What every Premier League club needs to do when fixtures resume

Arsenal can show their progress back at Brentford, Man City must keep Haaland in the goals and Conte has to drop Son now… one thing every Premier League club in action this weekend must do

  • The Premier League was put on hold last weekend following the Queen’s death
  • Due to policing concerns, only seven matches will take place this weekend 
  • But what does every team playing this week need to do when fixtures resume?
  • Arsenal’s trip to Brentford will show their progress after last season’s disaster
  • Manchester City need to keep Erling Haaland firing and Wolves must score more

The Premier League has got back up and running after being put on hold following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

All 10 matches were postponed last weekend as a mark of respect after Britain lost its longest-serving monarch, but seven games will be played as usual ahead of next Monday’s funeral.

Due to policing concerns, three matches have been postponed including Chelsea’s clash with Liverpool and Manchester United vs Leeds. Brighton vs Crystal Palace had already been shelved because of train strikes.

For some in-form clubs the pause in the schedule came at the worst time possible time, although for others it will have provided a much-needed breather following poor starts.

So what does every team in action this weekend need to do when the Premier League resumes? Sportsmail has run the rule over each of them.

The Premier League has resumed after the death of Queen Elizabeth II last week

Arsenal – Show how far they’ve come

The Arsenal team that has won five of their opening six games looks a far cry from the side that started last season with a feeble 2-0 defeat at newly-promoted Brentford.

That night the Gunners – without a number of key players – were bullied and beaten by the Bees and the defeat instantly put pressure on Mikel Arteta.

But this time around, they are flying. Arsenal won all five of their opening league matches, seeing off Crystal Palace, Leicester, Bournemouth, Aston Villa and Fulham.

Yes, last time out they were beaten by Manchester United but it was another strong showing that just lacked some clinical finishing.

Brentford will be another tough test. Thomas Frank’s side have already thrashed Manchester United this season and will have their sights set on another scalp.

How Arsenal manage and perform in Sunday lunchtime’s game will show how much progress they’ve made in 12 months.  

Arsenal were humbled by Brentford at the start of last season but now look like title contenders

Mikel Arteta’s side lost at Manchester United but still put in a strong display at Old Trafford

Man City – Keep Haaland firing 

Pep Guardiola’s champions will be frustrated after dropping points at Newcastle and Aston Villa, though on the whole they already look well placed to go on and retain the title this term.

The main reason for that, of course, is the breathtaking start Erling Haaland has made to his City career.

With 10 goals and two hat-tricks under his belt after just six games, the Norwegian has surpassed even the most hopeful of City expectations.

If Guardiola can keep the 22-year-old fit and firing at the same pace, it is tough to see anyone preventing them from winning the title with ease.

Manchester City simply need to keep in-form Erling Haaland firing after his blistering start

Tottenham – Drop Son

It has been a quietly encouraging start to the campaign for Spurs, who sit level with City after taking 14 points from a possible 18.

Yet being the serial winner he is, Antonio Conte will be demanding more from his team, who were made to work hard for narrow wins over Fulham, Nottingham Forest and Wolves.

Son Heung-min’s below-par form will be Conte’s biggest concern.

The typically-clinical forward is still without a goal this season, meaning it is probably time for him to make way for a new attacking trio of Richarlison, Dejan Kulusevski and Harry Kane.

Richarlison can do no more than he currently is to win a starting berth, either.

He scored both of their goals in last week’s Champions League win over Marseille and provided an assist in two of his last three Premier League games.

It could be time for Antonio Conte to drop Son Heung-min at Tottenham amid his goal drought

Brentford – Repeat their Manchester United plan

The Bees are proving to be one a box-office side in the Premier League this season, with Frank’s men scoring 15 goals and conceding nine in their first six outings.

While Frank has spoken of his defensive concerns, which are justified given they conceded at least seven of those goals against Leicester, Fulham and Leeds, his team are thoroughly entertaining to watch and still find themselves sitting pretty in eighth place.

Their biggest victories came on home turf against Man United and Leeds, where they scored a whopping nine goals across 180 minutes.

The way they pressed and hurried Erik ten Hag’s side led to arguably one of the best 45-minute displays in Premier League history – and forced the Dutchman to drop Cristiano Ronaldo.

A repeat of that swashbuckling display against Arsenal could see the Gunners in deep, deep trouble. 

Thomas Frank’s Brentford have been box office and should make their home ground a fortress

Newcastle – Reap the rewards of returning stars

There is plenty of expectation on the Magpies after their new Saudi owners forked out more than £200m across the last two transfer windows.  

Yet so far they have only put one win on the board – coming on the opening day against Nottingham Forest.

Eddie Howe has not been helped by a number of injuries to key personnel, including Callum Wilson, Allan Saint-Maximin and star signing Bruno Guimaraes, who have all been missed of late.

The trio are expected to return over the next week, however, which will give Howe confidence of getting a winning run going with Bournemouth up next at St James’ Park. 

Big-money signing Alexander Isak looked particularly lively against Liverpool last month and a first goal for him at St James’ Park would be a huge boost to his confidence.

A first home goal for Alexander Isak would help Newcastle turn their good displays into points

Bournemouth – Prioritise defending

Interim manager Gary O’Neill will be optimistic about his chances of landing the full-time job at Bournemouth after their stunning comeback away at Nottingham Forest last time out.

But in order to convince Cherries bosses he is the man for the job, he needs to address their defensive woes – and fast.

Including a nine-goal pasting at the hands of Liverpool, they have conceded 18 goals in their first six matches, an alarmingly-high three goals per game. 

Heroic comebacks like their revival at Forest are a joy to behold, yet Bournemouth cannot keep conceding at the same rate if they want to avoid relegation.

Bournemouth were hammered 9-0 by Liverpool and their defensive frailties could be costly

Wolves – Take more risks and throw Costa in?

It hasn’t exactly been an enthralling start to the season for Wolves. 

In their opening six games, Bruno Lage’s men have scored a measly three goals and taken just six points, while registering only a single victory.

Incredibly, they are still yet to score more than one goal in a match this term, with the Molineux club playing with the shackles on far too often.

While no longer at the peak of his powers, the arrival of former Chelsea striker Diego Costa could be just what the doctor ordered for Lage.

The Spaniard promises to provide an injection of excitement and spirit at a time when it is most needed.

Lage has assembled an exciting crop of attacking talent: Pedro Neto, Raul Jimenez, Hwang Hee-Chan, Goncalo Guedes, Adam Traore and Daniel Podence.

But if their struggles in front of goal continue, it may be worth bringing Costa into the side to cause Manchester City problems.

Bruno Lage’s Wolves have been underwhelming so far and are not clinical enough in attack

Everton – Get off the mark with their first win

Despite not yet claiming a win yet this season, there is a sense that Frank Lampard is finally assembling a compact and dangerous team at Goodison Park.

They were brave enough to go toe to toe with Liverpool at times in their Merseyside derby stalemate last time out and were only denied victory by the tightest of VAR calls, while Jordan Pickford made a string of world-class saves at the other end.

Yet Lampard will be more than aware that positive performances alone are not enough to lift them up the table, and a first victory of the season is therefore essential. 

Sunday’s clash with West Ham looks to be the ideal opportunity. 

The Hammers, who won 3-2 away at Silkeborg in Denmark on Thursday in the Europa Conference League, are struggling for confidence themselves.

Frank Lampard’s Everton have impressed but they need to start putting wins on the board

West Ham – Fit Antonio and Scamacca in?

The Hammers are currently languishing in the relegation zone after a troubling start to the campaign – although that would not be the case if they weren’t controversially denied a stoppage-time equaliser against Chelsea in their last fixture.

Regardless, David Moyes’ side have not been themselves so far this season, only finding the back of the net three times across more than 540 minutes of football.

It has been a difficult start for new £35.5m striker Gianluca Scamacca, who followed up four appearances without a goal – albeit three coming off the bench – by picking up an illness. He did score in the win over Silkeborg, though.

Moyes could solve their recent impotence by partnering him with Michail Antonio at the pinpoint of his attack.

David Moyes may play Gianluca Scamacca (above) and Michail Antonio up front for West Ham

Leicester – Stop the rot

Quite frankly, it has been a disastrous start to the season for Leicester.

The Foxes, who finished in eighth place last season, have lost five of their first six matches and conceded a staggering 16 goals.

They have also failed to claim a single victory, lost both Wesley Fofana and Kasper Schmeichel and failed to adequately improve the squad over the summer.

For Brendan Rodgers, the only aim when Premier League football resumes will be to stop the rot, shore up his leaky backline and pull Leicester out of their abyss.

The Foxes are one of those teams who will have surely benefitted from a weekend off but there aren’t many trickier games at the moment than a trip to Spurs.

Leicester were totally outclassed at Brighton and could have done with the break to reassess

Share this article

Source: Read Full Article