Richard Buxton: Weary Liverpool can still wing it against Southampton
In his picks for this weekend's matches, our columnist backs Firmino and company to shine and Lampard's Chelsea to get their first win
ARSENAL v BURNLEY
Arsenal manager Unai Emery looks set to hand Nicolas Pepe and Dani Ceballos their full English Premier League debuts at the Emirates tomorrow.
The new signings both came on as substitutes in the 1-0 win over Newcastle United last Sunday, and could be thrust straight into action against Burnley.
Emery has also declared that Mesut Oezil and Sead Kolasinac "are 100 per cent ready to play" after personal safety concerns.
He also has the luxury of a rested Alexandre Lacazette, unused at St James' Park, to call upon to partner Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang up front against Sean Dyche's side.
Burnley may have comfortably put Southampton to the sword 3-0, but are unlikely to find any comfort in the red half of north London, where they have not beaten Arsenal in a league game in 45 years.
History is unlikely to change in tomorrow's high-noon showdown.
Prediction: Arsenal to win 3-0
SOUTHAMPTON v LIVERPOOL
Anfield may have added another trophy to its cabinet, but it is likely to come at a cost.
Extra-time and a penalty shoot-out in the European Super Cup took a needless physical toll on Liverpool, who were hardly flawless against Chelsea yesterday morning (Singapore time).
A high defensive line that has now faced 40 shots in their first three games of the campaign gives Juergen Klopp cause for concern in travelling to the Reds' unofficial feeder club.
New arrival Adrian proved a largely capable stand-in for the injured Alisson in Istanbul, yet even he will have limitations if Virgil van Dijk and company fall off the pace for a fourth game.
Liverpool's attacking trident, however, is likely to tip the balance in this game, with Roberto Firmino, in particular, proving to be their greatest catalyst in consecutive weeks.
Prediction: Liverpool to win 3-1
MAN CITY v TOTTENHAM
It seems that not even the VAR will be able to stop the reigning EPL champions.
The technology ensured that Tottenham Hotspur got the better of City in last season's Champions League quarter-finals, but Pep Guardiola rarely allows himself to be outwitted twice.
Already this season, his side appear to be the complete package; a perfect blend of pace, street smarts and goal-scoring potency. West Ham United's 5-0 thrashing was borderline charitable.
Spurs, meanwhile, are slowly working their way back to the machine of momentum which ultimately steered them to a respectable fourth in the league and saw them finish Champions League finalists last term.
But one win from 10 previous visits to the Etihad Stadium in all competitions, coupled with City's renewed ascendancy, promises to deliver only hard times and misery for the Lilywhites.
Prediction: City to win 4-1
CHELSEA v LEICESTER CITY
On the face of it, back-to-back defeats are damning for Frank Lampard's early Chelsea reign.
Scratch beneath the surface, though, and there are genuine signs for optimism, despite being trounced at Old Trafford and edged out in Istanbul over just four days.
Lapses in concentration allowed Manchester United to run riot over the Blues last Sunday, but there were flashes against Liverpool in the Super Cup that pointed to a swift resurgence.
Christian Pulisic's disallowed goal will not dent confidence too heavily from a game where he regularly led the reigning European champions' defence on a merry dance, as did Pedro Rodriguez.
A return to prominence for N'Golo Kante is also perfectly timed to nullify his former club's attack.
The Blues look capable of pulling off their first victory in the Lampard era.
Prediction: Chelsea to win 2-0
WOLVES v MAN UNITED
Swashbuckling football and a renewed faith in youth; the United of old are finally back.
It may last only seven days, with Nuno Espirito Santo's daydream believers taking four points off them last season and throwing in an FA Cup quarter-final exit for good measure.
Wolverhampton Wanderers have the Red Devils in their sights as they make way for their top-six ascension, and will pose another stern test despite their Europa League exertions.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be hoping that his reinforced defence can end the Molineux hoodoo.
With a formidable Harry Maguire at the heart of it, he has every right to fancy his chances.
Just don't expect another free-scoring outing from United - the Chelsea rout flattered them.
Prediction: Man United to win 1-0
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