Five things to watch: Liverpool, Harry Kane and QPR

Ross Cannon previews the Premier League weekend

By Ross Cannon

Enhanced odds: Liverpool or draw @ 5/1 or Chelsea @ 6/1!

Liverpool’s A team

After Tuesday night’s team selection, Brendan Rodgers has heaped added pressure on top of him and his Liverpool team ahead of today’s lunch-time kick-off against league leaders Chelsea. The Liverpool boss was accused of betraying the club’s heritage and undermining the Champions League with seven changes, effectively fielding a second-string team at the Bernabéu. Rodgers’s team selection made it implicitly clear that his priorities are firmly fixed on the league. The return of Steven Gerrard and co should offer some optimism, but that optimism will be tempered by the fact that this is a team that have failed to break down the likes of Newcastle, Hull and Aston Villa. Chelsea’s A game maybe too strong a match for Liverpool’s A team.

Enhanced odds: Liverpool or draw @ 5/1 or Chelsea @ 6/1!

QPR are another possible banana skin for Man City

Manchester City find themselves in a state of uncertainty and lacking in confidence going into their Saturday evening clash with QPR. City continued the trend of poor results in Europe for the English teams with a ponderous display against CSKA Moscow, which culminated in a 2-1 loss and two dismissals against the Russian outfit. It’s one win in five for the Sky Blues and they face a QPR side that almost afforded both Liverpool and Chelsea the chance to slip up in two closely-fought encounters. Manuel Pellegrini will have to quell his side’s current gung-ho attitude, and try and employ some sort of solidity or else City’s attempt to retain the title may be put on the skids.

Lilywhite Kane

Will the 21-year-old be included in Mauricio Pochettino’s starting XI to face Stoke? The Spurs faithful have been pleading mercifully for the inclusion of the sprightly youngster to spearhead their attack. Harry Kane has done possibly every thing in his powers to warrant inclusion, with eight goals in his last eight games, albeit in a mish-mash of cup competitions and an extremely fortuitous deflected free-kick against Aston Villa last Sunday. None the less, his job is to score goals and that is precisely what Kane is doing for Spurs. To add to the young striker’s argument, there is the woeful form of big-money signing Roberto Soldado. The Spanish striker has made only two Premier League starts this season. Similarly, Emmanuel Adebayor has reverted to offering next to nothing up front for the Lilywhites. Surely Kane is the most attractive option up front for Pochettino.

Enhanced odds: Liverpool or draw @ 5/1 or Chelsea @ 6/1!

Swans in full flight

Swansea City are sitting pretty in sixth place. This time last season, with 10 games gone, Swansea were sitting in 13th position. Considering Swansea are a team who have lost some big players like Jonathan de Guzmán, Michu (On loan) and Chico Flores, Gary Monk has done a fine job propelling them up the table. It is not massively unthinkable that the Welsh side could pick-off an Arsenal side who will be no doubt reeling from relinquishing a 3-0 lead to Anderlecht midweek. A win for Swansea would see them go a point ahead of the Gunners and leap into fourth place. Arsene Wenger has hinted that Theo Walcott may return after 10 months out of the game, the England international will be a welcome return for what is now a jaded and lifeless Arsenal team.

Enhanced odds: Liverpool or draw @ 5/1 or Chelsea @ 6/1!

The Iron Duo

Life is good in the east end of London for Sam Allardyce and his star striker Diafra Sakho. The duo picked up the Barclays Premier League manager of the month and player of the month award for October. It’s a whirlwind away from last season’s jeering and booing of Allardyce for his perceived negative tactics and style of play. Big Sam was forced to change his approach and has done so with aplomb, employing an eye-catching attacking style of football. Three wins from three in the month of October have seen The Irons climb into fifth place, level on points with Arsenal. Diafra Sakho has been a key part in West Ham’s good start to the season and a possible signing of the summer. The Senegalese native has had a stellar start to life in the Premier League, plucked from Metz in the second division of French football, Sakho scored in all three of West Ham’s October wins and has six goals from six starts. West Ham’s winning ways and Sakho’s goal streak should continue this weekend against Aston Villa.

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