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Sunday, 28 December 2014, 12:00

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Premier League preview

Chelsea travel to Everton for Saturday Night Football, while Super Sunday features Tottenham Hotspur’s game against Liverpool and Arsenal’s visit to Leicester City.

Last Updated: 30/08/14 at 18:37 Post Comment

Liverpool thrashed Tottenham 5-0 at White Hart Lane last season

Liverpool thrashed Tottenham 5-0 at White Hart Lane last season

There could be a Manchester United debut for Angel di Maria at Burnley, Manchester City and Swansea City will bid to make it three wins out of three against Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion respectively, while Hull City’s journey to Aston Villa pits together two teams who have made strong starts.

Elsewhere, Neil Warnock begins life back in charge of Crystal Palace with a match at Newcastle United, West Ham United take on Southampton and Queens Park Rangers will seek to climb off the bottom of the table as they entertain Sunderland. 

Tottenham are the early leaders after following up their narrow opening-day win at West Ham with an impressive 4-0 success at home to QPR.  Mauricio Pochettino now faces the sternest test of his Spurs reign so far as Liverpool visit White Hart Lane, where Brendan Rodgers' side claimed an emphatic 5-0 victory last season. Luis Suarez, who scored twice on that occasion, has departed, but Mario Balotelli is in contention to make his Reds bow following a £16million switch from AC Milan. Balotelli was in the stands on Monday as Liverpool slipped to a 3-1 defeat against his former club Manchester City, and they will be determined to bounce back on Sunday lunchtime.

Following on from the action at Tottenham on Sky Sports 1HD will be Leicester’s meeting with Arsenal. Nigel Pearson’s Foxes were given a tough set of fixtures at the start of the campaign but have performed creditably so far, coming from behind to hold Everton 2-2 and then giving Chelsea a major scare before going down 2-0 at Stamford Bridge. Arsenal have also had to show their battling qualities, needing late goals to beat Crystal Palace 2-1 and draw with Everton, while they held off Besiktas in a nervy UEFA Champions League play-off in midweek to book their place in the group phase for the 17th consecutive year.

Sunday’s other game sees Hull head to Aston Villa in a match between two sides unbeaten in the league so far. Villa have yet to concede a league goal this season after edging out Stoke and drawing with Newcastle, although they were knocked out of the Capital One Cup on Wednesday after being shocked by Leyton Orient. Hull have also picked up four points from their opening two matches after overcoming QPR 1-0 and being held to a 1-1 draw at home by Stoke.

The Saturday teatime entertainment will be provided by events at Goodison Park, as Everton tackle Chelsea in a match that be watched live on Sky Sports 1HD. Jose Mourinho’s Blues have been tipped to land the title and have started with victories over Burnley and Leicester. Summer signing Diego Costa has netted in each of his two appearances but there will be just as much focus on one of Chelsea’s former forwards Samuel Eto’o, who has this week linked up with Everton on a free transfer. Having surrendered an advantage against both Leicester and Arsenal to leave them with just two points from as many matches, Roberto Martinez’s men will be targeting their first win.

The weekend kicks off with Manchester United making the trip to Turf Moor to play newly-promoted Burnley. All eyes will be on Di Maria following his arrival at United from Real Madrid in a British-record deal, but Louis van Gaal has warned that he is not a ‘miracle man’. Van Gaal is already under pressure after a humiliating Capital One Cup exit at the hands of Milton Keynes Dons in midweek extended United’s miserable start to the season. Burnley have also had a disappointing time of it so far, losing to Chelsea, Swansea and then Sheffield Wednesday in the League Cup, but will sense an opportunity to cause a shock and build some confidence.

There are five three o’clock kick-offs on Saturday, with Manchester City welcoming Stoke and their former boss Mark Hughes to the Etihad Stadium. Defending champions City laid down an early marker in the title race with a stylish victory over Liverpool on Monday to notch their second win in a row, and their home form was formidable last season. It is a daunting task facing Stoke, therefore, especially as the Potters have managed to pick up just one point from their opening two matches. 

Crystal Palace have suffered back-to-back defeats in the league this season but they have sorted out the managerial situation following a turbulent couple of weeks, with Warnock returning to the club for a second stint. Described as a ‘good fit’ by chairman Steve Parish, Warnock will hope that his arrival galvanises the squad to perform well at St James’ Park against Newcastle, who are still looking for their first goal after a loss to Man City and draw with Villa.

Swansea are flying high at the top of the table alongside Tottenham, Man City and Chelsea, having followed up their stunning success at Old Trafford with a home win over Burnley last time out. Garry Monk’s men will now fancy their chances of making it maximum points from their first three games as they host West Brom, who have so far drawn with Sunderland and Southampton in a solid rather than spectacular start.

Southampton will be similarly satisfied with the way they have played this season, if not the points they have picked up, having just lost out to Liverpool before their stalemate with West Brom. Ronald Koeman’s Saints will now go to Upton Park to meet West Ham, who bounced back well from their loss to Tottenham by beating Crystal Palace and earning praise from manager Sam Allardyce.

Queens Park Rangers suffered a demoralising Capital One Cup defeat against Burton Albion on Wednesday, having previously lost to Tottenham and Hull in the league, but Harry Redknapp has received the backing of chairman Tony Fernandes and will be desperate to get some points on the board against Sunderland. The Black Cats are so far unbeaten but without a victory after coming from behind in draws against West Brom and Manchester United.

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Readers' Comments

W

e have the personnel. The trick is keeping them fit. Carrick and Blind have missed large chunks of the season, while the defence has been one muddled mess of intermittent stooges, all coming and going at various intervals thus far. We may be just short of title winning quality, but we're half way through. An injury crisis to either of the top two could change things. Optimistic, yes, but not unrealistic.

HarryBoulton
One Point And One Conclusion For United

P

arish is the man to blame for this shambles. Pulis must be chuckling into his left over turkey sandwich. I pray this doesn't mean the Neil Warnock media machine will kick in now and he'll be back on the telly box.

magicfuller
Warnock sacked by Palace

W

e almost found a new way to lose, just when I thought it was getting boring Giroud does that. Although Arsenal are deservedly called 'soft' the entire midfield is out injured. Still must admit MU are managing to win despite a similar raft of absentees. Think the Gunners have good players but poorly coached.

gettalong
Wenger: Giroud deserved red

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