City, Liverpool in early blockbuster

City, Liverpool in early blockbuster

The new Premier League season bursts
into life this weekend with last
season’s top two, Manchester City and
Liverpool, facing each other at
Eastlands.
Just three points separated the two sides last term
and having both notched wins on the opening
weekend, City and Liverpool will be keen to maintain
momentum on Monday night.
City captain Vincent Kompany warned Liverpool that
they will find it harder to challenge for the title this
season, with the Champions League also to focus on.
And the Belgian believes home advantage and a good
start last weekend, 2-0 at Newcastle, means City will
go into the Liverpool game with confidence.
“It’s the first time for me that this home fixture
comes so early in the season,” he said.
“But if we can perform like we did at Newcastle, we
will be hoping to get the three points at home.
Newcastle was important for us because it takes a lot
of pressure away from the Liverpool game.
City manager Manuel Pellegrini described the match
as “a big game” and promised to prepare his team
well but he knows he has to nurse his World Cup
players back to full steam.
“It’s normal that the guys who were at the World Cup
are tired,” he said after their victory at Newcastle.
“At the moment we have players who can’t play 90
minutes but we were playing against a strong team
like Newcastle in a tough place to go and the first
clear chance they had was after 88 minutes.”
Liverpool won their opener 2-1 against Southampton
at Anfield last weekend and despite a scratchy
performance, goalkeeper Simon Mignolet believes
they will relish such a chance for an early crack at
City.
“It’s actually probably as easier game to go into than
Southampton at home,” he told the Liverpool Echo.
“We didn’t really know to expect from Southampton
as they have a new manager and new players.
“But we know what the City game is going to be all
about. It will be totally different. They have some
top players and it will be a difficult game but we
competed with them last season and hopefully we
will get the three points.
“Last season we beat Stoke (on the opening
weekend), won a tough game at (Aston) Villa and then
beat Man United. We hope to build from a winning
start again.”
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has promised to
keep Thibaut Courtois in goal for Saturday’s clash
with Leicester, despite rumours that Petr Cech will
seek a move away from the club if he is not first
choice.
Mourinho was delighted with the performance of
Cesc Fabregas on his debut in the 3-1 win at
promoted Burnley and expects him to repeat it
against Leicester, also new boys, again from the
centre of midfield.
“When a player is your first choice, it is very rare you
make a mistake and Cesc was our first choice for that
position,” Mourinho said.
“For most of the last 10 years we have been in the
same league, either in England or Spain, and at
Barcelona he was playing all over the place – as a
false nine, a nine, as the number 10 and as a winger.
“He knows better than me what his best position is
and there he can bring other people in the right
direction and for that I am really happy.”
Arsenal also face a tough match with a trip to Everton
while Tottenham take on QPR and Manchester United
travel to Sunderland.
United manager Louis van Gaal suffered a shock 2-1
home defeat against Swansea in his first Premier
League match in charge last weekend and they will
be hoping to bounce back quickly.
New signing Marcos Rojo could go straight into the
team at full-back and vice-captain Darren Fletcher
said there were enough strong characters in the
dressing room to be able to do just that.
“People talk about players that have left but I see it
in the eyes of the young players,” he said. “They’re
ready for it and determined to show how good they
are and we’re determined to show how good the
team is.”
Aston Villa face Newcastle, managerless Crystal
Palace take on West Ham, Southampton host West
Brom, Swansea meet Burnley and Hull take on Stoke
in the weekend’s other matches.

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