Current form is to count for next to nothing when old foes Arsenal host Manchester United on Sunday evening in the most appetising Premier League fixture of match day four. The pair were the division’s outstanding sides between 1996-2005 when Arsene Wenger’s arrival from Nagoya Grampus Eight challenged legendary Red Devils boss Sir Alex Ferguson, with the sides occupying the top two positions until Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea revolution upset the applecart.
The Gunners have not won the EPL title since the Invincibles class of 2003/4 while the Red Devils last triumphed in England’s top flight in 2013, Ferguson’s last year at Old Trafford. Having led the standings for all but the final two months of last season, Arsenal’s ambitious young Spanish coach Mikel Arteta is searching for a statement win that can galvanise his side’s efforts to knock three-time defending champions Manchester City from atop the perch.
His team will have to do better than last weekend when they conceded a late Joao Paulinha equaliser at home to ten-man Fulham. Eric Ten Haag’s visitors aren’t yet operating at full throttle, having failed to convince in victories over Wolverhampton Wanderers and ten-man Nottingham Forest. The outcome of the match may well hinge on whether Arteta sticks to misfiring £65m signing Kai Havertz or goes with the tried and tested Eddie Nketiah, who was a bundle of energy at Emirates Stadium after joining the second half fray along with Fabio Vieira.
Super Sunday also features a mouthwatering tie between Unai Emery’s Aston Villa and Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. The Anfield crowd will be counting on their celebrated German gaffer to implore his players not to concede needless fouls as pulses raced with abandon as ten-man Liverpool saw off spirited competition from Newcastle United and Bournemouth in their last two rubbers. The 19-time champions must be at their very best if they are to see off an Aston Villa outfit that carry a considerable attacking threat. It will certainly be interesting to see how a Kop back four without skipper Virgil van Dijk copes with the mercurial attacking skills of Ollie Watkins, Moussa Diaby and Leon Bailey.
Premier League football commences on Friday night with high flyers West Ham United visiting Luton Town. Currently joint second in the standings following eye catching victories over Chelsea and Brighton, David Moyes’ Europa Conference League winners start as favourites to win at the winless newcomers. Saturday’s late kick off features a fascinating duel between Roberto de Zerbi’s Brighton Hove Albion and New castle United. PFA footballer of the year Erling Braut Haaland meanwhile turns his shooting boots on Fulham.
Luton Town v West Ham United
Sheffield United v Everton,
Brentford v Bournemouth,
Burnley v Tottenham Hotspur,
Chelsea v Nottingham Forest,
Manchester City v Fulham,
Brighton Hove Albion v Newcastle United
Crystal Palace v Wolves,
Liverpool v Aston Villa,
Arsenal v Manchester United