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


1) Tale of two forwards in Mersey derby

Seven games into the season in all competitions and Frank Lampard can finally select a recognised striker he wants in an Everton shirt. Providing someone at the Premier League has registered Neal Maupay in time for the Merseyside derby, that is. Lampard and Jürgen Klopp will be relieved to concentrate on the renewal of old rivalries after the distractions of a transfer window that both believe dragged too long into the season. Everton are without a win in the Premier League but building gradually. A derby debut for Maupay, signed from Brighton last Friday but not cleared to play at Leeds on Tuesday, would offer a desperately-needed presence up front. Klopp’s striking options are rich by comparison but also involve a dilemma. Does Darwin Núñez come straight back into the Liverpool side having served a three-match ban for head-butting Joachim Andersen last time out? Goodison Park would be the perfect place to find self-restraint and redemption. AH

Neal Maupay should finally be available for Everton.
Neal Maupay should finally be available for Everton. Photograph: Tony McArdle/Everton FC/Getty Images

2) Chelsea needing to find their edge

“Just toughen up,” was Thomas Tuchel’s message after Chelsea succumbed to Southampton in midweek. The Blues took the lead at St Mary’s but lacked the fortitude to hold on to it and were unable to get back into the game after Adam Armstrong put Saints ahead in first-half stoppage time. A back three of César Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva and Kalidou Koulibaly is unparalleled when it comes to experience in European football, but they failed to offer the foundations for the rest of the team to build on. They struggled to cope with Armstrong and Ché Adams, while Roméo Lavia was allowed to equalise from 25 yards without the threat of a challenge from a blue shirt. Chelsea looked to the transfer market to solve their failings but Tuchel knows they need to work from within the squad to offer the grit required to mount a serious title challenge. David Moyes expects nothing less than full commitment from his West Ham players, and if Chelsea cannot offer the same, they could be in for another disappointing outing. WU

3) An Old Trafford blockbuster

Will Antony feature and commence repaying his initial £82m fee? Can Arsenal reel off a sixth win from six Premier League games? Are Manchester United really on the up as Erik ten Hag’s squad seek to improve upon a sluggish opening to the season? Is Cristiano Ronaldo in perma-pout mood due to not being granted the wished-for escape from the Dutchman’s squad? Choose your subplot (there are many more) and tune in for a Sunday showdown that, given United’s perennial soap opera-status and Arsenal’s renaissance under Mikel Arteta, has a touch of the glitter of the fixture’s former years when these rivals were the competition’s pre-eminent forces. JJ

Arsenal players during their 2-1 win over Villa.
Arsenal players during their 2-1 win over Villa. Photograph: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC/Getty Images

4) Isak hopes for a less wicked game

Newcastle fans love their centre-forwards and Alexander Isak will surely enjoy the warmest of receptions as the Sweden striker makes his home debut against Crystal Palace at St James’ Park on Saturday. After scoring a sublime goal – and having a second disallowed for a very tight offside – as Newcastle suffered a last-gasp 2-1 defeat at Liverpool on Wednesday, the 22-year-old is anxious to experience his first win on Tyneside. “It’s never [good] to lose in the last seconds like we did at Liverpool,” said Isak as he promised Eddie Howe’s team more than goals alone. “So I start disappointed but we have to use this feeling as energy against Crystal Palace. I will try to provide a bit of everything, not only in the box but also in the buildup play. I will try to float around and use my qualities.” LT

5) Gerrard facing grim outlook

Erling Haaland, Julián Álvarez and co could be forgiven for licking their lips. Manchester City travel to Villa Park on Saturday having scored 17 goals across their previous four matches and, after putting six past Nottingham Forest in midweek, a Villa team yet to keep a clean sheet this season represent rather inviting fodder. It would be harsh to expect Steven Gerrard, who has openly admitted to feeling the heat, to pull out a result against the champions, but his struggling Villa side cannot afford to take a pasting à la Forest. Ezri Konsa partnered Tyrone Mings in the 2-1 defeat at Arsenal on Wednesday and Calum Chambers started alongside Konsa in the previous game, lost 1-0 at home to West Ham. For Gerrard, nothing seems to be working at the moment. BF

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6) Will Spurs unleash Richarlison?

Richarlison may have played only 77 minutes for Tottenham in the Premier League since joining from Everton in the summer but he has already packed plenty in. The brilliant outside-of-the-boot cross to set up Harry Kane’s second goal at Nottingham Forest offered a glimpse of the quality he is capable of, although the Brazilian’s ball-juggling antics that raised the ire of both Steve Cooper and David Moyes was not such a good look. Many Spurs fans expected Antonio Conte to unleash Richarlison against West Ham in midweek, but he had to make do with being the only substitute to make it on to the pitch at the London Stadium, despite Conte’s complaints about having to play three matches in the space of six days. With Son Heung-min struggling to hit his usual heights, could high-flying Fulham’s visit on Saturday be the stage for the 25-year-old to make his full Premier League debut for Spurs? EA

Richarlison comes on at West Ham during Tottenham’s 1-1 draw on Wednesday
Richarlison comes on at West Ham during Tottenham’s 1-1 draw on Wednesday. Photograph: John Sibley/Action Images/Reuters

7) Contrast of spending styles at the City Ground

Two of this season’s promoted sides meet when Bournemouth visit Nottingham Forest and the contrasting manner in which they conducted their summer business could scarcely be more stark. Largely out of necessity because of a summer exodus of loanees and free agents, Forest have hosed money at a raft of signings in order to assemble a squad capable of staying up, while Bournemouth’s owner has already dismissed Scott Parker, having apparently tired of his public carping at the club’s unwillingness to bring in anywhere near enough new bodies to make them competitive. Both clubs have suffered heavy defeats in the past week, but with the transfer window now shut until January, Saturday’s encounter ought to provide a fair idea of which is better equipped to finish above the thick black line come season’s end. BG

8) Bees bid to upgrade points return

It is early days but pre-season fears for Brentford and Leeds have proved unfounded. Jesse Marsch’s side may welcome a return to the venue where their survival was confirmed in May: they have pushed on since and are playing with the kind of energy expected of any side overseen by the Red Bull alumnus. Brentford are operating with similar vigour but could do without becoming draw specialists. That stunning win against Manchester United is their only three-point haul to date but neighbouring Fulham are the only team to have downed them. They were unable to add an X factor to their attack in the shape of the Shakhtar Donetsk forward Mykhaylo Mudryk on deadline day but do have another trump card up their sleeve. The Denmark winger Mikkel Damsgaard has been eased in so far with a League Cup start and two top-flight appearances from the bench and is getting up to speed; perhaps this is the moment to put him in from the start and bank on his undoubted quality turning one point into three. NA

Ben Mee in action during the midweek draw at Palace.
Ben Mee in action during the midweek draw at Palace. Photograph: Matthew Ashton/AMA/Getty Images

9) Lamptey could lift Brighton

Graham Potter’s side suffered their first defeat in 10 league matches at Fulham on Tuesday. Luckily, they have the perfect opportunity to bounce back against Leicester. One bright spot for the Seagulls at Craven Cottage was the positive impact Tariq Lamptey made off the bench. The former Chelsea youngster was a revelation when he first arrived at Brighton, but Potter favoured Solly March at wing-back against Fulham, although he quickly changed formations on Tuesday, moving Joël Veltman to right-back after an underwhelming opening 25 minutes from March. Lamptey has come off the bench in every Premier League game this season but is yet to start and this home game could be the perfect opportunity to give the full-back a chance to show what he can do from kick-off. There were thoughts Lamptey had lost some dynamism after a hamstring injury last season but his cameos are showing he is ready to shine once more. WU

10) Crunch time for Lage and Wolves

Bruno Lage needs a win – Wolves are without one since April – but at least the Portuguese can switch up his attack after they fired blanks at Bournemouth in midweek. Raúl Jiménez looks a shadow of his former self, Hwang Hee-chan appears a Plan B and Gonçalo Guedes is yet to settle. Wolves have scored two goals in five league games and their season could have taken a different shape had they made the most of chances. Lage must be tempted to hand Sasa Kalajdzic his debut at Molineux and the 6ft 7in striker, a £15m signing from Stuttgart, is sure to add a different dimension. “I will not put pressure on him just to score goals,” Lage said. “The goals should come from everywhere. It is not a one-man job. It is for the strikers, the wingers and the midfielders to score the good chances we are creating.” BF



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