Premier League statistical preview, featuring Liverpool vs Chelsea, QPR vs Manchester City and Swansea vs Arsenal

After a disappointing week in Europe for England's top four from 2013/14, WhoScored.com look ahead to the quartets' matches this weekend as they look to bounce back on the domestic front

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The Independent Football

Liverpool vs Chelsea

In the big clash of the weekend Liverpool and Chelsea come to blows, having to do so after away days in the Champions League in midweek. Jose Mourinho will claim a disadvantage of having had a day less to recover but neither manager are likely to be fond of the fact that they meet in Saturday's early kick-off.

This match, of course, is a repeat of the fixture that ultimately ended Liverpool's title challenge and the fans will be hopeful of avenging for the Reds' 2-0 reverse at the hands of their Blue counterparts. Brendan Rodgers was keen to stress that the squad rotation he employed in Madrid in midweek was not with this game in mind but merely a run of 7 matches in 21 days. It's hard to believe, however, that the Ulsterman will not have been set on revenge for the meeting back in April, while the Liverpool boss will also be wary that his side have dropped points to the likes of West Ham and Hull already this season following European fixtures.

Chelsea, meanwhile, remain the only unbeaten side in England's top tier and have also avoided defeat in their last 4 meetings against this Saturday's hosts. The match between the two sides earlier this year was the first in 6 that saw one of the two fail to register on the scoresheet, so goals should be assured. The focus, then, will be on the contrasting form of summer signings Mario Balotelli and Diego Costa, with the latter notching 9 goals to the former's 0 in the Premier League despite firing off 8 fewer shots this season.

Queens Park Rangers vs Manchester City

It was another night to forget for Manchester City in midweek as Manuel Pellegrini's side left their aspirations of progressing past the group stages of the Champions League hanging by a thread with defeat at home to CSKA Moscow. On paper a match against QPR, languishing in 19th in the league going into the game, looks favourable but Harry Redknapp's side seem to have turned a corner.

 

The Hoops provided one of the sternest tests to Mourinho's Chelsea last time out and were unfortunate to come away with nothing against Liverpool a fortnight ago before beating Villa. Like Liverpool, City have also dropped points directly after their midweek European commitments and QPR will hope to exploit their visitors' morale, which is likely to be at its lowest point from a disappointing start to the season. Pellegrini's side lost on their last visit to the capital, against West Ham, and while his job may not be in doubt just yet, failure to pick up all three points would likely see the Chilean under real pressure for the first time in his tenure.

While Redknapp's Rangers have certainly had their flaws this season they do look to entertain the home support at Loftus Road. Indeed, only five sides have fired off more shots in home matches this season, with a tally of 84 over 5 games bettering that of City (78). While they were wasteful early on in the campaign the form of Charlie Austin - snubbed by England this week - has been very encouraging, and with top Premier League scorer Sergio Aguero on the opposing side there should be plenty of action at either end.

Swansea vs Arsenal

Arsenal's late capitulation in the second half of their home game with Anderlecht in midweek, surrendering a 3-goal lead, will have left a bitter taste in the mouth so the visit of Swansea is perhaps not ideal timing. The Welsh outfit have avoided defeat in 3 of their last 6 meetings with the Gunners and have come back from a losing position in each of those point-winning performances.

An inability to turn draws into wins has certainly been a theme of Arsenal's season, with no side having shared the spoils more often in the Premier League, and Arsene Wenger now knows that three points are a must having sent the fans home bitterly disappointed after another stalemate on Tuesday. They're unlikely to have it all their own way on Sunday though, with games between these two sides often tight - only one of the last five has been separated by more than a single goal - and intriguing tactical affairs.

This season Swansea certainly appear to have compromised their previously possession-based game somewhat, with their average dropping to 50.1%, but they are arguably a more dangerous side now. The addition of former Spur Gylfi Sigurdsson has added creativity and a vertical passing threat where before too many were played horizontal. It may have led to a drop in possession with riskier and more incisive passes being attempted but it could expose an Arsenal side that have had a higher share of the ball than other in the league this season (60.1%), been prone to leaving gaps at the back.

All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com, where you can find yet more stats, including live in-game data and unique player and team ratings.

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