Premier League: 10 things to watch this weekend | premier league


1) Chelsea favorites for Leicester’s last meeting

It will be the fourth meeting between Leicester and Chelsea this calendar year, clubs with different resources whose fortunes seem however tangled. Leicester took the lead after beating Chelsea 2-0 at home in January, with James Maddison scoring the second goal before happily declaring: “We knew they were stopping on set pieces”, an observation that seemed terminal for Frank Lampard’s job. Having played a part in Thomas Tuchel’s arrival, Leicester won the FA Cup final against him in May, before the League loss at Stamford Bridge three days later helped ensure the Foxes would miss again. little the Champions League. Chelsea are now European champions and Premier League leaders, but did not look at full speed ahead of the international break. Tuchel will demand a statement performance following the 1-1 draw against Burnley. Leicester are now a long way from the title race and although Brendan Rodgers would like to upset Chelsea again, the absence of injured midfielder Yuri Tielemans means the odds are stacked against them. LM

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2) A delicate opening for Gerrard at Villa

Steven Gerrard is back in the Premier League! It’s going to be fascinating to see what he can accomplish besides giving Aston Villa a more glamorous edge on the sidelines. For his first game – against Brighton on Saturday – his mere presence may be enough to rekindle players who seemed oddly short of confidence. The new manager will also need to develop a clear plan as the club continue to adjust to life after Jack Grealish. How will Gerrard use summer rookies like Emi Buendía and Leon Bailey, both of whom need to show more quality than they have so far? How can he make Villa stronger in the central midfield? Should he play with a back three or four? Is Villa going to press aggressively or stand aside? Will the other players who have underperformed this season – Matt Targett, Emi Martínez, John McGinn, Tyrone Mings – return to their form? Brighton are a team who know what they’re doing, so Villa will have to be fully on the song. PD

Steven Gerrard denies Aston Villa work is 'stepping stone' to Liverpool - video
Steven Gerrard denies Aston Villa work is ‘stepping stone’ to Liverpool – video

3) Solskjær must take his chance to be positive

After being bombarded by Liverpool and Manchester City in their recent outings at Old Trafford, United have a new offer to play an opponent who should allow them to dominate the ball. Ole Gunnar Solskjær has built a reputation for negativity at Manchester United, regularly using two midfielders, no matter how good the opposition. The Norwegian needs to find points quickly enough to take the pressure off his shoulders, and a liberating display against a porous Watford defense could help turn the tide. The Hornets have conceded 19 goals in 11 games, trading managers, defensive partnerships, rosters and goalkeepers. They are not a sedentary team and United should have far too many going for them in the future, if Mason Greenwood and Jadon Sancho have some freedom to lead in defense. WU

4) Arsenal head to Anfield with confidence

If the titles were won solely thanks to their offensive flair, Liverpool would be favorites: their first three, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané, continue to wreak the usual havoc among opposing defenses. Combinations in defense and midfield have proven to be more problematic for Jürgen Klopp, and as a result Arsenal will approach this game with quiet confidence. Emile Smith Rowe’s rise to the England squad has lifted the player and the collective squad, with Bukayo Saka, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang combining wonderfully in their recent wins against Watford, Leicester and Aston Villa. Strength at the back has also been a major reason for the Gunners’ rise in form, with Ben White and Gabriel’s central defensive partnership quickly gaining momentum. Liverpool have conceded 10 goals in six Premier League appearances and Arsenal will be looking to test Alisson, who made some costly mistakes in the loss to West Ham. LM

England’s Emile Smith Rowe celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal against Watford. Photograph: Stuart MacFarlane / Arsenal FC / Getty Images

5) De Bruyne needs a rest to peak at the right time

There is no doubt about the exceptional range of talent at Pep Guardiola’s disposal, but there is one more man who stands out above the rest: Kevin De Bruyne. The Belgian has, by his own extremely high standards, a poor start to the season. De Bruyne has struggled to find his passing range and can only boast two league goals, something he will desperately look to improve. Being forced to get injured in the Champions League final and then recovering in time for the Euro will have cost him a lot, while failing to clinch a trophy neither in Porto nor with Belgium will have affected a man looking to win the championship. prices that do not currently appear on its fireplace. De Bruyne will miss games against Everton and PSG after a positive Covid-19 test, and Guardiola is hoping a rest period can coax the best of his star playmaker. Playing to get back in shape might not be a possibility – instead De Bruyne needs to be carefully managed throughout the season to ensure he hits his peak when it counts. WU

6) Howe looks like a good fit for Newcastle

However, things do eventually turn out for Eddie Howe at Newcastle, he appears to be a better candidate for the job than Unai Emery would have been. Howe may seem like a less glamorous option than the Spaniard, but his Premier League credentials are well established and at 43 the former Bournemouth manager is hungry and ambitious to oversee what promises to be an era exciting for the club. Word from the training ground is that the intensity and fun have increased dramatically since Howe started working out. This bodes well for the visit of injury-exhausted Brentford who lost four straight league games and gave Burnley and Norwich their first wins of the season. Even with Howe absent due to a positive Covid-19 test, the noisy home crowd and Howe’s efforts on the training ground should help Newcastle finally secure a league victory on the table. LM

Eddie Howe has already had an impact on the training sessions in Newcastle.
Eddie Howe has already had an impact on the training sessions in Newcastle. Photograph: Serena Taylor / Newcastle United / Getty Images

7) New start for Kane after the English exploits

Harry Kane returns to Spurs after scoring seven goals in 108 minutes for England, six more than he has scored in the Premier League all season. Granted, beating Albania and San Marino might not equate to getting back in shape, as it’s the equivalent of your friend who has already played three games for Rochdale showing up at five to show he l ‘has always. Still, he should give a necessary boost to a player clearly lacking in form and confidence. It also comes at the right time, just two games away from Antonio Conte’s reign, adding to the feeling that this is a fresh start for a striker who has had a tough summer trying to leave Spurs after the heartbreak. of the Euro. Conte will want to take Kane higher up the pitch, something his predecessor Nuno Espírito Santo failed to do as Spurs struggled to play anything close to progressive football. WU

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8) West Ham seems equipped to fight on all fronts

Will the wheels finally come out of the David Moyes roadshow at Wolves? It seems highly unlikely, even though West Ham had a lot of busy players during the international break. The increasingly accomplished Hammers are now unbeaten in 11 road games in all competitions, a streak dating back to April 17. The thrilling 3-2 home win over Liverpool, a fourth consecutive league victory, also remains in mind as Michail Antonio continued his scoring exploits for Jamaica in recent days, and dramatically too. West Ham’s relentless run, disciplined defense and the danger of dead balls – they’ve scored 32 set-piece goals since Moyes returned in 2019 – should present plenty of problems for Bruno Lage’s side. West Ham’s Europa League campaign means this is a busier than average season, but they seem to have the tools to keep fighting and winning on multiple fronts. LM

Michail Antonio celebrates his goal for Jamaica in their World Cup qualifier against El Salvador.
Michail Antonio celebrates his goal for Jamaica in their World Cup qualifier against El Salvador. Photography: Salvador Melendez / AP

9) Smith starts a tough task at Carrow Road

Dean Smith has often said that what motivates him the most is his determination to prove people wrong. Saving Norwich this season would be quite a feat. First of all, for people who said joining Norwich was a rash decision, a decision made during the rebound when it was still painful to have been rejected by Aston Villa. Second, to people who say Norwich are beyond help, that no manager could keep this team afloat. And third, to the folks at Villa Park who decided that he would not have been able to accomplish the simpler task of straightening out Villa if they had been given more time. If Smith is to succeed, he probably needs Norwich to win at least a third of their remaining games, starting with Southampton at home on Saturday. Looking for three teams that could possibly be overtaken by Norwich, it must be concluded that the team most likely to be knocked down is another of Smith’s former clubs, Brentford. PD

10) Bordeaux can’t lose momentum at a crucial time

Burnley’s season indeed began when they beat Brentford, securing their first 10-game league win of the season. They followed that up with a draw at Chelsea and now they have the option to build on that against another London club. Crystal Palace arguably poses a similar attack threat to Brentford and, given the limited number of international calls in the Clarets squad, they will have been well trained over the past two weeks. It was against Palace that Burnley won his first game last season, the eighth time on his request. They then collected 11 points in six games to begin their climb up the standings and this run could provide the same comfort blanket for a team that often starts out slowly. When a team has a style as simple as the one Burnley operates with, momentum and morale are key. WU


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