Jose Mourinho. Chelsea, Manchester United. Once a household name in London, now a controversial link along 160 miles northwest of London. Mourinho badly needs a week this weekend against a side flying high at the moment after an unbeaten start to the season which sees his side tied at the top of the table with 20 points out of a possible 24.
Sarri will be without Rudiger as he limped off for Germany last weekend. United are still some way from convincing anyone of their outstanding quality, with the best team they have beaten so far ninth-placed Watford. However, things are far from comfortable for the Portuguese, who could see his side slip into the bottom half of the table with a defeat at Stamford Bridge.
This week started with Pep Guardiola inviting five of his youth team players to train with the senior squad. Philippe Sandler, the defender signed in the summer from Zwolle for around £2.25m, is 21, Cameron Humphreys 20, Iker Pozo 18 and both Adrià Bernabé and Alpha Dionkou 17. On the contrary, the average age of the Burnley squad is 29.2 years, the oldest in the league. Maybe that had to do with their bad start, but their experience is giving back the much-needed points they need. Pep will be a relatively calmer guy on the age counter as he happens to have a raw breed of talent down his pecking order, and yet his 27.6 years average age is hindering their progress as the season moves on.
Old friends, but worries for different reasons. Huddersfield is yet to win a game this campaign and David Wagner has more reasons to worry than his counterpart. A home game against Liverpool can give them a major boost ahead of the rest of the campaign as the win will help them move out of the relegation zone. Klopp, on the contrary, has doubts surrounding his selection and his headaches pump up as Mane, Van Dijk, Salah and Keita all were affected in some sort of injuries during the International break. This might just give Shaqiri and Sturridge a glimpse of hope to get more than an hour of game time.
8 years back, Howe started his Bournemouth journey against a high powered Southampton who was struggling with their finances. Fast forward the years, Bournemouth are now 10 places and 11 points ahead of them in the Premier League, have won five of their eight games to Southampton’s lonely one, and it looks like Southampton will need to play their best game this season to avoid a defeat. A defeat might push them closer to the relegation zone as a win for Howe’s men will push them for a European spot. A story that we can share with our grand-children.
Coming on against Spain, Nathaniel Chalobah became the first Watford outfield player to represent England since John Barnes in 1987. Watford is certainly on a downward trend right now after such a bright start to the season and they are not helped by two suspensions in defence. Maybe the added confidence of Chalobah will be a big boost after having a great start to the campaign. They come up against a Wolves team growing in confidence while playing some excellent football and are likely to maintain this good form here.
Predicted Scoreline for Premier League Gameweek 9:
Chelsea 3-1 Manchester United
West Ham 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Newcastle 2-0 Brighton
Bournemouth 3-0 Southampton
Cardiff City 1-2 Fulham
Wolves 0-0 Watford
Manchester City 2-1 Burnley
Huddersfield 0-1 Liverpool
Everton 3-1 Crystal Palace
Arsenal 1-0 Leicester City