Garde's baptism of fire and five other Premier league talking points

How will Arsenal react, can Vardy keep scoring and is this the weekend Louis van Gaal’s attack starts to click?

Remi Garde has a big job on his hands at Aston Villa.
Remi Garde has a big job on his hands at Aston Villa.
Image: David Davies

As if starting a new job wasn’t hard enough…

BAPTISM OF FIRE comes to mind. Remi Garde takes control of lowly Aston Villa for the first time this weekend and his first assignment – the visit of Manchester City.

The same City side that have averaged almost four goals a game at the City of Manchester stadium this year. It is hard to give Villa, whose attack is tied for second worst in the league, a sniff of a result. But new-manager-syndrome has had a profound effect in the past.

Source: David Davies

It will be interesting to see how Garde approaches the game in terms of formation and personnel. He might have one of the worst squads in the league but with the likes of Jack Grealish, Carles Gil and Jordan Ayew at his disposal, there is young talent for him to work with.

With only four points from 11 games Villa have it all to do – and their upcoming fixtures (Everton (A), Watford (H), Southampton (A) and Arsenal (H)) make for fairly miserable reading for Villa fans.

Garde was quick to ban the speaking of French in the dressing room this week in an attempt to bring the squad closer together. And he will need a united side and a whole lot more if they are to be shouting in unison about Premier League survival next May.

How heavy is Arsenal’s European hangover?

Arsenal’s players should be able to put their embarrassing trip to Munich at the back of their minds with a North London derby to host. But the manner in which they were dismantled by the German champions will be difficult for their defenders to forget.

Spurs, on the other hand, have every reason to be confident. They are unbeaten in the Premier League since their opening day loss to Manchester United while Harry Kane and Mousa Dembele can’t stop scoring.

Britain Soccer Europa League Source: Matt Dunham

Laurent Koscielny is expected to be fit for Arsene Wenger’s side who are still missing a host of first-team regulars. This weekend will be a big test of Arsenal’s mettlle and championship credentials.

How will Chelsea deal without the Special One?

Jose Mourinho won’t be in the Britannia Stadium for tomorrow’s late kick-off (5.30) against Stoke but he will travel north with his squad.

The Special One decided not to appeal the one-match stadium ban and £40,000 (€56,000) fine he received for his behaviour towards the match officials during Chelsea’s 2-1 defeat at West Ham two weeks ago.

Source: Matt Dunham

And how his players, who he insists are 100% behind him, play in his absence will be interesting to see.

Chelsea should be buoyed by their 2-1 win at home to Dynamo Kiev mid-week. However, they have been tipped to kick on numerous times this season after victories only to slip back into their bad habits.

A victory away to Stoke won’t come easy with goalkeeper Jack Butland in excellent form for the Potters.  Though the fact Stoke haven’t kept a clean sheet at the Brittania Stadium in the league this season should be a point of optimism for Chelsea’s attackers.

Can Vardy continue his remarkable run?

Eight games and counting. With Watford visiting King Power Stadium tomorrow you’d be brave to bet against the Leicester sensation Jamie Vardy scoring in his ninth successive league game.

Source: Nigel French

Watford have only conceded 10 goals in their opening 11 games while Leicester are second only to Manchester City in terms of goals scored.

So Vardy will have to be at his clinical best to keep the run going and get within one game of Ruud van Nistlerooy’s record of 10 games.

Palace to kill Anfield atmosphere again?

Crystal Palace have won three of their five away games this year and famously spoiled Steven Gerrard’s Anfield farewell with a 3-1 victory in May.

But that was all pre-Klopp. And besides, now we are told Gerrard might be coming back.

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Under Klopp’s tutelage Liverpool have looked much harder to break down – they are undefeated in six games and have won three in a row.

After the buzz of their 3-1 win away to Chelsea last weekend this fixture will be a real test of where Liverpool are at. In the past Liverpool have recorded big results against top sides only to falter against a poorer team the following week.

Source: Steven_Paston

While there is only a point between the sides on the table, Alan Pardew’s charges are without a Premier League win in five games – that makes this a game Klopp’s Liverpool should definitely be winning.

Can United click in attack?

Louis van Gaal’s side have been winning games, lead their group in the Champions League and sit only four points behind league leaders Manchester City.

But United’s fans won’t be happy until the Red Devils produce an entertaining, attacking performance reminiscent of Alex Ferguson’s glory years.

Unfortunately for van Gaal many have forgotten that Fergie’s teams also knew how to win ugly, registering many a dull 1-0 win during their trophy-laden years.

Source: Mike Egerton

This weekend’s fixture against West Brom looks like a good place to start, even against a Tony Pulis outfit that will aim to keep it extremely tight.

With Wayne Rooney back among the goals during the week, Jesse Lingard starting to deliver on his promise and most of his attacking options available, this could be the weekend van Gaal’s tactics are bemoaned no longer. Or for a week at least.

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