Premier League: 10 issues to look out for this weekend | Premier League

Mikel Arteta puts an arm round Oleksandr Zinchenko after the defeat to Everton.

1) Aguerd offering Hammers metal

The stress on David Moyes has eased earlier than West Ham host Chelsea. The east London aspect stay in relegation peril however latest performances have been extra encouraging. Final month’s victory over Everton featured Jarrod Bowen at his driving finest and final weekend’s gutsy draw with Newcastle noticed West Ham return to the qualities that when made them so efficient below Moyes. There have been gamers operating for the trigger and the defence stood agency. Nayef Aguerd is starting to seem like a really good purchase. The Morocco centre-back missed the beginning of the season after struggling an ankle damage throughout a pre-season pleasant however he has been wonderful since returning to health. Aguerd was spectacular throughout Morocco’s run to the World Cup semi-final and has been excellent for West Ham recently. Most spectacular was his good deal with to disclaim Callum Wilson after the Newcastle striker went via on purpose. Moyes will need extra of the identical towards Chelsea. Jacob Steinberg

2) Gunners face check of title mettle

It could not have been their first lack of the season, however Arsenal’s misstep at Everton presents them with an unfamiliar psychological problem. Whereas their solely different league defeat – the 3-1 loss to Manchester United at Previous Trafford in September – could possibly be rationalised as a setback towards direct rivals at a floor the place they’ve usually struggled, they are going to be bitterly disenchanted to have fallen into Sean Dyche’s earthworm-infested lure. Whereas one shock defeat would possibly appear to be a bump within the street, two on the bounce would threaten a burst tyre. Unbeaten within the league since October, a run which has included spectacular wins towards Manchester Metropolis and Liverpool, Brentford will provide a stern check of endurance, even when they final beat Arsenal away in 1938. Will Magee

Mikel Arteta puts an arm round Oleksandr Zinchenko after the defeat to Everton.
Mikel Arteta places an arm spherical Oleksandr Zinchenko after the defeat to Everton. {Photograph}: Jason Cairnduff/Motion Pictures/Reuters

3) Vieira appears to fireside up engine room

Patrick Vieira is aware of a factor or two about midfield play. The query for Crystal Palace is how efficient their January switch enterprise will be in injecting some dynamism in the midst of the park. There’s a Conor Gallagher-shaped gap within the Eagles’ midfield after his spectacular mortgage keep final season, whereas James McArthur is a long-term damage absentee. Might Albert Sambi Lokonga, on mortgage from Arsenal, present the identical sort of spark as Gallagher? Can the gifted 20-year-old Naouirou Ahamada make a significant impression? Final weekend three sides straight beneath them – Nottingham Forest, Leicester and Wolves – all gained whereas Palace narrowly succumbed at Manchester United. This may be a helpful time to register three factors, then, though Brighton will welcome again the World Cup-winning midfielder Alexis Mac Allister at Selhurst Park after suspension. Vieira is certain to be requested about Wilfried Zaha’s troublesome hamstring but once more, and the gifted winger’s significance to Palace’s season is certainly appreciable. However Vieira, a World Cup winner himself, is aware of that his aspect should toughen up in central midfield if they’re to start out progressing up the desk. Luke McLaughlin

4) Urgent issues proceed for Leeds

If Patrick Bamford had regained health a little bit earlier within the season, would Jesse Marsch have been sacked? And would Leeds nonetheless be in relegation bother as they put together to satisfy Manchester United for the second time in 5 days? Managers are sometimes keen on the adage “you’re solely pretty much as good as your strikers”, however there’s lots of reality in it. With out Bamford, Leeds missed hatfuls of probabilities and had been susceptible to dropping possession and conceding on the different finish. As soon as forward, opponents turned excellent at adopting low blocks and holding a group who didn’t provide enough harmful crosses at bay. With gifted vast gamers within the mould of Wilfried Gnonto, Georginio Rutter, Luis Sinisterra, Crysencio Summerville and Jack Harrison all within the squad, and Bamford now round to shine off their deliveries, Marsch’s successor can simply tweak that defect. However do Leeds actually need to press fairly so frantically? Is it potential that this squad could be higher suited to a extra thought of strategy, possibly even that includes a again three? For a time Marcelo Bielsa turned Leeds right into a gloriously exhilarating aspect however, finally, his ways proved unsustainable. Absolutely Bielsa’s overarching urgent philosophy doesn’t essentially have to develop into Leeds’s everlasting template. Louise Taylor

‘It is unacceptable’: Erik ten Hag slams gamers after sluggish begin towards Leeds – video

5) Guardiola rallies Metropolis after seismic week

Pep Guardiola could have reached for his finest firefighting act this week to douse any issues his gamers had when Monday’s seismic information broke of the Premier League’s copious expenses towards Manchester Metropolis for alleged monetary wrongdoing. The champions deny all counts but the supervisor has to work with human beings who can’t assist however ponder what the long-term future could be for the membership and thus their very own. The short-term, although, is Aston Villa’s go to and the necessity to shove all extraneous points apart and deal with a title defence that had a modern hiccup in final Sunday’s loss at Tottenham. This got here after Arsenal had gone down yesterday – to Everton – so was a obvious alternative missed for Guardiola and his males. The primary proof of how they may reply to his counselling might be recognized by 6.30pm on Sunday. Jamie Jackson

6) Dyche eyes one other scalp in derby

Having overwhelmed Liverpool at Anfield below Carlo Ancelotti two years in the past, ending a run of greater than a decade with no victory within the Merseyside derby, Everton fell again into dangerous habits below Frank Lampard. They’re now with no win in three towards their outdated rivals, although they did handle to eke out a goalless draw at Goodison Park in September. Liverpool are in a very horrible stoop, nevertheless, having scored twice of their previous 5 video games in all competitions – each targets coming from Harvey Elliott – and conceded eight, leaving Jürgen Klopp to chop an more and more resentful determine. The percentages nonetheless favour the hosts on Monday, however good luck to all these within the post-match press convention if Klopp’s aspect, like Arsenal final weekend, succumb to the grinding would possibly of Dycheismo. WM

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Harvey Elliott of Liverpool
Harvey Elliott will look so as to add to his targets tally.
{Photograph}: David Klein/Reuters

7) Howe makes landmark return

Newcastle’s defensive document this season is outstanding. Eddie Howe is getting ready for an emotional return to his former employers at Bournemouth together with his hard-pressing aspect having conceded solely 12 occasions in 21 Premier League matches, 5 fewer than the leaders, Arsenal. The 2 next-stingiest defences are Manchester Metropolis’s and Chelsea’s, who’ve each conceded 21. Together with his group chasing Champions League qualification and in addition readying themselves for a Carabao Cup remaining towards Manchester United, the journey to the south coast needs to be a second for Howe to pause and mirror. It’s 14 years because the first of his two appointments at Bournemouth; he stayed within the function for eight years the second time, and made his title. Aged solely 45 he has been across the block a number of occasions, too, with a spell at Burnley additionally on his CV. Howe’s sabbatical earlier than taking the Newcastle job has proved notably important: studying from Diego Simeone at Atlético Madrid is without doubt one of the key causes Newcastle have develop into so streetwise, and so tough to attain towards. Howe has additionally had money to speculate, which doesn’t harm. They’re odds on to win and three factors will draw them stage with third-placed Manchester United. But when the match does correspond to the shape ebook, Howe will take no pleasure in deepening Bournemouth’s relegation fears. LM

Eddie Howe with new signing Anthony Gordon.
Eddie Howe with new signing Anthony Gordon. {Photograph}: Ian MacNicol/Getty Pictures

8) Tetê presents Rodgers meals for thought

Final 12 months Brendan Rodgers wrote a foreword for a ebook about vitamin in soccer, so it’s no shock he has been impressed by how severely Tetê has approached his Premier League problem. The 22-year-old Brazilian, a January arrival, has introduced a private entourage of nutritionists and power coaches with him to the east Midlands to maintain him in peak situation. “You might have the instruments on the membership however to actually maximise your profession it’s about doing all the things you may,” Rodgers stated. The Portuguese full-back Ricardo Pereira, who’s near coming back from an achilles damage, has been translating for Tetê at coaching whereas Rodgers has additionally dipped into his Spanish to assist get his messages throughout. Tetê loved a dream debut within the victory at Aston Villa final week and Rodgers might be hoping for extra of the identical when Tottenham go to on Saturday. Ben Fisher

9) Saints to offer Jones his marching orders?

On condition that he arrived solely in November, it’s straightforward to decry requires Nathan Jones’s exit as simply the newest instance of the Premier League’s tradition of short-termism. Whereas his appointment felt prefer it was made with one eye on the longer term – the membership hierarchy had been eager to emphasize they’d monitored his wonderful work at Luton for years – the very fact stays that he was introduced in with the quick short-term goal of avoiding relegation, which is changing into tougher to satisfy with every passing week. Jones tends to put on his coronary heart on his sleeve however his newest press convention, during which he cited his Luton aspect’s anticipated targets in defence of his managerial credentials, was by no means more likely to go down effectively with Southampton followers sceptical of his potential to maintain them up. A sport towards Wolves at house looks like a must-win however not solely are the guests much-improved below Julen Lopetegui, they’ve overwhelmed Southampton 4 occasions on the spin. WM

10) Cairney can assist minimize via Forest

Tom Cairney is difficult to evaluate. The Fulham midfielder has shone within the Championship however has by no means fairly established himself within the Premier League. He scored the purpose that received Fulham promoted in 2018 however was not a daily throughout the next marketing campaign. The issue has all the time been whether or not he’s fast sufficient to thrive on the highest stage. Groups like Fulham can’t carry anybody and it’s telling that Marco Silva has most well-liked to make use of Cairney as an impression participant this season. That tougher edge is why Fulham are sitting in eighth place earlier than internet hosting Nottingham Forest, although it was good to see Cairney have an excellent sport when Silva’s aspect beat Sunderland within the FA Cup on Wednesday. Maybe it was just because he was taking part in towards a Championship aspect and had extra time and area on the ball. However it was additionally a reminder that Cairney has a component to play at Fulham. He stays a beautiful participant to observe and his creativity might are available use towards Forest. In any case, Fulham are goalless of their earlier three league outings. JS