Alex Mott·23 September 2023
Alex Mott·23 September 2023
After the first round of European action, the Premier League returns with gusto this weekend
And what a weekend we have in store, with arguably the most enthralling game of the campaign so far.
This could be a seismic weekend for Aaron Ramsdale and his future at Arsenal.
Mikel Arteta dropped the Englishman last weekend against Everton, insisting that he wants to rotate his goalkeepers much like he would any other position.
Everyone took Arteta at face value at Goodison but the Spanish tactician picked David Raya for their Champions League game with PSV Eindhoven in midweek as well, leaving Ramsdale on the precipice.
Both shot-stoppers have their own merits but Arsenal legend Thierry Henry is fairly convinced about what’s going on in Arteta’s mind.
“There is no rotation there, he thinks that David Raya is better and that’s about it,” the former striker told CBS Sports. “Arteta is the coach. He sees David Raya as a guy that can make him win the league.”
Confirmation of Ramsdale’s current standing should come around an hour before kick-off on Sunday.
For the first time since the dire days of the late 1970s, Manchester United have conceded three goals in three consecutive games.
December 1978 saw United, under the guidance of Dave Sexton, crumble against Bolton, Liverpool and West Brom in a campaign where they would eventually finish eighth.
This time around, the Red Devils have opened the floodgates to Arsenal, Brighton and Bayern Munich.
After a successful first season under Erik ten Hag, United have struggled so far this term with the defence coming in for particular criticism.
The signing of André Onana from Inter just hasn’t worked yet out, whilst Lisandro Martínez has looked a shadow of the player he was last season.
Casemiro, usually a colossus at the base of the midfield, has not given the side the same platform to win games, whilst injuries to Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw have curtailed any threat from full-back.
It’s been a truly wretched start to the campaign and perhaps the only silver lining comes from facing a goal-shy Burnley this weekend.
“I made a mistake. They’re great managers but they’re just not right for this club. The way they want to win is different to how we need to win.”
Tottenham chief Daniel Levy did what a lot of people football fail to do this week and admitted an error.
Levy conceded that hiring José Mourinho and Antonio Conte saw Spurs take a step backwards but, however far they fell under their pair of ‘trophy managers’, the north London side are springing all the way back up under Ange Postecoglou.
The Australian tactician has the white half of north London eating out of the palm of his hand to the point where fans cannot wait for this Sunday’s derby with Arsenal.
Their 100th minute winner against Sheffield United last weekend was the crowning glory of Postecoglou’s Tottenham honeymoon with the roof almost coming off the billion pound stadium.
No matter which way you cut it, this game at the Emirates looks like being the most exciting of the season so far.
It’s four defeats on the bounce for Luton now with Rob Edwards’ side in sight of an unwanted Premier League record.
Three more losses and the Hatters will equal Portsmouth’s run of seven straight beatings in 2009/10.
That year Pompey finished rock bottom and from all the evidence we’ve seen so far, it’s hard to see Luton finishing anywhere other than 20th.
If a positive performance is incoming though, it will more than likely to come this weekend against Wolves.
Gary O’Neil’s side have been patchy, at best, having looked like world beaters in the first half against Liverpool last weekend before failing to escape their own half after the break.
It’s been a pattern over most of their games so far and if Luton can catch Wolves on a bad day then that Portsmouth record could well be in tact.
Nicolas Jackson, Raheem Sterling, Cole Palmer, Noni Madueke, Armando Broja, Deivid Washington, Mykhailo Mudryk.
These are some of the attacking options available to Mauricio Pochettino and yet, in the last two games, the Blues have drawn a blank.
And it’s not just been the lack of goals that should be a concern to Chelsea fans, but the complete lack of any real clear-cut chances in the previous two games as well.
Nottingham Forest defended well but didn’t have to be 1980s Milan to hold out for a narrow win at Stamford Bridge.
And then last time out at Bournemouth, the west London side kept the ball well but looked blunt in the final third.
Aston Villa are their opponents this time, who have so far conceded 10 goals in seven games this season.
After conceding another three goals against Legia Warsaw in the Conference League, the Villans are there for the taking for Chelsea.