him this season’s first proper fantasy football bandwagon, and he’ll be licking his chops at the prospect of facing a Chelsea side who currently have almost no defensive strategy whatsoever.
N’golo Kante is carrying a knock so may not be risked. Antonio Rudiger is still out. Ross Barkley, who didn’t play a single minute in the 1-1 draw with Leicester last Sunday, will surely be back in the starting line-up.
A buoyant Carrow Road crowd is the latest obstacle in Frank Lampard earning his first Premier League win as manager. One for the neutral, this looks to have goals at both ends.
Liverpool vs Arsenal (17:30)
First in the league plays second. Both clubs are two for two in the league and this is their first real test of the season.
If Arsenal win on Saturday, it will be the first time they’ve won all three opening matches since 2004. As Unai Emery continues to blood a host of young talent, things are looking up at the Emirates.
Roberto Firmino has a rich goalscoring record against the Gunners – 100% at Anfield, in fact. He has a goal and an assist in his first two games this season, and undoubtedly should have had more. This is the Brazilian’s season to become Liverpool’s leading forward in an array of attacking talent, and he’ll be a thorn in the side of David Luiz and Arsenal at tea time on Saturday.
Stoke City vs Leeds United (15:00)
Top of the league faces the club at the bottom.
Stoke have had a wretched start to life back in the second tier, with only one point from four matches. To make matters worse, relations are strained inside the club – exacerbated this week when manager Nathan Jones said “there must be something on the mind” of goalkeeper Jack Butland after his errors led to defeat against Preston North End.
Unbeaten Leeds have started this season in fine fettle. Ian Wright was seen celebrating at Elland Road as Eddie Nketiah, on loan from Arsenal, scored the game’s only goal against Brentford in midweek.
Expect a proper slug-fest here as the home side scrap for their first win of the season.
Bolton Wanderers vs Ipswich Town (15:00)
It’s been one of the darkest months in the history of Bolton Wanderers. The club are in serious financial trouble following relegation to League One, and they started the campaign with a 12-point deduction for going into administration. 12 of their 18-man squad last week were aged 18 or younger.
Their scheduled midweek home clash with Doncaster was postponed due to ‘player welfare issues’ and, on Thursday, manager Phil Parkinson quit leaving academy boss Jimmy Phillips in caretaker charge. Things are a real mess at Bolton.
Ipswich boss Paul Lambert spoke of his empathy for his opponents on Saturday, and pointed towards his own young squad. “Our own team is young. But I trust the young kids to go and play.”
There’ll likely be more drama in the stands on Saturday but unbeaten Ipswich will aim to kick their East Lancastrians while they’re down.
Newport County vs Crewe Alexandra (15:00)
Newport County have a host of injuries ahead of the visit of League Two leaders Crewe Alexandra. Crewe exemplify the open nature of League Two, sitting at the top of the table with a zero goal difference.
Newport remain unbeaten so far this season, but they lag behind the front runners with three draws in the first four matches.
Ominously for Newport, one of their injury concerns is captain Joss Labadie. The Croydon born midfielder will be a big loss for the home side, but the result will depend heavily on which Crewe team show up, League Two’s very own Jekyll & Hyde.