1) Will Mourinho become enthusiastic against Manchester City?
Both sides are struggling with staffing issues, and in the immediate aftermath of an international break, Tottenham’s home game against Manchester City seems almost impossible to predict, even before taking into account some of the more insane scores that both teams present in other matches. of this season. A win for Tottenham on Saturday night would make them overnight leaders of the Premier League and leave City looking unusually helpless and grumpy in the middle of the table. With Gareth Bale gaining in sharpness with each passing day and likely to start attacking for the home team alongside the irrepressible Son Heung-min and Harry Kane, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that City will have to work hard on what looks like genuine proof of both parties’ title credentials. José Mourinho is known for his extreme pragmatism, but it’s hard to see his team approach this competition in any other way than in a comparatively enthusiastic way with so much attacking talent at their disposal. BG
• Tottenham v Manchester City, Saturday at 17:30 (GMT time)
2) Leicester’s great opportunity to surprise the champions
It would be an exaggeration to say that Sunday’s meeting between the champions and league leaders is perfectly timed for Leicester, but it is true that injury-plagued Liverpool are as vulnerable now as they are likely to be this season. Brendan Rodgers’ team has many absences, but they have done well and the international hiatus was relatively kind to them, with James Maddison and Harvey Elliot (and Jamie Vardy) out of service in England. Youri Tielemans, for his part, played brilliantly for Belgium, as he has done all season for Leicester. He has become indispensable to Rodgers, the only midfielder for whom Leicester has no obvious backing. Inconsistent last season, Tielemans has played every Premier League and European game for Leicester this season, offering the creativity from deep within that no one else can provide to Leicester, and that Liverpool may lack if Thiago Alcântara is not yet in. shape. P.S.
• Liverpool v Leicester, Sunday 7:15 pm
3) Bielsa can offer a style lesson to Arsenal
One thing is clear about Leeds and Arsenal: they are two of the most clearly trained teams in the Premier League. That’s where the similarity ends, for now. When Marcelo Bielsa took over a rag-tag group on Elland Road, he instantly transformed them from champions to carefree promotion contenders as well, and his enthusiastic style continues, with fluctuating results, to thrill in the top flight. After encountering a disparate group when he accepted the position at Arsenal last December, Mikel Arteta managed to create a structure that would eradicate many of his defensive problems, but the cost to his offensive performance is increasingly evident. So which approach will have more merit when the couple meet on Sunday? Arteta is more of a Bielsista than the pragmatist of the past few months would suggest, but he’ll probably like his chances of patiently exposing opponents who have conceded eight in their last two games. However, in their prime, Bielsa and Leeds could offer a glimpse of how far Arsenal must travel to be truly exciting again. N / A
• Leeds – Arsenal, Sunday 4.30pm
4) Can Villa become the backbone of England?
Now that Jack Grealish has finally had a chance to show just how good he is on the international stage, and Tyrone Mings is doing it in the same way, Aston Villa can expect other players to affirm their credentials in England. Ross Barkley’s chances of returning to the good Gareth Southgate books can only be increased if he continues to collude with Grealish as wonderfully as he did in the victory at Arsenal two weeks ago, and Ezri Konsa’s central defense partnership with Mings is another double act that Southgate must take into account. Ollie Watkins also deserves to be considered in light of his performances since entering the Premier League, which means that if Villa continues his impressive form, starting against Brighton on Saturday, then there could be reasons to make him the strongest. represented the club in England’s European championship team. P.S.
• Aston Villa v Brighton, Saturday 3pm
5) West Brom has freedom from low expectations
After four straight matches played behind the ill-advised, prohibitively priced, and recently eliminated Premier League PPV curtain, West Brom can finally show its way to the UK masses – or at least that small percentage of the UK masses. masses with a BT Sport. subscription – when his Saturday night game at Manchester United is televised. Without a home win in the league this season, Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s team has to imagine its chances of beating a struggling team with just three draws to its name, while the Baggies are more likely to see this as a shot. free; the kind of game nobody expects them to get anything out of. If approved after spending time in self-isolation following a positive COVID test, 36-year-old Branislav Ivanovic’s vision in defending visitors may surprise all those who have been hungry for exposure to the West. Brom and let the move of the former Chelsea defender in mid-September to the Hawthorns completely bypass them. BG
• Manchester United v West Brom, Saturday 20:00
6) Thoughtless TV programming threatens quality at St James’
While the sound of managers complaining that their teams have to play football games can be tedious, Frank Lampard seemed justified in complaining that members of his Chelsea squad have to meet to travel to Newcastle for the start of lunch on Saturday the next day. I flew from various places in the world on dribbles and dribbles. While there won’t be any inconvenience for fans traveling with its unnecessarily inconsiderate programming, BT Sport and its studio reps are unlikely to acknowledge their own role if the game turns out to be a monotonous affair with understandably exhausted players. Lampard’s complaint is understandable, but the issue of broadcasters playing fast and loose with the match schedule is one that he and his fellow managers should urge their employers to raise. prior to They sell the rights to their product for billions of pounds for television. BG
• Newcastle v Chelsea, Saturday 12.30pm
7) Lookman’s chance to give Everton cause for regret
Ademola Lookman left Scott Parker “disappointed and angry” over the “Panenka” penalty that denied Fulham a point at West Ham before the international break, but what better place to clear his head than against the club that left him? go after only 14 starts? Much was expected of Lookman when he joined Everton from Charlton in 2017, but despite a good start it never quite happened for the forward and a £ 22.5 million move to RB Leipzig finally seemed like a reasonable outcome for all parties. . Now Lookman is in a relegation battle, loaned out to Fulham after struggling to adapt to the exacting demands of Julian Nagelsmann in Saxony. There’s no question of his ability and that missed kick aside, he’s given a pale attack some life in those first few appearances. If he comes back to haunt Everton, whose lack of attacking depth without Richarlison was shown in three straight losses that derailed his strong start, then perhaps the Toffees will regret not showing a little more faith. N / A
• Fulham v Everton, Sunday at 12:00
8) The saints hope to profit from the absence of Traoré
Daniel Podence and Pedro Neto are excellent players, but Southampton probably expects both to start at Molineux on Monday as that will mean Adama Traoré will start on the bench for the sixth consecutive league game. Traoré ripped Southampton apart at St Mary’s in January, inspiring a 2-0 comeback against to lead his team to a 3-2 win, but has not started a league game since September amid a stalemate in talks. about a new contract. Although his current deal doesn’t expire until 2023, the Wolves would like him to commit to a new one. So far no agreement has been reached and the devastating attacker has only been used in bursts. The wolves’ other options are good, but they won’t return to their best until Traoré regains form and favor. P.S.
• Wolves v Southampton, Monday 8 pm
9) Blades seeks to rediscover the art of recovery
Last season, Sheffield United fell behind in 22 Premier League games, but came back to score points in almost half of those games. They haven’t been able to match that recovery rate this season, so they are at the bottom of the league, with little confidence. After facing Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool in their last three outings, this weekend’s encounter with West Ham is a relatively benign match. Chris Wilder knows that his team needs points to start a climb up the table. After the loss to Chelsea in their last game, Wilder said United’s season could be determined by what happens between now and the end of December. “We have to get a decent point count heading into the new year because if we do that, it will increase faith and confidence.” P.S.
• Sheffield United v West Ham, Sunday 2pm
10) Burnley needs goals to back up improvement claims
Burnley is improving. Sean Dyche certainly thinks so and, if we’re generous, three of his last four performances offer room for argument. The problem is that they didn’t score in either of those games – home losses to Spurs and Chelsea; away draws with West Brom and Brighton – and the search for a vanguard could hardly be more urgent. Neither is the pursuit of a victory, given that they are entrenched in the bottom five who are increasingly at risk of fighting in their own mini-league for survival. Only one of his three goals so far has come from a striker – last season’s top scorer Chris Wood – and his front row is feeding on worryingly thin gruel. “We know we have to keep looking for better quality opportunities,” Dyche said after a draw at Brighton that at least kept them in touch with a fellow fighter. Crystal Palace should be far from impenetrable Monday night but, given the strength of the Eagles at the counter, Burnley can’t afford another 90 minutes of puffing. N / A
• Burnley v Crystal Palace, Monday 5.30pm
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