Chelsea have struggled in the last few weeks - and that’s in no small part down to the absence of Frank Lampard.
The England international was initially ruled out for just two weeks at the beginning of September to undergo a hernia operation. However, there was a setback that meant he would miss Chelsea’s next three games, then there was another setback… and another setback.
But after finally recovering from the operation and the various obstacles that crept up along the way, Lampard is now in line for his first start in nearly four months - a welcome relief for Blues supporters, if only to get Ramires out the team.
Although the midfielder will surely be relishing the chance to start - having made his comeback as a substitute against Tottenham last week - he will no doubt have preferred it to be against weaker opposition.
Chelsea host Manchester United having scored just four goals in their last seven league games, so the return of Lampard, who netted 27 times last season, against their title rivals will be a major boost.
2. Fulham to show Roy who’s boss
Roy Hodgson was not so long ago a highly respected, experienced coach who was heavily linked with the England job. In fact, it was only in May that he was minutes away from a penalty shootout with Atletico Madrid in the Europa League final.
But now, however, he’s going through one of the most difficult spells of his career. His dismal away record is continuously brought up and he’s even become an internet sensation for merely rubbing his face in frustration during last week’s loss to Newcastle!
Fresh from a dull 0-0 draw with FC Utrecht, Liverpool host Hodgson’s former club Fulham on Saturday. We won’t be able to tell whether he gets a good reception from the away support due to their pitiful following, but the players will at least be looking to show their ex-boss what he’s left behind.
Fulham really haven’t got started under Mark Hughes and currently lie 17th in the table, having won just two league games all season. But the likes of Brede Hangeland, Danny Murphy and Clint Dempsey will be desperate to heap more pressure on their old boss with a much needed win at Anfield.
3. Shawcross in for torrid time against Gunners
After suffering a broken leg from a crunching Ryan Shawcross challenge in February, there were initial fears that Aaron Ramsey would not play football again.
He’s finally made a recovery now, though, and is currently on loan at Nottingham Forest, where he will remain until the New Year to build up his fitness before returning to Arsenal.
Although Ramsey is now back in action, it will be no surprise to see the Gunners faithful vent their anger at Shawcross on Saturday afternoon, as he gets set to face Arsene Wenger’s men for the first time since the incident earlier this year.
Wenger wants the supporters to move on from the tackle and is keen to focus on the match rather than Shawcross, who is reportedly to receive extra security at the match.
"What happened in the past, happened in the past," the Frenchman insists. "I don't think there's any need to add fuel on it, and just focus on playing as we do and respect our opponents."
Despite Wenger’s request, it’s doubtful the Arsenal fans are to forget such an injury in a hurry, so expect Shawcross to earn boos every time he touches the ball at the Emirates.
4. Gyan to get back on scoresheet
Asamoah Gyan had a relatively tough start to life at Sunderland after Steve Bruce didn’t deem him fit enough to start his first few games after joining.
But it didn’t take long for the Ghanaian to begin to justify his £13 million price tag, although he is yet to firmly cement his place in the starting line-up due to the form of Darren Bent and Danny Welbeck.
One of the stars of the World Cup has already bagged himself six goals for the Black Cats in only five starts. In fact, up until the recent win over West Ham he had scored in every game in which he had started for the club.
He had to settle for a place on the bench against Fulham last weekend, but Bruce may decide to play Welbeck out wide on Saturday to hand Gyan a start up front. Either way, the Ghana international will be eager to impress and want to stake his claim for a starting spot in the future by getting back among the goals.
5. Goals galore in fierce Black Country derby
Sunday sees West Brom and Wolves go head-to-head in the first Black Country derby in the top flight for 26 years.
So what should we expect ahead of the clash between the two fierce rivals? Goals, that’s what. On their records in the Premier League this season you may not think so, given that West Brom have scored just 11 times at home and Wolves have netted just five times away.
However, something’s got to give, and both defences are so poor it’s hard not to see them capitulating. The Baggies have conceded in each of their last 15 Premier League games, while Mick McCarthy’s men finally recorded their first clean sheet of the season in the 1-0 win over Birmingham last week.
While the last three fixtures between the pair have seen few goals, the 2006-07 season provided plenty of entertainment. West Brom ran out 3-0 winners on two occasions during the campaign, before they beat Wolves again in the semi-finals of the play-offs, only to lose to Derby in the final.