“Every person involved in a derby thinks that his derby is the biggest and the most important” – Kenny Dalgish
This certainly will be the case when the weekend arrives as the Barclays Premier League plays host to a number of derby battles with the North London Derby and the Merseyside Derby taking top honours.
Tottenham’s resurgence coupled with Arsenal downfall in the recent past has made the North London Derby one of the most exciting fixtures in the football calendar. Last season, Tottenham came back from two goals behind to win at the Emirates Stadium while the corresponding fixture at White Hart Lane threw in six goals as the teams drew 3-3. Come this Sunday, there will be no love lost between the London clubs as they gear to provide another feast to the football lovers. Both teams did not get off to the best of starts this season but three consecutive wins for Spurs put them in sixth position while Arsenal still lie in thirteenth position.
Another event to watch out for this week will be Kenny Dalgish’s return to Goodison Park after twenty years. Everton raise their game to inexplicable levels in such derby encounters and like in the past few seasons, Everton won’t ensure that it would be a cakewalk for Liverpool. Steven Gerrard is expected to start the derby on the bench while Dalgish might give Dirk Kuyt a start after leaving him on the bench for the last two league games. Suarez, who is Liverpool’s top scorer this season, will be the key man for the Reds while Everton will be banking on Tim Cahill to provide the inspiration for the Toffees.
Sir Alex Ferguson will welcome the return of his talismanic striker Wayne Rooney as he returns from injury as the 19 time champions gear up to face newly promoted Norwich City. Hernadez, who injured himself in the clash against Stoke, is expected to start on the bench while Vidic continues to remain unavailable. Norwich, on the other hand recorded a first win at Bolton last week before jumping into the top half of the table with another win over Sunderland.
Chelsea will go to the Reebok Stadium without suspended striker Fernando Torres as they look to carry forward the form from the previous week where they beat Swansea 4-1. Didier Drogba is expected to start in the absence of Torres while Lampard’s place, who started midweek against Valencia, is not guaranteed.
Manchester City will look to put behind them the Tevez saga as they gear up to face Blackburn Rovers. City have suspended Tevez for two weeks while Mancini has almost confirmed that Dzeko will not start after the striker’s reaction on being substituted in Munich did not go down well with him. This might provide a chance for the beleaguered Mario Balotelli to cement his place in the starting lineup.
In another derby encounter, West London clubs Fulham and newly promoted QPR meet at Craven Cottage as the former look to get their first win of the season. Aston Villa, who are yet to be beaten this season, will like to get their season the push it requires with a win against Wigan Athletic as they look to secure a place in Europe next season.
- Everton vs. Liverpool
- Aston Villa vs. Wigan Athletic
- Blackburn vs. Manchester City
- Manchester United vs. Norwich City
- Sunderland vs. West Bromwich Albion
- Wolverhampton vs. Newcastle United
- Bolton Wanderers vs. Chelsea
- Fulham vs. Queen Park Rangers
- Swansea vs. Stoke City
- Tottenham vs. Arsenal