Chelsea, Arsenal look to convince in packed EPL weekend (Preview)

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London, Aug 17 (IANS) The second weekend of the new English Premier League (EPL) football season has one standout fixture as Chelsea host Arsenal at the Stamford Bridge here on Saturday evening with both coaches having something to prove.

New Chelsea coach Mauricio Sarri saw his side take what eventually turned out to be a comfortable 3-0 win away to Huddersfield last week, but not before seeing them suffer when pressed down their flanks in the first half of that match, reports Xinhua news agency.

Unai Emery meanwhile began his Arsenal reign with a defeat at home against Manchester City amid questions over goalkeeper Petr Cech and complaints that he has so far changed little since replacing Arsene Wenger at the end of last season.

Arsenal are unbeaten in their last six meetings with Chelsea, but need to show that Emery is getting across his message of building from the back, while the home side will probably welcome Eden Hazzard back into their starting 11 after his impressive World Cup showing.

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Manchester City looked very comfortable beating Arsenal 2-0 last weekend, but lost midfielder Kevin de Bruyne to a knee injury in training during the week. De Bruyne shouldn’t be missed when Pep Guardiola’s side entertain Huddersfield on Sunday, but the league champions may have to be patient and work to break down their rival’s well-organised defense.

Tottenham fans who were disappointed by the news that their move to their new stadium has been delayed until the end of October at the earliest will seek consolation as their side takes on Fulham at Wembley.

Newly promoted Fulham are considered to have signed well over the summer, but their lack of experience was exploited by Crystal Palace last weekend and Totenham striker Harry Kane will view the game as the chance to end his surprising record of never scoring a EPL goal in August.

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Expect sparks to fly as Cardiff entertain Newcastle United in a game where it’s fair to say there is no love lost between rival coaches Neil Warnock and Rafael Benitez over a feud dating back to 2007.

Everton could hand a debut to summer signing Yerry Mina in place of the suspended Phil Jagielka in central defence when they entertain Southampton on Saturday.

Wolverhampton Wanderers aim to build on their positive start to the campaign with a visit to Leicester City, who impressed despite an opening day defeat to Manchester United and who will seek out the spaces that the Wolves’ attacking style sees them leave in defense.

West Ham are another side that has to improve in defense as Bournemouth are the visitors to East London and coach Manuel Pellegrini will also want more aggression in midfield in the wake of their 4-0 capitulation at Anfield a week ago.

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Watford travel to Burnley with a dreadful record of scoring just one goal away from home in their last 11 away matches.

Brighton entertain a Manchester United side that is without the injured midfielder Ander Herrera and where rumours of a falling out between coach Jose Mourinho and midfielder Paul Pogba just won’t go away.

The last game of the week is played on Monday as Crystal Palace put Liverpool’s title credentials to the test in the wake of both sides’ impressive displays last weekend.

–IANS

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