De Gea, Chelsea and more: Five things to look out for this weekend
Ross Cannon previews the Premier League weekend, including David De Gea's potential return and Man United v Liverpool
David De Gea
Possibly one of the most protracted and drawn-out transfer sagas ever seen in modern football has finally come to an end, with David de Gea signing a new four-year contract with Manchester United. Did the Red Devils send the documents late? Did Real Madrid leave it too late? Is Ed Woodward the rock and roll godfather of transfer dealings? Who knows! One thing is certain: Louis van Gaal and United have secured the services of one of football’s top goalkeepers for one more season at the very least. Saturday sees the arrival of arch-rivals Liverpool to Old Trafford and all eyes will be on the United team sheet to see if their once want-away shot-stopper will reclaim his place between the sticks at the Theatre of Dreams. Equal interest will be invested in the reception the Spanish international receives from the United faithful. Rapturous applause is expected when and if his name is read out by the match-day announcer. De Gea featured midweek while on international duty for Spain against Macedonia, picking-up a clean sheet in the process.
Manchester United v Liverpool
It’s the standout tie of the weekend and it involves two bitter rivals and two teams who suffered defeat last time out. The international break was surely a welcome distraction for both Van Gaal and Brendan Rodgers as both managers were left with a lot of head scratching after defeats to Swansea and West Ham respectively. Van Gaal’s ponderous possession game continues as United look to bore their opponents into submission and attempt to sneak a goal when the defence is napping. But, there is a chance that Wayne Rooney, fresh from his landmark 50th goal for England, may just provide the spark to set fire to United’s misfiring frontline. The Red Devils did the double over Liverpool last season and it is a trend Rodgers’s men will be looking to set straight. Liverpool will be left reeling from their 3-0 loss to West Ham and should put fire in the belly of the men from Merseyside. Injuries to key players and the suspension of the inform Phillippe Coutinho mean Liverpool will have to dig deep if they are to pick-up three points on Saturday afternoon.
Crocked Courtois adds to Chelsea conundrum
Chelsea’s season has gone from dim to dismal, with the news that first-choice goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is set for an extended period on the sidelines. Jose Mourinho and his men sit in unfamiliar 13th place in the table, having picked-up just one win from five and conceding nine goals in the process. Mourinho confirmed that the Chelsea star suffered the injury during training session and said: “As a consequence of that he will be out for quite a long time.” Summer recruit Asmir Begovic looks set to fill the void left by the big Belgian on Saturday, as Chelsea play away to hosts Everton. Begovic will earn his second start for the Blues after he stood in for Courtois against Manchester City who was suspended after being sent-off against Swansea on the opening day of the season.
Ayew and Pellegrini
The Swansea striker and Manchester City manager picked up the Premier League player and manager of the month award for August. The Ghana captain has been inspiring form after a blistering start to life in the English top flight. Having scored on his debut against Chelsea, against Newcastle and against United last time out. The 25-year-old, who signed on a free transfer from French side Marseille, has helped propel his team to fourth place. Ayew and Swansea travel to Watford on Saturday to continue their stellar start to the season. Manuel Pellegrini and his Manchester City team are in equally prolific form having banged in 10 goals in just four games. Coupled with their proficient goal scoring is their stout and resolute defence, with Vincent Kompany looking like being back to his brilliant best. Manuel’s men and their early season form has them touted as odds on favourites to lift the Premier League trophy for the third time in their history. Despite losing David Silva through injury, City travel to Crystal Palace in flying form.
Brave Bournemouth bereft of points
Eddie Howe’s men have been gallant, valiant and everything in between since their arrival to the Premier League. But the Cherries have only one win from four, despite playing a brand of fearless and attacking football, which has one them many plaudits, but not as many points. Their next Premier League test comes in the form of fellow newly promoted new boys, Norwich City who sit in three places below Bournemouth, with the teams sharing the same number of points. New acquisition Glenn Murray, should bring bags of experience and most importantly goals and help change the Cherries fortunes from brave losers to newly promoted powerhouse.