In Review

Arsenal in danger of another mauling as they visit Chelsea

Premier League preview: Stamford Bridge visit could turn nasty for weakened Gunners

Cesc Fabregas

There are only two unbeaten teams left in the Premier League and they come face to face on Sunday, as Arsenal make the short trip across London to Chelsea.

The Gunners will be hoping to inflict what would only be a second-ever home league defeat at Stamford Bridge on Jose Mourinho, and they will have most of the division cheering them on, as thus far Chelsea have made the Premier League look like a walkover.

But while the London derby is the weekend's stand-out fixture as Cesc Fabregas takes on his old team, there is also the small matter of Man Utd versus their perennial rivals Everton, as both teams seek to recover from dodgy starts to the season. Liverpool are also in need of a boost while Newcastle boss Alan Pardew faces another must-win clash, away at Swansea.

There are managerial homecomings too. First Harry Redknapp takes QPR to his old stomping ground, Upton Park, to face West Ham, while Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino comes face to face with the club he left last summer, Southampton, at White Hart Lane.

Here's the best of the weekend's action:

Chelsea v Arsenal

Should Arsenal fans be afraid? Possibly, yes. Last time the Gunners visited Stamford Bridge they were humiliated 6-0, and Chelsea are in fantastic form this season. But Gunners fans might be better off looking at the worrying parallels between this fixture and the infamous 8-2 mauling at Old Trafford in 2011. Back then Arsene Wenger had what looked like an injury crisis on his hands, but an excellent Champions League victory (over Udinese) days before the match meant that Arsenal were only mildly concerned as they headed north. What happened next is etched in Premier League folklore.

The Gunners have a stronger squad than they did back in 2011, but with Aaron Ramsey and Mikel Arteta out, Jack Wilshere and Alexis Sanchez struggling and resources stretched to breaking point in defence, the warning signs are there. Chelsea look stronger in every department and Cesc Fabregas could return to haunt his old club.

Fabregas should get the better of his old apprentice, Wilshere, and no matter how impressive Danny Welbeck looked against Galatasray he is unlikely to find John Terry, Gary Cahill and Nemanja Matic quite as accommodating as the Turkish defence. Meanwhile, Diego Costa and Chelsea's midfield runners will give Arsenal's back four a torrid time.

Both these teams are unbeaten this season, but if Arsenal escape with their record intact it will be a great result for them. An absolute thrashing may be unlikely but it’s not unthinkable.

Man Utd v Everton

Last season this fixture was all about old Evertonians David Moyes and Wayne Rooney. But Moyes is long gone and Rooney is suspended for this clash, so the unlikely figure of Marouane Fellaini could take centre stage, although if he does make his first appearance of the season he will likely get stick from both sets of supporters.

United fans will be hoping that the likes of Angel di Maria and Radamel Falcao will be the ones to impress at Old Trafford, while the Toffees will want United's poor early season form to continue. The suspended Rooney may secretly agree. If United click and Louis van Gaal can find a winning formula without him, he could become a spare wheel at Old Trafford.

A lunchtime kick-off at Old Trafford, less than three days after a game on the other side of Crimea, is not what Everton would have wanted, but United have given visiting teams little to be scared of in recent times. Yet a front three of Di Maria, Falcao and Van Persie will be a test for any defence, especially one as porous as Everton's has been this season.

Both teams badly need the points, but a win for United looks the most likely and if they get it their season will suddenly look a lot brighter. They could even find themselves in the top four.

Liverpool v West Brom

Brendan Rodgers could be facing the first crisis of his time in charge of Liverpool. The Reds have seven points from six games and their title challenge is in danger of fizzling out before it's even begun. An uncertain start has also left their European campaign hanging by a thread, and add to that the media attention Mario Balotelli's mediocre form has attracted plus a club v country row over Daniel Sturridge and the pressure is on.

Liverpool's defence has also been in the spotlight as has the ageing Steven Gerrard. But the Reds’ big problem is up front, where they are desperately missing Luis Suarez and Sturridge, who could make a controversial return this weekend, given his omission from the England squad.

West Brom are on a roll after winning three on the bounce and Saido Berahino is in fine form up front. Whether they have enough to mug Liverpool at home remains to be seen, but a draw might not be a bad bet.

Aston Villa v Man City

Villa's strong start to the season has been ended with back-to-back 3-0 defeats against Arsenal and Chelsea, and things don't get any easier this weekend with the visit of Man City. The defending champions have not been in spectacular form so far this season but they still look pretty formidible on paper, and they will expect to get the better of Villa.

Manuel Pellegrini's side were pegged back by Roma in the Champions League, and he will want the players to react positively to that setback. It will be interesting to see if Joe Hart holds onto the keeper's jersey. He was recalled for the Roma game, but his slip, albeit accidental, allowed Francesco Totti to equalise.

For Villa, Christian Benteke finally returns to the squad after six months out, but will presumably be off the pace. Key defender Ron Vlaar is also likely to miss out. It will also be interesting to see if Roy Keane's beard has got any bigger.

Swansea v Newcastle

Aside from those involving the big guns, the most intriguing match of the weekend could be Newcastle's trip to Swansea. Alan Pardew will probably be relieved to have several thousand Welshmen throwing abuse at him, given his recent experiences on Tyneside. And if the Magpies are beaten by the Swans then he may be tempted to stay in Wales rather than head back to Newcastle.

Swansea will not roll over, and another defeat will surely be terminal.

The weekend's other fixtures


Hull v Crystal Palace

Leicester v Burnley

Sunderland v Stoke


Tottenham v Southampton

West Ham v QPR


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