This week’s Premiership fixtures kick off with the Saturday lunchtime game between Mark Hughes’ Blackburn Rovers and Steve Bruce’s Birmingham City, as the two former Manchester United players, now rival managers, compete for vital points.
Birmingham need the points more as they look to get a so far disappointing season turned around but Blackburn are becoming hard to beat; probably a draw waiting to happen but, if there is a winner, it’s more likely to be the Rovers.
In the main group of Saturday afternoon matches, the standout game is obviously at Old Trafford as third placed Manchester United host the much improved Tottenham Hotspur who are currently lying in a well-deserved second spot. United have been stuttering a lot recently due to a bloated injury list, now even longer due to the mid-week fracture of Welsh winger Ryan Giggs’ cheekbone by a French elbow, and will be desperate for a victory over the new second best team in London.
Elsewhere, the former second best team in London, Arsenal, host the continuingly impressive Manchester City, who will be looking to maintain their good start. Perennial strugglers Aston Villa host this season’s surprise package Wigan Athletic, currently flying high in sixth place in their first ever Premiership season, whilst Fulham will hope to get at least a draw against a Liverpool side boosted by the return of Steve Gerrard.
The late afternoon match sees strugglers Portsmouth entertain high flyers Charlton Athletic down on the South Coast of England – and down is likely where they are going to remain against the well-organized Londoners.
The four Sunday matches start with the prospect of a cracking North East derby as two teams with a lot to prove go for it as Newcastle United host Sunderland. It could get hot in St James Park at lunchtime…
Later, Bolton Wanderers are having another good season so far and will be looking to consolidate against promoted West Bromwich Albion and West Ham United will be looking to bounce back from last week’s defeat for the visit of Middlesborough, one place below them.
This week’s fixtures are brought to a close with the 4 pm kickoff of this season’s surprise whipping boys Everton, currently propping up the table, having to face the runaway leaders Chelsea. All non-Chelsea fans will doubtless be hoping to see The Toffees end the Londoners’ perfect start, probably in vain.