After the feast of international football served up recently, it is back to the bread and butter game for many of the world’s top players this weekend as the Premier League action returns. One of the most high profile of the eight fixtures taking place on Saturday is the visit of leaders Chelsea to London neighbours QPR.
Having missed both England games, Ashley Cole is set to return for the Blues, while John Terry, who failed to make the line-up against Moldova, is also expected to figure in what will be the first meeting between the two sides since Terry was cleared of racial abuse to Anton Ferdinand during last season’s corresponding game that the hosts won 1-0. That last fact will ensure that the match will be closely scrutinised by the media, even more so if Ferdinand recovers from a shoulder injury in time to play.
For Chelsea it is another chance to prove that the title race is not the two-horse affair that many predicted, as they bid to keep up the pressure at the top. A hard-fought 2-0 victory over Newcastle a fortnight ago ensured that Roberto di Matteo’s side went into the mini-break as leaders with a 100 per cent record.
As for QPR, they got nothing from their trip to Manchester last time as City rolled them over with a comfortable 3-1 success, but Ji Sung Park looks a great buy judged on his tireless work rate. Bobby Zamora has also been putting a shift in, while Adel Taarabt has been unlucky not to score yet. The latter might just be a good call to score at anytime, but whether he does or not, with Hazard and a rejuvenated Torres in top form, it is hard to envisage Chelsea not coming away with the spoils.
No need to try and choose which match to bet on come Sunday as there is only the one Premier League encounter, that is at the Madejski Stadium where Reading play hosts to a Tottenham side that has made its worst start to a season since 2008. The pressure therefore is very much on Andre Villas Boas to win his first game as boss of the visitors, but he can take heart from the fact that the hosts have not exactly hit the ground running.
In fact if Reading lose on Sunday if will be their worst start to a season since 1997-98 when they ended up being relegated. Also, they haven’t been in action since losing 4-2 to Chelsea over three weeks ago, as the away game at Sunderland was postponed, so it may take them to time to click into gear. A tricky one to call in truth, but both sides to score looks a viable option.
Monday night’s live game is Everton versus Newcastle, and judged on the start the Toffees have made to the campaign, it promises to be a real cracker. Having beaten Manchester United at Goodison in their first fixture, it was probably a shock to the system to lose at West Brom, but the Baggies are no pushovers this term, so David Moyes’ side just need to believe in themselves as they bid to record a sixth consecutive home victory.
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