Much has been made of Tottenham’s reported lack of preparation for this season – an almost unprecedented summer of no new signings was expected to result in a team lacking ideas, struggling when injuries arrived, and without the fire-power to challenge for the top 4. Add to that the uncertainty over the continually delayed move to the new stadium, which itself was meant to create an unsteady atmosphere where the layers never felt truly at home. However, the Spurs players and manager Mauricio Pochettino, have decided not to stick to that narrative.
The Spanish national team may well be in a state of flux as of late, they’ve gone through three managers in just over a month. The baton of leading La Roja has been passed from Julen Lopetegui to Luis Enrique via a 25-day stint from former Real Madrid legend Fernando Hierro.
The appointment of former Barcelona boss Luis Enrique should at least provide Spain with the stability it lacked in Russia, as their stint at this Summer’s FIFA World Cup was much shorter than they would have anticipated.
The thrilling Manchester derby that saw Manchester United come from 0-2 to win 3-2 at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday provided lots of fantasy points for players with some of Jose Mourinho’s regulars.
After Vincent Kompany and Ilkay Gundogan gave Manchester City a 2-0 lead at half-time, United’s Paul Pogba put in a man of the match performance with a brace in the space of 97 seconds that turned the game around in the opening 10 minutes of the second half. The French international hasn’t been in everyone’s good books this season but those fantasy players who stuck with the record United signing were paid dividends this past weekend.
Watford splashed out a bargain £11.2 million to Fluminense in the summer for Brazilian under-20 star Richarlison before the European transfer window went crazy in transfer fees. The 20-year-old had been scouted by a number of top European teams, including Manchester United and Chelsea, before the Hertfordshire-based club won the race for the attacking midfielder’s signature.
Richarlison made an instant impact at Vicarage Road. On his debut in their opening game of the season he came off the bench to be involved in Watford’s dramatic stoppage time equaliser against Liverpool in a thrilling 3-3 draw. The youngster would go on to score five goals and record three assists in his first 12 Premier League appearances – impressive given the size of the club, his age and his first venture in European football.
Goalkeeper: David de Gea (Manchester United)
Manchester United host Swansea City at Old Trafford on Saturday. Jose Mourinho will be expecting three points and a clean sheet from his side against the relegation threatened side who were thrashed 3-0 at home by Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup before the international break.
Defence: Jamaal Lascelles (Newcastle United)
Newcastle United play host to Huddersfield Town on Saturday in a game where three points would be huge to either side in their battle to avoid relegation. Rafa Benitez’s side have picked up six points from their last two home games, keeping a clean sheet on both occasions, including a 1-0 win over Manchester United.
Raheem Sterling is having his most-productive season in the Premier League. The 23-year-old has netted 15 goals and added a further seven assists in his 26 appearances (22 starts) under Pep Guardiola. He’s also scored four times in six Champions League appearances (4 starts) this season. As good as Sterling’s stats look, he’s been providing them in a team that are on course to set records for the most points and goals scored in a single Premier League season. With the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva creating chances, and Sergio Aguero and Leroy Sane taking markers out of the way, perhaps many players could replicates Sterling’s statistics in the current Manchester City team.