The English Premier League returns to action this weekend after some fascinating FA Cup and Champions League matches that held mixed fortunes for front-runners Arsenal and Manchester City. Both teams are involved in a very tight title race with Chelsea, but they have the luxury of facing bottom-half opponents in Sunderland and Stoke City during this weekend, respectively.
Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil was again at the receiving end of severe criticism after the match against Bayern Munich and his performance against Sunderland would be heavily scrutinized in case Arsene Wenger does not decide to give the German a very necessary break. City vindicated themselves against Chelsea in their Cup match, but were brought down to earth swiftly by a clinical Barcelona team which dispelled any thoughts of being the underdog by scoring two crucial away goals at the Etihad. Manuel Pellegrini‘s men would be fighting against a physical Stoke team in their upcoming match as the team looks to rediscover its prolific goal-scoring form.
In the most exciting match-up of the weekend and the obvious “Game Of The Week,” Everton travel to Stamford Bridge to face Jose Mourinho‘s Chelsea team which would be hoping to put behind two disappointing performances against West Brom and City in its last two matches. Roberto Martinez‘s team has not been able to replicate its consistency of late, but the team could be looking to draw inspiration from its victory over Chelsea back in September and would be hoping to peg the Blues back while itself staying in the hunt for a UCL spot.
Manchester United‘s lackluster season’s latest highlight is a massive new contract for star player and potential future captain Wayne Rooney whose long-term deal might see him stay at Old Trafford till 2019. David Moyes’ men travel to Crystal Palace next, wondering what might be needed to put an end to their mediocre League form.
And finally, red-hot Liverpool is pitted against a spirited Swansea team which played a brilliant match against Rafa Benitez‘s strong Napoli team in the Europa League encounter only to come away empty-handed after missing some decent chances to score. Liverpool’s Luis Suarez might have cooled off a little, but his team continues to score goals and Brendan Rodgers would be looking to keep his men in the hunt for the trophy and, more importantly, a spot in the top four.
Another weekend of cracking EPL action awaits us and we will be back on the same day next week to analyze this round of matches and take a look at the key aspects that would most likely dominate the next round.