Chelsea aim to break Magpies curse
The last time Chelsea took three points from St. James’ Park, the goalscorers included Daniel Sturridge and Salomon Kalou, while current goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga was a 17-year-old yet to taste first-team football. That was in December 2011, and since then the Blues have suffered defeat on four of their last five visits to Newcastle, with a sole draw in 2015 somewhat sparing their blushes. Rafa Benitez lost this fixture with Chelsea in Feburary 2013, before beating his former club as Magpies boss in May of this year. He will have to make do without the services of winger Kenedy, a Chelsea loanee, so a rare start for former Blues player Christian Atsu is on the cards. Whether that is enough to defeat a rejuvenated Chelsea side remains to be seen. The Blues have won their opening three games in 2010/11, 2012/13, 2014/15 and 2016/17, while they’ve failed to do so in the intervening seasons. It’s due…
New managers fight for first points in London
It would be fair to comment that life in London has not started well for Unai Emery and Manuel Pellegrini. Consecutive defeats have curbed early optimism at both Arsenal and West Ham, although fans understand that it will take time for the new managers’ influence and philosophy to bear fruit. However, they will want to chalk up some points soon, and one coach will leave the Emirates happy after they meet this Saturday. Pellegrini has won six of the 12 matches in which he has faced his Spanish counterpart, but was unable to record a win in his three visits to the Emirates as Manchester City manager. It has taken time, but plenty of change is afoot here.
Huddersfield’s season starts now
It may sound defeatist, but realistically Huddersfield would have expected to take zero points from their opening games against Chelsea and Manchester City (although a goal difference of minus eight is not exactly ideal). David Wagner’s primary aim will be to beat the teams around them in order to maximise their chances of survival, and they have a fantastic opportunity to do just that when Cardiff visit the John Smith Stadium this Saturday. The Bluebirds are yet to find the net since their return to the Premier League and look the least equipped side in the top flight. Anything other than a win would spell trouble early on for the Terriers.
In-form forwards meet on the south coast
Everton may well end up having the last laugh after wide criticism for the transfer fee paid for winger Richarlison this summer. The Brazilian has enjoyed a blistering start at Goodison Park with three goals in his first two matches as he has rekindled the fire formed with manager Marco Silva a year ago at Watford. His next task is to score at Bournemouth, where he netted his first Premier League goal almost exactly 12 months ago. There he will meet Callum Wilson, who has also scored in his first two games of the season. Whichever forward manages to extend their run on Saturday will surely determine the result on the coast.
Wolves to become Guardiola’s 71st victim
A stat that probably won’t surprise you: Pep Guardiola has defeated all 70 teams he has faced in league football as a manager (although Celtic and Wigan have emerged unscathed so far in cup competitions). He’s not played Wolves in a league game, although Nuno Espirito Santo’s side drew 0-0 in 90 minutes with Manchester City when they played in the League Cup last October. The two come face to face again at Molineux on Saturday. A repeat of last year’s result would be the shock of the weekend.