EPL Preview: Matchday 3
As the third round of matches in the EPL kick off today, one thing is certain. Those Premier League fixture compilers have a great sense of humour.
They've sent Liverpool to Villa Park to take on Aston Villa, the club of Gareth Barry, Liverpool's main transfer target this summer, in the final match before the summer transfer window closes.
It has been yet another transfer saga that has gone on (and on and on) throughout the summer, with claim and counter-claim from both sides, Barry himself critising Martin O'Neill, reports of deadlines set and breached, bids made and rejected, Rafa's digs at his board.
And now after all of that between the two clubs, what a great idea those fixture compilers thought it would be to send Liverpool to Aston Villa. Let's just see if those fixture compilers were right.
Their game on Sunday will follow the London derby between league leaders Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, where the Blues will look to inflict revenge on their North London rivals, for the misery they endured after losing the 2008 Carling Cup final to Spurs at Wembley.
Meanwhile, point-less sides West Brom, Portsmouth and Wigan could struggle to get off the mark as they all face tough away games to Bolton, Everton, and Hull respectively.
Portsmouth having nothing to show for their season so far doesn't really come as much of a surprise, as they had Chelsea away and Manchester United at home. And at least Pompey can now say they have some of the big boys out of the way for a while.
West Brom having nothing could possibly for some come as no surprise; they were away to Arsenal and at home to Everton, two very good sides. And as the Baggies have been playing good football against these sides, and were unfortunate to lose against Everton, they look as if they could get something out of the game with Bolton.
Wigan can be forgiven for losing against Chelsea, but should've got something out of the game against West Ham. They'll be looking for at least a draw against Hull today however, but that could be a tough task considering the form the Tigers are in at the moment.
Another interesting clash will be at Upton Park, where Blackburn travel south to take on West Ham. There could well be the hottest reception of the season as Paul Ince returns to his former club.
Hammers' fans have not forgiven Ince for the manner in which he left West Ham to join Manchester United 19 years ago. It was controversial as he had been photographed wearing a Manchester United kit a while before the transfer was complete.
Newcastle will have a tough time when they travel to the Emirates Stadium to take on Arsenal. Kevin Keegan's men have been in good form this season, but will find it hard against an Arsenal side who have overcome their shock defeat against Fulham, with a convincing victory over Dutch side FC Twente in the Champions League qualifiers.
Middlesbrough take on Stoke at the Riverside, with the country's top scorer at the moment, Mido, looking to add to his goal tally. Stoke will look to build on their impressive win over Aston Villa last weekend with a win or at least a draw today.
Manchester City travel to the Stadium of Light to take on Sunderland. Shaun Wright-Phillips is poised to make his second debut for the Eastlands club.
Fulham aren't in action this weekend as their game with Manchester United has been postponed due to the latter's involvement in the UEFA Super Cup.
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