Premier League preview; week 6
Published: 23.09.11 / Written by: David Gold
Key battles, players to watch and talking points, check out out preview of the Premier League action this weekend!
Manchester City v Everton
Key Battle: Sergio Aguero has been in blistering form since his arrival in England, wasting no time in hitting the ground running. Everton have a good record at Eastlands and Phil Jagielka will have to be at his best to keep the Argentine at bay
Player to Watch: In what promises to be a tight game David Silva’s ability to thread passes through the eye of a needle will be key if City are to keep up their excellent start.
Talking Point: Will Everton keep up their excellent record at Eastlands, with the predatory Tim Cahill always a threat?
Arsenal v Bolton
Key Battle: Robin van Persie has become Arsenal’s key man since the departures of Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas, and particularly now Thomas Vermaelen and Jack Wilshere are out. But he is up against Gary Cahill, who will be desperate to impress Arsene Wenger and show him what he missed out on.
Player to Watch: Arsenal’s defence has been more exposed than a US diplomatic cable in the hands of Julian Assange this season, and Per Mertesacker must show why Wenger brought him to the Emirates and organise the defence, as Bolton have players who can punish Arsenal in Kevin Davies and Ivan Klasnic.
Talking Point: More dropped points would add to the already intense pressure on Wenger, but a defeat for Bolton would add to the concern at the Reebok after an inauspicious start
Chelsea v Swansea
Key Battle: Juan Mata could be key for Chelsea, as the club look to start playing on the ground more with an increased focus on threaded throughballs for Fernando Torres. Mata will be key, and Angel Rangel will have his work cut out to thwart his countryman.
Player to Watch: Ashley Williams has been impressive in defence for the Swans as they’ve made a solid start to life in the Premier League, and they will need all of that stability if they are to get anything from Stamford Bridge.
Talking Point: Fernando Torres had a mixed game at Old Trafford last weekend but showed signs of his old self. But how will that miss affect his confidence?
Liverpool v Wolves
Key Battle: Karl Henry was wound up by Joey Barton last week but will need his composure to prevent Lucas running things for Liverpool. The Brazilian has become a key player at Anfield and his ability to control midfield will be key against a normally resolute Wolves.
Player to Watch: Andy Carroll has been unimpressive since his multi million pound move from Newcastle but against Wolves the direct approach could be a useful tool if conventional methods don’t work.
Talking Point: Wolves won at Anfield last year and Matt Jarvis has been in superb form this season, can he inspire the visitors to another shock?
Newcastle v Blackburn
Key Battle: Junior Hoilett has shown pace skill and directness during his short career so far, and Blackburn have shown a desire to get the ball down and play. Newcastle have been solid, but they will have to be wary of a counter attacking Blackburn side. Danny Simpson will have to be at his best to cut out Hoilett’s runs.
Player to Watch: Check Tiote will be tasked with running the midfield for Newcastle against Blackburn this weekend and he will have to be at his best against a tough Blackburn.
Talking Point: Blackburn turned the corner against Arsenal, but Newcastle have a better defence right now. Will their confidence inspire them to another win against unbeaten Newcastle?
West Brom v Fulham
Key Battle: Yousuff Mulumbu will be tasked with keeping Danny Murphy quiet, the man who runs things for the Cottagers. The battle for midfield will be intense between two tactically cohesive sides who like to get the ball down and play.
Player to Watch: Clint Dempsey has not shown the goalscoring form of previous years but it is surely just a matter of time before he finds the net.
Talking Point: Roy Hodgson takes on his former side with them bottom of the table, and his side just inside the relegation zone. Both sides went to extra time in the week and could be tired.
Wigan v Tottenham
Key Battle: Ben Watson will be up against Luka Modric and will hope to keep the Croat quite, but even if he does, Scott Parker has the ability to carve open their defence. It could be a long afternoon for the Wigan man.
Player to Watch: Jermaine Defoe struck five against these opponents two years ago, and looked to be getting back to his deadly best last week. A confidence player, his goals tend to come together.
Talking Point: It’s been a decent start for Wigan but Spurs were lethal against Liverpool last weekend and have a number of top players in top form.
Stoke v Man Utd
Key Battle: Anderson has finally shown his potential this season and been in superb form for Sir Alex Ferguson’s men. On Saturday though he will come up against the tough tackling, sometimes over the top Stoke City, who will employ rotational fouling and rotational time wasting to try and wind up Ferguson’s side. United are mature, but their midfield are young, and Dean Whitehead will be hoping to rile Anderson through whichever illegal means the referee allows.
Player to Watch: Jonathan Woodgate has made an impressive start to life at the Britannia but will be up against a lethal Wayne Rooney this weekend
Talking Point: Can United make it six wins in six at the start of the campaign, or will Tony Pulis’s long ball side nick a point from United?
QPR v Aston Villa
Key Battle: Villa have looked uninspired so far this season, and have been indebted to a run of easy games to paper over the cracks. Their defensive minded coach will have them playing on the counter attack, looking to utilise the pace of Gabby Agbonlahor against Danny Gabbidon .
Player to Watch: QPR will monopolise possession and much will rest on the creative talents of Adel Taraabt.
Talking Point: Can Warnock’s men continue their good form and plunge Villa into a crisis? The pressure would be on McLeish if they did, with some fans still angry at his appointment.
Norwich v Sunderland
Key Battle: Wes Hoolahan will be key for Norwich if they are to pick holes in the Sunderland back line, and Craig Gardner will have to cope with his marauding runs forward.
Player to Watch: Nicklas Bendtner never usually goes too long without scoring, and Norwich’s backline will have to watch the Dane closely.
Talking Point: Both sides picked up their first win of the season last weekend, but whose recovery is genuine and which is in for a struggle?