The Premier League returns this weekend and all eyes will be on Stamford Bridge as Chelsea welcome Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United side to west London.
The Blues returned to joint-top of the table before the international break, while Mourinho gave himself some breathing space thanks to a last minute winner from Alexis Sanchez against Newcastle.
Elsewhere, Liverpool are sweating over a number of injury concerns before their trip to Huddersfield and Unai Emery has a selection dillemma on his hands for the visit of Leicester.
Can Jose Mourinho break his Stamford Bridge hoodoo?
Jose Mourinho needs a result at Stamford Bridge (Picture: Getty)The self-proclaimed Special One has returned to his old stomping ground on three occasions with Manchester United…and left empty-handed each time.
Mourinho was once a ‘big game specialist’ but Antonio Conte’s Chelsea trounced United 4-0 in 2016 before beating them in the FA Cup later on in the season. Alvaro Morata’s header was enough to give the Blues a 1-0 victory last term.
Mourinho faces an FA charge for supposed use of foul language (Picture: BT Sport)Nobody will be more desperate than Mourinho to get a result at Stamford Bridge but Maurizio Sarri’s side have been the most impressive outfit so far this term and in Eden Hazard have the Premier League’s in-form player.
United’s trip to west London kicks off a daunting run of fixtures that sees them take on Juventus, Manchester City and Arsenal in the next six weeks.
Reports before United’s comeback against Newcastle before the international break claimed Mourinho would be sacked regardless of the result and though the nature of the comeback will undoubtedly boost morale in the camp, it only papered over the cracks of what’s been a desperate start to the Premier League season.
Defeat at Stamford Bridge on Saturday will put United back in crisis mode so Mourinho will be hoping he can finally break his duck.
Xherdan Shaqiri has chance to shine against Huddersfield
Xherdan Shaqiri has a good chance of starting against Huddersfield (Picture: Getty)He’s had to bide his time at Anfield and been limited to just one Premier League start but Shaqiri’s opportunity may finally arrive this weekend against Huddersfield.
Sadio Mane has undergone surgery on a thumb issue, while Mohamed Salah is struggling with a thigh injury. Though Salah is likely to recover in time, Mane is a major doubt and that is likely to see Shaqiri given a chance from the start against the Terriers.
Liverpool’s front three have been far from their blistering best so far this term and with a hectic fixture schedule coming up, Shaqiri has the chance to impress Klopp and to stake a claim for a regular starting spot.
Shaqiri’s started just one Premier League match this term (Picture: Getty)Shaqiri’s looked little more than a squad player since joining from Stoke and the Switzerland international admitted earlier this week that he’s found it tough at Anfield.
‘I decided to move to Liverpool fully aware that I would have a harder time in a club of this standing than, for example, other clubs that tried to help me,’ said Shaqiri.
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Huddersfield are yet to win this season and have shipped 17 goals in their eight matches so far this term. Liverpool went unbeaten through a difficult period before the International break in which they faced Spurs, Chelsea and Manchester City and they face Cardiff at home after taking on Huddersfield.
There’s probably not a better fixture for Liverpool – or Shaqiri – to have right now.
Cardiff take on Fulham looking for first win of the season
Neil Warnock’s men are without a win in their first eight matches (Picture: Getty)After picking up two points in their first three matches, Cardiff have lost five on the bounce and are in danger of being cut adrift in the relegation zone.
Neil Warnock’s men reduced Spurs to minimal chances in their 1-0 defeat at Wembley before the break and were unlucky not to equalise when Josh Murphy had an effort cleared off the line by Toby Alderweireld.
Cardiff left Wembley empty-handed (Picture: Getty)Nevertheless, the Bluebirds face a trip to Anfield after their clash against Fulham and Warnock will be desperate to get a first win under his belt this term against the Lilywhites.
Fulham were torn apart by Arsenal in a 5-1 mauling at Craven Cottage a fortnight ago and could be the perfect opposition for Cardiff to get off the mark.
Will Mesut Ozil return for Arsenal?
Ozil has returned to full training (Picture: Getty)Henrikh Mkhitaryan neither scored nor assisted during Arsenal’s 5-1 win against Fulham but the Armenian was at his mercurial best in a no.10 role in Mesut Ozil’s absence.
The German missed the game with a back spasm and has had the international break to recover given his self-imposed unavailbility from Germany’s national squad.
Unai Emery has started Ozil and Mkhitaryan together just twice so far this season and that was in the Gunners’ opening two defeats to Manchester City and Chelsea.
Mkhitaryan deserves to keep his spot (Picture: Getty)Ozil has tended to get the nod in recent weeks but Mkhitaryan’s performance at Craven Cottage has given Emery a selection headache.
The win against Fulham was Arsenal’s ninth in a row in all competitions and Emery could be tempted to name an unchanged side against the Foxes.
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