London, UK | XINHUA | Saturday sees what could be one of the decisive clashes of the season when Liverpool and Chelsea go head-to-head, but the talk of the weekend is the decision by Cristiano Ronaldo to return to Manchester United.
Both teams go into the game with 100 percent records after two games, with Chelsea looking menacing after signing Romelu Lukaku, while the return of Virgil van Dijk has bolstered a Liverpool defense that leaked too many goals last time around.
The contest between Lukaku and Van Dijk will be one of the big attractions of the game, while it will also be a test of Chelsea’s back line against Mohamed Salah, Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane.
The first major clash between two of the big title hopefuls at an early stage of the campaign should give us an idea of just how far these two teams can go this time around.
The clash at Anfield isn’t the only big game on Saturday as the master Pep Guardiola, who has missed out on a reported bid for Ronaldo, welcoming his former apprentice Mikel Arteta back to the Ethiad Stadium when Manchester City entertains Arsenal.
City bounced back to winning ways as it thrashed Norwich last weekend, but now knows its chances of signing Harry Kane have disappeared for this season.
Arsenal was deep in doom and gloom after Chelsea showed the difference in class between the two teams last weekend, but the return of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with a hat-trick in the midweek 6-0 Carabao Cup win over West Brom should have boosted their morale.
The problem for Arsenal is that facing a full Manchester City team will be different than facing West Brom’s fringe players and another defeat would only serve to increase the pressure on Arteta.
Saturday has some more interesting games as Rafa Benitez takes his unbeaten Everton to play Brighton, who has been one of the revelations of the season with two wins from two games and attractive football to boot.
Newly promoted Brentford faces a stiff test on its visit to Aston Villa, who is starting to adapt to life after Jack Grealish, while Norwich City will hope for some relief at home to Leicester City after kicking off its return to the Premier League with a 3-0 defeat to Liverpool and a 5-0 thrashing by Manchester City.
Two league defeats in two games and a Carabao Cup exit in midweek have increased the pressure on Steve Bruce at Newcastle and failure to end that run at home to Southampton could see the atmosphere start to turn very ugly indeed for a coach who has never convinced the faithful in St James’ Park.
Premier League leader West Ham has kicked off the new season with eight goals in two games and they will fancy their chances of continuing their 100 percent record against Crystal Palace, who has not yet scored a goal with Patrick Viera in charge.
Harry Kane scored twice for Tottenham in the Conference League on Thursday night and he can expect to start again in their home game against Watford on Sunday afternoon after saying he will not seek to leave the club this season.
Burnley and Leeds will provide a contrast of styles when they meet at Turf Moor. Leeds took a point against Everton last weekend, but consecutive defeats mean it’s important for Burnley to get points on the board….and they lost this fixture 4-0 last season.
Finally, Manchester United and Wolverhampton should provide entertainment, but after failing to score so far this season, despite creating plenty of chances against both Tottenham and Leicester City, Wolves needs to improve their aim against a Man Utd defense that is likely to see new arrival Raphael Varane partner Harry Maguire for the first time this season.