In the 1994 classic Forrest Gump, the protagonist says an immortal line which would etch itself in the collective psyche of movie history. “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.”
For the sake of this weekend’s action, just replace the word ‘life’ with the Premier League.
Widely regarded as one of the most unpredictable and exciting leagues in the world, the Premier League throws up a plethora of surprises every season, and with the way that the new season has started, it looks like it will stay true to that image this weekend.
In Gameweek 1, Manchester United suffered a nightmare start as they went down 2-1 to a Brighton team which has had their number for a couple of seasons. Liverpool came from behind to register just a 2-2 draw with newcomers Fulham and Chelsea could only scrape one goal past an Everton team which a lot of people are saying are relegation favourites this term.
Elsewhere, the other 3 teams of the traditional big 6, Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham, had a start befitting their stature.
As Gameweek 2 is almost upon us, here’s looking at the matches to look forward to this weekend:
Chelsea vs Tottenham (Sunday, 9 PM)
Two teams who had a very contrasting start of the season lock horns on Saturday, with Chelsea just stuttering past Everton last week and Tottenham blowing away a hapless Southampton. On Sunday, the two traditional London rivals will add a more intriguing chapter to their rivalry.
After a long time, Tottenham seemingly has an upper hand over the Blues. With players like Son Heung-min and Harry Kane already looking like threats, Chelsea will have a hard time keeping up with them in the defensive third.
🗣 “I don’t believe everything that Antonio Conte says in games like this.” 🤣
Thomas Tuchel believes there is no gap between Tottenham and other top clubs pic.twitter.com/d4LtMmYpTj
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) August 12, 2022
One Spurs player who is seemingly under everyone’s radar is Sweden’s Dejan Kulusevski, who has been performing consistently since arriving in Tottenham in January and Chelsea will look to neutralize him as well as deploy N’Golo Kante to counterbalance the Swede’s threat. Chelsea will also look to their new signings Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly, both of whom had a decent game against Everton, to see them over the line this time around.
Arsenal vs Leicester City (Saturday, 7.30 PM)
A buoyant Arsenal will take on Leicester City, who seem to be reeling on the defensive front on Saturday.
After selling Kasper Schmeichel to Nice, the goalkeeping options of Leicester are limited. The Foxes conceded two second-half goals against Brentford in the second half despite being 2-0 up at halftime in the previous match. Arsenal, meanwhile, are on a roll with their new signing Gabriel Jesus bedding into an already stellar attacking lineup consisting of Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka and Martin Ødegaard.
However, the London club will need to be wary of striker Jamie Vardy, who seems to catch fire every time he plays against Arsenal, with the Gunners having been burned by the English striker on more than one occasion. The Foxes also have talent like James Maddison, Harvey Barnes and Arsenal target Youri Tielemans, who have the ability to change the complexion of any game on their day.
Looking to add to his tally against the Gunners in #ARSLEI on Saturday 📈
— Leicester City (@LCFC) August 12, 2022
Brentford vs Manchester United (Saturday, 10 PM)
In years past, an away trip to Brentford would have been a routine one for Manchester United. But a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then with Erik Ten Hag’s United run beginning with a 2-1 loss to Brighton.
This shouldn’t be a shocking result now, with United conceding 4 goals to Brighton the last time they met. But that was the old regime, the new one was supposed to start with the hope of a brighter future but ultimately fell back to the same malaise that has been haunting the Red Devils since Alex Ferguson left in 2013. This Manchester United have no identity, no proper way of playing and Ten Hag will need more time to mould the team in his image.
Another big question looming is will Cristiano Ronaldo start in West London? The Portuguese striker’s place on the teamsheet seems like a no-brainer, but owing to a tumultuous pre-season during which he did not play much, Ten Hag chose not to play him at Old Traffod last week. It’ll be curious to see what he does on Saturday.
Erik ten Hag on Cristiano Ronaldo: “Cristiano had a good training week, I thought he played a little bit longer than half an hour, he’s had two half games and for the starting XI we will see tomorrow”. 🔴 #MUFC
“My decision, I keep it”, he added.@utdreport
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 12, 2022
With Marcus Rashford getting linked with PSG and Antony Martial out injured, Ronaldo, on paper, is a shoo-in to get back in the starting eleven but stranger things have happened before in the Premier League.
Manchester City vs Bournemouth (Saturday, 7.30 PM)
Liverpool vs Crystal Palace (Tuesday, 12.30 AM)
All the matches will be broadcast on the Star Sports Network and can be livestreamed on Disney+ Hotstar.