Premier League Preview (25/08/2012) – Key Matches
August 21, 2012
Chelsea vs. Newcastle United
Chelsea recorded a solid yet unspectacular win against Wigan this past weekend while Newcastle restored their 1 goal advantage to win 2-1 against a quality Tottenham Hotspur side. Both teams showed their defensive qualities whilst displaying great moments of creativity and ruthlessness for their goals.
Chelsea have recruited very well in the transfer window. They have secured the services of creative attacking talents such as Oscar, Marin and wonder kid Eden Hazard. Although Newcastle have brought in Vurnon Anita from Ajax and other youngsters, their biggest plus is that they have not lost any key players, who will be instrumental to their success this season. With both sides among the competitors for the Champions League places, this game promises to be a cracker, even at this early stage in the season.
Liverpool vs. Man City
Both Liverpool and Manchester City face selection dilemmas. The loss of Daniel Agger to a red card on Saturday will be a major blow to Liverpool. Manchester City lost key man Sergio Aguero to an injury during the opening match of the season. Both teams will therefore not be operating at their optimal strength.
Manchester City haven’t registered a win against Liverpool at Anfield in the last 9 Premier League games. Nevertheless, statistics go out the window as anything can happen in football. No one would have expected the capitulation of Liverpool, humiliated 3-0 by West Brom. Manchester City struggled initially in their encounter against Southampton. It took late goals from Edin Dzeko and Samir Nasri to draw City back into the lead from a 2-1 deficit.
This game will be a lot closer as both teams will strive to improve their defensive performances from the weekend.
Stoke vs. Arsenal
It was a frustrating start to the season for Arsenal. They dominated Sunderland from start to finish, yet failed to score. Santi Carzola impressed whilst other signings Podolski and Giroud had average afternoons. Stoke had a solid start away from home against Reading, drawing 1-1. Winning until the last minute, Stoke will be disappointed to have conceded a 90th minute equaliser from Reading.
Arsenal have had another turbulent transfer window; losing arguably their best two players of last season, Robin Van Persie and Alex Song, to Manchester United and Barcelona respectively. Stoke have bought well so far, bringing in the winger Michael Kightly from Wolves, which will increase competition on the wings. In addition, they no longer have the distraction of Europa League, which may be a blessing as this tournament hindered their progress in the Premier League last season. To emphasise this point, by the end of August last season, Stoke had played 7 games (Europa League and Premier League). This season they will have only played 2 Premier League games, which should put them in great form against the Gunners come Sunday.