The weekend is here and with it intense footballing action is back and here are seven things to look out for in the Premier League.
Jose Mourinho takes on his former club and last season’s Champions Chelsea in the race for the title, while rivals Manchester City take on Arsenal. With Pep Guardiola rampant Manchester City, Arsene Wenger may find his title challenge over before it even began. Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur face relegation candidates Crystal Palace in what could be a rather tough fixture.
Spurs need a win, especially if Chelsea beat Manchester United and the full three points get them closer to that top spot, while a win for Jurgen Klopp could see him back in the title race. The Reds take on 16th placed West Ham United, who have won only two of their last five games in all competitions, beating Tottenham and Swansea City.
Meanwhile, Everton takes on Watford as the Toffees look to resurrect their season and fight against the horrors of relegation, especially with Bournemouth facing Newcastle and rock-bottom Crystal Palace up against Tottenham.
Here are seven things to look out for in the Premier League this weekend:
1. Arsene Wenger to adopt a brand new tactic against Guardiola?
The Gunners take on Manchester City and with Guardiola’s men off to a flying start this season, with 28 points in their ten games scoring a remarkable 35 goals. However, Arsene Wenger’s side hasn’t had the best of starts to their season, having lost to Liverpool, Stoke City and even Watford, with many questioning the team as a potential title challenger.
However, despite all his critics, the Arsenal boss has said has that he may not adopt an ultra-defensive stance against the rampant Manchester City. While Wenger has shown his tactical prowess against Chelsea earlier in the season, facing Manchester City is another battle altogether.
But Arsenal has earned a 2-0 win at the Etihad Stadium with a defense-minded approach back in 2015, this time could be different with Arsene Wenger saying that his side will be taking the game to Manchester City.
2. Jose Mourinho to play defensively, again.
Some of Jose Mourinho’s most well-known games or victories have all been in part thanks to a defensive masterclass, something the Portuguese man excels at. Whether it was against his old rival Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona vs his Inter Milan, or even against Tottenham recently, the former Blues boss has excelled defensively.
Even the stats show that, with Mourinho’s last nine games away to a top-six side have ended both goalless and in a stalemate. This season it looks no different, with the Red Devils having only conceded four goals in the Premier League so far, out of which two were scored by that wonderful Huddersfield side.
But come Sunday and both Chelsea and Manchester United will try to inch closer towards toppling Manchester City from their throne at the top of the table, and things should be interesting.
3. Everton fighting a surprising battle against relegation.
When the Toffees sold Romelu Lukaku, many expected them to somehow use the money and become a club that has the ability to fight for a potential Europa League spot or even a Champions league one. However, having spent nearly a £150 million on nine players, the expectation rose and with Ronald Koeman at the helm, what could go wrong?
Apparently a lot, with the Goodison Park side now sitting amongst the bottom three of the table, with just eight points to their name and a goal difference of -13. With just one win in their last five games, including losses to Burnley, Leicester City and even 19th place Bournemouth, Everton find themselves facing the horrors of relegation for the first time since the foundation of the Premier League.
Many have argued that their season is already over, with Wayne Rooney’s side already out of the EFL Cup, the Europa League and rocking the relegation zone, things need to change and fast.
4. Demarai Gray to be the difference again.
While both Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy have finally found their footing again in the Premier League, it’s exciting winger Demarai Gray that should make the difference against Stoke City. The 22-year-old was influential in Claude Puel’s first match as a Leicester City manager, creating the first and scoring the second in the 2-0 win over Everton.
The 21-year-old has been frustrated by both the previous Leicester managers and has struggled to get game time, thus Gray will be itching to prove himself against Puel. He’s made only 12 starts for the team but has still walked off the bench an incredible 39 times since arriving at the King Power Stadium in 2016.
However, Stoke City are another story altogether and the Foxes need their best players to be at their best when they visit the Bet 365 stadium. While the Potters have been extremely inconsistent going Matchday to Matchday, things could change for Mark Hughes’ side, who are still recovering from that 7-2 thrashing by Manchester City.
5. Harry Kane returns to action.
Tottenham had their night to cherish during the midweek as they beat a hapless Real Madrid 3-1 at Wembley. However, with their main man Harry Kane back from injury after missing out the last few games with a hamstring problem. The 24-year-old has transcended the Tottenham front line winning back-to-back Golden boots and now he has 17 goals in his last 13 games for the club before the injury.
But, while he was withdrawn after 79 minutes midweek against Real Madrid, manager Mauricio Pochettino has refuted any claims that the center forward won’t be a part of Sunday’s squad. While that is good news for both fantasy managers and Spurs fans, Crystal Palace has a lot to fear.
The English international has played only nine games this season but already has eight goals and one assist in just the Premier League. In the Champions League, the striker has five goals including a hattrick in just four games played, but Roy Hodgson is still not worried.
6. A goal fest at the London Stadium.
With Liverpool taking on West Ham, chances are that the game should be something more than a dull goalless draw. Especially given the fact that Reds have conceded more goals than 19th placed Bournemouth and have conceded the fifth most goals in the League so far, behind only Watford, Crystal Palace, Everton and their opponents for Saturday night, West Ham themselves.
But with the Hammers in dire defensive troubles themselves, with the likes of Jose Fonte, Aaron Cresswell, James Collins, Sam Bryam out injured and Pablo Zabaleta suspended, it should be anything but a dull goalless draw.
With the likes of Mohammed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Daniel Sturridge and possibly even Sadio Mane all in contention to play for Liverpool. While West Ham on the other hand, has the likes of former Liverpool striker Andy Carroll, Javier Hernandez and even Manuel Lanzini, to provide inspiration.
7. The End of Sean Dyche’s reign at Burnley?
Today could possibly be the last game that Sean Dyche manages for Burnley, with the 46-year-old being heavily linked as the next manager of Everton. Despite the fact that former England boss Sam Allardyce interviewing for the open post, it looks like the board may make an offer to the Burnley boss.
The Englishman has been shortlisted by both Everton as their next manager and even October’s Premier League manager of the month, after a rather good month with the Clarets. With wins over Everton, Newcastle, and a draw against Watford, Burnley picked up seven points in four games to pull into the top half of the table.
However, with the possibility of Dyche leaving for Everton after five long years, things could go down and fast for the Clarets unless they appoint somebody good and fast.
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