With the English Premier League season resuming this weekend after the international break, fans and pundits alike will be eager to see who returns refreshed after the rest – and who has come back a little behind the pace. There are some standout fixtures across the opening weekend of October, with top four clashes and derbies aplenty on offer.
With such a mouth-watering schedule of games this coming weekend, read on as we take a look at and dissect three of the key match-ups taking place.
Arsenal vs Tottenham Hotspur
This derby needs no introduction. North London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have been involved in some incredible rivalry games in the past – and this weekend’s match-up at the Emirates Stadium is shaping up to be yet another barnburner. There will be added importance this time around, with both sides looking to solidify their place towards the top of the table. The Gunners are currently leading the league with 18 points from a possible 21 – however – how they fare against their rivals will act as a decent barometer of whether or not they are the real deal.
While Arteta’s men have been extremely impressive in their six wins this season, a number of them have come against teams who are near the bottom of the table. If they can secure a victory against a genuine contender in Tottenham, it will go a long way towards quashing any concerns over their legitimacy this season.
For Tottenham – they will be eager to upset the applecart and surpass their bitter foes on the league table. With Harry Kane in exceptional form and Hon Seung-min entering the game off the back of a hat-trick against Leicester City – Antonio Conte’s men are a dangerous outfit who pose a threat right across the park.
Spurs’ willingness to counterattack could also be an issue for Arsenal, who struggled against the run of play in their loss to Manchester United a few weeks back. With evenly matched teams and plenty on the line, this fixture could prove crucial in the context of both teams’ 2022/23 campaigns.
The football odds this weekend have Arsenal as the favourite heading into the match at 17/16.
Liverpool vs Brighton
If you looked at this fixture before the season began – you could be forgiven for thinking this would be an easy win for Liverpool. However, languishing on the fringe of the top eight with just nine points – Jurgen Klopp’s men have been a far cry from the dominant side we saw last season. Their lack of cohesion, vulnerability at the back and inability to capitalise in front of goal has plagued them in their opening seven games – and if they can’t rectify it soon – they risk missing out on a Champions League spot for the first time since 2016/17.
Contrast that with their opponents Brighton & Hove Albion, who entered this season without too many expectations. They have started their campaign extremely well, sitting fourth in the table after seven games. With victories over Manchester United, West Ham United, Leeds United and Leicester City at the conclusion of September’s fixtures – they will be hoping to add another notable scalp at Anfield.
As a result of their early season success, Chelsea expressed their interest in then-Brighton manager Graham Potter. After the Blues announced the sacking of Thomas Tuchel, Potter was quickly appointed as the German’s replacement. Many fans will be watching on intently to see how Brighton fare in their first match without their previous manager.
Manchester City vs Manchester United
In what is always a fiery affair, Manchester City and Manchester United is a fixture football fans circle on the Premier League calendar every season. City have gotten the better of their cross-city rivals as of late, with Pep Guardiola’s side winning three of the past four match-ups between the two teams. Given the stellar form City have been in coupled with it being at the Etihad Stadium, the defending champions are prohibitive favourites at 7/19 to come away with the victory.
It shouldn’t be an easy outing for City however, as United are in a rich vein of form that has seen them reign supreme in their last four showings – of which include noteworthy triumphs over Liverpool and league leaders Arsenal. However, if the Red Devils are to challenge this immensely talented City outfit, they will need to limit Erling Haaland’s damage in front of goal. The Norwegian has begun his 2022/23 season in electrifying fashion, finding the back of the net on 11 occasions for the Sky Blues. In spite of their strong performances in recent weeks, United find themselves as outsiders at 15/2.
In addition to the aforementioned fixtures taking place, other notable derby games on the weekend include Chelsea vs Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest vs Leicester City.