Morning all. The League Cup games are done and dusted and we’re straight back into the seventh round of Premier League matches. Eight of them are on Saturday which is quite a rarity in these days of spreading matches out across the weekend. Kicking things off tomorrow at 12.30pm are league leaders, Liverpool, who travel to Bramall Lane for a 12.30pm kick-off against Sheffield United hoping to go eight points clear of Manchester City. Pep Guardiola’s side are in action at Everton in a 5.30pm kick-off. Jürgen Klopp managed to rotate all 11 of his starters against Chelsea when they beat MK Dons 2-0, so there’ll be no worry of fatigue. The Blades face a daunting task against the Reds, who have won their last 15 Premier League matches stretching back to last season, but Chris Wilder is backing his on-loan Manchester United goalkeeper, Dean Henderson, to perform well on what could be a busy day between the sticks.
“Liverpool’s forward three have been unbelievable for the past couple of years,” said Wilder. “In terms of the quality they’ve got, the mobility and way they interchange, we’re going to have to have an unbelievably great day to keep the ball out of our net. Our goalkeeper is going to have to make saves, we understand that, but I feel we have the best young goalkeeper in the country.”
In the 3pm kick-offs, the bottom two meet at Molineux. Watford and Wolves are yet to win a game this season. A six-pointer already? Nearer the top, fifth-placed West Ham face sixth-placed Bournemouth. The Hammers were, erm, hammered 4-0 by Oxford in the League Cup but Manuel Pellegrini made a raft of changes and their rock at the back, Angelo Ogbonna, did not start. Bournemouth are scoring for fun in the league at the moment, while the Hammers have conceded only two goals in their past five league games. It’s an intriguing one. Third-bottom Aston Villa host Burnley, who have yet to win away this season. Opportunity knocks for Villa to move out of the bottom three.
After the embarrassment of defeat at Colchester on Tuesday and murmurings of discontent in the ranks, how Maurico Pochettino could do with a win when his former club Southampton visit Tottenham. Saints beat their local rivals Pompey in the League Cup in midweek but in their last home game, against Bournemouth, they were second best as they lost 3-1. Ralph Hasenhüttl will expect a reaction. It could be a tricky one for Spurs.
There is Chelsea v Brighton and Crystal Palace v Norwich to look foward to on Saturday, too, and as mentioned earlier, Everton host Manchester City. Pressure is building on Marco Silva after an underwhelming start to the season, including the 2-0 home defeat by Sheffield United last time out. Silva is still struggling to work out what his best team is. He could do with figuring it out quick if City play anything like they did in last week’s 8-0 hammering of Watford. And on Sunday, Newcastle take on in-form Leicester at the King Power Stadium with takeover talk in the air during the buildup to the match. Manchester United host Arsenal on Monday night.
For further reading, here’s our 10 things to look out for in the Premier League this weekend.