With as many as 10 Premier League sides winning their League Cup matches, it promises to be a long season for some of those sides. Bournemouth and Everton were the only two top–tier sides to lose to lower league opposition as the problem of fixture congestion starts to get real for some of the other teams.
Heading into Gameweek 6, Manchester City still lead the way with 15 points in the bag, and six ahead of their neighbours and title rivals whom they have already beaten in the league this season. Life is currently rosy if you're Pep Guardiola, with the revolution at the Etihad showing no signs of slowing down.
The big match of the weekend sees fourth-placed Arsenal play fifth-placed Chelsea at home. Antonio Conte's men lost to Liverpool last time around and the Italian will not like that one bit, as Chelsea's record of having lost only one out of their 11 meetings with the Gunners will inspire confidence in the Blues.
Elsewhere, Jose Mourinho finally stopped his losing streak at three as Manchester United gained a much-needed victory and some respite at League One side Northampton Town. The Red Devils looked patchy against an opponent 48 places below them in the football league, and Marcus Rashford had to be introduced in the second half to save United the blushes as he scored two goals to give his side 3-1. One of the outfield players who completed 90 minutes put in a poor performance again, so the magic question is...
Will Jose finally be Roo-de?
What will it take for Jose Mourinho to pull the trigger over Wayne Rooney? The ex–Chelsea boss has been known to target fan favourites in the past, with Iker Casillas at Real Madrid the prime example of Mou alienating a locker room leader and losing his job in the process. So will Mou finally have the cojones to drop United's leader, or will he wait for another loss to make his mind up?
Rooney lumbering around like a drunk middle-aged man on skates should make the decision very easy for the manager. The real problem lies in finding United's best combination with or without their erstwhile captain, as creativity in the final third has become a bone of contention.
Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick did enough on Wednesday night to suggest that they could be in line for starts as Leicester come to town. The champions are not in the best of shape themselves and lost 2-4 at home in the cup to Chelsea after being 2-0 up. The arrival of record signing Islam Slimani has bolstered them, and the Algerian could replace Shinji Okazaki, who grabbed a brace in their defeat to the Blues.
Manchester United vs Leicester City:Saturday, September 24, 5 pm IST
Simon says it's time to go
With Liverpool's summer signing Loris Karius finally starting between the posts in the League Cup win over Derby, Jurgen Klopp could drop Belgian goalkeeper Simon Mignolet. But he might opt to wait for Karius to completely heal from a broken hand suffered in the summer.
Mignolet has never completely convinced with his displays since making a switch from Sunderland, and all eyes will be on Klopp to see who he picks in goal this weekend. Roberto Firmino should return to the line–up as Daniel Sturridge is one again doubtful this weekend, necessitating a change up-front.
Their opponents on Saturday, Hull, had their steady start to the season slowly evaporate as they have gone three matches without a win. They did beat a poor Stoke side in the League Cup and will hope to contain the rampant Reds on Saturday.
Liverpool vs Hull City: Saturday, September 24, 7.30 pm IST
Spurs to play without Kane
Tottenham have had an unbeaten start to the season as they thrashed Gillingham 5-0 in the League Cup. Three wins and two draws see them in third place, but Harry Kane's absence could prove to be costly for the London side, who may start Vicent Janssen in the forward's role.
Middlesborough who haven't won a match in their last four outings, had a longer break with the absence of League Cup football. They welcome Spurs to the Riverside stadium, having lost one out of their last 10 home games.
For Tottenham, Mousa Dembele and Eric Dier may also miss out through injury.
Middlesbrough vs Tottenham: Saturday, September 24, 7.30 pm IST
Sergio Aguero returns
Kun Aguero returns to the Manchester City squad after a three-month ban. He has watched his team score eight goals in those three matches as City have looked comfortable with Kelechi Iheanacho leading the line.
Nolito is suspended following a red card in the 4-0 win over Bournemouth, and Yaya Toure is also unavailable after a public fall-out with manager Guardiola, which resulted in the club suspending him.
Kevin De Bruyne is in red-hot form as the Citizens travel to Wales to face a Swansea side who look short on ideas currently. This will be a tough ask of Swansea, who haven't won since opening day – the Swans lost their League Cup match against City at the Liberty Stadium and will look to avoid a repeat.
Swansea City vs Manchester City: Saturday, September 24, 7.30 pm IST