Week 4 was followed up with our first round of European competition and as we head into Week 5, squad rotation has to be at the top of everyone’s minds. Managers for many of these teams will also have to take in to account that European matches follow Week 6 as well. How will teams deal with the congested schedule? What are some of the key matches?
Manchester United v Chelsea
Saturday, 12:30 pm EDT
Inconsistency has been the key word for both Manchester United and Chelsea so far this season. They have both at times looked to a fluid competent side but a disjointed mess at other times. Against PSG, United looked really good through the first half but gave up a late equalizer. Against Chelsea, United will have to be on the top of their game defensively as Chelsea’s attacking force will punish any United mistake. By the same token, Chelsea is vulnerable at the back as well. Which defense will rise to the occasion.
Chelsea toiled a bit more than United in their Champions League match against Sevilla. They struggle to create much through the majority of the game. Frank Lampard seems to be dead set on shoehorning Mason Mount into the lineup, even if it means playing him wide right and moving Christian Pulisic out on the right. It was no coincidence that Chelsea’s best phase of play came once Ziyech came in for Mount and Pulisic was moved back to the left. How will Lampard set up his team on Saturday?
Wolves v Newcastle
Sunday, 12:30 pm EDT
I’m dedicating this selection to the memory of Daryl Grove who passsed away today October 23rd. For those that do not know Daryl, he was one half of the American soccer podcast, Total Soccer Show. The podcast covers USMNT, Premier League, Champions League, MLS and more. Darryl Grove was one of the most influential people in American soccer coverage and I never would have started podcasting and writing if not for the influence of him and TSS.
Darryl was a die hard Wolves fan, having grown up in the area and I felt that including them in the what to what would be a small tribute to one of the kindest, empathetic and compassionate voices covering the Premier League here in the States. Daryl Grove was the best of us, Rest in Peace.
Arsenal v Leicester City
Sunday, 3:15 pm EDT
Arsenal and Leicester are both coming in to this match fresh off wins in the Europa League and are looking to bounce back in the league after defeats last weekend. Against Rapid Wien, Thomas Partey started his first match for the Gunners and looks to be just the player that they have needed in the midfield. Partey should get his first start in the league against the Foxes. If Arsenal can control the midfield, they should be able to get a result.
After starting the season off winning their first three matches, Leicester have lost their last two. They have been heavily impacted by injuries; Ndidi, Pereira and Soyuncu are all in the midst of long spells out and Jaime Vardy has missed the last two matches. Fortunately, James Madison is backed to full fitness and should be rounding back in to form. Can Brendan Rodgers right the shift and get Leicester back on course?