Yep, we know there’s a Manchester Derby, but there’s some other quite interesting stuff happening too!
With the transfer window finally, belatedly creaking shut last week, we can finally look at Premier League squads with some degree of certainty. And this weekend’s fixtures throw up more than a few talking points.
Here’s three to look out for:
Bournemouth v West Brom – Saturday, 3pm BST
Wilshere’s descent from one of the highest rated teenagers in Europe to getting ready to face Tony Pulis’ West Brom in what could be called, even at this early stage of the season, a relegation six-pointer has been one wracked with long-term injuries and niggles.
As he slips on that Bournemouth shirt for the first time in a competitive outing, he may very well have words from times past ringing in his ears.
So highly was Wilshere rated that as recently as last year Barcelona legend Xavi called him “The future of English football” and maintained that should he shed his injury problems he could “still go on and be one of the best midfield players in the world.”
If that ship hasn’t already sailed, it’s certainly in the dock, ready to have a champagne bottle smashed across its bow. Wilshere has everything to lose, but a career at the very top level to regain. It will be fascinating to see how he copes on the south coast, starting this Saturday.
Stoke City v Tottenham Hotspurs – Saturday, 3pm BST
If you were keeping abreast of events on deadline day you may well have had your fill of Moussa Sissoko. We’ve heard about him ignoring phone calls from the Merseyside area while making a mad dash to sign for the rivals of the club he’s always wanted to sign for.
But while the Frenchman may have spoken publicly, on more than 10 (20?) occasions about his desire to move to Arsenal, you better believe he’s all Spurs. But just how Spurs is he?
There’s motivation problems, and then there’s Moussa Sissoko. Newcastle United fans were more than glad to see the back of a player who constantly sulked his way through his time at St. James Park.
But there’s another side to the man with questionable knowledge of North London geography. The side that, despite their loss in the Euro 2016 final, saw him as perhaps the best player on the pitch.
Will he regress to his Newcastle days or will Mauricio Pochettino be able to keep the fire burning and turn Sissoko in to the rampaging box-to-box monster we all know he can be on a permanent basis? We might get an idea at the Britannia.
Swansea v Chelsea – Sunday, 4pm BST
The question with Luiz is not so much is he up to it. Because we sort of know that he both is and isn’t, all at the same time.
A man as astute as Antonio Conte however, wouldn’t have sanctioned a move for the Brazilian without having something in mind.
So rather than ponder upon whether he’ll make an irresponsible run forward leaving his defence exposed, we’ll ask what sort of defence could he line up in?
Thus far Conte has preferred, or has at least been forced into, using a back four in his first three Premier League outings. But some argue Luiz’ mop bobbing back in to London could be a sign that Conte is poised to revert to his favoured 3-5-2.
If indeed he does, and his new signing starts, it will be infinitely watchable regardless of the direction it goes in.
Can the likes of Terry, Cahill and Ivanovic adjust? Will they all play? Will the three man defence afford Luiz more protection to get away with his odd defensive blemish?
All questions that could be answered Sunday.