Week 8 and the traditional power houses of the Premier league are all eyeing the trophy. Champions Leicester travel to Chelsea to kick off the action on a Saturday wherein leaders Manchester City face fifth-placed Everton; throw in a London derby between Crystal Palace and West Ham to make things more exciting.
All of this though pales as the fiercest rivalry in the league has a showdown – Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool take on Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United on Monday. Mourinho faces one of the biggest decisions of his Manchester United reign as he weighs up whether to recall Wayne Rooney for the Premier League clash.
Rooney has endured a miserable few weeks after being dropped by United and England. The 30-year-old’s troubles have led to a debate about whether he should be used in midfield instead of his long-time role as a striker, while some critics claim he is no longer worthy of his place with club or country.
On the other hand, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte seems to have an axe hanging over his head after one win in four league matches. Bookmakers have stopped taking bets on the Italian being the next Premier League manager to lose his job.
With Chelsea currently five points behind leaders Manchester City, a defeat against Premier League champions Leicester on Saturday may increase unexpected pressure on the Italian, who took the club’s top job three months ago.
With a new boss, Swansea will be looking for a turn in fortunes as newly appointed Bob Bradley faces a baptism of fire on his introduction to English football’s top flight when he takes his side to in-form Arsenal on Saturday.
Having built a reputation in the United States, Norway and most recently, France, Bradley – the first American to manage in the Premier League – succeeded Italian Francesco Guidolin in south Wales following a torrid start to the season. Billed as a meticulous tactician, Bradley has been tasked with getting Swansea out of a potential relegation battle.
At Stratford, East London, West Ham’s move to their new London Stadium was supposed to begin a revolution for West Ham. Qualification to the Europa League and a seventh-place finish in the Premier League last season brought lofty expectations for Slaven Bilic’s side following his impressive first season. But an early play-off round exit in the Europa League and a dismal start to the league campaign has seen West Ham drop into the relegation zone having taken just four points from their opening eight games.
Stoke and Sunderland face each other at the Bet365 Stadium on Saturday as the only winless sides in the Premier League. Both have come close to notching that elusive victory in recent games. Sunderland threw away a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2 at home to Crystal Palace on September 24, the same day Stoke conceded in injury time to draw 1-1 with West Brom.
It promises to be an action packed weekend in the premier league. With the players coming in after an international break, managers would be looking to quickly get the players on their strides. The fans though would be looking out for clearer indication in the title race.