This weekend’s fixtures will be set rolling by the 2nd Friday night fixture of this season’s Premier League, which will be played between Chelsea and Liverpool, which is also expected to be the biggest draw amongst the matches. We will have that and 9 more mouth-watering games to look forward to in a match-week where the little developing mysteries of this season will be unravelled a bit more. Without further ado, we look into 5 things we will be eagerly waiting to find out this week.
JURGEN KLOPP OR ANTONIO CONTE?
Two extremely passionate managers who have taken hold of the reins at Chelsea and Liverpool respectively. In Jurgen Klopp’s first full season in charge it is expected the German will be able to work his magic on the squad and although Liverpool fans fear to hope, some do believe without European distractions, this could be the year they will challenge for the Top spots. But on the other hand, Antonio Conte is in a somewhat similar position. Chelsea, bereft of European football, have got the brilliant tactician Conte to weave his magic and secure a Top 4 spot at the very least. And if things go to plan, both the teams, will in all probability, be fighting for a single spot in the congested Top 4. And tomorrow’s match will be a marker to where that line of action is headed.
HULL CITY’S RESILIENCE A FLASH IN THE PAN?
Hull City set murmurs aloud in the league when they defeated Leicester City in the opening game of the season. And people took further notice of them when they almost snatched an unlikely draw against formidable Manchester United. Touted as one of the sure-shot contenders for the drop, the Tigers will need to show much more of the dogged determination in the League this season and the home match against Arsenal will be one of the earliest tests where they will get a chance to emerge as the candidates to be able to beat the dreaded drop. The match is expected to be on the similar lines to that against the United one and Mike Phelan would want his wards to complete the job this time.
LEICESTER’S REACTION TO MIDWEEK CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Leicester were THE fairy tale of last season and the toast of the whole footballing fraternity. And taking nothing away from them, it was a feat of extremely high calibre and determination. But the Foxes were aided by the lack of distraction of any additional matches during the most important part of the season. But they have the Champions League to tackle with this season and many established teams have failed to balance the two throughout the year. Leicester need to coordinate and plan their journey and the first instance we will get to see their approach is against Burnley this weekend. With the stakes higher than ever and the level of competition not just restricted to quality but also quantity, the likes of Vardy will slowly realise there will be more to the season than just ‘CHAT SHIT! GET BANGED!’
BATTLE OF THE UNLIKELY STRUGGLERS
Crystal Palace and Stoke City made a mark in the transfer window after a healthy last season and both the teams looked well set to surpass their individual achievements. But things have not gone right at all for the two clubs. Especially Stoke, who seemingly had all bases covered. This will be an important season for Mark Hughes and Alan Pardew as they have been backed to the hilt by the owners and are under pressure to deliver finally. The early season form might be too soon to judge their plight this season but the teams will have to turn their fortunes sooner rather than later as the matches will get by in a jiffy and the mountain will eventually get too steep to climb.
EVERTON TOP 4 CONTENDERS?
Yes, Everton have had easy fixtures. But no one can deny the effects of Ronal Koeman’s work already on the team. Koeman bought smart and the excellent manager he is, would have planned things through before agreeing to leave Southampton. He seems to be a man in control and Everton still have untapped resources to unleash on the rest of the teams. Granted, their true credentials of a shock Top 4 or 6 finish will be known later in more difficult matches but the way they turn up against Middlesbrough will give us a pointer towards whether things have really changed over at the Goodison Park or not.
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