Merseyside derby and Wenger’s press anger

By Ryan Moran

  • Manchester beat London in the Champions League, Arsenal hope to beat United in the Premier League.
  • Sturridge remains fit for Merseyside derby as key players look doubtful for Everton.
  • Manchester City may be without four key players against Newcastle United.

As Jose Mourinho hogs the headlines for the wrong reasons, his Chelsea side need results starting at Southampton while Arsenal aim to knock Manchester United off of top spot. Newcastle United hope to improve their form and condemn a weakened Manchester City to their third Premier League defeat in a row.

Arsenal vs Manchester United

After mid-week games in the Champions League for both sides, Sunday’s encounter will be a welcome return for Arsenal especially. Without a win in the group stage thus far, a win against United would probably knock the Red Devils off of top spot. Laurent Koscielny, Mathieu Flamini and Mikel Arteta have been ruled out through injury while Michael Carrick is an option for Louis Van Gaal after being rested in Wednesday’s fixture. Last season’s game at The Emirates saw the away side take the points as a Kieran Gibbs own goal and a Wayne Rooney strike secured the win as Olivier Giroud scored a late consolation this season’s table toppers won 2-1. Both sides possess two of the best goalkeepers in the league as recognised by Arsene Wenger, suggesting one goal may be enough to separate the sides because of the quality between the posts in the form of David De Gea for United and Petr Cech in goal for the Gunners. However when questioned earlier in his press conference, the Arsenal manager did not answer as to who was going to be in goal for his side, stating the press ‘lack creativity’ as the Frenchman refused to answer the question.

Everton vs Liverpool

After drawing 1-1 in midweek, Brendan Rodgers’ certainly had an eye on Sunday’s clash resting Daniel Sturridge. The England striker is available for the Merseyside derby while Christian Benteke’s will be reviewed closer to the fixture. For Everton, Roberto Martinez will make a late call on defenders John Stones and Seamus Coleman while Muhamed Besic is unlikely to play. Bryan Oviedo returns for selection after player in an under 21 game on Tuesday. Leighton Baines, Tom Cleverley, Steven Pienaar and Tony Hibbert remain unavailable while Kevin Mirallas is suspended. Last year’s meeting at Goodison Park ended 0-0 however the year before was a 3-3 draw with Philippe Coutinho, Luis Suarez and Sturridge scoring for the away side as a Romelu Lukaku brace and Mirallas strike earned a draw. Liverpool have won 88 of the meetings between the two sides while the Toffees have won 66 with 70 ending in a draw.

Manchester City vs Newcastle United

Two sides sitting at different ends of the table facing similar form in their last two Premier League games as Newcastle gained a point against Chelsea while City have lost two consecutive league games. Vincent Kompany remains unavailable with Eliaquim Mangala is expected to also be sidelined. Yaya Toure and David Silva will be assessed prior to the game with Gael Clichy, Fabian Delph, Samir Nasri and Kelechi Iheanacho also watching from the stands. As for the Magpies Papiss Demba Cisse, Steven Taylor, Emmanuel Riviere and Cheick Tiote are missing. Last season produced two differing results between these two sides as Rolando Aarons and Moussa Sissoko scored to put the home side out of the League Cup. In the league however Manuel Pellegrini’s side put five past a sorry Newcastle side with Aguero scoring a penalty, Nasri and Edin Dzeko finding the net while Silva added two more. A mid-week Champions League win would have lifted spirits as the home side look to get their league form back on track.

Chelsea vs Southampton

Tuesday’s loss to former club FC Porto would have been a hard one to take for Jose Mourinho in what has been a tough week for the Chelsea manager. Headlines turned to Mourinho as he was cleared of any wrong doing against club doctor Eva Carneiro. Nemanja Matic and Eden Hazard were left out of the squad for the Blue’s loss with Hazard chasing his 50th goal for the club. Diego Costa will serve the last of his three match suspension and will have to watch the game from the stands. The home side welcome back Ryan Bertrand to Stamford Bridge after his loan move was made permanent in January. The left back is likely to play only his second game after recovering from injury. The last game at the Bridge ended in a 1-1 draw as Costa scored for the home side and a Dusan Tadic penalty claimed a point for the Saints. After only taking two points out of six out of last season’s clashes with Ronald Koeman’s side, Mourinho will be targeting all six out of the two clashes this time round.

Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur

Spurs return to League action after a 1-1 draw with Monaco in midweek as hosts Swansea look to forget a winless September. After surging towards the summit of the Premier League, both Andre Ayew and Bafetimbi Gomis’ goal scoring form dried up and the Swans have suffered as a result. For the away side, their form is on the contrary, after a slow start, six games unbeaten has seen Mauricio Pochettino’s side climb the table into the top six. In their four seasons in the top flight, Garry Monk’s side haven’t beaten their opponents in eight league attempts. Injury concerns are plenty for the North London side as star signing Son Heung-min unavailable because of a foot injury while Danny Rose is doubtful with a hand injury. When these sides met at the Liberty Stadium in last season’s encounter, Pochettino’s side took three points back to White Hart Lane as Harry Kane opened the scoring, cancelled out by Wilfried Bony only for Christian Eriksen to claim the win with one minute of normal time left. With one draw and seven losses against their opponents, a win would make that record look slightly more pleasing for Swansea fans.

AFC Bournemouth vs Watford

After a 2-0 win over Watford in the last meeting at the Goldsands stadium, the Cherries will be hoping to even the score as Eddie Howe’s side have only won one of their previous six meeting with the Hornets. A Yann Kermorgant penalty and Matt Ritchie strike took the points while the away side claim three wins and two draws to add to their only loss in six against the home side. Callum Wilson, Max Gradel and Tyrone Mings still a long way from returning while Harry Arter is still missing through injury. Valon Behrami will serve the last of his three game suspension. Joel Ekstrand is unavailable as Lloyd Doyley also looks unlikely to be fit for Saturday’s clash.

Crystal Palace vs West Bromwich Albion

High flyers Palace welcome West Brom to Selhurst Park as Tony Pulis returns for the second time since his departure at the beginning of last season. Gareth McAuley, Jonas Olsson and Salomon Rondon are unlikely to play a part in the fixture having a calf injury, groin strain and back injury respectively. Connor Wickham, Mile Jedinak, Damien Delaney and Joel Ward are likely to be unavailable until after the international break. Last season’s fixture saw the Baggies take three points in a 2-0 win with James Morison and Craig Gardner providing the goals.

In the weekend’s other fixtures:

Aston Villa vs Stoke City

Norwich City vs Leicester City

Sunderland vs West Ham United

Crystal Palace host West Bromwich Albion in the next round of fixtures for the lunchtime kick off next Saturday 3rd September.

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