Table of Contents
- 1) Gunn in line of fireside for Norwich
- 2) Rangnick tackles Ronaldo row?
- 3) Gerrard and Ferguson reunited
- 4) Spurs trying to outflank Chelsea
- 5) Saints’ new period going through stern take a look at
- 6) Partey off as Arteta gamble fails
- 7) Targets galore at Brentford?
- 8) Palace nonetheless fragile at set items
- 9) Will Foxes rally after late collapse?
- 10) Newcastle shedding worry issue?
1) Gunn in line of fireside for Norwich
Norwich’s hopes of following up on final weekend’s win over Everton by prevailing in Friday’s essential six-pointer towards Watford suffered a blow when it was confirmed Tim Krul would miss the sport with a shoulder damage. Whereas one goalkeeper’s misfortune is one other’s alternative, Norwich followers received’t take a lot confidence from Angus Gunn’s most up-to-date spell deputising for Krul between the sticks, when it may very well be argued he might have completed lots higher for 4 of the eight objectives Norwich conceded in video games towards Arsenal and Crystal Palace over the festive interval. “Gunny was disenchanted with the outcomes that we had within the two video games that he performed in,” mentioned Dean Smith. “He has been working exhausting to get that chance again once more and it has introduced itself now, so he is aware of he has acquired to go and play properly.” No strain, Angus. BG
2) Rangnick tackles Ronaldo row?
Ralf Rangnick’s choice to substitute Cristiano Ronaldo in Manchester United’s 3-1 win towards Brentford on Thursday dominated the post-match headlines. However this distracted consideration from the extra regarding subject for the supervisor: a primary half through which Brentford battered United and will have been out of sight. Rangnick was seen making an attempt to placate a visibly offended Ronaldo on the bench within the closing phases – a neat visible metaphor for the membership’s seemingly intractable issues. Ronaldo presently wields disproportionate energy in relation to his capacity, like many different modern footballers, and it’s debatable whether or not the United group is best with him in it. Sir Alex Ferguson helped to get Ronaldo’s return from Juventus over the road, and stays an influential presence, however as a supervisor he would merely not have tolerated such petulance from a participant. Rangnick is seen as a footballing progressive however, if he’s going to rework Outdated Trafford, Ronaldo isn’t the one towering determine from the membership’s previous whose affect needs to be lowered. LM
3) Gerrard and Ferguson reunited
Everton host Aston Villa at Goodison in Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off, a recreation through which Duncan Ferguson and Steven Gerrard renew hostilities for the primary time since Liverpool beat Everton 3-1 in a Merseyside derby at Anfield in March 2006. On that event each males spent a lot of the recreation monitoring proceedings from the touchline – Gerrard was despatched off after 18 minutes whereas “Huge Dunc” got here on as a second-half substitute. A mere 16 years later, they are going to once more be watching from the sidelines as Everton’s caretaker supervisor makes an attempt to arrest his group’s alarming slide in the direction of the relegation zone and Aston Villa’s boss tries to finish a run of 4 video games and not using a win. With Gerrard’s managerial credentials already established, Ferguson wants the win extra. Famously tight-lipped off the pitch as a participant and by no means one for self-promotion, he’ll anticipate Everton’s underperforming gamers to assist him stake a declare for a job many consider him to be to the way born. BG
4) Spurs trying to outflank Chelsea
With Reece James and Ben Chilwell nonetheless out, a great way to get at Chelsea is by attacking down their sides. Brighton’s Tariq Lamptey and Marc Cucurella have had nice enjoyable at their expense in latest weeks, together with in Tuesday’s draw on the Amex. Tottenham? Not a lot. Chelsea coasted by means of each Carabao Cup semi-finals, with Matt Doherty struggling specific torment as Spurs’ left wing-back. However the Irishman confirmed on Wednesday how efficient he might be in his most well-liked place on the fitting by contributing mightily to the extraordinary comeback towards Leicester. He’s not less than nearly as good a defender as Emerson Royal and extra impactful than the Brazilian going ahead – thanks to his aerial risk particularly. Marcos Alonso won’t need Doherty to begin at proper wing-back when Spurs go to Stamford Bridge. PD
5) Saints’ new period going through stern take a look at
Manchester Metropolis are locked heading in the right direction for one other league title however Southampton’s season stays one that will go both manner. There’s an air of optimism for the reason that arrival of the Serbian media magnate Dragan Solak, however the euphoria of a thumping win over Brentford to welcome their new proprietor was tempered by defeat at Wolves final weekend. Solak has spoken of a long-term funding plan so though discussions are ongoing over signing Armando Broja from Chelsea, a January trolley sprint appears to be like extremely unlikely. Ralph Hassenhüttl will hope to be backed within the switch market come the top of the marketing campaign, with the austerity of the Gao Jisheng years left behind, however the extra urgent subject is steering his skinny, inconsistent squad in the direction of the highest half. Contemplating the type of fluent type that Pep Guardiola’s group are in, Saturday’s go to of the champions will most definitely imply specializing in harm limitation. LM
6) Partey off as Arteta gamble fails
Mikel Arteta, like most managers, has railed towards fixture congestion this season and the calls for it locations on gamers. However such complaints don’t wash when he then chooses to deliver on Thomas Partey a couple of hours after the participant has acquired off a airplane from Cameroon, the place he had simply contested three high-stakes Africa Cup of Nations matches in draining situations. For the Ghanaian to be despatched off for a few late challenges shouldn’t essentially come as a shock. Now, with Granit Xhaka additionally suspended, Arsenal once more have an issue in central midfield for the go to of Burnley and, utilizing his personal logic, it’s one partly of Arteta’s creation. Burnley, in the meantime, have actually been properly rested for the sport, having performed two league matches since 12 December. PD
7) Targets galore at Brentford?
As talked about earlier, Brentford’s failure to convert a raft of first-half possibilities value them dearly towards Manchester United, whereas for all their good soccer Wolves have been struggling to discover the online with any type of frequency till a latest glut of six objectives in two video games, towards Sheffield United and Southampton. Solely Burnley (16) and Norwich (10) have scored fewer than the 17 Premier League objectives celebrated by Bruno Lage’s aspect this season, however with even the profligate – eight objectives in 159 top-flight appearances – Adama Traoré getting on the scoresheet towards Saints, the floodgates may lastly have opened. Whereas they misplaced towards United, Brentford did not less than see Ivan Toney finish a run of eight video games and not using a purpose along with his aspect’s late comfort. Saturday’s crowd on the Brentford Neighborhood Stadium may very well be handled to a glut of objectives, even when the very suggestion right here means a scoreless draw might be assured. BG
8) Palace nonetheless fragile at set items
When Crystal Palace misplaced 3-0 at Anfield in September, the objectives have been scored by Mohamed Salah, Naby Keïta and Sadio Mané. So the Africa Cup of Nations is properly timed for Patrick Vieira, since all three of these gamers will nonetheless be away with their nationwide groups when Liverpool head to Selhurst Park on Sunday. All three objectives at Anfield got here from set items, although, and fragility from these is an issue Vieira has not but been ready to clear up absolutely. There’s additionally the truth that essentially the most important African absentee on Sunday might really be Cheikhou Kouyaté, since Palace’s midfield is far weaker with out the Senegal worldwide. PD
9) Will Foxes rally after late collapse?
A technique or one other, Leicester’s spectacular stoppage-time collapse towards Tottenham is probably going to have an enduring influence. The under-strength Foxes have been a couple of seconds from an unlikely victory, handed to them by James Maddison, earlier than Steven Bergwijn’s double denied them even a single level. Will Brendan Rodgers’ aspect now pull collectively, collectively resolving not to throw factors away in such careless vogue once more? Or has their common springtime droop arrived early this season? Brighton arrive trying buoyant, having acquired out of jail towards Crystal Palace with a late purpose of their 1-1 draw final Friday, earlier than holding lavishly-funded Chelsea to a draw on Tuesday evening. Following the surprising denouement towards Spurs, now could be an excellent time for Leicester to show they nonetheless belong within the scrap for Europe. LM
10) Newcastle shedding worry issue?
Eddie Howe wants to inform Newcastle gamers in regards to the joys of the Championship. He ought to inform them they are going to find it irresistible, it is going to be a blast, the ambiance at St James’ Park can be festive at each house match and, principally, every little thing’s going to be all proper. Perhaps then Newcastle’s gamers will cease fretting about relegation and can be ready to play with out worry. Too usually this season – and
whatever the supervisor – many Newcastle gamers have appeared so scared of constructing a mistake or failing that they’ve ended up doing simply that. The signs are significantly noticeable after they take a lead: they usually wind up cowering in their very own half, neutered by the prospect of freely giving their benefit. Final weekend’s draw towards Watford was the most recent of many examples. They want to find out how to play with abandon and Leeds, who’ve pulled 9 factors away from the drop zone, will present them how. That’s one thing for Newcastle to be enthused about. Or very afraid. PD