Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend | football


1) Chelsea has a James-sized hole to fill

It’s easy to see why Chelsea were interested in finding a cover in the right-back position last summer. Reese James’ knee injury has given Graham Potter a mystery to be solved before his hosts Manchester United on Saturday. There is no ready substitute for the England international. The experience of using Raheem Sterling as captain for James was thwarted during Chelsea’s win over Villa last weekend, and Cesar Azpilicueta doesn’t have the legs to deliver a right-sided up and down jab against the top opponents. Ruben Loftus-Cheek is a more likely candidate. The midfielder did well as a winger for Thomas Tuchel and played the role of Potter. However, Loftus-Cheek is no defender – he had some uncomfortable moments against Brentford in midweek – and his delivery was not as decisive as James. United should target this winger. Jacob Steinberg

2) Crunch Tool for Conti

Follow Tottenham Trampled by Manchester UnitedAntonio Conte was a realist. “We need time,” he said. “In just 10-11 months, you can’t go from ninth to becoming a title contender.” But this summer, Conte’s board granted him the financial backing they denied Mauricio Pochettino and, in such circumstances, the way his team has been overtaken by every respectable opposition they have faced is unacceptable. The feeling persists that, while Ivan Perisic, Yves Bisuma and Richarlison are decent players, just as Spence’s grandfather is a good prospect, Conte has spent over £100m transforming a side capable of contending for Champions League spots but no more than one. Able to compete for Champions League places but no more. Add to that a frustratingly bleak tone and it’s no wonder some fans are beginning to question whether the game has outgrown their manager – and things won’t come easy for him on Sunday when he visits glamorous Newcastle. Daniel Harris

3) Can Brighton repeat Liverpool’s stunt?

Manchester City’s first defeat of the season came on Sunday at Anfield, when Mohamed Salah’s goal gave Liverpool an important victory that makes Brighton’s visit to the Etihad stadium all the more interesting. Although Erling Haaland’s dismissal was rare, Pep Guardiola’s side was undefeated after a previously unknown secret was discovered. Salah was a lone goal from Alisson’s purge of the long ball, and City fell into the break as often happens when they savor the element of loss close to the collectors. Can Brighton repeat this? Do Leandro Trossard and Danny Welbeck, the usual strikers of Roberto de Zerbe, have the speed to head City over the counter and the team cunning in engineering slots like that? Or will Earth’s leading team beat them up as so many other visitors do. The odds are yes: The last time City lost two league games was in December 2018 – against Crystal Palace and Leicester. Jimmy Jackson

Leandro Trossard (bottom) and Danny Welbeck have teamed up well this season with Brighton.
Leandro Trossard (bottom) and Danny Welbeck have teamed up well this season with Brighton. Photo: Peter Powell/EPA

4) The way of the saints is another test for leaders

There are two ways to look at Arsenal’s win over Leeds last weekend: either they won because they happened to finish on the right side of the fringes of notoriously chaotic football but looked like a side that had run out of form, or they won because they scored a goal. Great goal and now they are confident and excellent enough to look for another great result. Sunday trip to Southampton He might give us decent guidance for that, even though the home team has had a poor start to the season. Two good results – a draw with West Ham followed by a derby win at Bournemouth – mean they are in a better heart. And if Ralph Hessenhuttl sticks to his favorite 4-4-2 formation, it could cause problems for Gabriel and William Saliba, who are more accustomed to sharing central attacking between two, just as Ben White, Kieran Tierney or Takehiro Tomiasu might find it difficult to defend on the wings who play in The natural wing, supported by attacking backs. DH

5) Where is this Klopp team going now

It’s been a tough start to this season LiverpoolAnd it’s easy to see why. When Jurgen Klopp’s side was at its peak, his method was simple: three physical monsters ran with the opponent off the field in midfield, allowing his full back the freedom to play from wide areas, allowing his wide attackers to seek them out. Objectives. This changed when Georginio Wijnaldum was replaced by Thiago Alcântara – a fine player but of a different profile and often injured by injury – and as he got older with Jordan Henderson, meaning he could no longer set a fierce rhythm. Klopp has tried different ways to tackle this problem, both in terms of formation and personnel, but although his players have racked up two impressive wins in the past week, they still look far from outdated. While the possibility is that, whatever they line up on Saturday, they will have a lot for Forrest, there is still no sense that Klopp has come up with a permanent solution. DH

Klopp denies his comments on Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain were xenophobic – video

6) New faces are waiting for wolves in the wings

This season is gradually moving away from wolves. In the short term, the responsibility to get Wolverhampton out of the relegation zone lies with Steve Davis, the former manager of Crewe and Leighton Orient who He will remain on provisional charge Until at least the new year after the club’s failed pursuit of Julen Lopetegui and then Michael Bale. Wolves have won two of their 11 league games and desperately need a lift when they host Leicester on Sunday. Adama Traore opened the scoring at Selhurst Park on Tuesday but goals remained a major concern. On the flip side, 20-year-old defender Hugo Bueno has handed Davis his full debut at Crystal Palace and should be tempted to freshen things up more. Wolverhampton’s side are weak by Premier League standards, but midfielders Kim Campbell, eligible for England and Wales, and Conor Ronan, who was a regular fixture during pre-season under Bruno Lage, could be next. Ben Fisher

7) Is it now or not to Bin Rahma?

It could be now or never for Said Benrahma at West Ham. The winger has struggled to get a regular starting spot since joining two years ago and the club was open to bids for him last summer. The contrast between the former Brentford player has become difficult. It is common to see an angry reaction from David Moyes after a moment of needless indulgence from Benrahma and the director is entitled to expect a superior end product from the Algerian. However, with both Maxwell Cornet and Lucas Paqueta sidelined through injury, Benrahma has a chance to earn a long spell in the team ahead of the World Cup. He has been an influential player mostly this season, has made a decent substitute against Liverpool and seems likely to start against them. Bournemouth on Monday. West Ham need Benrahma to explain why it cost £30m. youth

8) The heat is getting hot on the lampard

Frank Lampard’s ability to talk about football in an engaging, intelligent and insightful way makes perfect sense: he grew up ‘in and around the game’ and then had to think carefully about how to maximize his ability, while playing under some brilliant manager. But he had yet to translate this skill into the lair, and it was extremely privileged Lucky to get a Chelsea job after failing in the derby, where he would have gotten Everton Job after failure at Chelsea. Now, after three straight defeats, his side have found themselves 15th on the table after spending nearly £70m this summer, and while most of that was covered by the sale of Richarlison, that doesn’t affect Lampard’s ability to build an effective squad. – Everton. He scored only eight goals in 11 league matches. And things could get even worse in the face of a young and dynamic mansion that is just as clear what can be done with skilful procurement and training. There is a strong chance that by Saturday evening, the pressure on Lampard will have intensified. DH

Frank Lampard applauds the Everton fans after the defeat to Newcastle.
Frank Lampard applauds the Everton fans after the defeat to Newcastle. Photography: Richard Lee/Shutterstock

9) Mitrovic holds the key in Elland Road

Marco Silva’s side relies heavily on the striker, who has scored eight goals in his first 10 games of the season – one of the afternoon’s most intriguing subplots will be about how Aleksandar Mitrovic deals with the perpetually hectic atmosphere of Island Road. He’s matured considerably since his Newcastle days but, hostile and one-eyed on their coming, Leeds’ glorious party crowd is something else. Can a player accustomed to retaliating with the slightest verbal insult maintain balance in the midst of such an environment? Or might Leeds boss Jesse Marsh advise Mitrovic’s watchers to get rid of him? Silva would have been better prepared for an eventful return to Yorkshire, where he narrowly failed to keep Hull in the top flight in 2017. What was the price for Sunday’s winning goal scored by either Mitrovic or his Leeds counterpart, Patrick Bamford? Louise Taylor

10) Villa faces another test in West London

The mood music surrounding Aston Villa and Brentford couldn’t be more contrasting. With the dismissal of Steven Gerrard After their miserable defeat to Fulham, former captain Tyrone Mings and former Brentford defender Ezri Konsa will have to go into their matches to mute Evan Toni on Sunday. All three bear the aspirations of the England national team, but Toni is certainly the most likely to join Gareth Southgate’s squad for Qatar next month. Thomas Frank previously said left-back Rico Henry could also play for England. Brentford heads to Villa on the back of a remarkable draw with Chelsea and will try to win his chances against their hosts. bf


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