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Liverpool To Face Arsenal In Highly Anticipated EPL Matchup

Aug 21, 2019, 12:32 PM | Updated: 12:34 pm
Juan Castillo of Chelsea tackles Ki-Jana Hoever of Liverpool during the Premier League 2 match betw...
Juan Castillo of Chelsea tackles Ki-Jana Hoever of Liverpool during the Premier League 2 match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on August 19, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Week two saw teams take it up a notch. A thrilling 2-2 draw between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur was another indication of who the top team will be this season.

City was dominant against a very good Spurs. With the Citizens (Man City) having a late winner chalked off for handball. VAR (Video Assist Replay) got the call right. Whatever you think about the handball rule itself is another discussion entirely. Man City’s Brazilian forward Gabriel Jesus was caught on the mic giving his thoughts (we can’t print those) on VAR as his goal was eventually ruled out via referee Michael Oliver.

Here are three of the best matches to look for this weekend in Week Three of the English Premier League Season:

Liverpool vs. Arsenal

The weekend’s big match on KSL 5 TV is Liverpool vs. Arsenal. With a Saturday 10:30 a.m. kick off scheduled.

Liverpool have had the better of the Gunners (Arsenal) the last few seasons. Winning handsomely at Anfield 5-1 last season. But this is a better team coming up from London. Unai Emery is slowly but surely putting together a team and style that he managed so successfully at Sevilla in Spain. A backline certainly strengthened along with additions to the midfield and attack won’t hurt. I’m expecting both teams to attack and entertain even the neutrals.

Liverpool are still buzzing after being crowned European Champions at the end of last season. And with an unchanged squad will certainly be in the mix for the EPL title.

Both teams boast a 100 percent record and one will give way this Saturday.

Klopp retaining his front three that are arguably the best in Europe in Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohammed Salah was a massive plus after a very quiet summer transfer window.

Liverpool will win this one, but not as easily as seasons past.

Prediction: 3-1 Liverpool

Aston Villa vs. Everton

Under the floodlights at Villa Park for the Friday night kick off at 1 p.m. One of the best stadiums in the EPL will witness one of the most hotly contested games this weekend. Villa was promoted in the playoff final at Wembley Stadium against Derby County for the last spot to play in the EPL 2019-20 season.

They spent heavily somewhere north of $140 million to help them maintain their status in the top league, but currently have zero points to show for their efforts so far this season. Results still haven’t been as bad as the scores might suggest. Wesley is a big target man in attack and will be a handful as he adjusts from playing in Belgium, the main man for the Villains (Aston Villa) will be home grown talent in Jack Grealish. The Birmingham born attacking midfielder wears his heart on his sleeve and is usually in the thick of anything good going forward for Villa.

Everton will prove to be a tough opponent on Friday as they were also heavy spenders during the summer and, with 4 points already on the board, will feel good about where they are sitting as they come up against the EPL new boys. This summer Andre Gomes made his loan from Barcelona last season permanent, and the Portuguese international will again provide the engine in midfield.

Lots will be said about Brazilian Richarlison as well, and rightly so, the versatile attacker provides different options for the Toffee’s (Everton) manager Marco Silva. At home as the No. 9 forward or playing wide on either wing. But the catalyst for Everton this season will be the Icelandic No. 10 Gylfi Sigurosson. Thirteen goals and six assists from the attacking midfielder last season in the EPL helped them to eighth position but ultimately missing out on a Europa League place for this season.

This is a tough one to call, Aston Villa are adapting to life back in the big time and question marks still surround Everton, who will put the ball in the back of the net regularly for them.

Prediction: 1-1 Draw

Norwich City vs. Chelsea

This early kick off on Saturday at 5:30 a.m. is an intriguing matchup. Home team and last season’s English Football League Champions, Norwich City will be full of confidence after coming back from their Week 1 thumping at Liverpool to bounce back in Week 2 at Carrow Road with a 3-1 win over Newcastle United. All talk and eyes will be on Finnish striker Teemu Pukki, his hat-trick at the weekend moved him on to four goals through the first two games.

He is a man who is carrying last season’s 29 goal form into this season. He’s had one of the more interesting careers in the top flight with stops in Spain, Germany and Scotland. In Denmark, Pukki managed to get some consistency before a move to England where he finally showed what a dangerman he can be.

I wouldn’t be doing this Norwich team any justice if I just focused on Pukki. Their head coach Daniel Farke has changed the entire outlook for the club. He’s pretty much decided to put his faith in last season’s squad, and another stand out player for them will be Emi Buendia, the Argentinean is a threat over the ball. At home on the wing or in a more central attacking role he will drive the Canaries forward and open space for the other attackers and even himself get in behind the opposition’s backline.

What to say about Chelsea? Last season’s Europa League winners and finished third in a season of transition to Sarri-ball (Get well soon Maurizio). The Italian decided the lure of Juventus was too big an opportunity to turn down and decided to head back to Italy.

Super Frank Lampard, a club legend, and with just one season of managerial experience, was brought back the club where he was a beloved player. With a transfer ban imposed and the loss of experienced players in Eden Hazard and David Luiz, they have turned to the many young players they have in their ranks. Which is a huge opportunity for the likes of Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori who are all 21 years old or under.

I don’t expect Chelsea to pull up many trees this season, and fighting for top six might be the best that can be expected, but they will learn and the financial clout they have when the ban is over will certainly make then a top team again.

With both teams still adapting to either coming up to the EPL, or in Chelsea’s case, a new man in charge and unable to buy players, I expect this one to be a tight affair but with plenty of attacking.

In turn, I think Chelsea will pick up their first win of the season.

Prediction: 2-1 Chelsea

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