The Premier League returns after the dreaded international break with many sub plots front and center. Chelsea will look to snap a dreadful run of results and Liverpool plays its first match under new manager Jurgen Klopp are just a couple of examples of what to expect.
Covers Expert Soccer Authority breaks down what to look for in this weekend's Premier League schedule.
Chelsea vs. Aston Villa
Jose Mourinho's team has endured a disappointing opening to the season, taking eight points from as many matches and appearing a shadow of the team that became champions in dominant fashion just five months ago.
The 3-1 home loss to Southampton before the international break left Chelsea in 15th place and they head into Saturday's match only four points better off than third-from-bottom Villa.
Out-of-form defender Branislav Ivanovic is expected to miss out for Chelsea after picking up a hamstring injury on international duty with Serbia, while Diego Costa is suspended. Jose Mourinho has never lost successive home BPL matches as a manager, he’ll be hoping this record isn’t broken on Saturday.
Defenders Ciaran Clark (hip) and Jores Okore (knee) remain out for Villa, who will assess Adama Traore (ankle) and Gabriel Agbonlahor (calf) before the game.
Injured (Chelsea): Courtois, Ivanovic.
Key Stat: Chelsea have conceded at least two goals in seven of their eight BPL matches this season (the other game was a 2-0 win against Arsenal).
Everton vs. Manchester United
Everton has won the last three meetings between the sides at Goodison Park and have done so without conceding a goal. Everton’s hopes of maintaining that record have been bolstered by the likely return of highly-rated defender John Stones.
Manchester United know that they need to end their bad run of results against Everton. Untied led the BPL briefly a couple of weeks ago, but were humbled by a resurgent Arsenal in the last match day.
With fierce-rivals Man City expected to easily beat Bournemouth, there is a lot of pressure on Louis Van Gaal’s men to take all three points in this game.
No new injuries have surfaced for Martinez following the international break, although Leighton Baines remains around two weeks away following an ankle problem.
Injured (Manchester United): Luke Shaw. Unlikely to feature: Carrick, Herrera, Schweinsteiger, Rooney
Key Stat: Anthony Martial has touched the ball in the opposition box more often than any other BPL player this season (every 9.2 minutes, minimum of 90 minutes played).
Spurs vs. Liverpool
The early kick-off on Saturday will hopefully see the Barclays Premier League return with a bang. Struggling Liverpool travel to White Hart Lane to take on Tottenham. Than goodness the international break is over!
Much of the focus regarding this game is on the appointment of Jurgen Klopp as manager. We feel that the market is over-valuing Klopp's appointment, as statistically teams do poorly in their opening game when there is a change of manager during the season. Especially new Liverpool bosses, with no Reds boss winning their opening game for nearly 20 years.
Klopp inherits a side which has stuttered since the start of the season as they have recorded just three wins, three draws and two defeats from their eight Premier League games so far. We expect this to be a hard-fought encounter, here’s some more stats to consider:
Spurs sit in eighth position heading into the clash, two places above Liverpool. A victory here for Spurs could see them make inroads on the top six as the table begins to take shape. Spurs are the only Barclays Premier League team not to have lost since the opening weekend (W3 D4).
Injured - Liverpool: Roberto Firmino, Jon Flanagan, Christian Benteke, Jordan Henderson, Dejan Lovren, Joe Gomez. Spurs: Dier, Mason, Bentaleb, Son.
Key Stat: Goals are never far away when these two sides collide, and with the last six meetings between the pair having produced three or more, expect that trend to continue in North London.
Manchester City vs. Bournemouth
Top of the table City will be keen to extend their lead at the top with a big win over newly-promoted Bournemouth. The Cherries have been impressive in some games this season, but injuries to crucial players mean they will struggle even more than expected against City and other top teams.
City do have injury concerns themselves with Sergio Aguero and David Silva out, but they have plenty of quality options. Kevin De Bruyne has scored three goals and assisted two in his three BPL starts for Man City. De Bruyne has scored six times in his past seven outings for club and country. City manager Manuel Pellegrini will be keen for him to extend this run of form with Sergio Aguero and David Silva in the treatment room.
A big boost for City will be the return of captain Vincent Kompany, who is set for his first taste of club action since sustaining a calf problem during last month's UEFA Champions League defeat to Juventus. However, Pellegrini's opposite number Eddie Howe is short of reinforcements after a succession of cruel injury blows. Bournemouth will have to do without record signing Tyrone Mings, top scorer Callum Wilson, as well as captain Tommy Elphick (centre-back) and explosive winger Max Gradel.
Injured (Man City): Sergio Aguero, Silva, Delph. Unlikely to feature: Yaya Toure, Kolarov
Key Stat: Manuel Pellegrini's side have scored in all but one of their last 24 league matches, including each of the last 17.
Watford vs. Arsenal
A 3-0 win over Manchester United moved the Gunners to within just two points of league leaders Manchester City before the latest round of friendlies and qualifying matches for UEFA Euro 2016 and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Arsenal take on a Watford side with just one win in their last five matches in all competitions. Wenger has some concerns over the fitness of Alexis Sanchez, with the Chile star, who has scored five goals in his last two league matches, having played both recent World Cup qualifiers for his country.
Arsenal boast a strong record against Watford, having won all five of their previous meetings, including the last four in the BPL. Nigeria forward Odion Ighalo has scored Watford’s last five BPL goals, Arsenal will need to watch Ighalo closely.
Injured (Arsenal): Koscielny, Wilshere, Rosicky, Welbeck
Key Stat: Petr Cech has the best save percentage in the Barclays Premier League this season (82%, minimum 5 saves).