BPL This Weekend: Redknapp returns to Tottenham, Arsenal midfield key to Everton clash, more

IMAGE, QPR.CO.UK

By MATTHEW LEVINE
Staff Writer

Tottenham Hotspur seemed to be making a breakthrough under Harry Redknapp. However, after the England job opened up and Redknapp dropped the ball, his team slid down the table.

He eventually moved to Queens Park Rangers, got relegated with the R’s, but he is now back in the Premier League and making a return to familiar grounds at White Hart Lane.

Redknapp’s current and former sides didn’t have the greatest showings on opening day as Spurs got a late victory against West Ham while the R’s fell to Hull by the same 1-0 scoreline.

A key area to watch is QPR’s center backs. Rio Ferdinand has looked slow at the end of his Manchester United tenure and was beaten to the ball on Hull’s only goal last weekend. The R’s will need Ferdinand to have a strong match to get anything from the match with Tottenham.

What To Look For

1. Arsenal through the middle– After a difficult match against Besiktas midweek in the Champions League, the Arsenal midfield took a hit. 

Mikel Arteta will miss out through injury. Aaron Ramsey should start as he won’t be involved against Besiktas in the second leg after his red card. While Ramsey has shown similar form to the previous seasons in the very early going, Jack Wilshere still needs to prove himself after being tipped for a massive future. Playing well against a tough Everton side would go a long way for the Englishman’s confidence. Wilshere needs to stop drawing unnecessary kicks from defenders and move the ball quicker. Also, he needs to stop diving in for balls he cannot win.

Mathieu Flamini, who most likely will enter the team for Arteta, will be pivotal. Last season, Arsenal struggled mightily against the top teams. Flamini must sit at home and shield the back four to keep the Gunners from losing heavily at Goodison as they did a year ago.

2. Chelsea on the offensive– Chelsea dispatched newly-promoted Burnley after conceding the first goal. They get another promoted team in Leicester this weekend.

While Jose Mourinho‘s teams are known more for their defensive posture, the attacking incision was a new wrinkle long overdo for the Blues. With the likes of Cesc Fabregas pulling the strings to go along with Andre SchurrleOscar and Eden Hazard, Chelsea are more dynamic.

It all bodes well for Chelsea, but spells trouble for the Foxes as they visit Stamford Bridge.

3.  United defense won’t receive bolstering yet– Swansea defeated Manchester United in scenes all too familiar to last year. The Red Devils defense will receive a boost, but won’t be as early as this weekend in Marcos Rojo. The new signing is still waiting on a work permit.

The Argentine defender had a strong showing at the World Cup and United need all hands on deck as they look to make a successful transition to a three men backline. Rojo will need to make an instant impact, especially with his price tag. The defender moved in a £16 million deal from Sporting Lisbon as well as Nani heading back to Portugal on loan.

Without Rojo, the defense will need a stronger showing than they did a week ago. United have a very winnable game against Sunderland, but can ill-afford to have lapses at the back.

4. No Balotelli derby– While Mario Balotelli may be set for a return to the Premier League and close to a move to Liverpool, his impending move will come too late to see him square off against Manchester City. With the two teams playing on Monday, the Italian’s registration will not have time to clear.

It would have been a dramatic return if the Italian striker made his debut against his former club, but the Reds will have to wait one more game to unveil their new strike partnership between Balotelli and Daniel Sturridge.