The end of the international break has finally come, and the return of the Premier League is here. The return comes after the close of the Premier League transfer window, and we will get a chance to see some new faces. All eyes will of course be on Merseyside, but let’s take a look at some of the other matches going on this weekend.
Manchester City v Arsenal
Saturday, 12:30 pm EDT
While Arsenal have started off the season picking up nine points from 12, Manchester City have picked up only four points from an available nine. Pep Guardiola’s side have been plagued with injuries this season, and while Sergio Aguero has returned to first team training he will probably not be ready to start the match against Arsenal. The international break has not been kind to the “Citi-zens” either. Kevin De Bruyne picked up an injury while away with Belgium and will face a late fitness test. At the back, Manchester City will get a good look at how new center back Ruben Diaz performs against a dangerous Arsenal attack.
Arsenal have started the season full of optimism, which was capped off on deadline day with the signing of Thomas Partey from Atlético Madrid. Partey should slot in straight in on Saturday and provide a much needed dimension to the Gunners midfield. This will be the second meeting between Man City and Arsenal since Arteta was named manager. The former City assistant has now been able to construct this team a bit in his image. Will he be able to get the better of Guardiola this time?
Newcastle United v Manchester United
Saturday, 3:00 pm EDT
Manchester United have been a disaster to start the season. They have picked up merely a single win, which was only secured due to a last-minute handball from Brighton. The Red Devils have struggled at the back and have worked to shore up their defense with left back Alex Telles. They also picked up free agent Edinson Cavani on deadline day. The Red Devils will be without Anthony Martial, who is suspended after his red card. They should have plenty of firepower up front, but can the defense keep Newcastle from scoring? How will United respond to adversity?
Newcastle spent the offseason solving some of their goalscoring issues with the signings of Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser from Bournemouth. Wilson has already netted four goals so far and will be looking to add to that tally against a porous United defense. Allan Saint-Maximin will look to get in behind the back line and create opportunities for Wilson. They will mainly need to prevent Bruno Fernandes from having too much time on the ball.
Leicester City v Aston Villa
Sunday, 2:15 pm EDT
Leicester and Aston Villa both have started the season well. Leicester have won three of their opening four, and Aston Villa have won all three of their matches. Leicester City’s one loss was a 0-3 home defeat to West Ham last week, and they will be looking to bounce back. However, they will be doing so without the services of Caglar Soyuncu. Soyuncu picked up an injury while away on international duty, which makes way for deadline day signing Wesley Fofana to make his debut. Can the Leicester defense keep out a red-hot Aston Villa side?
Liverpool fans are intimately aware with how Dean Smith’s Aston Villa went in to the break. A 7-2 drubbing of the title holders left Villa feeling even more confident with their start to the season. Villa’s new striker Ollie Watkins picked up his first three goals of the season against Liverpool and will be looking to continue his prolific form. Watkins, along with Jack Grealish, will be crucial to Villa’s success against the Foxes.
Leeds United v Wolves
Monday, 3:00 pm EDT
Until disappointed, Leeds United could be a permanent fixture of the What to Watch column. Their last match against Manchester City was not full of goals but was full of end to end excitement. Against Wolves, they should be able to find plenty opportunities against a disappointing Wolves team. Patrick Bamford has been a goal machine and will get chances. Can he take advantage of those chances?
Wolves have struggled to replicate their success of last season, with wins against Sheffield and Fulham separated by losses against Manchester City and West Ham. With team lynchpins Matt Doherty and Diogo Jota leaving during the window, the onus has been on new faces to settle quickly – including Nelson Semedo, Marcal and new transfer record Fabio Silva. Can manager Nuno Espirito Santo utilize the counter to thwart Leeds’ high-powered offense?