Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend

Paul Doyle, Ben Fisher, Barry Glendenning and Jacob Steinberg on 15 August 2019

1) An irritating debut for David Luiz?

Arsenal began the season with an uncharacteristically efficient away win. Their first home match could be an attacking extravaganza if, unlike at Newcastle, Nicolas Pépé and Alexandre Lacazette start with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. But their defence will also be worth watching, especially if David Luiz makes his debut. He would probably prefer if it were not against Ashley Barnes. The forward riled the Brazilian to distraction when Burnley drew 2-2 at Chelsea in April. Barnes is one of the slyest pests in the Premier League and he continually lures David Luiz into fouling him. David Luiz got so frustrated with the way Barnes and Chris Wood wound him up that he perpetrated an embarrassing dive, which did not stop him from complaining afterwards about Burnley’s “anti-football”. Barnes, you fancy, will be hoping Unai Emery picks his new signing. PD

2) A first sighting of City new boy Cancelo?

Manchester City will have revenge for last season’s Champions League quarter-final defeat on their minds when they entertain Tottenham. Signed from Juventus during the summer but yet to play a competitive match for City, João Cancelo could feature. Nominally a right-back, City fans are unlikely to see much of him in that particular area of the pitch if the smoke blown up the Portuguese 25-year-old’s nether regions this week is anything to go by. “Cancelo is perfect for City,” said Gary Neville, who managed the player during his ill-fated spell in charge of Valencia. “He’s a winger, a goalscorer, assist maker, he’s a right-back! You’re going to lose a bit defensively in terms of a back four because he’ll never be there, I promise you that.” Should he get selected, an already mouthwatering match-up will be that little bit more exciting. BG

3) Yoshida keeping generosity off the field

Ralph Hasenhüttl has let Che Adams loose and must be tempted to unleash Moussa Djenepo, but if Southampton are to prosper they need to hope Kevin Danso helps shore up a leaky defence. The 20-year-old, who started his career at MK Dons, has joined on loan from Augsburg and will bolster Hasenhüttl’s options, with Jack Stephens, Jan Vestergaard and Jan Bednarek unconvincing as a back three against Burnley. Danso only trained with his new teammates for the first time on Tuesday. Maya Yoshida, the longest-serving player at the club after James Ward-Prowse, could return against Liverpool. This week the Japan captain pledged 1% of his salary to Saints Foundation, the club’s charity partner. “I have been here for seven years now and I have got a lot from the club and from the city,” Yoshida said. “It is time for me to give something back to them.” Supporters will hope the defender is not so generous when Liverpool come to town. BF

Maya Yoshida could return for Southampton’s clash with Liverpool.
Maya Yoshida could return for Southampton’s clash with Liverpool. Photograph: Jon Super/REX/Shutterstock

4) West Ham to stay on front foot against Brighton

West Ham’s failings against Manchester City were predictable. Their full-backs were exposed, their midfield was too lightweight and although it might seem harsh to be critical after a defeat by Pep Guardiola’s side, the problem for Manuel Pellegrini is that other teams will think that they can hurt West Ham in similar ways. For all their attacking flair they remain too easy to beat and Pellegrini needs his forwards to work harder. City’s opening goal stemmed from Michail Antonio failing to protect Aaron Cresswell at left-back, while there is a feeling within the club that playing Manuel Lanzini and Jack Wilshere in the same midfield gives Declan Rice too much to do in front of the back four. Yet Pellegrini is determined to play on the front foot and it would be out of character for him to shut up shop at Brighton, who began the Graham Potter era with a 3-0 win over Watford. Ultimately Pellegrini does not have many ways to tighten his midfield – he is one injury away from having to start Carlos Sánchez – so it could be a case of West Ham trying to emulate the Ossie Ardiles approach. JS

5) Mings to prove his worth against his old club?

Much was made of the fee Aston Villa paid Bournemouth for Tyrone Mings this summer – Dean Smith’s side could end up coughing up £26.5m including performance-related clauses – but the defender has a chance to show what his former club are missing. The challenge of shackling ex-teammates Joshua King and Callum Wilson, strikers blessed with searing pace, is arguably as tough as any he will face this season. Mings was desperate to return, turning up at Bournemouth station in full kit the day after the play-off final victory over Derby and he made an impressive start at Tottenham and is determined to prove he is capable of excelling in the top flight alongside fellow summer signing Bjorn Engels, who Smith previously tried to sign at Brentford. “I had a click with Tyrone from the first moment we played together,” Engels said. BF

6) An attacking selection dilemma for Lampard

The games are coming thick and fast for Frank Lampard, who has yet to register a win as Chelsea manager but can take encouragement from his side’s performances in varying degrees of defeat at the hands of Manchester United and Liverpool. While he could do with an easier game to get a win, Leicester should prove very tricky opposition. In Brendan Rodgers, they are managed by a man who would have been ideally suited to the Chelsea job had he not been in such a rush to leave Celtic. While it is far too soon to write off Tammy Abraham’s chances of hacking it at the highest level, the very early omens are not great. His failure to convert an excellent chance at Manchester United, followed by that missed penalty in the shoot-out against Liverpool will only ramp up the pressure on the striker. He deserves a run in the team to prove his worth, but will his manager’s need for a win and the proven goalscorer prompt Lampard to give Olivier Giroud the nod? BG

7) A better barometer of Norwich’s prospects

How much credit should Norwich really take from a 4-1 defeat? There were glimmers of encouragement against Liverpool; from the four academy graduates who started to the manner in which they carved open the best defence in the Premier League last season on several occasions. Teemu Pukki proved he can cause problems – and find the net – but a naivety in defence ultimately rendered any green shoots worthless at Anfield. A return to Carrow Road against a Newcastle side in transition should act as a better barometer of the kind of season in store. “We know it is Everest again without the tools but let’s see the outcome,” said Daniel Farke. “We know in every game we are the underdog. We play with a very young side and we don’t have the financial opportunities of other teams.” BF

Daniel Farke will be hoping for a first Premier League win as manager.
Daniel Farke will be hoping for a first Premier League win as a manager. Photograph: Jon Super/Rex/Shutterstock

8) Gbamin to make his Goodison Park bow?

Everton are unbeaten in their past 13 home matches against Watford, a record they look set to extend unless Javi Gracia’s side up their game considerably in the wake of last weekend’s emphatic defeat at the hands of Brighton. Following his dismissal during Everton’s draw against Crystal Palace, Morgan Schneiderlin will miss this game, while his fellow midfielder André Gomes could miss out through injury. While he returned to training this week following a groin injury, there will be obvious concerns over Fabian Delph’s fitness. In the absence of this trio, Jean-Philippe Gbamin and Tom Davies are Everton’s only fit central midfielders. A £25m signing from Mainz, Gbamin could make his full debut. A tough-tackling defensive midfielder brought in to replace Idrissa Gueye, by his own account Gbamin likes “to go in the duels, run a lot and tackle”. While he may have to be thrown into the starting lineup sooner than his manager, Marco Silva, might like, Everton fans could get a decent look at their latest acquisition . BG

9) Morrison may add cutting edge for Blades

Phil Jagielka started Sheffield United’s last Premier League home game, in May 2007, but will likely remain among the substitutes against Crystal Palace. Chris Wilder is reluctant to take a wrecking ball to his team and, despite making 10 summer signings, he has no intentions of rocking the boat, with only Callum Robinson making his full debut on the opening day. There is, however, a chance that more newbies could feature this weekend, with Ravel Morrison’s artistry set to grace Bramall Lane. “His attitude has been spot on,” Wilder said. “He’s given us something a little bit different. We just wanted to go with another midfield player in the 18 [against Bournemouth] but he’s got a big part to play as well.” BF

10) Molineux match will show if United have improved

Manchester United’s big win over Chelsea was a little misleading, insofar as Frank Lampard’s side ultimately played to United’s counter-attacking strengths. Wolves will not. They beat United twice at Molineux earlier this year and are slick enough to do so again. The visitors showed signs of getting to grips with Wolves in the second of those matches: after being outplayed in the first, Ole Gunnar Solskjær changed to a back-three formation and United began with great energy, dominating in midfield and out wide. But once Wolves fought back, United crumbled. Do they have more midfield mettle now? We shall see. At least they should be stronger in central defence: Raul Jiménez bullied and outwitted United’s defenders last season; Harry Maguire will be asked to do something about that. PD

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