This Weekend’s Games Bring Different Challenges For The Top Six

Posted: February 10, 2018 in Arsenal, Chelsea, Football, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League, Tottenham Hotspur
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Saturday’s early game…..

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Henrikh Mkhitaryan – Hoping for his first Arsenal goal

Spurs against Arsenal at White Hart Wembley should be interesting if only because Chelsea’s recent disintegration has opened the door to a top four place again.

Having won 2-0 at The Emirates in November, Stubborn Old Man will be hoping for a repeat and with new signings Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the side he may well get one.

His only problem is that it was the defence which needed strengthening not the attack and it is the defence which will be tested as Spurs have a pretty decent forward line themselves.

It remains to be seen if Lucas Moura makes his Spurs debut but, irrespective of this and as is the case with most derby matches, the most likely outcome is a draw.

Saturday’s late game…..

Leicester City v Manchester United - Premier League

Jamie Vardy – Faces a battle with Aymeric Laporte

Champions-elect Manchester City face Leicester City at The Etihad. Riyad Mahrez will not be playing due to well-publicised absences from the club’s training ground.

Leicester do have others who can cause problems for City and the duel between Aymeric Laporte, if selected, and Jamie Vardy could be interesting.

Many “experts” are predicting that Manchester City will drop points in this game but we are not one of them. What we mean is we are not an expert and we don’t think points will be dropped by the home team.

In fact, a comfortable win is more likely.

And on Sunday…..

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Paul Pogba – Another Man-of-the-Match performance against Newcastle?

Manchester United travel up the A1 to Newcastle in a game they need to win to keep the chasing pack at bay.

The last time the teams met was in a victory for United at Old Trafford where Benitez, bravely or foolishly depending on your point of view, started with two strikers.

It was also Paul Pogba’s first game back after injury and he was the Man-of-the-Match.

This time, he will be returning having been dropped against Huddersfield so can we expect another Man-of-the-Match performance? Very possibly.

Newcastle are probably good enough to take a point from this game but, unfortunately for them, they are also inconsistent enough to lose it, which is probably what they’ll do.

Even later on Sunday…..

Virgil van Dijk – First return to Southampton

Liverpool visit St. Mary’s to play Southampton in what will be Virgil van Dijks’s first game against his former club. ‘Welcome back Virgil’ is something he won’t hear from any of the Saint’s fans and he has to hope that he can put in a decent performance and, therefore, have those same fans think he was worth the money they received when they sold him.

They currently think that Southampton had the better part of the deal and, based on recent performances, they are right.

He has been impersonating a defender in much the same way as his near namesake Dick Van Dyke impersonated a Cockney in Mary Poppins all those years ago!

Liverpool, even if their record signing doesn’t play very well, should be good enough to win this one even though Southampton will have been buoyed by their recent win over West Brom.

 

The weekend’s final game…..

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Alan Pardew – In need of points

Monday night’s game is Chelsea versus West Bromwich Albion at Stamford Bridge. Alan Pardew needs some points and may very well get at least one, if not three of them, from this game.

Chelsea appear to be in disarray with a manager and owner who need to put some distance between each other. That will probably not happen until the end of the season, so Conte just has to get on with it.

Rooted to the bottom of the Premier League, Pardew will see this as an opportunity to make an unexpected gain and the only hope for Chelsea appears to be if Conte has managed to find some magic formula during their three-day break.

 

 

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