1) Will Aubameyang perform in derby?
A year ago, José Mourinho was widely cast as a tough, retrograde choice for the Spurs track, while Mikel Arteta would be hailed as the man who would propel Arsenal into a bright new future. The temptation may be to arrogantly ask how it all works, but the most relevant point is that managers cannot always be pigeonholed. They may have one thing in common during Sunday’s North London derby: neither Mourinho nor Arteta intends to be enthusiastic in games of this magnitude, just as Arteta in particular would behave differently if he had a more balanced team. This probably seems like a cautious affair, given Spurs’ increasingly compelling designs on the title and Arsenal’s need to arrest a deeply troubling fall crisis. Both parties are looking for their front men to make the most of the opportunities. Harry Kane invariably does that, but can Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who is feeling bad this season, take the big opportunity again? AFTER
2) Kelleher to face another test against Wolves
Jürgen Klopp celebrated the thriving youth in the aftermath of Ajax’s hard-fought Champions League defeat on Tuesday. While Neco Williams and Curtis Jones conjure the winning goal between them, Caoimhín Kelleher was the first to receive a bear hug from their manager. Born from playing as a midfielder in his school days in Ireland, the goalkeeper’s ability to play with the ball at his feet seems to be pushing him into the settlement for Adrián, rather than a ball player, to fill in for Alisson. , the latest victim of Liverpool’s muscle-injury plague. Williams and Jones can also play their part, as Klopp’s anger over the schedule is still justified by senior players’ dropouts. Wolves should also look to the youth, with Raúl Jiménez on the verge of being missing for some time after breaking his skull at Arsenal on Sunday. Fábio Silva, who joined the Emirates after that sickening injury, gave a cursory glimpse of what made him worth £ 35 million from Porto. Nuno Espírito Santo is typically cautious with him, but a vacancy has emerged. JB
3) Time for Brewster to pay back Blades’ investment
Sheffield United beat West Brom last weekend, but still lost, forcing Chris Wilder to demand “better technique, better composure and better quality” from those at the end of their chances. Something has to change quickly: Oli McBurnie was an all-powerful handful last season, but has yet to come off the shelf this time; Oliver Burke hasn’t scored either, and while David McGoldrick has microchipped twice, the veteran is unlikely to get the Blades out of trouble on his own. Chris Wilder has yet to settle down on a couple who seem capable of changing things. As a bonus, Lys Mousset, another success story from the past semester, is back. However, he is unlikely to start against Leicester on Sunday, and Wilder should be tempted to hand Rhian Brewster a recall. The 20-year-old has been in and out of the squad since his expensive move from Liverpool and, while raw, he is a livewire customer in the box. Perhaps a run-up to their big summer investment would bring in some much-needed points. AFTER
4) An investigation of Burnley’s injury list
While he may not trumpet it as often as Jürgen Klopp, Sean Dyche is so concerned about the litany of injuries Burnley players have sustained that he has launched an internal investigation. Nick Pope, Robbie Brady, Josh Brownhill, Jack Cork, Phil Bardsley and Jóhann Gudmundsson were all absent from last weekend’s shellacking in Manchester City, continuing Dyche’s side an injury-hit year. “Sometimes you get these bouts of injuries,” Dyche said. “Maybe it’s just one of those things, but we’re analyzing it and working closely with sports science and physios to see if there are things we don’t fully understand.” Pope, who missed the City game due to the concussion protocol, should be back for this weekend’s game against Everton, while Brownhill and Bardsley are also expected to be available. BG
5) Will Ancelotti stick or twist with formation?
Carlo Ancelotti started his spell in the Everton lead with a Boxing Day win over Burnley and could barely ask for more compliant opposition as his team tried to get out of the rut that followed their blistering start to the season. A difficult win over Fulham halted a run of three consecutive defeats for Everton, who then lost enough chances to win several matches in an entertaining defeat to Leeds. Ancelotti has switched from 4-4-2 to 3-4-3 in the past two games, a formation that left them vulnerable in the back but helped them score three goals against Fulham and nine shots on target against Leeds. Instead of giving up, Ancelotti can choose to hold it against a team stuck in the bottom three. BG
6) Chelsea against Leeds… and Lampard against Bielsa
The renewed rivalry between North and South, dating back to the heyday of Ron “Chopper” Harris and Norman “Bites Yer Legs” Hunter in the late 1960s, will not be met by the white-hot atmosphere of yesteryear. A socially aloof crowd of 2,000 will be scarcely spread for a match last held in May 2004, a 1-0 home win thanks to a goal by Jesper Gronkjær that was the final act of both Claudio Ranieiri’s Chelsea tenure and Leeds’ top status for 16 years. The trajectories of the two clubs have finally brought them back together and Frank Lampard, Chelsea’s midfield general that Saturday afternoon, is in charge of a team that has become the stingiest in the Premier League. In the meantime, Leeds has kept a zero for the last two games and a real number on Everton last week. Lampard is reunited with Marcelo Bielsa, with whom no love was lost in the ‘Spygate’ scandal that took place during London’s Derby era. Had Leeds fans been let in, their feelings for the Chelsea manager would have become apparent. JB
7) Parker to repeat the plan that did for Leicester?
A textbook counterattack helped Fulham win a confidence-inspiring victory over Leicester and Scott Parker’s team will need all available convictions for their journey to the Etihad to take on Manchester City. Parker attempted a 5-4-1 formation on Monday, focusing on nullifying the threat from Jamie Vardy, Youri Tielemans and James Maddison, then attacking at speed at half time. After enjoying such a success, he will likely agree to it again and it could potentially pay even more dividends if his squad makes it to the town’s defense on one of their increasingly common days off. BG
8) Pereira and Zaha will be key at Hawthorns
Zaha or not Zaha? That is the question for any team about to meet Crystal Palace. Despite signing Eberechi Eze, Palace remains heavily dependent on Wilfried Zaha, whose absence in their last two matches led to sad defeats against Burnley and Newcastle. If he’s not fit enough to play this weekend, West Brom will have even more confidence in following up with their first league win of the season with another. They will hope that Matheus Pereira plays as well as he did in last weekend’s win over Sheffield United, when the Brazilian continually devastated the opposition with his tricky dribble, astute passes and precise deliveries. PD
9) More magic from Moyes against his old club?
Who is the team currently occupying fifth place in the Premier League after 10 games, and what have they done with the real West Ham? Among many people’s favorites for relegation before the season started, David Moyes’ squad have now won three games on the spin, sparking speculation that their manager has finally got his mojo back since leaving him six years ago at Manchester United. It is his former club that will be traveling to London Stadium this weekend, where they will face off against a Hammers collective backed by clever recruits who are apparently all pulling in the same direction for a manager many consider a defeated role. In any case, on the field, West Ham is a long way from the basket-case outfit many predicted before the season started. BG
10) Brighton has to be smart to beat Saints
Graham Potter will definitely tell his players to be extra careful on Monday. Only Fulham has made more mistakes in the Premier League this season than Brighton, which would be best not to give away free kicks within 30 yards of the goal, i.e. the James Ward-Prowse area. Southampton could be boosted by the return of Nathan Redmond and maybe even Danny Ings, who resumed training this week. Brighton will get Tariq Lamptey back from suspension and can expect another dominant performance from Yves Bissouma, who has become one of the most accomplished generals in midfield. Brighton hasn’t beaten Southampton since 2012, but chances are that will change – as long as they get smart. PD