We don't think AVB will be opening his mouth even if Arsenal lose at City but there will be plenty asking questions. It's also a big weekend for a Spurs side yet to claim a scalp...
Considers Alan Partridge circa 1992 a style icon and enjoys over-vaunting the England team, English players or English teams in Europe. It's Andy Townsend...
Who would've predicted that an Arsenal v Liverpool game, at the start of November, would be a top of the table clash? Arsenal top the Premier League with only goal difference keeping Liverpool below Chelsea in third - at the same point last season, Arsenal were sixth with 15 points from nine games, and Liverpool back in 12th with ten from nine.
Both have been blessed with relatively kind fixture lists (games against Spurs and Manchester United aside), but that should not detract from the improvement in both teams.
"Confidence is very high at the minute," Jordan Henderson said this week. "We've started the season very well, but there's still room for improvement and we're still going to push and try and become better as a team.
"They're all tough games in the Premier League and Arsenal have been flying of late. But so have we, so I think it will be a good game to watch and hopefully we can get a good result.
"It would send out a message to the rest of the teams that we're here and we mean business. But I think the main focus is going there and playing like we have been."
Most are understandably cautious about reading too much into the good starts made by both of these sides, but a win for either would make their respective aims seem more realistic, arguably more so for Brendan Rodgers' team. Beating Liverpool at home would not necessarily convince too many people who doubt Arsenal's title credentials, but if the reverse was to occur then it would certainly make Liverpool's top four candidature serious.
Like Henderson said, a message would be sent.
Given Arsenal tried very hard to sign Suarez in the summer and Suarez tried very hard to leave, do you reckon he'll show respect to the attending Gooners with a muted celebration if/when he scores?
The (over)reaction to Arsenal losing to Chelsea in the League Cup from some in our national press was comical, if perhaps not particularly surprising. According to the scribes it was same old Arsenal, beating the dross but stumbling against anyone half-decent. That both teams were so changed from their usual incarnations as to render the game irrelevant in the wider picture of the season, seemed to escape them. Many threw in the defeat to Borussia Dortmund as well, as if narrowly losing to last season's Champions League finalists and one of the best teams in Europe proved they were actually rubbish.
However, whatever the competition, whatever the circumstance, whatever the players, Arsenal have had their first significant set-backs since the first day of the season, and it will be interesting to see how they respond to that, particularly given their upcoming fixtures - they have the return against Dortmund on Wednesday, followed by a trip to Manchester United next weekend.
And particularly given the absence of Mathieu Flamini, who will be out with a groin injury for three weeks, according to the club, a period of time to be treated with the same level of certainty with which one regards the time given by a taxi firm. Flamini's return may be just around the corner, mate, but maybe don't hang too many plans on that one.
Matthew Stanger wrote about the problems Arsene Wenger might have balancing his midfield here, and while Aaron Ramsey is perfectly capable of doing the graft that Flamini provides, that does mean he isn't quite so free to do all that other stuff in attack that has made him Arsenal's best player this term.
Another problem they have is Liverpool's strike partnership, the most prolific in the division at present, with Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge combining for ten goals in four games. For an Arsenal defence who, while strong, certainly have an error or two in them, it will be their biggest test of the season thus far.
Sarah Winterburn wrote recently that Sunderland's season may already be over, such was the air of despondency around a side stuck on one Premier League point. One victory doth not make a revival, but the spirit and desire demonstrated against Newcastle has at least largely repaired the split between supporters and club.
Now begins a crucial period for Gus Poyet and Sunderland, and there are genuine reasons for optimism. Struggling sides that survive relegation from the Premier League generally rely on home form as their comfort blanket - Sunderland's home fixtures since the opening day of the season have been against Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Newcastle, and in the next three they face Chelsea, Manchester City and Spurs.
It is an ill-fated twist of the fixture computer that has severely limited the club's expectations (which would still have been considerably higher than their current points total), but means that Poyet must now look to away games to take full advantage of renewed confidence.
Starting on Saturday is a run of games on the road against Hull, Stoke, Aston Villa and West Ham stretching to mid-December. Six or more points and Sunderland will be back amongst the realistic challengers for survival. They are incredibly fortunate to be just seven points behind ninth position despite such a woeful start.
South Wales Police and Mike Dean
The Premier League welcomes its first ever Welsh derby, but with it being played at the slightly questionable time of 4pm, one suspects any holiday requests for Sunday within South Wales police will have been filed in the folder marked 'Not On Your Sodding Life Sunshine'.
Supporters' clubs of both teams have released messages urging for calm using all the right words - showcase, right reasons, great rivals, played in the right spirit - but let's just say that we'll keep our fingers crossed.
Meanwhile, Swansea's Leon Britton summed up the on-field worries rather succinctly: "There have been a few sendings-off in recent games, but not too much trouble or 22-man brawls."
Boasting about a relative lack of fights involving every single player on the pitch does paint a rather ominous picture.
As an aside, should you want to have a dabble on the game, let WalesOnline shape your betting judgement. Step forward Elva the mystic mongrel.
Rumours linking Alan Pardew with the Crystal Palace job may be the work of a journalist attempting to add two and two, but that doesn't mean there isn't a certain logic to it from the Newcastle manager's perspective. Pardew is, behind Martin Jol, probably the most likely Premier League manager to lose his job next, because a) Newcastle aren't very good at the moment/at all, but perhaps more importantly b) you just never know what the hell that lot are going to do next. Pardew refused to answer questions on the issue at his press conference on Thursday, but it would make some sense for him to have a back-up plan, at least. Palace might not be the most enticing gig in the world, but it does at least give him a way out while saving some face - the jump before being pushed approach.
Or it could be his agent pulling a confidence trick, trying to convince Mike Ashley using the power of suggestion that Pardew is still a wanted man, that if other teams are after him, he must be worth keeping.
Or it could be newspaper bullsh*t. We don't know. What we do know is Newcastle need a win after folding like a fresh bedsheet against Sunderland last weekend. Alas, they face Chelsea on Saturday lunchtime. Good luck, Alan.
He may well have been right, but a by-product/the intention of Villas-Boas' SAVAGING Tottenham's LOYAL PAYING FANS is that not as many people are talking about how Spurs are actually playing. And they aren't playing brilliantly, truth be told. Of course, they're not playing brilliantly but still winning, which is all very well, but when they come up against a decent team in good form, that situation could be reversed.
Step forward Everton, who are quietly doing very nicely indeed, now up into sixth after a drawtastic start to the campaign. Romelu Lukaku is scoring goals as absolutely everybody expected him to, Gareth Barry is making Manchester City fans unexpectedly pine and Roberto Martinez has much nicer shoes than David Moyes.
A true test for Spurs, perhaps the first since the Arsenal game. And we all remember how that one went.
There's a rumour doing the rounds that Palace might not be able to appoint a new manager until the international break. That's another two weeks and two league games before a new man is at the tiller, which seems rather silly. While November is a very early time to be writing off seasons, if their losing run continues for much longer (current count: six) then it'll be a 19-team Premier League before long, with one simply travelling around the country playing glorified exhibition games, like a terrible Harlem Globetrotters.
West Brom away obviously isn't an easy game, particularly for a side as bad as Palace, but it is most definitely under the banner of 'winnable'. Indeed, this starts a run of games that could easily be filed in that particular, erm, file. After the Baggies they host Everton, but then it's Hull, Norwich, West Ham and Cardiff. A couple of victories from that lot and the teasing pinprick of hope might start to get a little brighter.
2012/13 - After nine games Stoke had nine points. They had scored eight goals and conceded nine.
2013/14 - After nine games Stoke have eight points. They have scored six goals and conceded ten.
It's all very well promising football of a more expansive, attractive and watchable nature, but at the lower end of the table success comes down to points and goals, both scored and conceded, and in all three of those Mark Hughes is falling short of his expectations.
Stoke may have scored and led twice at Old Trafford last weekend, but the end result was the same as in three of their four previous league matches - no points gained.
The case for the defence can point to games against Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United, but the counsel for the prosecution is now clearing its throat. Home games against Southampton, Sunderland and Cardiff in the next month may define Hughes' immediate future.
"I don't feel pressure because we're not bottom of the league, there are six or seven other teams on similar points and lower."
Martin Jol's dismissive answer following Capital One Cup defeat at Leicester City was rather transparent. Whilst he may claim to not feel the pressure, that is no indication that such pressure does not exist.
Since an impressive ninth-place finish in his first campaign at Craven Cottage, Fulham finished 12th last season, only seven points from the drop, and are now just two points ahead of the bottom three. They have beaten one top six side since January 2012.
The worry for Jol is not just that Fulham have a new owner in charge (who is presumably less than impressed), but that his side looked limp, lacklustre and lacking fight or desire. At a time when the manager is the favourite to be the next Premier League manager to lose his job that's a rather worrying scenario.
Still, only Manchester United and Liverpool to come in their next two games.
Nick Miller and Daniel Storey
So Spurs *need* to win do they? I'd expect most fans will just hope we manage not to concede two goals in the 91st and 92nd minute like last year. Strangely, I fancy another away win and another penalty (Distin is always good for a rash tackle).- Iheke