5 Things To Watch For In Week Seven Of The English Premier League
The English Premier League has a tough act to follow, after all the action that occurred last weekend. Manchester City, the league's then-undefeated leaders, lost at home to the league's giant killers, West Ham.
Chelsea claimed a control win against London rivals and favorite whipping boys Arsenal.
Elsewhere, Callum Wilson scored yet another goal for Bournemouth, Son kept on blazing at Tottenham and Liverpool earned another disappointing, yet predictable result.
Last weekend is a tough one to match, but this weekend's set of games are up for the encore.
Here are five things to watch for this weekend in the Premier League:
1. Martial Arts
REJOICE! For the savior is here!
Manchester United fans are in a state of absolute giddiness at the debut exploits of one rather expensive 19-year-old, who has scored three Premier League goals so far (four goals in four games in all competitions).
There is no doubt Anthony Martial appears to have talent to burn, and he has reinvigorated LVG's stodgy Manchester United attack.
Such is the hype now surrounding young Martial, that even a midweek League Cup goal against Championship side Ipswich has been met with hysteria.
Those who questioned the $54 million signing of an unproven teenager have already been shunned, silenced and sent to the dunce's corner after just four games. (No, you may not mention Federico Macheda. You may only remark how Martial's ability to side-foot the ball to the back of the net reminds you of Thierry Henry.)
A terrible Sunderland are in town on Saturday, so expect the former Monaco player to bolster his impressive stats even further.
Martial Law has been declared.
2. Judgment day approaches for Brendan Rodgers.
At one point last week, Brendan Rodgers was squished in a rumor sandwich.
On Tuesday, the rumor was the former Real Madrid Manager Carlo Ancellotti had been approached by the Anfield club's owners about replacing the Antrim man.
By Thursday morning, it was “Klopp for the Kop” because of German Manager Jurgen Klopp's alleged willingness to end his sabbatical and set sail for Premier League shores.
Paper talk aside, it appears the Brendan Rodgers era could be in its last days.
“Don't judge me now, judge me in three years,” was Rodgers' plea when he was appointed in 2012. Well, judgment day may soon be upon you, Brendan.
Rodgers has had money and patience from his employers, but Liverpool isn't in a better position now than when he took over from Kenny Dalglish in 2012.
This weekend, Aston Villa are the visitors to Anfield, a venue that's hardly terrified them in the recent past. If Rodgers' side can win at home to Villa on Saturday, perhaps he will have bought himself more time.
But there is still the feeling of inevitability about the end of Brendan's reign at Anfield.
3. Newcastle's Blues
Chelsea may not look like the Chelsea of last season, but they've been winning of late, and their derby day victory over Arsenal should boost confidence.
Jose Mourinho says he doesn't know if the squad can cope with the Diego Costa three-match ban emanating from the Arsenal game, but they should be fine. This is an opportunity to further rejuvenate Chelsea against the league's second from bottom side.
Newcastle will look to returning striker Aleksander Mitrovic to help Steve McLaren's team salvage the mess that has been their early season.
Being dumped out of the Capital One Cup this week has left the Toon locals in even worse humor. A good result against Chelsea would go a long way to soothe the nerves of Geordie fans, who don't believe McLaren is the man for the job.
With Manchester City on the way, this is a big week for Steve McLaren's tenure at Newcastle. McLaren may need two positive results back-to-back against Chelsea and Manchester City, to save his job.
No pressure, then.
4. The Sack Race
Losing your job is not usually a race any Premier League manager wants to win. Except maybe Sunderland's Dick Advocaat.
Good old Dick helped save Sunderland from the drop last season.
With his job done, Advocaat was about to ride off into the sunset until American owner Ellis Short convinced him to do a U-turn and stay another season on Wearside.
After a poor start to this Premier League campaign, it is beginning to look like Dick wishes he had stuck with his original decision.
The Dutchman said in the wake of defeat to Bournemouth last weekend, "Let's be clear: If I feel it is better for somebody else to take over, I will go. Believe me."
As if to gloss over that statement, Advocaat went on to say, "I am still enjoying it very much. I have no regrets about coming back."
Are you enjoying it, Dick? No regrets, really?
Rodgers, McLaren and Advocaat are all on the hunt for the sack, but a heavy defeat to Manchester United could have the black cats parting ways with their Dutch manager first.
5. Manchester City
I could write Manchester City, after a weekend EPL defeat to West Ham, got back on track with a win in the Capital One Cup away to Sunderland. But, really, everyone should win at the Stadium of Light these days.
So, their next opponent, Tottenham, will feel like they are getting City at the right time.
The Spurs have back-to-back Premier League wins to bolster confidence, and despite a midweek reverse to Arsenal in the Capital One Cup, they must feel a little better about the prospect of facing City at home.
It's only been a few weeks since City was proclaimed to go all the way. But, despite a blistering start, the red half of Manchester is lurking only two points adrift of their sky-blue rivals.
It is up to City to reinforce the mantle of champions elect, by taking three points at the Lane this weekend.