The Premier League went into malfunction mode before the international break as reigning champions Liverpool were humbled by a 7-2 loss to Aston Villa, Tottenham cruised past Manchester United to win 6-1 at Old Trafford and new boys Leeds held Manchester City to a 1-1 draw.
Chelsea and West Ham were also beneficiaries during Gameweek four. Both teams won by three or more goals, while Everton extended their lead at the top of the Premier League table with a 4-2 victory over Brighton.
However, at the bottom end of the table, Sheffield United, Burnley and Fulham will be desperate to get their first points of the season this weekend after suffering losses in all their fixtures so far this season.
After a two-week break, the Premier League returns for Gameweek 5 and it could be the most exciting round of fixtures yet! There are derbies taking place across the board and match-ups at both ends of the table to keep us entertained!
The pick of the fixtures this week is the Merseyside derby between Everton and Liverpool. Despite 10 years without a win in this fixture, a run which dates back back to 2010, Everton will firmly believe that this is their year to finally beat their city rivals. They are top of the Premier League and have scored 12 goals in their first four games. Liverpool, however, will be reeling after their heavy loss to Villa two weeks ago. But Jurgen Klopp will ensure his team is dusted down and ready to fight in this intense derby on Saturday.
Manchester City v Arsenal is another big clash on Saturday. City have made a poor start to the season, suffering a heavy 5-2 loss to Leicester before giving up a one goal lead to draw with Leeds two weeks ago. However, if there was ever a team to bounce back after a few bad results, it’s Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. This is bad news for Arsenal, who have only beaten City once in their last six meetings. However, Mikel Arteta will take confidence from the fact Arsenal beat City in their last meeting – a 2-0 win in the FA Cup semi-final last season.
Another derby takes place on Sunday afternoon in London as Tottenham host West Ham. Tottenham have already played an incredible eight games in four weeks this season, but have only lost once in all competitions. They are starting to show the consistency which their manager, Jose Mourinho, has been striving for over the last year. West Ham are the opposite. They are a team of extreme contrast and cannot find a balance between defence and attack, conceding four in their first two, then scoring seven in their next two fixtures.
Leeds v Wolves will be an intriguing fixture to end Gameweek 5 on Sunday evening. Leeds have shown their attacking intent this season and launched themselves up to eighth place in the league after a three match unbeaten run recently. Wolves are a defensive minded team but have struggled for consistency. After winning their first match comfortably against Sheffield United, Wolves suffered two heavy defeats to Man City and West Ham respectively, before picking up another narrow win against stragglers Fulham before the international break.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
- Ollie Watkins
Ollie Watkins is a new comer to the Premier League after joining Aston Villa from second-tier side, Brentford. He was always regarded as a top finisher though and bagged 26 goals for Brentford last season. The big questions was: can he score in the Premier League? Of course he can! Watkins showed expert centre forward play in his side’s 7-2 win over Liverpool when he scored a hat-trick and could have bagged more! The 24-year-old will be a big threat for Villa this season.
2. Jack Grealish
Watkins’ team-mate Jack Grealish has always shown potential to be one of the best midfielders in the Premier League and his ability is one of the most discussed topics among fans. Grealish has already shown that he is developing into a top player this season. In three Premier League games, the 25-year-old attacking midfielder has already scored three goals and setup three for his team-mates. He was man of the match against Liverpool and completely stole the show. Expect big things to come from from Grealish in the coming weeks.
3. James Rodriguez
Colombian playmaker James Rodriguez has settled into the Premier League smoothly after joining Everton from Real Madrid. His ability to receive the ball in dangerous positions and to create chances for his teammate is exceptional. He was the best player on the pitch as his Everton team beat Brighton 4-2 in Gameweek 4 and helped to establish Everton at the top of the Premier League table early on this season. With three goals and two assists already this season, James will be looking to add to his goal contributions against Liverpool this weekend.
DON’T SHOOT THE MESSENGER
This could be the most competitive round of fixtures in the Premier League. With so many big clashes and lots of teams looking to bounce back after the international break, there may not be so many upsets on the cards. With the way the season is going though, the unpredictability may continue (prediciting results really is the short straw at the moment!) Share your predictions in the comments below.
As domestic soccer restarts this weekend, Gameweek 5 will certainly be one to keep an eye on. Even with no fans in stadiums, the amount of derbies taking place this weekend will provide plenty of bite to the fixtures. There’s also plenty at stake with a number of teams hoping to improve after a poor Gameweek 4!