Man City v Aston Villa
Live on BT Sport 1
Recent Man City performances suggest they are primarily dangerous on the right flank where Kevin de Bruyne has been drifting out to join Riyad Mahrez or Bernardo Silva; it is only after their slick interchanges lead to defensive chaos that gaps open on the other side for David Silva and Raheem Sterling to combine.
The way to defend, as Wolves and Norwich showed, is to avoid dropping too deep; tuck your wingers or wing-backs inside, ten yards ahead of the defensive line, to cut off the passing lanes into the half-spaces where De Bruyne, Silva, Sterling, and Mahrez chiefly operate. Jack Grealish, on the left wing, is unlikely to have the defensive ability to keep track of De Bruyne, allowing City to score a couple at the Etihad.
However, Wolves and Norwich succeeded by remaining calm when possession was won, evading the counter-press with short passing before targeting City's clumsy centre-backs. In strong performances at Arsenal and Tottenham, Villa have shown - via Grealish and John McGinn - an expert ability to do just that. Villa are unlikely to pull off a shock result, but there should be goals at both ends.
Liverpool v Tottenham
Live on Sky Sports Premier League
Scoring nine goals between them in midweek, Liverpool and Tottenham both boast forward lines capable of scoring goals for fun. That doesn't necessarily mean their head-to-head will be a good watch - but Spurs' defensive problems and flat midfield, plus Naby Keita's introduction to the first 11 and Trent Alexander-Arnold's defensive vulnerability, certainly suggests it will be.
Heung-Min Son excels pulling out to the left wing and taking on his man, making the spaces left by Alexander-Arnold a worry when Spurs counter. Assuming Mauricio Pochettino goes for a 4-3-3, Tottenham's Tonguy Ndombele can break away from the Liverpool counter-press to release Son, Lucas Moura, and Harry Kane, elongating the pitch to create space for both teams.
Whether or not it's a compressed pitch, Liverpool hold the advantage. Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Roberto Firmino were sensational at Genk, largely because of Keita's line-breaking performance. He provides an energy and directness from midfield that Liverpool have been lacking of late, weaving through the first line of defence to prevent opponents from sitting in a stubborn shell. With Keita starting and Spurs breaking at speed, this should be a high-scoring match that ultimately goes Liverpool's way.
Arsenal v Crystal Palace
Arsenal were unable to build momentum at Sheffield United last weekend because Joe Willock hid behind the opposition midfield from the tip of a 4-2-3-1 formation, meaning Granit Xhaka and Matteo Guendouzi had limited options; Pepe and Bukayo Saka were too wide to be found. Once Unai Emery brought Dani Ceballos on and moved to a 4-3-3, suddenly Arsenal's wider central midfielders could move the ball around Sheff Utd and they cranked up the pressure... until Emery inexplicably moved back to a 4-2-3-1.
Emery's tactical unpredictability overshadows every Arsenal match. It is impossible to know what he will do for the visit of Crystal Palace, then, who will no doubt drop into a very deep and rigid 4-5-1 formation aimed at forcing Arsenal into meandering possession. Picking an assertive player like Ceballos in a 4-3-3 should mean quickly getting the ball into the feet of Arsenal's direct front three, whose trickery will prove too much for the Palace back line.
However, it is just as likely Emery will make another mistake. This won't be a high-scoring game, while Wilfried Zaha is bound to fancy his chances on the counter-attack against Sead Kolasinac. Arsenal's wild defence is prone to Palace's long balls up to Jordan Ayew; it will not be easy for the hosts.
Norwich v Man Utd
Norwich's poor form means they will sit back in a 4-2-3-1 and anticipate Man Utd dominating possession. However, Man Utd's inability to play with cohesiveness this season will gradually allow Norwich to build confidence, their flowing short-passing football ultimately creating an even territorial battle - suiting the visitors more than the hosts.
The key battle as Norwich build is between Emiliano Buendia and Ashley Young, the former's dribbling skills injecting some energy into Norwich's performances at a time when their lack of individual quality is leading to congealed performances. Young can be beaten on the dribble, particularly if Teemu Pukki makes diagonal runs on the left side of the United defence.
However, this match is more likely to be a showcase of the best aspects of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's attacks. Villa hit five at Carrow Road because the match became territorially even, leading to Norwich's formation becoming too expansive. The pace and directness of Daniel James and Marcus Rashford should trouble a hesitant back four.