The English Premier League (EPL) enters its twenty-first week this weekend with matches spread across cities in England.
DAILY POST takes a look at some interesting facts, including the expected debuts of Mykhailo Mudryk, Noni Madueke and Leandro Trossard for their respective clubs, Chelsea and Arsenal.
Other major events that have sent tongues wagging include Chelsea’s clash with Liverpool at Anfield, Arsenal’s clash with Manchester United and the suspension of the Red Devils’ key man this season Casemiro.
As matches begin on Saturday afternoon and end on Sunday evening, here are some of the major talking points making the headlines.
1. Can new big-money signings help Chelsea?
The feeling among Chelsea players is that some of their new signings will come to their aid in this time of frustration for the Blues. Going into the game against Liverpool, Graham Potter’s side is languishing in tenth position in the table. Speaking recently, goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga said he was confident the new legs will improve the team, especially Ukrainian Mykhailo Mudryk.
“He is coming here to give us different things and to help us win games,” he said.
Ahead of the game, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp envisaged what Chelsea would look like when they play their new signings Joao Felix and Mudryk in their attack.
Chelsea brought in Felix on a six-month loan deal from Atletico Madrid. “Having him for example on one wing and Joao Felix on the other… wow!” Klopp said.
Graham Potter himself said the Ukraine international would likely play against the Reds but the question in the mouth of fans and pundits remains if the 22-year-old can live up to his £88 million price tag.
2. Arsenal’s Leandro Trossard:
The Gunners completed the signing of Leandro Trossard in time for the former Brighton star to be unleashed on Manchester United on Sunday.
Trossard was a big-game player for Brighton and the Gunners now have him as their secret weapon in the title race. He scored 25 goals, including a hat-trick against Liverpool, and made 14 assists for Brighton since joining from Genk in 2019 for €15.56m.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta defended the decision to sign the 28-year-old in his pre-match press conference, saying, “It’s very simple. The squad can absorb a 28-year-old player right now. With the right experience, the right versatility and the right quality. And as well with the right price, for sure. And we had no questions about that. It is not that we had to sign 20, 21, and 22-year-olds for the next five years. That is not the plan.” Barring any last minute injury Trossard is all but ready to play against Manchester United on Sunday.
3. Arsenal vs Manchester: can the Red Devils do their noisy neighbours a favour?
Despite Arsenal sitting tight in the Premier League summit for months now, not many people are given the chance of winning the league title this season.
Many pundits and football followers still doubt Mikel Arteta’s team has the backbone needed to win the league. They give it to the more experienced and patient Manchester City. A win at the Emirates on Sunday will put Arsenal back on track and eight points ahead of Pep Guardiola’s side but City can close the gap to just two points if their neighbours can beat the Gunners in front of their home fans.
Liverpool vs Chelsea: The struggle continues:
The two Premier League giants are currently facing difficulties in the league, sitting 9th and 10th in the Premier League and way out of the top four. While Chelsea was able to return to winning ways with a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace last weekend, Liverpool suffered 3-0 loss to Brighton but managed a 1-0 win over Wolves in midweek. Both sides are desperately in need of improvements and a victory for either side would do a lot to build their confidence.
5 Manchester United without Casemiro
Some pundits have gone as far as tipping the Red Devils to win the Premier League title this season. The Red Devils have seen commendable improvements under Erik ten Hag. United had a poor start to the season, losing their first two games to Brighton and Brentford. But the Red Devils were on 9 match-winning runs until their 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace in midweek and summer signing Casemiro has been widely praised for these improvements.
However, the Brazilian will not be available for the Red Devils crucial match against Arsenal. Casemiro picked up his fifth yellow card of the season against Crystal Palace on Wednesday, meaning he will not be available for the trip to Arsenal on Sunday.
The Brazilian is widely seen as Manchester United’s best player this season since arriving from Real Madrid in the summer.
Manchester United was held to a 1-1 draw by Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Wednesday, and the bad news was Casemiro picked up a yellow card with 10 minutes to play thanks to a high lunge on Wilfried Zaha. But Erik Ten Hag believes that the Brazilian’s absence won’t be an excuse, reminding fans that his team defeated Arsenal 3-1 earlier in the season without the former Real Madrid man, “Last time we beat Arsenal without Casemiro, now this time, we have to do the same,” he said.