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



1) Bruce needs to galvanize Newcastle

The first four games were tough for Newcastle, collecting one point and conceding 12 goals. Three-quarters of those concessions came in the second half, a sign that they can’t maintain their focus for a full 90 minutes and that they may need to be fitter. It’s good to keep things tight in the first half, but it means very little when things fall apart after the break. Steve Bruce’s side need to maintain their rigidity in the first half throughout the game, whether it means a change of personnel or an improved training regime. Leeds are a team operating at a relentless pace and their movement in the final third will weaken the legs if they get the upper hand on the opposition, potentially leaving Newcastle for another very difficult night. WU

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2) Nuno with a lot to think about

Thomas Tuchel is a good coach, but his Champions League victory was founded on basic principles: a team made up of three center-backs, two starting midfielders and defensive ends will be difficult to achieve. But that’s what Spurs need to do on Sunday, with Son Heung-min’s likely absence forcing a rethink of tactics. A three-way defense can be vulnerable in the spaces between its wide center and full backs, so Nuno Espírito Santo may have planned a 4-3-3, with Steven Bergwijn or Lucas Moura on one side of Harry Kane. and Bryan Gil on the other side. With Bergwijn and Lucas limping against Rennes, he could instead deploy a 4-4-1-1 with Dele Alli behind Kane, knowing that the partnership works and on the basis that two forwards are harder to deal with for three defenders. of one. With injury issues increasing, Spurs will need to play well to avoid a second straight loss. DH

3) Guardiola must get the right city rotation

With the arrival of the Champions League group stage, squad rotation will become key for Pep Guardiola in the coming months. He has played the same starting XI in the last three league games, a rarity for the Catalan coach. There are good reasons to stay with the same team as they play well and score goals, while some are adjusting to new roles within the setup. City don’t have the easiest Champions League groups to break through, so can’t face weakened sides until the round of 16. John Stones, Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne could all be in the running to face Southampton as they recover from a mix of injuries and Euro 2020 exploits, so there’s no shortage of quality. Guardiola knows that any DIY needs to be done carefully to strike the right balance in the relentless months ahead. WU

Nathan Aké celebrates his midweek goal against RB Leipzig. Photograph: Matt McNulty / Manchester City FC / Getty Images

4) Sancho Switch Can Help Wan-Bissaka

Aaron Wan-Bissaka dropped his side midweek so it will be interesting to see how he reacts at London Stadium. It is sometimes hard to believe that he has reached the level of youth teams as a winger, although he is better offensively than he thinks – he lacks finesse, but can advance with the ball. His crossing will become more efficient as soon as he has confidence in himself to do it regularly. He was also hampered by not having a striker directly in front of him – Mason Greenwood is a brilliant player, but due to his urge to aim straight for goal, he rarely threatens on the outside. Jadon Sancho was signed to fix this but with Marcus Rashford’s absence he was placed on the left and as a result opponents are still largely able to ignore United’s right flank. For this reason, it may make sense for Sancho and Greenwood to switch sides, so the former can stretch out a West Ham defense that may be difficult to break through, with the latter attacking the box as usual. DH

5) Édouard and Palace to test Van Dijk

Virgil van Dijk has enjoyed a serene return from injury, with Liverpool having conceded only once in their four league appearances. It’s not just because of him – the whole squad has started the season well and a relatively soft start was helped by Reece James’ red card during Chelsea’s visit to Anfield. Palace, however, is expected to present a more severe test. After his brace on the bench last time around, Odsonne Édouard will surely start and his physical presence and smart running pose a threat because, as excellent as Van Dijk is, it is rare for someone to return from a cruciate ligament injury. and be immediately the same. player – even less the 30-year-old and for whom the pace was a significant asset. But it’s not just Edward who Liverpool need to pay attention to – the cunning and agility of Jordan Ayew and Wilfried Zaha will also be problematic, as will the skill and endurance of Conor Gallagher escaping the midfield . This contest is perhaps the most entertaining of the weekend. DH

6) Arsenal must be error free at Burnley

When Arsenal visited Burnley in March, the afternoon came to sum up Mikel Arteta’s reign – or, if you prefer, offer a rundown of the club’s past decade and a half. They led through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and seemed in total control before a maddening mistake from Granit Xhaka left an oblivious Chris Wood to get the ball rolling. It was a frustrating race from there and Sean Dyche’s side are unlikely to be the first opponents Arteta would have picked as he seeks to build some momentum following the weekend’s life-saving win. last on Norwich. Doing better this season and winning at Turf Moor won’t prove anything – the road back for Arsenal will be long and difficult – but Arteta will be looking for more encouraging signs from the new look which has shown some potential against the Canaries. An error-free afternoon may be the minimum requirement, but it would at least point to a way forward for old woes. N / A

Arsenal players in training Thursday.
Arsenal players in training Thursday. Photograph: Stuart MacFarlane / Arsenal FC / Getty Images

7) Will Benítez stay with a new formation?

Rafa Benítez’s formation change from a four-to-three backstroke against Burnley didn’t work out on Monday night, forcing the Spaniard to question himself and change the dynamics of the game. Andre Gomes came off the bench to add a extra man in the central midfielder and Everton grabbed the game as Burnley was passed in the middle of the park. Benítez will be without Dominic Calvert-Lewin for a few more weeks, his absence being the main reason for the change of formation. Benítez will be delighted to find that despite low spending in the window, he has enough strength in depth to offer options even without his main striker. Sticking to the same plan could allow the team to get used to a new style without their number 9, but Benítez might be better off making sure he makes the most of Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend. , who have already proven themselves in wide positions. WU

8) A must-have already for Farke

Norwich have only appeared in four games, but it’s not too dramatic to suggest they are already in must-see territory. The grim statistics of their sterile start to the season hide the fact that – at Liverpool, Manchester City, Leicester and Arsenal – they received an evil hand early on. Getting anything from this streak of play could have been considered a bonus; the problem is he’s putting pressure on matches such as their home assignment against Watford on Saturday. The Hornets beat Daniel Farke’s side twice in the Championship last season, but they themselves need a raise after losing three Championship games on the spin. Farke could make his debut for Mathias Normann, the Norwegian brought in to toughen up the midfielder, as well as former Liverpool defender Ozan Kabak. Norwich have looked stronger than the team that collapsed two seasons ago; if they want to prove it, however, they have to start now. N / A

Teemu Pukki after the defeat at Arsenal.
Teemu Pukki after the defeat at Arsenal. Photograph: Tony O’Brien / Reuters

9) Tricky Trincão can spin the wolves

So far, under Bruno Lage, the wolves have been an absolute pleasure to watch. Although Molineux has long been home to a coterie of adorable and creative footballers, it was only recently that they were granted permission to speak. In particular, Francisco Trincão was a revelation, a graceful mover, an incisive runner and a bewitching dribbler. Signed on loan from Barcelona, ​​Wolves have the option of making the move permanent for £ 25million next summer, a figure which currently looks like a bargain. Nonetheless, his new team still needed 355 minutes and 69 shots to open their league account for the season, a lavishness that will lead them to finish below less talented teams if not resolved. There is hope, however, that things will improve soon: Raúl Jiménez, still groping after a fractured skull last November, is visibly gaining in sharpness. But Brentford, who has conceded just two goals in four games, will make it difficult for them and for him. DH

10) Brighton to assess their progress

Leicester is a great example for Brighton. The clubs are similar in size and very well managed; the Foxes, for their part, have dramatically proven that the high-flying mid-table doesn’t have to be their ceiling. Brighton may not yet have reached Leicester’s ambitions, but they are progressing steadily under Graham Potter, and early signs are that a place in the first half is not going beyond them. They’ve had three of the four wins and Brendan Rodgers’ team visit provides a great opportunity to continue their debut streak. It could also serve as a useful test of their potential to be interested in European spots. Home form will be key to their hopes to do so: Last season they won just four league games at Amex, the first of which came in late January. Getting a second home win of the season on Sunday would suggest they’re ready to continue. N / A


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