Premier League preview; week 7
Published: 30.09.11 / Written by: David Gold
Key battles, players to watch and talking points, check out out preview of the Premier League action this weekend!
Everton v Liverpool
Key Battle: Lucas has been one of Liverpool’s most improved players in recent years but he will have a tough battle on Saturday to keep the threat of Tim Cahill limited. The Australian has a good record against Liverpool and will be looking to put them to the sword.
Player to Watch: Everton are a team who are tough, but also like to get the ball down and pass it. Liverpool’s best hope may come through set pieces, so Charlie Adam could be crucial.
Talking Point: Steve Clarke admitted that Liverpool have made an average start, so can they show signs of improvement?
Aston Villa v Wigan
Key Battle: Franco di Santo has been in fine form for Wigan this season but Villa have forged a sturdy defence under the un-ambitious Alex McCleish. Richard Dunne will have to be at his best to keep Wigan at bay.
Player to Watch: Charles N’Zogbia will be fired up to deliver against his former side, but he has shown little of the form that made him so dangerous at Villa as they play defensive football.
Talking Point: Dropped points for Villa would increase pressure on McCleish, who has little margin for error with the fans against him.
Blackburn v Man City
Key Battle: Chris Samba will have to be on fine form to keep City’s prolific forward line at bay. One Argentine caused Roberto Mancini problems this weekend but Sergio Aguero has been a dream for City.
Player to Watch: The talents of Aguero and David Silva have been key for City, but if they are caught on the break they need to watch Junior Hoilett, whose pace and skill is a threat to any defence.
Talking Point: City dropped points after their last European match and can they avoid the same fate this weekend?
Man Utd v Norwich
Key Battle: Leon Barnett was in goalscoring form for Norwich earlier this season but he will have to be at his best defensively to keep out Man Utd. Even without Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck could be a major threat.
Player to Watch: Ashley Young has been sensational this season and United’s wingers have been key to their start. Norwich will have to be wary.
Talking Point: United were almost stunned by Basle in the week, how will they react?
Sunderland v West Brom
Key Battle: It’s been an awful start for Sunderland but has been little better for West Brom. Shane Long has been the provider of their few goals so far this season and Sunderland’s back line, Titus Bramble lite, will have to be wary, with John O’Shea set for a busy afternoon.
Player to Watch: Chris Brunt is at the heart of much of West Brom’s creative moves, and his ability to carve open the Sunderland back line will be crucial.
Talking Point: The mood is poor at the Stadium of Light with fans anger growing at Steve Bruce. Will that create more pressure for the team?
Wolves v Newcastle
Key Battle: Newcastle have done brilliantly so far this season thanks to Alan Pardew’s intelligent decision to ditch Kevin Nolan and Joey Barton, replacing them with better, more technical players from France. But their defence has been superb, and Steve Taylor will want to continue his fine form against a mobile Wolves front line including Kevin Doyle.
Player to Watch: Matt Jarvis is at the heart of most that is good about Wolves’ play, and his ability to carve open their opponents will be key.
Talking Point: Newcastle are floating high in the Champions League spots. How long can that continue?
Bolton v Chelsea
Key Battle: Fabrice Muamba will have to be sharp to keep Chelsea’s passing and movement in midfield to a minimum. He must stop Raul Mereiles dictating play for the likes of Juan Mata and Fernando Torres.
Player to Watch: Raul Mereiles picks the ball up, passes it and sets moves going quickly. Rotation of the ball is so crucial to the new Chelsea and Bolton may be dizzy by the end.
Talking Point: Bolton are bottom of the pile, can they stop the rut against one of the league’s top teams?
Fulham v QPR
Key Battle: Martin Jol’s men are fresh from European competition whilst QPR will be hoping to improve on last week’s draw with Aston Villa, whose inability to attack made them an easy opponent. Fulham will be tougher, and Joey Barton could be given the runaround by the less mobile but more intelligent and technical Danny Murphy.
Player to Watch: Fulham have lacked goals this season, and Bryan Ruiz will be looking to break his duck in the Premier League for his new club.
Talking Point: How tired will Fulham be after their European exploits in the week?
Swansea v Stoke
Key Battle: Swansea like to pass the ball and create, whilst Stoke like to destroy and play long balls; it’s set up for a fascinating clash of styles. Leon Britton’s passing will look to destroy Stoke, but the likes of Dean Whitehead will once again be tasked with dishing out rough treatment in a bid to intimidate their opponents.
Player to Watch: Rory Delap’s throws will be a new test for Swansea, and are at the heart of Stoke’s attacking play.
Talking Point: Will the sophisticated Swansea style win out, or will it be the rough and ready, primitive Stoke?
Tottenham v Arsenal
Key Battle: Arsenal’s defence has been atrocious so far this season, and will face one of their toughest tests yet in Tottenham. Former striker Emmanuel Adebayor will look to expose Per Mertesacker’s lack of pace, and the German will have to show all his positional sense to keep the Togolese at bay.
Player to Watch: Aaron Ramsey will be tasked with dictating the play alongside Mikel Arteta in midfield. He has had a hit and miss season, and if Arsenal are to come away with anything he will have to be on form.
Talking Point: Arsenal’s defence has been mostly miss for this season but can they improve enough to take anything away from White Hart Lane?