Statistical preview to the Premier League, featuring Manchester City vs Chelsea; West Ham vs Liverpool and Aston Villa vs Arsenal

WhoScored.com, who offer the largest online database for detailed football statistics, preview the top matches the Premier League this weekend on behalf of The Independent

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Manchester City vs Chelsea

After the week Manchester City have had to endure it is only fair that they should return home this weekend, but there is no respite for the defending champions as they end the weekend's action by hosting Chelsea in the game of the weekend. City last Saturday opened up the weekend with a 2-2 draw at the Emirates but had to rest players for that clash because they travelled to European superpower Bayern Munich in midweek.

Prior to the start of this run of games City had succumbed to a disheartening defeat at home to Stoke, and Manuel Pellegrini would probably have settled for a draw at Arsenal and another in the Champions League as a result. With just minutes left on the clock at the Allianz they looked like they had managed just that, but Jerome Boateng popped up to break City's hearts and snatch victory at the death. All of a sudden Pellegrini is facing the distinct possibility of a 4-game streak without a win; something City fans have become accustomed to living without.

This weekend Chelsea will look to extend this season's only remaining 100% Premier League record at the Etihad, hoping to repeat last season's smash-and-grab 1-0 victory the took back to London in this fixture last season. José Mourinho is the master of that kind of result and City will certainly be wary of the counter-attacking threat the Blues boast. Mourinho seems to have found the final pieces to his puzzle in Cesc Fàbregas and Diego Costa. Incredibly, they have combined as assister-goalscorer on 3 occasions already this season; the most over the whole of last season was 6 times (Suarez-Sterling).

West Ham vs Liverpool 

After following up such a convincing win at White Hart Lane with an unprecedented 1-0 reverse at home to Aston Villa last weekend, Liverpool look in trouble. Last season's Suarez/Sturridge partnership is no more and the England striker might not be back from injury in time to play at West Ham at the weekend. 

The Reds attack looked blunt last week and in the Champions League win over Bulgaria's Ludogorets Razgrad, for which they had a Steven Gerrard penalty to thank for all three points. 11 of the Liverpool captain's last 12 Liverpool goals have come from the penalty spot, and his lethal finishing from 12 yards could be key once again here. Two of those came in Liverpool's victory in this fixture last season, and there have in fact been 5 penalties netted in the last 6 clashes between the sides at the Boleyn Ground.

The Hammers, meanwhile, will be hoping to improve their home record - currently the worst in the Premier League (0 points and only 1 goal scored) - and goals from distance may be their best route to success. They have in just 4 games this season equalled their tally of Premier League goals scored from outside the area from last season (4), with Enner Valencia's rocket at Hull last week the best of the bunch.

Aston Villa vs Arsenal

It is something of a throwback to 20-odd years ago that this match pits second against seventh, with Villa hot on the tail of the league's best at the top of the table. The win at Anfield last week was an extraordinary show of defensive organisation and resolve, with Roy Keane working wonders since joining Paul Lambert on the managerial staff. The start to the season has been great, but that the Scot has this week been rewarded with a new contract is rather inexplicable.

One of the high points of a distinctly underwhelming campaign last season was the opening day victory at Arsenal, and the Villans will be aiming to hit their opponents on the break in a similar fashion this time around.

 

Philippe Senderos, a rock at the heart of the Villa defence last week, faces his old club, but whether he can halt Arsenal's attack is another matter. They may have stuttered at times, with Mesut Özil in particular facing criticism from fans, but when he, Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez eventually click - which they surely will do - there will be goals and plenty of them. However strange it seems to say it, facing Villa, who boast the best defence in the Premier League so far (1 goal conceded in 4 games), Arsenal's strike force may be forced to wait at least another week for the floodgates to open.

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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