BPL This Weekend: Derby Day at Emirates, Anfield, Moyes in disguise at Old Trafford, more

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU, EMPIRE OF SOCCER

By MATTHEW LEVINE
Staff Writer 

There aren’t too many fixtures in England that provide as much electricity as derby days. The North London Derby is one of the best there is.

Arsenal put up their unbeaten record in the Premier League up against Tottenham. Both sides have had an inconsistent start to the season. The Gunners looked better in their 3-0 win over Aston Villa last weekend while Tottenham lost 1-0 to West Bromwich Albion.

It’ll be the first taste of the derby for Spurs manager Maurico Pochettino He will look to get it off to a winning start, but it could very well end up being a difficult trip to the Emirates Stadium.

If Mesut Ozil is on similar form to the Villa game, the Spurs backline will have a torrid time. He isn’t the only weapon in the Gunners’ holster. Alexis Sanchez continues to be a driving force for the attack and Danny Welbeck can take confidence from his first Arsenal goal a week ago.

Arsenal will have to shake off the disappointment of a cup defeat in the midweek to Southampton. However, they had a great reaction after a poor performance against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League and they will look to repeat that quick response against Spurs.

Spurs will hope their win against Nottingham Forest in the League Cup catapults them into a more successful run in the league.

One thing is for sure, whatever happens on the pitch when these two sides meet will be a can’t miss watch.

What To Look For

1. Merseyside derby– This weekend is a double derby treat and Anfield will be rocking with Everton making a visit.

Liverpool has had a slightly better start to the season, but were shell-shocked last weekend by West Ham. It was the second loss in a row for the Reds.

The potency of attack hasn’t been there for Liverpool and the absence of Daniel Sturridge has been a major reason for that. Mario Balotelli will need to take even more responsibility and start banging them. One way to endear himself to the Anfield faithful would be to score against the Toffees and help lead Liverpool to a victory over their rivals.

Liverpool have a great chance to start building attacking confidence against Everton. The Toffees conceded three times in a loss last weekend to Crystal Palace. However, giving up far too many goals has been a consistent problem and one manager Roberto Martinez needs to correct and quickly. In five games, Everton have seen 13 goals scored against them.

The Toffees can certainly have confidence in playing at Anfield, especially after Aston Villa secured a 1-0 win there.

It will be a highly-charged affair and which ever side can channel it early to use it to their advantage, could be the one that comes out on top.

2. Managing like Moyes– When Louis van Gaal took over Manchester United, it was expected results were going to be different. However, they look eerily similar and actually a bit worse than David Moyes‘ start to life at Old Trafford.

While the team isn’t playing the same style or look anything like Moyes’ side did a year ago, van Gaal will need to change things in a hurry to deflect some of the criticism that will come his way. He’ll need better returns after opening the checkbook then 5-3 losses to Leicester.

They are currently looking up at their next opponent West Ham, who put in their best performance of the early season with a 3-1 over Liverpool. Players like Diafra Sakho and Morgan Amalfitano have added different elements to Hammers side that is known more for a very direct, physical style under Sam Allardyce.

United certainly have goals in their team with the attacking talent at the club. Can they tighten up their defense will remain the question.

3. Swansea looks to re-group– Swansea were flying high in the first three games, but have come crashing back down to earth in the two previous weeks.

After a 4-2 loss to Chelsea and a 1-0 loss to Southampton, both teams in their vicinity towards the top of the table, they will now face a team at the other end. The Black Cats are up next for the Swans.

Swansea will be without striker Wilfried Bony, who picked up a red card last weekend. However, the Swans still have plenty of attacking options to trouble the Sunderland defense. Nathan Dyer has played well to start the season and Bafetimbi Gomis should lead the line. Gylfi Sigurdsson will pull the strings.

Of note for the Black Cats could see a potential starting berth for Jozy Altidore. A goal in the League Cup could lead to a bigger role in the Premier League as manager Gus Poyet gains more confidence in him after seemingly losing it all towards the end of the season. With Sunderland struggling in the league, if Altidore can come in and get a few goals, he could very well cement a place in the Starting XI on a regular basis. 

4.  Villains at the Bridge?– There hasn’t been much slowing down Chelsea this season until one of their own or former own did it to them. Frank Lampard‘s equalizer for Manchester City last weekend is the only thing that stood in the way of a perfect five for five start to the season.

Aston Villa will look to spoil a second weekend in a row for the Blues and will have to do it at Stamford Bridge. After a great start to the season and at the back as well, it all came undone in four minutes against Arsenal last weekend. Brad Guzan has kept three clean sheets on the season, but will need a tremendous effort to add another against Chelsea.

After not scoring last weekend, Diego Costa could find space against a Villa backline. With plenty of attacking options to choose from, Chelsea should be able to find goals and it wouldn’t be a surprise if they scored a few.

They also have one of the best young goalkeepers in the game in Thibault Courtois.

In the end, it could very well be a long day for Aston Villa despite their strong start to the campaign.