A heavily rotated side took to the field last night to face Koln in order to rest key players ahead of Sunday’s trip to Chelsea. There was no place in the squad for Danny Welbeck, Alexandre Lacazette, Laurent Koscielny, Petr Cech or Mesut Ozil who all are expected to feature at the weekend. Arsenal will be looking for their first win at Stamford Bridge since 2011 and in pick u only their third win of the league campaign in the process. After a return to form against Bournemouth last weekend the Gunners need to improve away to the top six sides if they are to challenge for the top four places again. They have actually beaten Chelsea in three of the last four meetings including the comfortable win at the Emirates last season. The other two times came at Wembley in the FA Cup final and then the penalty win to open this season at the Community Shield. Despite their opening day defeat to Burnley, Chelsea have won their last three in a row and Arsenal will need to be at their best to stop that from happening.
Table topping Manchester United are the last to play this week as they face off at home to Everton on Sunday afternoon. Both games finished in a 1-1 draw last season but Everton have not won at Old Trafford since December 2013. Last week saw the first dropped points of United’s season as they drew 2-2 at Stoke. Everton have struggled so far scoring just twice in their four league games but have already played Man City, Chelsea, and Tottenham. Both sides will have played in midweek but United would have had two days extra rest.
Spurs got their first home win of the season in their midweek Champions League game and return to Wembley on Saturday evening to welcome Swansea. Spurs have never lost to Swansea in the Premier League and last season was a 5-0 win for the home side. Swansea are, however, unbeaten away in the league so far but are yet to win at home. They have scored only twice so far this season, as many as Harry Kane has in each of his last two games in all competitions.
Two unbeaten sides meet at Vicarage Road as Manchester City travel to Watford. Last season saw City win both games with an aggregate score of 7-0 but Watford have improved this season. If the home side are to continue their impressive start to the season they will have to do something not done in the Premier League era and beat City.
Liverpool will aim to recover from their hefty defeat last time at Man City as they return home to face Burnley. Generally seen a side who struggle against the tight and compact sides Liverpool actually won in this fixture 2-1 last season. Burnley’s one win in six league games against Liverpool came at Turf Moor last season and they have already got points away to Chelsea and Spurs this season. Both sides have seven points and are close to each other in the league table.
Friday night sees the first kick off of the game week as winless Bournemouth face Brighton. Brighton got their first win in the Premier League last weekend and move to 14th in the league with four points. Bournemouth are yet to gain a point this season and have so far scored just once in the league. Bournemouth won both times the teams met each other in the 2014/15 Championship season.
Roy Hodgson takes charge of his first Crystal Palace game on Saturday against goal shy Southampton. Palace, who are yet to score a goal this season are still looking for their first points. Southampton, on the other hand, have five points but have scored just one goal from open play. The home side won each game last season with Crystal Palace taking the tie at Selhurst Park 3-0.
Huddersfield Town look to bounce back after their first defeat of the season as the host Leicester. With seven points already Huddersfield have started stronger than Leicester who have just one win in the league so far. Leicester have, however, faced a tougher run and played Manchester United and Chelsea.
Newcastle host Stoke City on Saturday, a side they have not beaten in the league since 2013. The last time the two sides met at Saint James’s Park was a 0-0 draw in October 2015. The home side have recovered from a slow start to the season and have won their last two games, keeping two clean sheets in the process. Stoke are unbeaten since their opening day defeat at Everton but are yet to win away from home.
Last game week saw a turn in the fortunes of both West Ham and West Brom. For West Ham, it brought about their first league win of the season. They must now travel to West Brom who received their first defeat of the campaign at the hands of Brighton. West Ham have conceded 10 already this season but come up against a side who have scored just one in each of their four games so far. The fixture last season finished 4-2 to the home side and West Brom fans will be hoping for a repeat performance.
Arsenal need to secure a positive result at the weekend, if not for the points, then for the belief going forward that they can challenge the other top sides in the league and break back into the top four. They have shown in games such as the FA Cup Final that they can beat Chelsea when it counts so they need to use that and put in a better performance than the fans have seen recently.