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


1) Spurs take advantage of nifty summer deals


Cutting supply lines between Harry Kane and Son Heung-min was a treat for Chelsea last Sunday, until Richarlison’s introduction for the ineffective Ryan Sessegnon provided an additional distraction for the team’s defenders local, his runs off the ball repeatedly shooting them. out of position. The Brazilian is hoping to start against Wolves and his inclusion in the roster could well be a disappointment for Son. Fitness permitting, Clement Lenglet is likely to replace the injured Cristian Romero and, with Sessegnon looking for a good bet to make way for Ivan Perisic, Tottenham’s unusually early transfer deals already look as sensible as they are shrewd. Substituting for Hwang Hee-chan in the second half in his side’s scoreless draw against Fulham, it also wouldn’t be a surprise to see Gonçalo Guedes make his first start for Wolves, and another big-money signing Matheus Nunes could also figure. BG

2) Trio of long-awaited Arsenal wins

The last time Arsenal won their first three matches of the league season they were in the middle of a 49-match unbeaten run. At the start of the 2004-05 season, as Arsène Wenger’s side passed Everton, Middlesbrough and Blackburn by an aggregate score of 12-4, few would have predicted that they would need (at least) 18 to make a like a fresh start. Arsenal’s list of goalscorers in those three games reads like a truncated roll call of the club’s greatest players of the 21st century: Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, ​​Freddie Ljungberg, Robert Pires, José Antonio Reyes and Cesc Fàbregas , then still an awkward teenage prodigy . So no pressure on Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli. Arsenal have finished second this season but, if they beat Bournemouth on Saturday, they are guaranteed to finish the day top of the table. WM

Granit Xhaka celebrates after scoring against Leicester last weekend. Photo: Xinhua/Rex/Shutterstock

3) Howe’s defensive plan against the champions

Pep Guardiola’s ominous warning that his already formidable Manchester City striker Erling Haaland ‘step by step will only get better’ has drawn Newcastle fans’ attention to Eddie Howe’s likely defensive setup sunday. Is the boss sticking with his favorite full-back and if so who of Sven Botman, Dan Burn and Fabian Schär will fall on the bench? Last week, all three played in the 0-0 draw at Brighton, but that was only because Burn moved to left-back to replace Matt Targett. On Sunday, however, Targett should be fit enough to be restored at the back, leaving Howe with a dilemma. It will surely be plump for Schär and Botman, if only because it creates a nice balance right foot / left foot. With Botman and Burn both left-footed, the dangers of a central defensive imbalance seem too great to risk. Alternatively, Howe could field a 3-4-3 formation with Kieran Trippier and Targett as full-backs. LT

4) Onana is the game

With no point or goalscorer – it’s now been 50 days since Richarlison was sold to Tottenham – the prospect of Amadou Onana making his full Everton debut against Nottingham Forest captures the imagination at Goodison Park. The midfielder, a recent £33million signing from Lille, had a brief but very eventful introduction to the Premier League at Aston Villa last weekend. Substituting for Conor Coady in the 81st minute, he lost possession in the build-up to Villa’s winner in the 86th, created consolation seconds later and nearly saved an unlikely draw in stoppage time. Frank Lampard absolved the Belgian of blame for Villa’s second goal – “I want midfield players who want to receive the ball and play forward,” the manager said – and Onana, who was at barely trained for 10 days before the game during his transfer. , certainly offered a glimpse of the dynamic midfield presence that Everton dream of. Oh

5) Soucek is key to Hammers’ hopes

West Ham’s desire to add more dynamism to their midfield is no secret. They looked at several players this summer, but the change hasn’t happened yet. Flynn Downes, signed from Swansea, is one for the future and, with the pursuit of a new dominating midfielder proving frustrating, David Moyes still finds himself leaning on Tomas Soucek amid doubts over the future of the Czech international. The situation is not ideal and Moyes needs Soucek to improve his game when West Ham, who have lost their opening two matches, host Brighton on Sunday. It’s a huge ordeal. Brighton’s flexible midfield will cause plenty of problems and West Ham will struggle if Soucek, who can be vulnerable under high pressure, isn’t on the pace. Declan Rice can’t do it alone. Soucek, whose scoring threat diminished last season, needs to challenge himself and find a way to regain his form. JS

Tomas Soucek during training on Wednesday.
Tomas Soucek during training on Wednesday. Photo: James Griffiths/West Ham United/Rex/Shutterstock

5.1) Taylor unfairly in the spotlight

Thomas Tuchel’s complaint about referee Anthony Taylor’s performance has caused a buildup of the most paranoid, unhinged and authoritative elements of Chelsea’s fanbase, more than 140,000 of whom have since signed a petition demanding that the official be prevented from supporting any of their devices ever again. Taylor will find himself unfairly thrust into the spotlight when he officiates this match, with each of his decisions subject to scrutiny so that any small mistakes can be relied upon as ‘proof’ that he is somehow incompetent or corrupt. Even in the Premier League, referees are not paid enough to put up with this kind of bullying and harassment. Until the serial whiners among the management ranks begin to be properly punished with massive fines, suspensions or stadium bans, these officials – without whom the game cannot be played – would have every right to lower the whistles and go on strike. BG

6) Bamford eclipsing any setbacks?

After last weekend’s technical area altercation with Tottenham’s Antonio Conte, God knows how Tuchel will react to Jesse Marsch at Elland Road. Away from the pitch, the Leeds manager is open, engaging and unfailingly courteous but, on the touchline, Marsch sometimes seems to think he’s still the annoying enforcer he once was as a player. Such lightly controlled aggression doesn’t always sit well with its managerial counterparts, so an intriguing subplot could focus on the dugouts. Patrick Bamford, however, hopes to pass a fitness test in time to completely overshadow such a sideshow. Marsch’s key striker is always aiming to impress – and never more so than against the club that employed him between 2012 and 2017, a period in which he appeared for six different teams during various loan spells while failing to make a single first-team appearance at a Chelsea. shirt. LT

7) A man’s misery is a Ming’s luck

After stripping Tyrone Mings of the Aston Villa captaincy and leaving him on the bench for their season opener, Steven Gerrard raised questioning eyebrows when he picked the England international to start against Everton at the weekend. end last. While those outside the Villa camp can only speculate on the health of Gerrard’s relationship with his former captain, the long-term Achilles injury suffered by Diego Carlos should mean that Mings figures more in evident in his manager’s plans than he would have imagined a fortnight ago. . The absence of Diego Carlos should prompt the return of Ezri Konsa to Villa’s starting line-up when Crystal Palace perform at Villa Park, while the less spotty Calum Chambers is also available for a recall. BG

8) Barnes back to lift Leicester

For Leicester, good news has been scarce lately, but Harvey Barnes’ return from a knee injury has given Brendan Rodgers a boost. Leicester are yet to sign a senior outfield player this summer, while Barnes, Wesley Fofana and James Maddison have faced inquiries from rival clubs this summer. There could be more positives if Leicester reach agreement with Maddison on a new deal, with the club keen to avoid the situation they find themselves in with Youri Tielemans, who is out of contract next summer, from playing out. reproduce. “Both sides have to be able to come to an agreement,” Rodgers said. “With James two years from the end, the club would naturally want to protect the asset. But it works both ways. Sometimes everything happens at the club. If a player – let alone James – doesn’t want to sign him, it can be a dead end. BF

Brendan Rodgers facing the media on Thursday.
Brendan Rodgers facing the media on Thursday. Photo: Plumb Images/Leicester City FC/Getty Images

9) Battle of the Fronts by the Thames

Fulham will be hoping it’s a case ‘after the mayor’s show’ for Brentford when they visit Craven Cottage a week after their Manchester United humiliation. Although this west London game may lack the spice of more high-profile derbies, Marco Silva criticized his players’ lack of intensity in the first half on a sweltering afternoon at Molineux. They can be expected to storm out of the traps in a match that could hinge on the performance of rival centre-forwards Aleksandar Mitrovic and Ivan Toney respectively. After his double on matchday one, Mitrovic will be eager to make up for last week’s missed penalty. Interestingly, the Fulham-designated penalty taker has missed nine of 31 career shots, while Toney has a vastly superior record of just one missed in 24. BG

10) Liverpool’s trip to the basement boys

Forget a win or a draw, can Manchester United summon a credible performance in their third game of an already rated campaign? With Liverpool their Monday night visitors the obvious answer may be no, but with Jürgen Klopp’s side drawing their first two games there may be a ray of hope for the Erik ten Hag’s team. While the United manager shouldn’t have to prepare his so far dismal players for a meeting with their rivals, the same equation is true for Klopp, already four points clear of Manchester City after just 180 minutes of football. Expect Cristiano Ronaldo to start again despite his desire to leave, and United’s fragile confidence to crumble if Liverpool get an early goal. If that happens, the Old Trafford crowd will have to find their voice in trying to deliver what their side are sorely lacking: conviction. not a word