While Liverpool v Arsenal may top the bill, there will be a lot of attention paid to the Villa v Brighton game after Villa's appointment of Stevie Gerrard to replace the sacked Dean Smith. Smith did a great job of getting Villa back where they belong but a recent slump now has Villa looking down the table rather than up and the nervous board wielded the axe.
Gerrard jumped at the chance to leave the Scottish backwater behind him and mix it at a big club in the world's best league. I really can't blame Gerrard. Scottish football is in a terrible place, with falling gates and the continuing spectre of sectarianism hanging over the game. I don't watch Scottish football. I can't remember the last time I watched 90 minutes. I do flick over to watch 5 or 10 minutes here and there and it is not pretty. The last time I watched a bit of a Rangers match the fans were singing UVF songs, and the last time I watched a bit of a Celtic game the Celtic fans were disrespecting Dundee's minutes silence for the war dead. Sad stuff indeed. The subsequent football was rubbish too, a lot of kick and run, park the bus stuff.
But Gerrard had turned Rangers around and stopped Celtic's 10 in a row. He got the Gers playing some decent stuff and looking like a coherent team for the most part, but can he do it at Villa? I sincerely hope so. It seems inconceivable that he never won the league at Anfield, and though he never says it publicly, the desire to win the league as Liverpool manager must burn deep. But first he must succeed at Villa. No easy task, the EPL is unforgiving. The difference between success and failure can be paper thin. He inherits a decent enough squad with Mings, Matty Cash, Buendia and El Ghazi all underperforming this season. If he can lift those players and restore some form and momentum, he may have a chance. He also needs Danny Ings back from injury as soon as possible, along with Trezeguet and Douglas Luiz. After selling Grealish for £100m, there is cash in the kitty.
I'm sure Gerrard would love to fish in his old Rangers team for some of his better performers, with Ryan Kent a possible target in January. Whatever happens they will be eager to add to the squad in January, because if they don't get a Gerrard bounce relegation is a real possibility. Newcastle are expected to pull away from the bottom and Burnley have finally found some form, while Watford have a new manager and a great attacking set of players. So, it is more than likely that some teams at the bottom will get themselves clear over the winter period. If Villa don't do the same, they are deep in trouble. First up is high flying Brighton at 3 o'clock on Saturday, it will be intriguing to see how this one goes.
Good luck Stevie G.