Premier League Matchday 8: Arsenal and City on road as top flight returns
The Premier League returns following last weekend’s hiatus with seven games scheduled across Matchday 8.
Leading pair Arsenal and Manchester City face tricky away trips to Brentford and Wolves respectively, while Tottenham host struggling Leicester.
Aston Villa vs Southampton (Friday, 8pm, Sky Sports Main Event)
Aston Villa will strive to pick up only their second league win of the season against a Southampton side who have alternated between victory and defeat in their past four top-flight outings.
The Villans have won two of their last three meetings with the Saints after claiming only one success in the 11 previous.
No manager has used fewer players in the Premier League than Steven Gerrard this term (18). Despite this, the Villa boss has made more changes to his starting XI than any of his peers (14).
Striker Danny Ings has scored four goals in the last three games between these two sides, though only one of those has come for his current club.
Nottingham Forest vs Fulham (Friday, 8pm)
Two promoted sides are also in action on Friday as Fulham head to Nottingham Forest.
It is the first time the pair have faced off in the Premier League, with their last top-tier encounter ending 2-2 in April 1968.
The Cottagers have a stronger record in past meetings, winning five of their last seven games and the most recent three league clashes at the City Ground.
Forest’s Brennan Johnson has scored 18 league goals since the start of last season, more than any other player aged 21 or under in England’s top-four tiers.
Wolves vs Manchester City (Saturday, 12.30pm, BT Sport 1)
Champions City can end the day at the top of the Premier League if they overcome Wolves at Molineux.
Bruno Lage’s men earned their first league win in 13 attempts against Southampton last time out and are looking to secure back-to-back triumphs for the first time in 10 months.
The Citizens are unbeaten in their last 21 Premier League away games since a 1-0 defeat to Tottenham in their opening game of last season.
However, they have drawn in their previous two on their travels — last going three without a win on the road in July 2020.
City sensation Erling Haaland has scored in all three of his Premier League away games, with no player having ever scored in their opening four.
Newcastle vs Bournemouth (Saturday, 3pm)
Newcastle boss Eddie Howe faces former club Bournemouth for the first time with the Cherries looking to make it two wins from two since Scott Parker’s sacking.
Howe's Magpies have managed just a single win in six games this season but have been beaten only once in their last eight, as well as only suffering a solitary defeat in their previous 13 at home.
The promoted Cherries, currently led by caretaker Gary O’Neill, have shipped 18 goals since their return to the top division — a joint-most ever at this stage of a Premier League campaign.
Toon, meanwhile, have lost only two of their eight top-flight meetings with the South Coast outfit (four wins and two draws).
Tottenham vs Leicester (Saturday, 5.30pm, Sky Sports Main Event)
Tottenham will hope to put Tuesday's disappointing Champions League defeat in Lisbon behind them when rock-bottom Leicester visit North London.
Spurs have tasted success in seven of their last nine Premier League games against the East Midlanders, including each of the last three.
Since the Foxes’ return to the Premier League in 2014, only Arsenal against Liverpool has produced more goals as a fixture than Tottenham versus Leicester.
Heung-Min Son’s struggles in front of goal this term continued on Tuesday — no player has had more shots without scoring than last season’s Golden Boot winner (17).
Brentford vs Arsenal (Sunday, 12pm, Sky Sports Main Event)
Two London clubs are in action at a slightly earlier time on Sunday as Brentford and Arsenal go head-to-head.
The Bees have surprisingly won five of their six home league games against Arsenal — including a memorable 2-0 victory in this fixture on the opening day of last season.
Mikel Arteta’s pace-setters look a different animal in 2022-23 but saw their perfect start to the campaign ended in their last Premier League outing at Manchester United.
Only City (20) have scored more times than Thomas Frank’s men this term (15), with their goals-per-game average (2.5) almost double what it was last season (1.3).
The Gunners have emerged victorious in five of their last eight away London derbies, which is as many as they had in their previous 23 on the road.
Everton vs West Ham (Sunday, 2.15pm, Sky Sports Main Event)
Two teams looking to improve on disappointing starts to the campaign complete the weekend as Everton host West Ham.
The pair have both picked up only four points so far, with the Toffees winless in their last seven Premier League games and the Hammers scoring only three times this term.
Everton have won more top-flight matches (27) and scored more goals (88) against West Ham than any other side. However, they have also lost three of the pair’s last four meetings.
It is a similarly poor record for Toffees boss Frank Lampard against the club he once played for, with the 44-year-old only losing more against Liverpool (four) than the Irons (three) as a manager.