London, Oct 28 (IANS) Defending champions Manchester City visit an improving Leicester City, while Arsenal take on Nottingham Forrest, and new Aston Villa coach Unai Emery could reflect on what might have been when his new club visits Newcastle in the Premier League this weekend.
Consecutive wins have eased the pressure on Leicester City coach Brendan Rodgers, but his side now faces a difficult home game against second-placed Manchester City in the first match of the weekend.
Pep Guardiola’s side could be without goal-machine Erling Haaland, who was substituted at halftime in midweek with a foot injury and his absence could help Leicester continue to improve their defensive record.
Chelsea coach Graham Potter returns to face Brighton seven weeks after leaving them to move to Stamford Bridge. Chelsea have improved since his arrival, while Potter’s replacement, Roberto De Zerbi has yet to win a game, with just two points from a possible 15.
Comparisons can often be difficult, and it could be an unpleasant afternoon for De Zerbi if Chelsea continue their recent form.
Unai Emery abandoned Spanish club Villarreal to become Steven Gerrard’s replacement at Aston Villa on Monday and fate decrees that his first game in charge is away to Newcastle United.
Emery was reportedly close to moving to the north of England last season after Newcastle sacked Steve Bruce, with Eddie Howe taking over instead. Newcastle are currently fourth with four wins from the last five games and with striker Callum Wilson looking to score goals to book himself a ticket to the World Cup, reports Xinhua.
Tottenham remain third but haven’t impressed recently and Antonio Conte’s side still has work to do next week in the Champions League to assure qualification. Spurs visit Bournemouth on Saturday after consecutive defeats ended a run of six games without loss to remind the home side they are still very much in a battle to avoid relegation.
Liverpool’s recovery suffered a setback last weekend as they were beaten by Nottingham Forrest, but they bounced back with a 3-0 midweek win over Ajax. Jurgen Klopp’s men now entertain Leeds United, who have dropped into the bottom three after taking just two points from eight games.
Leeds coach Jesse Marsch has admitted some fans want him out of the club and if they suffer a fifth consecutive defeat, they may get their wish.
Saturday also sees Southampton visit Crystal Palace in a game between two sides looking to put some distance between themselves and the bottom three, while Wolves need to add to their pitiful tally of just five league goals if they are to get anything from their visit to Brentford.
The fact Brentford have conceded 21 goals so far, with four of those against Aston Villa last week, may just give veteran Wolves striker Diego Costa some hope.
Everton impressed last weekend at home to Crystal Palace and now visit Fulham, who are the revelation of the season so far. Everton’s fit-again striker, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, is another player who has hopes of a late run of goals to take him to the World Cup.
League leaders Arsenal rested players for their Europa League defeat to PSV Eindhoven in midweek and should be at full strength to entertain Nottingham Forrest.
Forrest’s key to building on their win at home to Liverpool last weekend probably lies in their withstanding Arsenal’s typical fast start and trying to hold on until half-time, when tired legs may take their toll on the home side.
Manchester United welcomed Cristiano Ronaldo back into the fold for their Europa League win on Thursday, but it will be interesting to see what role he plays in Sunday’s league match at home to a rapidly improving West Ham.
Anthony Martial or Marcos Rashford are likely to lead the United attack, with Eric ten Hag preferring their mobility and work rate over 37-year-old Ronaldo, who these days lacks the movement the Dutch coach requires.