Arsenal vs Chelsea

Arsenal vs Chelsea Preview: Emery’s side need more creativity

At the start of the season, if you had been told that by January Mesut Ozil would not be in the Arsenal starting line-up and Aaron Ramsay had agreed a deal to join Juventus, you would have assumed that Unai Emery had been able to forge ahead and enjoy a hugely successful first five months at the Emirates stadium.

Alas, you would be very wrong indeed.

Despite Arsenal casting aside two of their most talented players, they are currently stranded in fifth place, 16 points behind the leaders Liverpool. After the 1-0 defeat to West Ham last Saturday there were even ridiculously premature murmurings of ‘Emery Out’ among some frustrated Arsenal fans. The Spanish manager can sense this growing dissatisfaction, and addressed it this week.

“When a club changes manager, it is because they want something new,” he said. “The challenge is to identify the good things, but also obviously, there were lots of things to change and improve here.”

Ahead of Chelsea’s visit to the Emirates on Saturday evening, one of the most pressing issues Emery needs to improve is the lack of creativity in his side. Read More

Liverpool vs Manchester United Preview: Can Mourinho avoid more pain?

On Sunday Manchester United will shuffle in to Anfield fearing the worst and simply hoping they can escape relatively unscathed. It has been 26 years since such a dispirited band of United players will have arrived to play their biggest rivals.

It was in May 1992 that a disheveled United faced Liverpool knowing they needed to beat them to keep alive their hopes of winning their first league title for a quarter of a century.

But that day they lost 2-0 to an emboldened Liverpool, and suffered the agony of surrendering the title in front of a gleeful Anfield, who naturally reveled in their disappointment. Read More

Chelsea vs Everton

Chelsea vs Everton Preview: Morata is still far from a title-winning striker

This was only ever meant to be a season of transition for Chelsea as the club recovered from the turmoil of last season, and allowed their new manager Maurizio Sarri the time to settle in to English football.

But after eleven games Chelsea find themselves believing they might actually stage a genuine title challenge, as they sit in second place just two points behind Manchester City at the top of the table.

Chelsea have been a revelation under Sarri, playing attractive attacking football to win eight games and draw the other three to remain one of only three teams yet to lose in the league alongside Liverpool and City.

But while their title rivals can each boast a reliable supply of goals – City have Sergio Aguero, and Liverpool have Mo Salah – Chelsea have to make do with the more modest talents of Alvaro Morata leading their forward line. Read More

Manchester United vs Everton Premier League Preview

Manchester United vs Everton: Is it time for Mourinho to drop Lukaku?

It was a year ago that the Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho declared that his striker and new signing Romelu Lukaku was “untouchable”.

But after a succession of underwhelming performances from the Belgian this season Mourinho might be forced to change his opinion, and even drop him for the visit of Everton this Sunday.

Lukaku has too often been wasteful and lethargic, and has now not scored in his last eight games in all competitions.

On Tuesday night in United’s 1-0 defeat to Juventus in the Champions League he was particularly anonymous, touching the ball only 32 times, the least of any outfield player, while also having the worse pass completion rate of any starting player. Read More

Tottenham vs Cardiff City Premier League Preview

Tottenham vs Cardiff City Preview: Kane to inflict more misery on Bluebirds

In the wake of Tottenham’s impressive 3-0 victory over Manchester United at the end of August there was excited talk that Mauricio Pochettino’s side might actually be able to mount a title challenge.

But after suffering defeats in their next two games to Watford and Liverpool, Tottenham have since had to face reality, and their task for this season is now more to remain in the top four for a fourth consecutive season.

After failing to sign a single player in the summer, and being forced to stay at Wembley with their return to their new stadium delayed, to keep their place in the top four would represent a successful season for Tottenham.

The gap between Tottenham and the leaders Manchester City and Liverpool currently stands at four points, and will inevitably increase over the coming weeks, but that should not be how to judge their season. Read More

Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid La Liga Preview

Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid: Can Los Blancos bounce back?

After the first five games of this season an increasingly bullish mood had seemingly taken hold at Real Madrid as they began to believe they were successfully emerging in to the post-Ronaldo era. But that all dissolved over 90 traumatic minutes on Wednesday night as they were comprehensively beaten 3-0 by Sevilla.

Real had managed to largely banish talk about their former number seven with four wins and a draw, which had left them sitting at the summit of La Liga level on points with Barcelona. But on closer inspection, Real had benefited from an accommodating fixture list that presented them with the modest opposition of Getafe, Girona, Leganes, Athletic Bilbao and Espanyol.

And as soon as they faced a credible opponent in fourth-placed Sevilla they looked bereft of ideas and were overwhelmed in the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.

Real will only be able to truly declare they have moved on from Ronaldo’s reign when they have negotiated their way past stronger opposition, and they will get another chance when they face city rivals Atletico at the Bernabeu on Saturday evening. Read More