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Premier League – 5 things to look out for this weekend

The Premier League never fails to disappoint and last weekend was no different, we saw the champions dismantled, Sunderland beaten by The Canaries and Spurs throw away a two goal lead. This weekend will see the 3rd round of fixtures commence and a brand new opportunity for players to impress. Heroes will be made, villains will emerge, perhaps their will even be a fairytale for some. Here are five thing things you’ll want to keep an eye on over the weekend.

Stoke go Swiss

These days Stoke City are an established Premier League side and since Mark Hughes was appointed he’s done a great job of building a team that is both fierce as well as fancy.

In 2005 Stoke City signed Luke Chadwick for £500,000 but this week they secured the signing of Swiss superstar Xherdan Shaqiri for £12 million.

With a World Cup hat trick to his name, the signing of the former Bayern Munich man is certainly a statement of intent from the midlands club, who have big ambitions after also adding Ibrahim Affellay, Marc Muniesa, and Phillip Wollschied to their ranks this summer.

Stoke are yet to win a game from their first two after losing 1-0 to Liverpool in their opener, but a spirited fight back from 2-0 down against Spurs to draw 2-2 will give them plenty of confidence going into this weekend’s game.

However, The Potters face an away trip to Norwich who they’ve only beaten once in their last ten meetings at Carrow Road. The match has also been spiced up after The Canaries had a bid for Stoke’s Jonathan Walters rejected.

It’s a perfectly poised match so expect fireworks in this one, especially if Shaqiri makes his debut.

Monday Night War

Since its reinvention in 2010, Monday Night Football has once again made Monday’s bearable and this week’s fixture will really get the football fans licking their lips.

Two English giants collide AS Arsenal host Liverpool in an early season crunch game.

Arsenal were beaten by West Ham in their opening game but recovered last week beating Palace away 2-1, even if it was nervy stuff at times.

The Gunners are fancied by a lot of people to challenge for the top honour this season, after impressing in pre-season, but to justify that hype they have to win games like this.

The travelling Reds will also be keen to come away from the Emirates with a good result. Liverpool are six for six after beating Stoke & Bournemouth in their first two matches and haven’t conceded a goal as of yet.

Liverpool’s realistic expectation this season is to break back into the top four, and it’s been a very positive start with £32 million signing Christian Benteke scoring on his Anfield debut and Phillipe Coutinho continuing his great form from last term.

Manager Brendan Rodgers has his critics despite mounting an unexpected title challenge in 2013/14, albeit with the inspiration in Luis Suarez, but will be delighted with the start The Reds have made and relieved his big money signing is off the mark.

One thing you can normally rely on in this fixture is goals, you’d have to go back to 2009/10 to find the last time this match had less than two goals scored. Arsenal won 1-0 on that occasion.

This will be the 200th competitive game between the sides in all competitions with Liverpool leading Arsenal 76 wins to 72.

Rock at the back

Everton take on Manchester City this weekend and, after the Sky Blues terrorised the champions’ back four last week, all eyes will be on Chelsea target John Stones, to see if he can cope any better with the City attack.

Stones has been the subject of three Chelsea bids and it’s fast becoming the latest saga in the transfer window. The Toffees have turned down a £30 million bid, but it’s been rumoured today that the English player wishes to leave for the London club.

Everton manager Roberto Martinez has dismissed the reports stating he’s “unaware of Stones desire to leave”. It’s very rare that Jose Mourinho fails in his pursuit of players but, unusually, it appears Roman Abramovic doesn’t want to stump up the cash.

Last weekend Everton were on top form beating Southampton 3-0, even if they were wearing a hideous bottle green kit, and they’ll need Stones on top form if they’re to deny City a third consecutive win.

How will United cope after missing out?

Manchester United have started the season in great form, three wins in all competitions after they beat Club Brugge 3-1 in mid week, and they now look good to qualify for the Champions League group stages.

Despite winning all their games, much has been made of their performances, most notably Wayne Rooney’s ability to play up top. England’s captain has come under fire after failing to hit the back of the net, but has promised the goals will come.

The footballing world has urged manager Louis Van Gaal to make some serious signings if United want to compete for the Premier League title, and it seemed former Barcelona man Pedro was on the verge of signing, before choosing to join Chelsea instead.

United suffered a second blow when Valencia target Nicolas Otamendi joined arch rivals Manchester City leaving The Red Devils scratching their heads.

They welcome Newcastle United to Old Trafford in the early kick off on Saturday, hoping to keep their 100% record, any slip up here will only intensify the pressure on United to spend more money and find a marquee signing.

Bournemouth out to burst bubble

The Cherries have been welcomed to the top flight in unforgiving fashion after narrow losses to Aston Villa and Liverpool.

Bournemouth are yet to score their first Premier League goal and they’ll be hoping to kick start their season when they travel to the Boleyn Ground this weekend.

So far Eddie Howe has placed faith in the team that got him promoted, but it hasn’t paid off as of yet, the coastal club have made 12 summer signings including Sylvain Distin and club record transfer Tyrone Mings many of which are yet to feature.

Those two men could be in line to make their debuts this weekend as Bournemouth look to reinforce the defensive line, and much more will be expected from Callum Wilson and Joshua King up front who have failed to adjust to life in this league.

West Ham have started inconsistently; after a stunning display to beat Arsenal, they lost at home to Leicester. Bournemouth will fancy their chances and will need to continue their positive play and look to unsettle the Hammers if they are to earn their first points.

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