Premier League

Manchester City travel to Anfield for a Premier League weekend clash. Manchester United’s best use of Paul Pogba, and it’s time for Maddison to rediscover form at Leicester City. 

However, lets unpack the main talking points for this weekend Premier League action. With Arsenal wanting to keep their momentum going as they visit a good Brighton and Hove side.

City Needs to End Striking debate

Manchester City fans haven’t seen a league victory at Anfield since Nicolas Anelka scored two goals in 2003. What City would give to have a player of Anelka’s calibre in his peak. After every game in which City fails to score, such as the one in Paris, questions about their attacking alternatives will be raised. They failed to beat Southampton, won at Chelsea thanks to a deflected strike, and were shut out by PSG despite controlling the game. They’ll have to pick who gets the ceremonial nod in the middle.

Phil Foden played there for Chelsea and provided control, Ferran Torres and Raheem Sterling have pace to stretch a Liverpool defense that struggled against Brentford, or Pep Guardiola could choose to play Gabriel Jesus in a more traditional striker role. City must find consistency in the final third, which is difficult to do when things are constantly changing and rotating.

A Battle at the South Coast

It’s realistic to believe that, if the emotional component of a derby is eliminated, a trip to Brighton will put Arsenal to the test more than a home match against Tottenham. Last Sunday’s rout has justifiably sparked hope at the Emirates, but the challenge now will be to back it up in a tough Saturday evening match.

The approaches Arteta and his great opponent, Graham Potter, have established are similar; if Arsenal’s holds sway this time, their momentum will be worth taking seriously.

Can Saints Test Chelsea’s Weakness?

Chelsea will have felt nearly unstoppable for the past few months. Having won the Champions League and Super Cup before a strong start to the Premier League season – even the first points they conceded, at Anfield, after Reece James was sent off, represented a clear victorious Chelsea side. However, a convincing home loss to Manchester City, followed by a Champions League loss to faltering Juventus, has them questioning whether they are as good as they thought.

Despite the fact that Southampton has only four points from six games, they are a worthy opponent. Their pressing will put Chelsea’s centre-backs to the test, as they are capable but not exceptional when playing out from the back. While Ralph Hasenhüttl’s 4-4-2 formation is ideal for exploiting the flaws in Thomas Tuchel’s 3-4-2-1, with his team able to overload in wide areas with twin strikers waiting in the middle. Of course, a home win is still the most likely result, but Southampton is Chelsea’s most difficult opponent among the bottom-placed clubs.

Maddison Must Rediscover Form

For a team with so much talent, Leicester’s seven points from six games is a terrible showing. The absences of Wesley Fofana, James Justin, and Jonny Evans are obvious. But Brendan Rodgers must also find a way to get more from James Maddison, whose attention may have been drawn to him throughout the summer. A switch from one to two strikers, with Kelechi Iheanacho or Patson Daka joining Jamie Vardy up front, could assist.

One option is to keep the 3-5-2 configuration utilized against Legia Warsaw. Giving Leicester’s replacement centre-backs protection in numbers and Maddison more freedom; another is to play in a 4-4-2, with Marc Albrighton and Harvey Barnes providing width and Maddison on the bench. However, they will have difficult opponents at Selhurst Park. Since Palace have settled under Patrick Vieira and have the midfield inventiveness and attacking firepower to cause plenty of issues for a team lacking in confidence and togetherness.

Nuno Seeks balance to overcome Villa

Although the options were limited, Nuno Esprito Santo’s hiring as Tottenham manager was a surprise. Given that Joe Lewis and Enic will never fund another title challenge. When Mauricio Pochettino’s team was challenging, Liverpool and the Manchester clubs were rebuilding. Choosing a manager with a reputation for exciting football seemed like the obvious and sensible move. If nothing else, to appease the fans.

Instead, they hired a cautious, uninspiring coach whose preferred style of play is completely mismatched to the top-heavy roster entrusted to him. As evidenced by last weekend’s derby defeat. As a result, Nuno is anxious for a positive performance after only six league games. This current match is exactly the kind he doesn’t want — Villa are a strong team on the rise. They will, however, come to attack, creating opportunities for Spurs to counter. But can Nuno identify the correct team and shape, then persuade his players to trust him and it?

By Clive Banda

Football Dialogue is the Home to Football News & Content that is both instructive and timeless.

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