EPL, fi­nally!

> Six rea­sons to be ex­cited for the Premier League re­turn fea­tur­ing Liver­pool, United and Arse­nal. The per­fect way to get over the monotony of the in­ter­na­tional break

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

THE Premier League re­turns to ac­tion this week­end as the in­ter­na­tional break is ban­ished from the foot­ball cal­en­dar for an­other month.

It was left on a big cliff hanger be­fore in­ter­na­tional foot­ball rudely in­ter­rupted as the pre­vi­ously un­beat­able Manch­ester City suf­fered a first de­feat, Arse­nal trounced Chelsea be­fore sneak­ing past Burn­ley and Manch­ester United failed to beat early sea­son rel­e­ga­tion can­di­dates Stoke City.

Af­ter two unin­spir­ing Eng­land per­for­mances, fans should be des­per­ate to see the re­turn of the Premier League, but if not here are six things which should get you yearn­ing for the week­end to be­gin.

1.

A MAS­SIVE GAME AT AN­FIELD

Away from the sim­ple bat­tle for three points, there are so many sub­plots to this mam­moth clash that it is the per­fect way to blow away the cob­webs on an in­ter­na­tional break.

Not only is it the most watched club foot­ball fix­ture in the world, but it pits two of the sport’s best man­agers against each other.

Liver­pool have emerged as gen­uine ti­tle con­tenders while United have seem­ingly fallen back into some old habits un­der past regimes.

United have won all four of their last league meet­ings be­tween the sides but Jur­gen Klopp has had the bet­ter of Mour­inho, win­ning in three of their last five con­fronta­tions.

Klopp is des­per­ate to turn An­field into a fortress and there are few bet­ter ways to do that than by beat­ing your arch ri­vals Manch­ester United.

2.

WILL CITY COPE WITH­OUT DE BRUYNE?

Pep Guardi­ola’s air of in­vin­ci­bil­ity came crash­ing down against Tot­ten­ham last week­end as their mid­field suf­fered with­out the injured Kevin De Bruyne.

The Bel­gian’s in­jury last sea­son brought about a poor patch for City, while his re­turn co­in­cided with a re­turn to form, but can an im­proved side man­age with­out him if he misses out as ex­pected?

That is the task for Guardi­ola against an Ever­ton side who have started the sea­son tremen­dously and sit only four points be­hind them.

The Spa­niard will also have Wed­nes­day’s trip to the Nou Camp to face Barcelona in the back of his mind and the Tof­fees could well take ad­van­tage of that.

3.

CAN TOT­TEN­HAM KEEP BUILD­ING?

Speak­ing about Tot­ten­ham, their per­for­mance against City last time out was near per­fect.

They will ex­pect to build on the re­sult with a tough, but winnable, game away to West Brom.

A vic­tory could see Spurs go top, de­pend­ing on other re­sults, but much will rely on in-form He­ung­Min Son. With two of the league’s more cel­e­brated man­agers go­ing head-to­head at An­field on Mon­day, Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino is qui­etly sur­pass­ing them both with his work at White Hart Lane.

4.

WILL WEST HAM SNAP OUT OF IT?

Dim­itri Payet showed a glimpse of last sea­son’s form with his su­per strike in the draw to Mid­dles­brough last week but West Ham will need him to re­pro­duce it again in their London derby against Crys­tal Palace.

Lan­guish­ing in the rel­e­ga­tion zone isn’t re­ally a po­si­tion fit for a club with a 60,000-seater sta­dium.

West Ham will be se­cretly happy to be away from their new home when they travel to Sel­hurst Park and out from un­der the mi­cro­scope.

Un­savoury chants about mov­ing back to Up­ton Park and the ar­rests of fans have surely dis­rupted the team.

5.

CAN MOYES FI­NALLY GET A WIN? It feels like David Moyes is get­ting closer to his first win as Sun­der­land man­ager af­ter fall­ing to two late Crys­tal Palace goals and nick­ing a draw at home to West Brom, al­though it won’t feel like it to the Black Cats. They have a per­fect op­por­tu­nity to fi­nally do that this week­end when they travel to fel­low strug­glers Stoke in an early sea­son base­ment bat­tle. If they miss out on this op­por­tu­nity and Stoke get the three points then it could be a long sea­son for Sun­der­land but po­ten­tially a short one for Moyes.

6.

AN­OTHER STRONG OCTOBER FOR ARSE­NAL? October is tra­di­tion­ally one of the Gun­ners’ strong­est months, be­fore they in­evitably drop points in Novem­ber and De­cem­ber. They will need build on their bril­liant start to the month, with the im­pres­sive vic­tory over Chelsea and the for­tu­nate one over Burn­ley, if they are to con­tinue to bat­tle in what could be one of the clos­est ti­tle races in Premier League his­tory. With only two points be­tween them­selves and ta­ble-top­pers Man City, if re­sults go the Gun­ners’ way, they could find them­selves top of the league with a run of very winnable games ahead of them.

– The In­de­pen­dent

Kevin de Buryne, He­ung­Min Son, Dim­itri Payet, Jose Mour­inho (left), and Jur­gen Klopp

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