Mourinho's Chelsea face the wrath of Villas-Boas at Spurs
Premier League preview: Arsenal could be the big winners as master meets apprentice
IT'S master vs apprentice in the Premier League this week with Chelsea's visit to Spurs topping the bill and the division's two most elegant passing sides, Swansea and Arsenal, meeting in Wales.
After a month of the season the table is starting to take shape although there is no clear leader yet. Any one of five teams could be topping the table on Sunday night, but Man United are not one of them. David Moyes's side is languishing down in eighth and he cannot afford any more slip-ups after the team lost two of their opening five games.
It's also a big week for managerless Sunderland, who face Liverpool, and struggling Fulham, who need points to ease the tension at Craven Cottage.
Spurs v Chelsea:
The opening game of the weekend sees Jose Mourinho drop in on his protege Andre Villas-Boas, now in charge of Spurs. The pair first worked together at Porto more than a decade ago and Villas-Boas became an integral part of Mourinho's backroom team at Chelsea and Inter Milan. But their relationship has soured since Villas-Boas struck out on his own in 2009. The Spurs boss would not only love to get one over on Mourinho in their first meeting as managers, but will also want to scalp Chelsea, the club that sacked him after just eight months in 2012. He might not get a better chance. The Special One's return to Chelsea has not been the glorious affair many had expected, while Spurs have used the Gareth Bale transfer money wisely to build an impressive-looking squad. However, this is the sort of challenge that Mourinho thrives on, and with both men determined not to lose a draw might be the most likely outcome.
Arsenal v Swansea:
We might only be a few weeks into the new season, but already Arsenal's campaign has had its fair share of highs and lows. Disaster against Aston Villa on the opening day of the season was followed by a major transfer coup in the arrival of Mesut Ozil and a run of eight straight wins (if you include the victory over West Brom on penalties). After 11 away wins in a row the Gunners will be confident of another three points at the Liberty Stadium. Swansea, who do not like being seen as a kind of Arsenal 'lite' despite the similarities in style, have had a not dissimilar run. Two league defeats at the start of the season have been followed by two wins and a draw and a famous win over Valencia in Europe. It's hard to predict a winner, but with Mikel Arteta back from injury, and Aaron Ramsey in amazing form for Arsenal, the Gunners could have the edge.
Man Utd v West Brom:
After a torrid start to the season with league games against Liverpool and Man City (both lost) and Chelsea (drawn) David Moyes must have been looking forward to this fixture, which marks the start of a relatively easy run, ahead of the clash with Arsenal in November. However, with United down in eighth place there is an element of danger about this fixture. United fans will understand that Moyes has endured a tough start to life at Old Trafford, but mild concerns will escalate to full-blown anxiety if United fail to see off West Brom at home. The Baggies have failed to impress so far this season and should not pose too much of a threat to United, but Stephane Sessegnon could pose a threat in midfield and it will be interesting to see whether he goes up against Marouane Fellaini. Old Trafford will want to see a convincing display.
Sunderland v Liverpool
Paolo Di Canio has gone, but the Stadium of Light will not be without controversial figures this weekend, as Liverpool and Luis Suarez come to town. The Uruguayan returned to action this week after his ten-game ban for biting an opponent and a summer spent trying to plot an escape from Anfield. The Reds began the season in fine form but their unbeaten start to the season ended last week with home defeat to Southampton. Brendan Rodgers will want to get things back on track against managerless Sunderland who lie bottom of the table. To that end he could choose to start with both Daniel Sturridge and Suarez up front. Who knows how Sunderland will play, but it is unlikely to be any worse than it was under departed Italian Di Canio, who will not be mourned by supporters or players.
Aston Villa v Man City:
Manchester City, flushed with success after destroying United in the Manchester derby last weekend, will be in high spirits ahead of the visit to Villa. Adding to the air of optimism around the Etihad will be the 5-0 win over Wigan in the Capital One Cup last week, in which £22m striker Stevan Jovetic made a convincing bid for a place in the first team. Aston Villa, meanwhile, were knocked out of the cup by Spurs on Wednesday and have lost the services of striker Christian Benteke for several weeks.
This week's other fixtures:
SATURDAY Fulham v Cardiff
Hull v West Ham
Southampton v Crystal Palace
SUNDAY Stoke v Norwich
MONDAY Everton v Newcastle ·