Pep Guardiola was in the very fortunate position of being able to rotate his team for their Champions League game on Tuesday. The Citizens had already qualified for the knockout stages of the competition and the 1-0 win over Feyenoord confirmed they won Group F. Huddersfield Town manager, David Wagner, could afford himself a smile as he watched on. He can only dream about including players of the calibre of Yaya Toure, Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling in his first team, let alone a ‘weakened’ one. Despite having nothing like the quality of the teams at the top of the top flight, Huddersfield have made a good fist of their first season in the Premier League. The undoubted highlight was their 2-1 win over Man Utd at Kirklees but what chance do they have of recording another huge win over one of the Manchester giants? Does it even matter given how far the club has come?
How quickly things can go wrong. The start of the Premier League season is full of promise and hope but just 12 games in and five managers have already lost their job. The perils of relegation are enough to worry even the most steadfast club owner but fans tend to take a more pragmatic view. Those who regularly attend matches know the score. They know that there only has to be three teams worse than their own and they’ll be able to turn their attentions to next season and the whole hole/desperation cycle can start again. Fans of both Southampton and Everton have plenty to be concerned about with their teams’ performances so far but they can rest assured that things are worse at Crystal Palace, Swansea, West Ham and West Brom. But, will it be the Saints or the Toffees who slip closer to that group scrabbling about at the bottom of the table after their meeting early on Sunday afternoon?
It’s less than a week since the European Tour season ended in dramatic fashion in Dubai.
There is no question that the most exciting game of the Premier League weekend takes place at Anfield early on Saturday evening. Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool continued their quality home form with last weekend’s comfortable win over Southampton but face one of their toughest tests of the season when Chelsea visit Anfield. The Blues have improved of late as Antonio Conte has made tweaks to his formation to free up Cesc Fabregas while the partnership between Alvaro Morata and Eden Hazards has the potential to fire Chelsea back into the title hunt.
David Moyes did not enjoy his first match as West Ham manager. He watched on in disbelief at times as his new team missed a host of clear chances and allowed Watford to score two very soft goals en route to a home win at Vicarage Road. After the game, Moyes also had to answer questions about chants from the away support who continually called for the West Ham owners, David Gold and David Sullivan, to sell the club. The team’s horrible results, the underwhelming appointment of Moyes and the growing resentment at the board mean it’s unlikely to be a pleasant evening at the London Stadium on Friday when Leicester visit.