sexta-feira, 21 de outubro de 2016

Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend(two)

Resultado de imagem para flag england

6) Spurs hope Janssen likes to be beside the seaside

This time last year Tottenham went to Bournemouth with Harry Kane in the midst of a mini-drought. The striker scored a hat-trick in a 5-1 win and that turned out to be the start of another scoring spree. How Tottenham would love Vincent Janssen to experience something similar. The Dutchman heads to the south coast this weekend with just one goal – a League Cup penalty – to show for his 12 appearances since his summer arrival, and although his hold-up play is useful and he makes selfless runs, Spurs will more than likely need their £18m signing to score regularly if they are to win the title. PD

7) Barkley and Mirallas need to heed advice before it’s too late

Photo of Ross Barkley
Ross Barkley
Shots on target

Ronald Koeman warned Kevin Mirallas and Gerard Deulofeu following Everton’s opening game of the season, a 1-1 draw with Tottenham, that they would have to work harder, for longer, to hold down a place in his team. “With Gerard, with Kevin … I like the players but they need to run more. They need to do more, they need to press more. It’s all about the work rate of the player. Sometimes it’s difficult because for that creative player, sometimes you’re a little bit more sloppy in that aspect of football. We will learn that, no problem.” Two months on and Koeman’s team selection suggests they have not learned; the manager left Mirallas on the bench against Manchester City while Deulofeu was brought off after 57 minutes. Ross Barkley was also left on the bench, and Koeman clearly prefers to trust the hard running of Tom Cleverley, Yannick Bolasie, Idrissa Gueye, Gareth Barry and James McCarthy over some of his more attacking talents. Games like Saturday’s against Burnley, when the manager is more likely to loosen his strict requirements and hand his creatives another chance, are becoming pivotal. Mirallas, Deulofeu and Barkley must take their opportunity if they get it. Fail, and Koeman has already shown in his treatment of the banished Oumar Niasse that he will not be sentimental. LO

8) Bradley needs to prove himself in must-win match for Swansea

It is safe to assume the Emirates Stadium would not have been Bob Bradley’s pick as the venue to begin his Premier League career, but Swansea managed to turn a potentially dispiriting afternoon against Arsenal into something rousing, despite their 3-2 defeat. His bold tactic to use Gylfi Sigurdsson as a striker was vindicated by the Icelander’s goal and now Swansea take a strange kind of momentum into Saturday’s home game with Watford, despite having lost their past four league matches. Bradley will know that his job begins now. The tension and scepticism to which he has arrived, in addition to the team’s plight near the foot of the table, will not afford the American a lot of time to improve results before the dissenters make their voices heard at the Liberty. Home games against mid-table opposition like Watford are the sort that yield points for teams who stay up; Bradley could badly do with all three this weekend. LO

9) Ranieri needs to tinker more for Leicester

Claudio Ranieri has been saying for a while that he intends to reclaim his Tinkerman label but, in fact, he has not rotated his team enough so far this season. Shinji Okazaki has not started a match since Islam Slimani has been available and, although Slimani has been good, Leicester have missed the Japanese forward’s dynamism and link play. The visit of Crystal Palace might be a fine occasion to bring back Okazaki and, perhaps, to rest Jamie Vardy. Demarai Gray, meanwhile, should also be given his first league start of the campaign following several impressive performances off the bench, especially given the wavering form of Marc Albrighton and even Riyad Mahrez. Might this weekend also be the time when we finally catch a glimpse of Bartosz Kapustka, who continues to demonstrate his quality when on international duty, but has not yet been considered battle-hardened enough for a Premier League debut? PD

10) Bony and Stoke can add to meagre goal tally at Hull

Photo of Wilfried Bony
Wilfried Bony
Shots on target

After their first win of the season at Sunderland, Stoke’s hope is that their form takes off as it did following a similarly woeful start last term. Victory at the Stadium of Light is no great feather in the cap, but on the back of draws against West Brom and Manchester United it signals significant progress from results a month ago. Mark Hughes must sense an opportunity to kick on when he looks at the fixture list: Swansea, West Ham, Bournemouth, Watford and Burnley follow Saturday’s trip to the KCOM Stadium to face a Hull City side in wretched form. To maximise their opportunity Stoke need Wilfried Bony to get off the mark and find his goalscoring touch – only Joe Allen has more than one league goal for the Potters this season. There is surely no better game for Stoke right now than against a fragile Hull defence who have conceded 19 goals in their past five games. LO

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