LWOF presents our weekly look at the Premier League fixtures you cannot afford to miss this weekend. These are the matches we with the most interesting storylines. Agree? Disagree? Have your say in the comments below.
3 Premier League Fixtures to Watch This Weekend
Manchester United v Leicester City
Old Trafford, 12:30am GMT
Jose Mourinho: “We had a bad week. I know that the world is full of Einsteins, I know that they tried to delete 16 years of my career, they tried to delete an unbelievable history of Manchester United Football Club and to focus on a bad week with three bad results.”
Claudio Ranieri: “We are fearless. Why are we scared to go there? More than lose, what can we do there? I enjoy – 70,000 people is amazing, fantastic. I don’t want to go when there is just you and me to play. It is a very bad show.”
Why watch this match?
These are two clubs that are facing adversity. For Manchester United, they are coming off a poor run of form and sit seventh with nine points of a possible fifteen. Moreover, the club have not lost two of their first three matches at home in 30 years. A loss on Saturday could reach a boiling point with supporters.
Jose Mourinho, partially self-inflicted, has been heavily scrutinized since his poor showing at Chelsea last season that led to his demise in London. A poor start in Manchester was always going to see him in the spotlight.
Leicester City, last year’s title holders, have started slowly this season already behind the big clubs with much bigger budgets. Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool, and Manchester United all have some space ahead. It seems like so many have cast-off Leicester City even before the season began. And now with the pressure of a start which yielded only seven of fifteen points, the club’s resolve will be tested on Saturday.
Middlesbrough v Tottenham
Riverside Stadium, 3pm GMT
Aitor Karanaka: “Someone can think I’m crazy, but for me, it’s amazing to arrive and prepare for the game against Tottenham. It’s the Premier League, it’s the place we wanted to be. We’ve been working hard for 2 1/2 years to be here. For me and the club, it’s amazing to face Tottenham.”
Mauricio Pochettino: “I am very happy because if you see the confidence of Carter-Vickers, Winks, Walkes, they were fantastic. They’ve come through the academy but they have the quality to impress us and play for the first team. It’s important for Tottenham and it was fantastic to give the opportunity to play and fantastic experience for them.”
Why watch this match?
There are several reasons to watch this Premier League fixture this weekend, not least of which is to have a look at the Kane-less Tottenham. The recent news of Spurs and England striker Harry Kane‘s ankle injury has caused many to wonder how the club will cope. What makes it even more intriguing is the fuel that was added when manager Mauricio Pochettino was accused of being partially at fault for the injury. Fitness manager Raymond Verheijen, who worked with Manchester City and Barcelona, claims Pochettino has been working his players too tirelessly. Regardless, Spurs will have a monumental task if Kane is to be out for an extended time, and we will get the first look on Saturday.
Middlesbrough are also facing some injury woes, and for a newly promoted club, that could spell disaster. Grant Leadbitter, Fabio da Silva, and James Husband are all out of Saturday’s match. Boro have had an encouraging start to their re-introduction to top-flight football. They currently sit in 13th with five points of fifteen.
Arsenal v Chelsea
Emirates Stadium, 5:30GMT
Antonio Conte: “All the players in my squad have the possibility to play against Arsenal. There are three days before the game and they have the opportunity to show me during the training sessions, to have a good shape, and convince me to put them in the line-up. I want to win. My choice is done to win. I don’t care what the surname is. It’s important when I call someone to play to show me my choice is not wrong.”
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: “It’d be nice to keep 11 men on the pitch against Chelsea this time round. I know it sounds funny but generally speaking in the last few games against them, it’s always a big clash with a lot of emotions and maybe some mind games.”
Why watch this match?
There are a host of reasons why this match will be the featured fixture this weekend. Of course anytime there is a derby there will be heightened interest. But when the match involves two clubs from London—and two of the biggest clubs in all of football—it reaches a fever pitch. With both clubs on 10 points after five matches, this could be an early-season turning point.
Looking at last season’s fixtures, no moment will reverberate more with Arsenal’s supporters than Diego Costa‘s provocation of Gabriel. The easy-to-spot altercation in which Diego Costa could have been sent off after an incident with Laurent Koscielny, resulted in Gabriel coming to his centre back partner’s aid. A yellow card followed by a second yellow moments later for backing up into the Spanish international had Gabriel sent off in the first half. Of course fans will also recall the sending off of Per Mertesacker in the season’s other Arsenal-Chelsea match.
The bad blood between the two clubs last year was made more tense with the very public animosity between Arsene Wenger and the departed Jose Mourinho. With Antonio Conte now on the sideline, the correspondence between the two is subdued by comparison. Regardless, it will be a must watch Premier League fixture this weekend.
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