Once again, football fans can look forward to another Sky Sports treat as they broadcast three live games from the Premier League on Saturday evening, going right through to Monday night. Here is my preview of each of these 3 games.
Aston Villa v Liverpool, Saturday 24th August, 5:15pm, Villa Park
Aston Villa have surprised me so far this season. They have produced some excellent football and completely outclassed Arsenal on the opening day last weekend and were unlucky at Chelsea in midweek. This team very much contrasts the side from last season, who struggled to cope with the ferocity of the premier league, but now these players have matured into Premier League stars and for Villa fans things are starting to look good. Paul Lambert’s masterstroke of the summer was most defiantly keeping Christian Benteke; who had originally handed in a transfer request early into the transfer window. However the young Belgian made a U-turn on his decision and signed a new contract at Villa Park, and it seems to have benefited Benteke with three goals already to his name this season.
Liverpool also made a promising start to season with a win against Stoke at Anfield a week ago. To think Liverpool would struggle without Luis Suarez was a mistake as Countinho and Daniel Sturridge have seemed to create a strong partnership and some of their link up play would torment the defence of any side in the world. Goalkeeping heroics from debutant Mingolet made sure Liverpool kept hold of the three points and I think he will be needed again this Saturday as Villa are sure to create plenty of opportunities. The stadium will be rocking, fans will get behind the team in claret and blue and most of all the Liverpool defence may struggle to keep Benteke quiet, likewise, the villa defence may struggle with the pace of the Liverpool forwards.
Cardiff City v Manchester City, Sunday 25th August, 4:00pm, Cardiff City Stadium
For the championship champions, it was a tough welcome to the elite league in England as Cardiff were turned over 2-0 by West Ham United. For me it wasn’t a surprise to see Cardiff struggle as they will need to adapt to the change in class and pace that is the Premier League. There were moments for Cardiff fans to feel content about, they created good chances last week and perhaps could have scored a goal. However this week it will be an even tougher test as a slick and world class Manchester City side travel to Wales.
Pellegrini’s men convincingly brushed Newcastle aside last Monday with a 4-0 win, and if City mange to perform anywhere near like they did at the Etihad, I fear for the premier league newbie’s. The debutants Jesus Navas and Fernandinho impressed for City and I feel the former Premier league champions will slowly rip the Cardiff city defence open and expose the gaps to put a few past Marshall, who is sure to have a busy Sunday.
Saying that, this will be the first Premier League match at the Cardiff City Stadium therefore the place will be bouncing, excited fans will vocally get behind the home team and for City it may not be as easy a stroll as many would predict.
Manchester United v Chelsea, Monday 26th August, 8:00pm
The nation will be watching on with excitement. David Moyes could hardly of received a tougher opening home match as United Manager, with the “Happy one” Jose Mourniho bringing his Chelsea side to Old Trafford for a mouth-watering contest. Both teams look strong after opening day victories.
Manchester United will be the fresher of the two, as Chelsea played Villa in midweek (a 2-1 victory for the Blues) but Moyes knows he can’t take anything for granted against Mourniho’s team. With Wayne Rooney’s future still in the balance and ironically Chelsea the most likely destination for Rooney should he walk out on Old Trafford, it is unlikely the England forward will take part in the match therefore Robin Van Persie will need to be on top form along with Vidic, Ferdinand and De Gea who are prepared for a tough 90 minutes.
Chelsea will go into the game on the back of two wins, providing confidence as they head to Old Trafford, a venue where Chelsea haven’t been too bad at. Again I predict Mourniho will make changes in order to make his impressive squad content with enough playing time. Kevin De Bruyne surprised me last week with a terrific performance against Hull City, but that was Hull, and United are for sure another step up, can De Bruyne step up to it? Well I guess we will find out Monday should Mourniho pick him.
What is guaranteed though is excitement, and on Monday I’m sure we will be blessed by the footballing gods with goals and incidents to keep us glued to the television screens for a few hours.
So this weekend sit back, get the beers or cokes in and enjoy the football. It’s sure to be a cracking weekend.