The dramatic tension of the Premiership is really starting to build now as the heady outlines of glory and failure begin to take shape for all twenty teams.
The fever starts to build with the two lunchtime fixtures where high flying debutantes Wigan Athletic should prove too strong for struggling visitors Fulham. Meanwhile in the match of the day, Spurs entertain Arsenal with their best chance for years of winning the at times heated North London derby. Arsenal’s heart, in the shape of Thierry Henry, misses the game due to injury so the likelihood of Wenger’s boys taking advantage of the chance to catch the newly confident Tottendam (sic) looks slim.
In the five three o’clock kickoffs, there’s an into-the-valley-of-relegation battle between two seriously underperforming teams as Birmingham host Everton; it’s second versus seventh as Charlton hope to resist the attacking verve of Bolton Wanderers; whilst the leaders Chelsea will be hoping both to recover momentum against Blackburn Rovers and that there’s no re-run of the pitched battle between the two teams we saw last season. Liverpool will be hoping to avoid further embarrassment against the improving West Ham and in the other basement battle two teams struggle desperately for air as Sunderland face Portsmouth.
The late afternoon match sees the unpredictable Middlesboro host the so far inconsistent Manchester United in a game in which literally anything can happen but, as United keeper Edwin van der Sar says: “The season is going to stand or fall on our two results this week. There is already a gap between ourselves and Chelsea [who we play on November 6th], so that will only be an important game if we win on Saturday”.
Sunday sees West Brom looking to keep their recent good run going against the dangerously wounded beast that is Newcastle United but I expect the Toon Army to prevail and the month of October and this week’s round of matches is brought to a close on Monday night as the high-flying Sky Blues of Manchester City will look to take advantage of a struggling Aston Villa.