Premier League: five things to expect from the weekend

It’s only two days since goals were plundered in in almost every Premier League game played on Wednesday and now we get to, hopefully, do it all over again as the top-flight returns into his traditional weekend slot.

So, what can we expect from the Premier League this weekend?

1) Another big scalp for Everton?

Having won at Old Trafford for the first time in 21 years, Everton have had little time to celebrate as they travel to Arsenal on Sunday, where they haven’t won in the league for 17 years.

Despite Arsenal’s fantastic record this season, the Toffees will fancy their chances and, based on what we saw on Wednesday, they have every right to do so.

With Ross Barkley and Kevin Mirallas becoming increasingly crucial as the season goes on, and with Gareth Barry and Romelu Lukaku staking a claim for being considered the best loan deals of the season – and indeed of many seasons – Roberto Martinez has turned Everton into a team capable not only to go toe-to-toe with the big four, but to beat them too.

Arsenal dominated Liverpool and lost against Manchester United, but Everton could prove to be the Gunners’ toughest test yet this season.

2) What next for Luis Suarez?

It’s hard to like Luis Suarez the man but it’s impossible to ignore the brilliance of Luis Suarez the footballer.

The Uruguayan’s hat-trick against Norwich was nothing short of superb and it’s hard to find a better striker in the Premier League than the Liverpool number seven, who could add to his tally against West Ham tomorrow.

With Sturridge out, Liverpool are even more dependent on Suarez for goals and while being over-reliant on a player rarely makes it for a successful long-term strategy, if the man in question is the former Ajax striker, then Liverpool could harbour hopes of success this season.

3) Saints in hellish form

There are bigger teams going through a much worse patch than Southampton but it’s undeniable that, after a blistering start to the season, the Saints have somewhat stuttered in the last couple of weeks, losing their last three games. 

While Mauricio Pochettino’s men continue to occupy an extremely respectable position on the table, the defensive solidity that had typified in the first 11 weeks of the campaign has vanished – admittedly, the Saints had trips to Arsenal and Chelsea to negotiate.

The Saints have conceded eight goals in the last three games, compared to five in the first 11 games and with Manchester City arriving at St. Mary’s on Saturday, things could get worse before they get better.

4) Tight at the back

If there was one winner to come out from the midweek Premier League programme, it was Tony Pulis. The former Stoke manager took all three points in his first game in charge of Crystal Palace, lifting the Eagles off the bottom.

Sunderland, meanwhile, stumbled to a spectacular defeat at home to Chelsea, as Gus Poyet’s feelgood factor has so far struggled to propel the Black Cats towards safety and Fulham have concerns of their own after capitulating at home against Spurs.

All three sides are at home this weekend and must put points on the board, particularly as West Ham, Cardiff and Norwich – the sides sitting immediately above the bottom three – are away from home (Cardiff travel to Palace).

As usual, the race to avoid relegation promises to be entertaining.

5) Moyes needs time and signing

Wednesday’s defeat against Everton was the stuff of nightmares for David Moyes, as United plummeted to ninth in the table and, despite their manager’s defiant attitude, are all but out of the title race.

Taking over from Sir Alex Ferguson was always going to be a gargantuan task, even more so for a manager who had never managed at a top club, but Moyes must act quickly if he’s to steady the ship.

The former Everton manager was badly let down by his club in the summer and he needs time to address his team’s deficiencies but, at this rate, United look in danger to miss out on a Champions League spot.

United must spend in January and spend well, if they’re to save their season.

 

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