Chelsea's Response, Romelu Lukaku, Liverpool's Coutinho Question And More: Premier League Weekend Preview

Chelsea's Reaction, Romelu Lukaku, Liverpool's Coutinho Question And More

Hopefully Swansea City and Liverpool's Monday night treat will rouse a Premier League season in desperate need of excitement and goals.

Here are five things to look forward to this weekend...


Chelsea's two defeats in four days are hardly the symptoms of a bad romance between the club and José Mourinho just yet but, as expected, their unbalanced squad is struggling.

The autumn usually prompts a slump in form at Stamford Bridge, with a sacking occasionally thrown in to augment the instability. Mourinho is unlikely to experience that familiar feeling again but the fixture against Fulham at Saturday tea-time has grown in significance.

However vulnerable Chelsea's defence is, who plays at centre-back or right-back is not as much of a concern as who supports Samuel Eto'o. Irrespective of what either Mourinho or Juan Mata have said, trouble is brewing between the Iberians and Fulham's traipse down the Fulham Road should be seen as an opportunity to fathom who are certain starters.

"Good Willian, that'll keep Mata on the bench."

During his first era in west London, Mourinho revealed as many as nine players were first-teamers in his 11, whereas now it is probably six at the most. Fulham have not won at Stamford Bridge since 1979, which only increases the pressure on the Portuguese to get a positive result.


An unbeaten run, including one win, three draws and three clean sheets are hallmarks of a David Moyes Everton, but their opening four games belies their newfound positivity under Roberto MartĂ­nez, even if he has retained some of his predecessor's traits.

The Toffees' excellent victory over Chelsea might persuade the Spaniard to retain the same side, but Romelu Lukaku is now available for selection. Nikica Jelavić's profligacy persuaded Martínez to bring in another striker and despite the Croat's superb assist for Steven Naismith's winner last week, Lukaku is the superior striker.

Lukaku looked awkward when paraded before Everton's match with Chelsea

His style is more suitable for a trip to Upton Park, too. West Ham have conceded just one goal in their first three matches, which was Jermaine Pennant's winning free-kick for Stoke. In James Collins and Winston Reid, they boast an old school defensive pairing well suited to shackling the drudgery Jelavić. Lukaku, meanwhile, is pacier and fresher.


Brendan Rodgers' reign as Liverpool coach has been tempered by positives followed by swift negatives, and Philippe Coutinho's shoulder injury has marred an auspicious start by the Reds.

Victor Moses' encouraging debut at Swansea on Monday night suggested he would fill the final vacancy in Rodgers' four-man attack when Luis Suárez returns from suspension next week, but Rodgers must now have a re-think.

Coutinho nurses his shoulder injury at the Liberty Stadium

The likelihood is the Ulsterman will retain his faith in Jordan Henderson, one of only two Kenny Dalglish signings with something resembling a future on L4. However Luis Alberto capitalised on Rodgers' presence at the Under-21 fixture versus Sunderland on Tuesday night with a hat-trick, and Southampton could be an ideal chance to start the Spanish winger ahead of Henderson.

Iago Aspas, dropped after an unconvincing start, is better suited to support Sturridge in what is a presentable opportunity to kick-start his Anfield career, too.


One of the club's finest victories, Swansea's 3-0 defeat of Valencia at the Mestalla may have been aided by Adil Rami's red card but it should not temper a fabulously convincing display by Michael Laudrup's improving side.

Swansea recorded a superb win at Valencia on Thursday night

They can do it at the Mestalla on a Thursday night but a new challenge lies in wait at Selhurst Park on Sunday. Crystal Palace are the first of six Sunday fixtures following European excursions for the Swans. Laudrup, aware of Newcastle's struggles last season, heavily reinforced his squad to cope with continental football and their domestic performance hinges heavily on how they respond to it.


Though it is too early to refer to Cardiff City Stadium as a "fortress", a win and a draw against Manchester City and Everton are sufficient warnings for a Tottenham side who have looked rather rudderless in their two away fixtures in the Premier League.

Fortunately for André Villas-Boas, they can now call upon Christian Eriksen to act as a bridge between midfield and attack; a glaring issue in the games at Crystal Palace and Arsenal.

Fraizer Campbell's heroics led Cardiff to a 3-2 win over City in August

Cardiff were cautious against Everton after an adventurous and aggressive approach for City's visit and it will be fascinating to see what they have in store for Villas-Boas' skilful Spurs.

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