The year 2021 is potentially going to be a make-or-break one for the Central Coast Mariners.
The international break always leaves us longing for the English Premier League.
This weekend of games should continue to provide us with further drama, action and unpredictability. We should expect quite a lot of movement in the top half of the table when the games are done. Here are the games you need to see.
Newcastle vs Chelsea: Saturday at 11:30 pm (AEDT)
This game is all about Chelsea and the strides they have continued to make. Although they have dropped a few points here and there, they are becoming the team that everyone expected them to be: goal-scoring juggernauts.
Chelsea currently lead the league with 20 goals scored and they’ll be happy to see Timo Werner continuing to score goals as well as Hakim Ziyech settling in nicely.
The depth that Chelsea possess up front and in the midfield is overwhelming and with Edouard Mendy between the goals, they are finding form.
Newcastle rely so heavily on Callum Wilson and it will be interesting to see what he can do against Chelsea. He previously has had strong performances against Chelsea when he was with Bournemouth, but the Magpies have a mammoth task ahead of them.
Spurs vs Man City: Sunday at 4:30 am (AEDT)
Tottenham and Manchester City have traded wins, draws and losses over the past couple of years. Last season, City only managed one draw against Spurs in two meetings.
Manchester City only have one loss against Leicester this season but during their past five games, they have really scraped by. They have scored one goal in each of their last five games having to rely on their defence to secure three points.
On the other hand, after Spurs got off to a flying start with goal-scoring, they have recently tightened up their formations in order to concede fewer goals. As a result, they have relied heavily on counter-attacks and haven’t been as expansive as they were earlier.
In their first five league games, Spurs scored 15 goals but conceded eight. In their last three league games, they have scored four goals but conceded only one.
Both teams have plenty of offensive firepower and it will be interesting to see how Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho setup and respond tactically.
With Tottenham having a tough stretch of games coming up, this game is crucial for them to perform well.
Leeds vs Arsenal: Monday at 3:30 am (AEDT)
Arsenal are reeling after their loss against Aston Villa and they’ll be hoping to bounce back against Leeds.
The Gunners have struggled to create and score goals this season and often they have setup fairly conservatively. They may very well continue their ways aiming to sit back and play on the counter against a team that loves to get forward in Leeds.
Leeds are coming off back to back 4-1 losses and while they have produced goals, they have also conceded many.
This game looks to be a massive style of clashes with one conservative up against one aggressive team. Arsenal while playing conservative have the attacking talent to worry opposing defences in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Bukayo Saka, but they have underperformed so far.
There could be a number of goals scored in this game depending on whether Arsenal decide to get adventurous and attack Leeds. This is a danger game for Mikel Arteta as he needs to find the right balance between attack and defence.
Leeds have proven to be vulnerable but if Arsenal aren’t careful, Leeds could pile on the goals.
Liverpool vs Leicester: Monday at 6:15 am (AEDT)
The defending champions continue to have their casualty ward grow every week. Liverpool now look to be without Joe Gomez, Mo Salah and even potentially Andy Robertson.
Despite the injuries, they have done well to scrape out results since their massive loss to Aston Villa. But now they face a tough task against league-leading Leicester City.
Leicester has also lost to Aston Villa earlier in the season, but they have since won every game in all competitions.
Led by Jamie Vardy, the Foxes will be relishing the opportunity to pounce on an undermanned Liverpool team who will be their direct competitor for the title.
While Leicester have obviously lost a lot of their players since they won the league in 2016, they have done well to retool their squad. Youri Tielemans, Harvey Barnes and James Maddison are all talented players in the midfield and Justin James at right back has blossomed this season.
Leicester have shown that they can win in multiple ways. Whether it’s scoring an abundance of goals or grinding out a victory with a clean sheet, they are very dynamic and versatile.
Liverpool will have to play very well to secure a draw or victory as Leicester will be looking to run all over their defence. This game should tell us a lot about where Leicester is overall.
Wolves vs Southampton: Tuesday at 7:00 am (AEDT)
Can Wolves conjure up enough opportunities to score goals against a red-hot Southampton? That will be the main question for Nuno Espirito Santo heading into this game.
Outside of Raul Jiminez, there haven’t been any major consistent threats to opposing defences and that has plagued Wolves so far this season. They are one of the best defensive teams in the league but just haven’t been able to back it up in attack.
Outside of the bottom four teams in the league, Wolves have scored the fewest amount of goals.
Meanwhile, Southampton weren’t fazed by losing Danny Ings after winning 2-0 against Newcastle last week. Look for Che Adams and Theo Walcott to step up.
The main story to monitor for Southampton is will they continue to flourish without Danny Ings, or will they flounder?
This game is massive for both teams and should be a tightly contested match-up.