Friday, November 26

Premier League and Carabao Cup: 10 things to keep in mind this weekend | Premier league


1) The post-Super League era begins at Wembley

It remains to be seen if we will be able to suspend our disbelief, but let us assume and evaluate this first Super League derby as if it were a football match. Whenever the last José Mourinho leaves a club, there is a period during which we discover which players he was right about and which players he had simply faced; which players are better without the yoke and which players are objectively good. The team Ryan Mason chose for the Southampton game gave us clues about their preferences, with the opening roles given to Toby Alderweireld and Gareth Bale in particular. Although both have had better days, Alderweireld’s experience, leadership and nous are sure to help a weak defense, especially given Manchester City’s relative lack of pace in midfield, while Bale combines a record for major games with the rare ability to score goals. that cannot be prevented. However, Spurs may lose at Wembley, but there is already a feeling that they are heading back in a sensible direction. DH

2) The suspension of Stones may be well timed.

Errors have returned to John Stones ‘play, from England’s error against Poland at Wembley that led to the visitors’ draw, to his early error that gave Aston Villa a first-minute lead in the Premier League match. on Wednesday. The badly judged and dangerous tackle that saw him sent off later in the game was further proof that the defender could benefit from a break, and he will now receive one in the form of a three-game suspension. Pep Guardiola naturally would have liked to have a full complement of players to choose from. But from Stones’ point of view, a chance to rest his body and mind, and a couple of weeks out of the harsh glare of the start of the season, may be just what the doctor ordered. LM

3) Gunners with little firepower against Everton

For the first time this season, Arsenal are expected to have neither Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang nor Alexandre Lacazette on their team for the day, with Aubameyang still recovering from malaria and Lacazette with a hamstring strain. The only other league game they have started without a player on their side was at Goodison Park in December, when Eddie Nketiah started up front and Willian and Nicolas Pépé played either side of him. It was not entirely unsuccessful, Arsenal had more possession and more shots on goal, but they lost 2-1 and at that time they sat 15th in the table, 12 points behind their opponents. They have since closed that gap to three, albeit with Everton holding one game in hand, and the teams would be tied for the first time since opening weekend if they win. “It is a really important game, not decisive, but really important,” said Carlo Ancelotti. SB

Arsenal's Mikel Arteta says the clubs were right to discard the Super League - video
Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta says the clubs were right to discard the Super League – video

4) It could be a slow fire at Anfield

Newcastle have only scored two first-half goals away from home this season (and they were in games they lost 3-1 and 5-2). This is a staggeringly desperate record, twice as bad as the next most useless team (Sheffield United, inevitably), and 20% of the average scored by the other 19 Premier League clubs this season. 85% of his away goals this season have come in the second half. If every away game this season had ended at half-time, Newcastle would be at the bottom of the away table with nine points. If they had started at halftime, they would be 13th, just two points behind the Spurs. For their part, Liverpool scored at least one goal in the first half of each of their first eight league games at Anfield this season, but haven’t scored a goal in their last eight. In short, don’t worry if you miss the start of this lunchtime game. SB

5) Bielsa cannot play again in the hands of Solskjær

After Leeds were thrashed at Old Trafford earlier in the season, Marcelo Bielsa noted: “We created 11 scoring opportunities, scoring two. Manchester United created eight scoring chances and scored six. They needed 14 chances to score six goals, we needed 13 to score two ”. That Leeds attacked well in that game is a point worth noting: it didn’t look like their archetypal 6-2. But Bielsa also said that “there was no clear dominance in the game,” which is a less accurate assessment of events. The pattern of play reflected Manchester United scoring twice in the first three minutes, and the margin of victory reflected their superiority. The question this time is whether Bielsa will vary an approach whose weaknesses (space behind, gaps in the middle of the field) perfectly fit United’s strengths, and whether Ole Gunnar Solskjær assumes the same will work again, or comes up with a different one. . plan. DH

'I'm a Govan boy': clip from Sir Alex Ferguson's new documentary - video
‘I’m a Govan boy’: clip from Sir Alex Ferguson’s new documentary – video

6) Chelsea heads to the unlikely fortress of Hammers

West Ham have the second-best home record in the division this season, scoring 31 points from their 16 games and losing only to Liverpool and Manchester United since the opening day aberration against Newcastle. But since the departure of Frank Lampard, Chelsea’s record away from home (4 W2) is better than West Ham’s at home (4 W1 W1). As long as West Ham recovers from the thrill of briefly glimpsing a potential future without the Big Six, in which they and Leicester would be involved in an exciting title race, this is anyone’s game. The Hammers will not have the suspended Craig Dawson – he has played 16 full games this season, of which he has 36 points; in the other 16 games, they took 22. SB

7) Watkins aiming to keep climbing in Euro 2020

Aston Villa’s feeble hopes for European qualification faded further after the 2-1 loss to Manchester City on Wednesday, but Ollie Watkins still has a lot to play for in the remainder of the season beyond the award at metallic and pride. He scored his first England goal against San Marino last month, not bad for a striker who was becoming Weston-super-Mare out of the league six years ago, and a spot on Gareth Southgate’s team for Euro 2020. would complete a meteoric rise for the 25-year-old. While goals alone won’t guarantee Watkins a spot on the team, one or two against humble neighbors West Brom would hardly detract from his mission of convincing Southgate. LM

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8) Brighton seeks the vanguard against Blades

Graham Potter is unlikely to admit it, but his team is safe for another season, making this a decent time to assess how they’ve done. Brighton have played well enough to have more points than them, but however you look at it, 33 goals in 32 games is a meager performance for any team, regardless of one sent on the attack, like yours. Potter has tried various attack and personnel setups to no avail, so maybe it’s time to bet on the weight of the numbers against opponents who are already relegated and have lost six games in a row. Yves Bissouma is good enough to patrol the area in front of the four behind, so Potter could try two creative players alongside him in midfield, Adam Lallana and Alexis Mac Allister, say, with Danny Welbeck, Leandro Trossard and Neal Maupay licensed. wander in front of them. If not now when? DH

9) More attack efforts in Molineux?

There are strong end-of-the-era vibes at Wolves, not just this season, but dating back to the Covid-19 break a year ago. That’s not the only reason for the drop in performance this season – any team lucky enough to have Raúl Jiménez would find it tougher without him. The last three aside, only Sunday’s visitors, Burnley, have scored fewer than 32 Wolves goals in 32 games. When you consider such talented players as Rúben Neves, Adama Traoré, Pedro Neto and Daniel Podence, that constitutes a monumental failure. In recent months, there have been indications that Nuno Espírito Santo is instilling a more offensive approach, and against Burnley he is going to need it because Sean Dyche’s men will not please them by inviting the accountant. That being said, Burnley has been pushing harder of late and was impressive in a late loss at Old Trafford last weekend, so perhaps this game is an unexpected goalscoring match. Or maybe not. DH

10) Hodgson has little to prove but needs a win

Roy Hodgson has circled the block several times (his long and varied managerial career began in 1976) but, like everyone else, he was still baffled by the Super League plot that emerged last Sunday before sinking into the space of two. days. “He has surprised me as much as everyone else in football,” Hodgson said. It would certainly have saddened the former England manager to see the sport take such a greedy turn at this stage in his career. As for his own future, Hodgson has understandably grown weary of answering questions about retirement, and is focused solely on a solid end to the season for Crystal Palace. Even if the Eagles are surely safe from relegation, there is a sense that the team is being allowed to drift. Palace has won just once in two months, and the victory at Leicester would be a timely reminder of Hodgson’s enduring qualities as a tactician and motivator. LM


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