Liverpool face Everton; Spurs happen to be Arsenal
Liverpool face a derby clash against Everton because they lick their Champions League wounds while Tottenham happen to be Arsenal with a spring within their step on a weekend of big-city derbies.
Manchester City’s match against Bournemouth on Saturday may be the to begin nine games across three competitions that City will play through the final month of 2018.
Jurgen Klopp’s team lost 2-1 to Paris Saint-Germain in midweek, meaning their bid to attain the knockout stages in Europe shall visit the last game against Napoli, while Spurs face the intimidating task of beating Barcelona to advance.
But both clubs must put their continental ambitions to 1 side because they attempt to stick to the coat-tails of Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in the Premier League.
Chelsea undertake Fulham and something of these former managers in another London derby but Claudio Ranieri’s side will travel the short distance to Stamford Bridge with new-found confidence after arresting a run of six Premier League defeats.
Jose Mourinho’s misfiring Manchester United play Southampton away after edging past Swiss side Young Boys in to the Champions League knockout phase.
AFP Sports picks out a number of the main talking points prior to the weekend fixtures in the Premier League.
Third-placed Spurs check out the Emirates stadium buoyed by last week’s 3-1 victory against Chelsea and their 1-0 win against Inter Milan in midweek, which will keep alive their hopes of achieving the Champions League knockouts.
Midfielder Harry Winks, who came agonisingly near scoring against Inter at Wembley once the bar was hit by him from distance, said it had been the “perfect” time and energy to play Arsenal after six straight wins in every competitions.
“It will be another difficult game, so we must get right and prepared for this physically, because it is likely to be another battle,” said the England international.
“This is a game the fans desire to win and something that we desire to win. In weekly will probably be tough three games, but confidence is high.”
Everton have a shocking record against city rivals Liverpool, not tasting victory in the derby since 2010 and failing woefully to win at Anfield since 1999.
Marco Silva’s task looks daunting on Sunday but Everton travel in hope following a solid begin to the growing season that sees them in sixth, 11 points behind Klopp’s team.
Liverpool, second in the table, enter into the match smarting after their disappointing defeat in Paris and Klopp is expecting a tougher test from Everton than in previous seasons.
“This game is isolated from the growing season,” he said. “It is a derby, it’s in the home. Everton are successful this year really, they’re a totally different cup of tea, I’d say, to the previous few years so that it shall be a hardcore one.”
Jose Mourinho is apparently flailing around for answers to his side’s insufficient fluency but getting nowhere despite a changing cast of characters.
He demoted Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku to the substitutes’ bench for the match against Young Boys and Alexis Sanchez was missing from the squad entirely but United still didn’t find any rhythm.
United already are seven points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea and show no sign of piecing together a set you back haul themselves into contention to qualify next season’s Champions League.
Midfielder Marouane Fellaini, who scored the late winner against Young Boys, said the mood in the camp was upbeat following 1-0 win, despite United’s patchy form this year.
“Criticism is section of football but we need to work,” he said. “We have been a team, we together are, and present everything too. We need to progress and take the points together.”