10 Premier League highlights this weekend

United must strive

Bruno Fernandes blamed “individual quality from the players of City” for last week’s Manchester derby loss. The fact that United didn’t commit for 90 minutes made their loss most agonising.

Some senior players were idle in the final 15 minutes at 2-1 down. Not to mention individuality—unforgivable. This attitude only inspires opponents.

Jordan Pickford thinks Everton will overcome Erik ten Hag’s team on Saturday. I think the boys’ running stats show their effort. I think we can capture them. We can overrun them.”

Luton wants to disappoint Palace

Oliver Glasner’s opening win over Burnley offered Crystal Palace fans optimism of Premier League safety until Timo Werner’s shock win at Tottenham last week.

“A great job over 60-70 minutes,” said the manager. Palace’s 3-1 loss to Spurs—especially Burnley’s dismal form—lowered expectations. Beat Luton to bolster confidence and take the rope from Rob Edwards’ team.

Last week’s setback to Aston Villa after coming back from two goals behind may exemplify Luton’s resilience. Luton’s revival hinged on November’s first home league win over Palace at Kenilworth Road.

If Glasner’s team and others have issues, repeat them.

Hughes’ exit hurts Bournemouth

This week, Bournemouth revealed that technical director Richard Hughes will resign at season’s conclusion. Hughes, who played under Eddie Howe, may have contributed most to the club’s first division success.

Hughes helped sign Andoni Iraola, who has improved after a slow start, Alex Scott, Milos Kerkez, and Illia Zabarnyi.

Former player and three-year assistant Simon Francis will succeed Hughes, a revered player. Sheffield United, the worst club, has always lacked collaboration.

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Small squad hindering Wolves’ goals

After three straight wins, Wolves lost 3-0 to Newcastle last time. José Sá and Pedro Neto were hurt in a game where everything could go wrong. Gary O’Neil’s preventative substitutions are great, but he needs a striker.

Due to hamstring injuries, Matheus Cunha and Hwang Hee-chan may not play until May, leaving Nathan Fraser as their only No. 9.

Wolves substituted 15-year-old defender Wesley Okoduwa at St James’ Park owing to a player shortage.

Wolves are chasing a European spot that seemed unachievable at the start of the season, but their depleted roster may derail them.

Havertz thriving in Arsenal’s title bid

Kai Havertz seems to have adjusted to Premier League life at Arsenal. His skill was questioned after a poor Chelsea career and early season problems. Mikel Arteta persevered and is now receiving the rewards.

Arsenal’s three Premier League wins over Burnley, Newcastle, and Sheffield United have handed Havertz five goals, matching his 32-game total. The German and team thrive and prefer hunting than being hunted.

Arsenal, the league leaders, collapsed last year around this time. They have another chance to win, but they must not let pressure get them down. Arsenal can defeat Brentford on Sunday to pass Liverpool and Manchester City.

A heated Champions League race

Unai Emery gave his thoughts on Tottenham’s Sunday trip to Villa Park 75 minutes before kickoff at the Johan Cruyff Arena by providing team news.

Captain John McGinn, forward Leon Bailey, full-backs Matty Cash and Alex Moreno started on the bench, while 20-year-old midfielder Tim Iroegbunam made his second start after two years.

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Spurs trail fourth-placed Villa by five points but have a game in hand, so a home win would help them qualify for the Champions League. In November, Pau Torres and Ollie Watkins scored to win, so a repeat would be crucial.

New West Ham players expected

David Moyes’ failure to substitute any of West Ham’s potential youth in their Brentford win was disappointing. At 4-1 after 69 minutes, George Earthy, Ollie Scarles, and Divin Mubama substituted.

However, Moyes was cautious. He needed a win after a losing streak, and Brentford’s goal tense the last minutes. If West Ham beat Burnley on Sunday, Moyes should give his young youngsters first-team experience.

Will Clattenburg excel again?

If Nottingham Forest feel they get a fair whistle at Brighton, Mark Clattenburg may enter the Amex Stadium mixed zone, near its dressing rooms and press conference facilities.

After last week’s 99th-minute loss to Liverpool, the Gladiators TV star’s presence in the City Ground’s mixed zone astonished even veteran reporters.

Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis named him “referee analyst” after a friendship while the Durham card-waver was the Greek Super League’s referee boss.

This is contemporary football’s latest, and not necessarily welcome, attempt to re-referee every match.

After polishing, Clattenburg and other referees’ flashy careers and public lives expand the Premier League’s globe. Add that to the growing list of VAR surprises.

Will City cleanse Anfield?

City and Pep Guardiola are known at Anfield. The all-conquering City boss has won only one of his eight visits since taking over at the Etihad in 2016, and that 4-1 win against Liverpool in 2021 was played in front of an empty crowd because to the pandemic.

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In a packed stadium, Guardiola’s Liverpool record is lost, drawn, lost, drawn, lost as on Sunday. Liverpool pressure, refereeing errors, missed penalties, and unrewarded domination have hurt Guardiola’s temperament and strengthened his reputation for excessive tinkering.

As they pursue a record fourth Premier League title, the City manager has instructed his team to focus on what they can control. City would benefit from a cold-eyed attitude in the scorching heat of Anfield, where Jürgen Klopp’s side is unbeaten in 29 meetings in all competitions.

Test Newcastle’s weak defending

In London, Newcastle’s 4-1 loss to Arsenal highlighted many deficiencies and prompted questions about Eddie Howe’s future. Positive feedback has been received.

Last weekend’s 3-0 win over Wolves bodes well for Newcastle, who reached the FA Cup quarterfinals by defeating Blackburn on penalties. A second European qualification season requires consistency.

Newcastle lets in too many goals. They have only kept three clean sheets since January and will be without Kieran Trippier against Chelsea, who are devastating in attack despite their shortcomings.

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