Former pupil to prove a point
Posted Saturday, September 28 2013 at 01:00
Spurs 0 Chelsea 0
Teaching was Jose Mourinho’s first vocation after college. Scant surprise therefore that three of the Premiership’s top young managers – Andre-Villas Boas, Steve Clarke and Brendan Rodgers are former assistants from his first spell at Chelsea. Spurs manager Boas is the most successful among them, having won a quadruple of trophies at FC Porto. Villas-Boas and Mourinho are however sworn enemies.
Swansea 1 Arsenal 1
Passing masters Swansea and Arsenal face off at the Liberty Stadium in a must watch confrontation. They traded 2-0 victories last season, with the Swans causing a splash by picking all three points at the Emirates Stadium. Michael Laudrup has built an outfit capable of competing with any continental side, and Arsenal fit that billing.
Aston Villa 1 Man City 2
Former champions Man City have turned the corner after a difficult start saw them upended at Cardiff and held at Stoke City. The Sky Blues have posted the two performances of the season - 4-0 over Newcastle and 4-1 over sworn rivals Manchester United. Without the injured Christian Benteke, it is hard to envisage how Paul Lambert is going to pull the rabbit out of the hat.
Fulham 1 Cardiff 2
It is always a bad sign when players are booed by their fans. This is why the reaction of the Craven Cottage faithful to the team’s 1-1 draw was extremely disconcerting to Martin Jol. Fulham responded by pushing Chelsea for long spells, where they were a tad unfortunate to end up empty handed. Cardiff are a hard-working side that will push Fulham for a share of the spoils.
Hull 2 West Ham 1
Steve Bruce’s Tigers are causing a splash with their no-holds-barred, in-your-face approach on their return to the big time. Their 3-2 victory over Newcastle at St James’ Park is a reward for their choice of attacking football. West Ham are poor travelers and facing a bit of a blip, having fallen at home to both Everton and Stoke. Jake Livermore, Tom Huddlestone and Saul Aluko have the tools to melt the Hammers.
Man Utd 2 WBA 0
Expect a reaction from Red Devils’ stars as they received hairdryer treatment from David Moyes in the aftermath of their 1-4 capitulation to City. Steven Clarke’s Brummies got a mighty lift from their 3-0 victory over Sunderland but they should be no match for the fired-up champions. Moyes’ success is dependent on him finding the right balance between athleticism and creativity. Robin van Persie could return to spearhead the attack.
Saints 2 Palace 0
The Saints finally got a fair rub of the green, as they dispatched high-flying Liverpool last time out. Southampton are solid, well coached and capable of playing spectacular football. I can’t see how a Crystal Palace team that could not ask any questions of Swansea at home are going to prosper at the St Mary’s Stadium.
Stoke 2 Norwich 1