We pick five must-watch games from the Prem, Championship and FA Cup

          Playmaker's weekend top tier thigh-rubbers

          2019/11/08 16:53
          By Connor Andrews

          With League One and League Two skipping a weekend due to the return of the FA Cup, we double up on Premier League and Championship must watch games while picking out an extra potential blinder from the first round of England’s oldest competition.

          Premier League

          Liverpool v Manchester City, Anfield, Sunday 16:30

          A thigh rubber that defines the genre so much, you’ll have to be careful you don’t do yourself some damage getting ready for this one. Last season’s record breaking top two meet at Anfield, with Liverpool having the opportunity to open their lead up to nine points, while City can reduce it to three. 

          If Sky Sports even needed a promotional video for this game, all they’d have to do is show last weekend’s late comeback victories from both sides as the perfect display of just how huge this game is.

          City haven’t had much luck at Anfield in the Guardiola era, but a late Riyhad Mahrez penalty in last season’s meeting should’ve been the only goal of the game to seal a first Manchester City win in Liverpool’s home since May 2003. 

          Instead, Mahrez blasted over the bar, and didn’t give City their deserved reward for dominating a cagey game. City’s shift to not get in a slugfest was key to their strong performance, but injuries to the likes of Ederson, Rodri and Matip mean we might see something more akin to 2018’s 4-3.

          ©Getty / Julian Finney

          Leicester v Arsenal, King Power Stadium, Saturday 17:30

          This could be the moment Unai Emery fully loses control at Arsenal, and as things have spiralled into disarray with no wins in their past four games, Leicester have racked up four victories on the trot with 16 goals scored and two conceded. 

          However on the Leicester side, their only stumbles this year after their opening day draw against Wolves, have come against top six opposition, and a win tomorrow would send both sides on completely opposite trajectories.

          Under Arsene Wenger, this is the kind of game where the Gunners would’ve got a result when they desperately needed one, under Emery though, it could be the beginning of the end. 

          ©Getty / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA


          Preston v Huddersfield, Deepdale, Saturday 15:00

          One of three teams on 28 points, Preston sit second in the Championship in a top five that’s been chopping and changing on a weekly basis. If Preston do want to challenge for the automatic promotion places, a win at home to a rising Huddersfield would be a big demonstration of their credentials.

          Huddersfield are unbeaten in their last seven under Danny Cowley and are the form team in the division, slowly pulling away from the relegation places and towards mid table safety. Preston though, will be easily the biggest test they’ve faced since finding form under Cowley, in a game that could define both sides busy autumn schedule.

          Nottingham Forest v Derby, The City Ground, Saturday 12:30

          Inconsistency has been the word for a Derby side recovering from depressing off-field issues. as each impressive win with a clean sheet in their past five, has been followed by a loss without scoring. The Championship is as tight as ever and although there’s ten places between Forest in fifth and Derby in 15th, a win for the away team would put them a point behind their fierce rivals.

          Forest’s momentary spell at the top of the league looks distant after back-to-back loses against Wigan and Hull, and this game could determine their chances of sticking in the top six, or having another nearly season.

          ©Getty / Mike Hewitt

          FA Cup

          Colchester v Coventry, Colchester Community Stadium, Saturday 15:00

          League Cup quarter-finalists Colchester are giving their fans plenty to shout about. Not just upsetting the likes of Tottenham and Crystal Palace on their way to the last eight, their League Two form has also picked up putting them right in the play-off picture. 

          Coventry were pace-setters in League One, and although only a division above, Colchester’s fun-filled season could take another turn for the better in our pick for the most entertaining FA Cup first round proper tie.


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