English Premiership

Man City and Watford eye Premier League summit

2017-09-15 08:57
Pep Guardiola.(Getty Images)

London - Big-spending Manchester City having a chance to go top of the Premier League on Saturday is no surprise, but the possibility their opponents Watford will climb to the summit of English football if they win at Vicarage Road certainly is.

Table-toppers Manchester United and Manchester City, currently second on goal difference, both have 10 points from their opening four Premier League games.

But with United not playing until Sunday, City have a chance to leapfrog their local rivals.

City spent more than £200 million on new players during the recent transfer window, with the club desperate to make an impact on the Champions League in particular after bowing out in the last 16 last term.

Nevertheless it was an established City player in England centre-back John Stones who scored twice for Pep Guardiola's expensively-assembled side as they won 4-0 away to Dutch champions Feyenoord in an impressive start to their Champions League campaign on Wednesday.

Spanish manager Guardiola was delighted by his side's positive approach, saying: "We did not play back. We were aggressive."

It was an ominous result for Watford yet Marco Silva's men are unlikely to feel over-awed knowing that a home win on Saturday would take them to 11 points.

That would mean Watford were at the summit of English football ladder for the first time since topping the old First Division in 1982.

Watford are still unbeaten under Silva and the Portuguese manager said: "It's important at the moment that everyone, starting with myself, keeps their feet on the ground."

Liverpool will look to put the frustration they felt at failing to beat Sevilla in a 2-2 midweek draw in the Champions League when they face northwest rivals Burnley at Anfield on Saturday.

Poor defending again proved a problem for Liverpool, who failed in an attempt to sign Virgil van Dijk from Southampton during the transfer window.

'Learn to be dominant'

However, Reds boss Jurgen Klopp, speaking after the Sevilla match, said: "I know a lot of people are looking around and they are always talking about the defence. That we didn't sign this or that."

The German boss added: "It's not about this. It is about being dominant and losing, a bit, the grip on the game. We need to learn to be dominant and not give easy goals away."

Tottenham Hotspur will hope to prove their commanding 3-1 midweek win against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League at Wembley - just their third in 13 games at the national stadium - was no fluke when they welcome Swansea City to their temporary home on Saturday.

Spurs are playing at Wembley while White Hart Lane is being redeveloped.

Meanwhile basement club Crystal Palace will play their first game under former England manager and boyhood Eagles fan Roy Hodgson when they face Southampton at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

Hodgson has replaced the sacked Frank de Boer after the Dutchman's four games in charge all ended in defeat, with no goals scored during his brief time in charge of the south London club.

"You are looking for character really, you're looking for desire, you're looking for people with enthusiasm," Hodgson said when asked what he wanted to see from his players.

Reigning champions Chelsea, fresh from a 6-0 thrashing of Qarabeg in the Champions League, face Arsenal, midweek Europa League winners against Cologne at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

The day's other Premier League match is set to see former Manchester United favourite Wayne Rooney make his first return to Old Trafford since rejoining boyhood club Everton in pre-season.

This fixture takes place just a day before Rooney is due to appear in court on a drink-driving charge.

The latest round of Premier League matches starts with an all-south coast clash between Bournemouth and Brighton on Friday.

Fixtures (14:00):

Friday: Bournemouth v Brighton (19:00 GMT)

Saturday: Crystal Palace v Southampton (11:30 GMT), Huddersfield v Leicester, Liverpool v Burnley, Newcastle v Stoke, Tottenham v Swansea (16:30 GMT), Watford v Manchester City, West Brom v West Ham

Sunday: Chelsea v Arsenal (12:30 GMT), Manchester United v Everton (15:00 GMT)

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Fixtures
Friday, 20 October 2017
West Ham United v Brighton & Hove Albion, London Stadium 21:00
Saturday, 21 October 2017
Chelsea v Watford, Stamford Bridge 13:30
Stoke City v AFC Bournemouth, Bet365 Stadium 16:00
Manchester City v Burnley, Etihad Stadium 16:00
Swansea City v Leicester City, Liberty Stadium 16:00
Newcastle United v Crystal Palace, St. James' Park 16:00
Huddersfield Town v Manchester United, The John Smith's Stadium 16:00
Southampton v West Bromwich Albion, St. Mary's Stadium 18:30
Sunday, 22 October 2017
Everton v Arsenal, Goodison Park 14:30
Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool, Wembley Stadium 17:00
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