After a fallow fortnight of international football, it’s time to get excited again for the return of the Premier League.
Club football is back with a bang, and there are a whole host of brilliant top-flight games to whet your appetite, across three days of wall-to-wall action.
From a Saturday lunchtime clash with a lot riding on it, to Arsenal‘s trip to newly-promoted Sheffield United on Monday night, there’s so much to look forward to… and we haven’t even mentioned Manchester United vs Liverpool yet.
Sportsmail has listed 10 reasons for you to cancel your weekend plans, stock up the fridge, and get your TV set up on the sports channels…
Jurgen Klopp has plenty of reasons to smile, with his Liverpool side flying high at the top
1) Why not start with the big one? Sunday evening brings us the pick of the weekend, live on Sky Sports, in the form of Manchester United vs Liverpool. The long-standing rivals have had very different starts to the season, but this one is always fiery and is set to be a thriller.
In truth Liverpool are huge favourites, especially given United’s injury woes, and another side-story to the main event is the future of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. An embarrassing defeat here is only going to take him a step closer to the sack.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s future will look very bleak if United get heavily beaten at Liverpool
2) It’s all eyes on Matty Longstaff at Stamford Bridge this weekend, as he will be hoping to continue his fine form on the Premier League stage. The Newcastle youngster scored on his debut against United last time out, and next up is Chelsea.
As Sportsmail revealed earlier in the week, the Magpies are set to offer him a new contract, and he will be desperate to net again, against a second big club.
Matty Longstaff will be hoping to continue his dream start to life in the top flight at Chelsea
3) Manchester City head south to Selhurst Park in the televised match on Saturday evening. Usually, that’d be a guaranteed three points for Pep Guardiola and Co, but there are a number of reasons why Crystal Palace could cause an upset.
Last season, Palace beat City at the Etihad, and the season before that they should have beaten them again at Selhurst were it not for Luka Milivojevic’s missed penalty in the 90th minute of their 0-0 draw. A couple of seasons prior to that, they did beat them at home.
Palace aren’t a bogey side as such for City, but they’ve certainly had their number on a few different occasions, and with Roy Hodgson’s men in fine form and much-improved at home, who knows what’ll happen under the lights in south London.
Andros Townsend’s volley at Manchester City helped Palace to an unlikely win last season
4) Tottenham and Watford face off on Saturday afternoon in what is essentially the movable object meeting the stoppable force. That’s right, both of these sides have been rubbish so far this season… but something’s got to give.
For both sides, it represents a brilliant opportunity to sort themselves out. Under Quique Sanchez Flores, Watford have won just one of their matches – in the League Cup – while Mauricio Pochettino’s future is in doubt with Spurs struggling down in ninth place.
The game is at Tottenham, making them the favourties, but both will be absolutely desperate to add three points to their season’s tally.
Tottenham are in disarray and it’s all eyes on Mauricio Pochettino’s side on Saturday afternoon
5) Liverpool can create a little piece of history if they beat Manchester United on Sunday evening. If they overthrow their rivals at Old Trafford, they will equal the all-time top-flight win record set by Manchester City back in 2017.
That’s a ridiculous 18 in a row… and they’ll further solidify their position at the top of the league table. Just a couple of months into the season, they’ve been brilliant to watch and look mightily impressive.
Liverpool left it late against Leicester, but they can now make it 18 wins in a row against United
6) Quite simply, there’s no more international football. Come on, we’re all thinking it. Sometimes it’s great watching your country, but there’s nothing like a good round of Premier League football.
There’s so many talking points – this season especially with the introduction of VAR – and there’s no danger of falling asleep on the sofa. With the likes of Georgia 0-0 Republic of Ireland and Liechtenstein 1-1 Armenia, that wasn’t exactly the case.
The Republic of Ireland’s 0-0 draw away in Georgia is unlikely to live long in the memory
7) Is the Pukki party back on? Finland’s main man had been on something of a Premier League goal drought after his incredible start to the season. He had eight goals in seven for club and country at the start of the campaign, but then went into a run of three without scoring, with Norwich losing every one of them.
Now though, he’s back in the goals after netting twice against Armenia on Tuesday, and Norwich fans will hope that he’s rediscovered that scoring form that had everyone talking about him back in August and September.
Teemu Pukki was back in the goals on Tuesday, and Norwich fans will be excited for his return
8) Another player with plenty of eyes on him is Anthony Martial, back for Manchester United and ready to shine. He’s been out since the end of August, but will be back in the line-up to face Liverpool on Sunday evening.
Although it’s been a tough start to the season for Solskjaer’s men, fans can take solace from the fact that no Liverpool player has scored a goal from open play at Old Trafford since Christian Benteke’s overhead kick on Martial’s debut in September 2015.
Anthony Martial is back and ready to face Liverpool – a team he has a good record against
9) Arsenal have a brilliant opportunity to further consolidate their spot in the top four and close the gap on Manchester City when they face Sheffield United on Monday night.
Plenty are keen to see how the Gunners fare in Yorkshire, given their dreadful away form. They’ve only won away from the Emirates once this season – on the opening day – but there will be few better opportunities than this week to change that. Depending on results elsewhere, Unai Emery’s side can go second.
Unai Emery’s Arsenal can go second in the league, but they need to sort out their away form
10) Everton kick off the weekend against West Ham with Marco Silva facing the sack. He’s reportedly got three games to save his job and this is the first. It’s a really exciting way to start the Premier League weekend, although we’re sure Silva would rather he could fly under the radar a little.
The Toffees currently occupy a spot in the top flight relegation zone after four straight defeats, and perhaps even more worryingly, the fixtures had been relatively kind to them early on. Silva needs a win here.
Marco Silva looks to be in trouble… he could become the next managerial casualty this month