Sport Big Weekend: Arsenal v Spurs, Liverpool, Traore, Guardiola
“One to look out for” - Transfer insider hints at future Spurs move for flying winger
Tottenham might try and sign 25 y/o winger in futureWhat happened with Traore this summer?
The north London Derby is worth a watch despite both teams being a bit rubbish – maybe because both teams are a bit rubbish. Elsewhere, another must-win game for plucky Liverpool, a tough test for Angry Pep and time for some tangible output from Adama Traore…
Game to watch – Arsenal v Tottenham
That first international break seems a long time ago now, doesn’t it? Back in those far-off, long forgotten days of earlier this month, Spurs were top and Arsenal were bottom. Nine points separated the two north London banterclubs after three games.
"It doesn't make sense" - Graham Roberts drops verdict on £50m Spurs target amid contract claim
Former Tottenham Hotspur star Graham Roberts insists that there is no sense in Adama Traore signing a new contract at Wolves. The right winger was heavily linked with a potential move to Spurs throughout the summer transfer window. Reports suggested that the north London club made an initial bid to take Traore on loan, with the option to buy him next summer, while other outlets have claimed that the club tabled a bid worth £30m in the final week of the window, but that Wolves valued him at £50m.
Since then, Spurs’ run of unconvincing 1-0 wins has given way to thumping great defeats, and Arsenal’s run of thumping great defeats has given way to unconvincing 1-0 wins. Another one of those for the Gunners will bring the teams level on nine points from six games. If Arsenal can win by a two-goal margin they’ll go above their local rivals.
There’s no doubt this fixture carries some reduced status right now.. RIP u will live on forever. Cant believe it. I wanna run to u. Really cant believe this. @. Neither of these teams are very good at the moment and both will hope they can lift their game for derby day. have at least turned the results around, although they’ll know this should in theory be tougher than Norwich or Burnley, while Spurs will hope to take something from an enterprising first 45 minutes against Chelsea and Carabao progress at Wolves.
Signed for £18m, now worth £50m: Fosun played a blinder over "unbelievable" Wolves ace - opinion
Adama Traore has witnessed a meteoric rise in transfer value since signing for Wolves.The Portuguese coach departed at the beginning of the summer after a rift over the club’s transfer policy, one which ultimately restricted new manager Bruno Lage in the transfer window.
Spurs are the more interesting team in many ways, because it is so unclear what they actually are or could be. Those three straight wins and clean sheets at the start of the season were born of extreme if arguably necessary negativity, but that tactic was exploded once and for all in a grim thrashing at Palace.
They have been more enterprising since, with Tanguy Ndombele reincorporated into proceedings with inevitable results: he’s made them better going forward but also makes so very many costly mistakes. He doesn’t need to be a defensive colossus – he will always have a Hojbjerg or a Skipp around – but he can’t just shirk duties as he does so often.
Our gut feel is that Nuno Espirito Santo will go safety first again here and hope for solidity and then something special from his attackers against a still fragile Arsenal side.
That might make for a dull afternoon, but derby games between deeply flawed sides can often be the most fun despite themselves. And this is a derby game between deeply flawed sides. Despite these two having scored five goals between them in the Premier League this season, it is precisely the sort of game that accidentally ends up 4-4. The formbook goes out of the window in a derby, after all.
Ramsdale, Partey and Arsenal's 'specialists'
Mikel Arteta said he wanted 'specialists' in every position early in his tenure and now he has them. Can Arsenal capitalise?"With more time," Arteta added. "I would like to have a specialist for every position to do exactly what we want to do.
We thoroughly recommend watching it to find out for yourselves, and apologies in advance for the inevitable turgid 0-0 that now follows.
Team to watch – Liverpool
Liverpool,, take on the might of Brentford to try and keep their unlikely title dream alive.
Brentford have made a sparkling start to life in the Premier League, losing only to Liverpool’s fellow title hopefuls Brighton while seeing off Arsenal on the opening night and beating Wolves despite going down to ten men. This marks the start of a taxing run of games for the newbies, with West Ham, Chelsea and Leicester to follow before the potential relief of a Burnley, Norwich, Newcastle triptych.
But Liverpool have thus far been pretty ruthless this season in these kind of games. While the failure to break down the ten men of Chelsea at Anfield will niggle, their other four games have seen a minimum of fuss, with Norwich, Burnley, Leeds and Palace all failing to score while Liverpool themselves racked up 11 goals in four relatively facile victories.
Logic dictates something similar here, with Liverpool in the familiar position of knowing they cannot possibly drop any points at all in games like this in what already looks a teak-tough title race.
Guardiola and Tuchel's head-to-head record ahead of Chelsea v Man City
The two bosses have crossed paths numerous times before during their time managing in Germany and England and will pit their wits against each other for the ninth time this weekend. Saturday's hugely anticipated battle between two of this generation's finest tacticians provides an intriguing sub-plot to what will be an early season acid test for both Chelsea and City's title ambitions.
Player to watch – Adama Traore
Wolves score a startlingly low number of goals for the amount of chances they create, and on Sunday they face a Southampton side that has shut out West Ham and Manchester City in their last two Premier League games.
Only Liverpool and Manchester City have registered more than Wolves’ current 16.4 shots per game, and yet they are distinctly mid-table for shots on target (four per game) and nobody has scored fewer goals (two, the same as Arsenal and Norwich).
Pretty much all those numbers, for better or worse, haveat their heart. He ranks 16th across the whole division for shots per game (2.8), tenth for key passes (2.4 per game) and is miles out on his own with a frankly absurd 9.8 dribbles per 90 minutes. Even allowing for a small early-season dataset that is an unfeasible number. For context, Allan Saint-Maximin is second on that list with 4.4 dribbles per game and nobody else has more than 3.2; Traore is dribbling more than twice as much as any other player in the division, and more than three times as often as all but one.
But he has no goals or assists. Time for some goals or assists.
Manager to watch – Pep Guardiola
Been a busy time for Pep, hasn’t it?, then once again got annoyed that the whole football pyramid . In the middle of it all, City limped to a frankly pisspoor goalless home draw against Southampton and fell behind to Wycombe in the Carabao, a tournament City have annexed for the last four years.
Player Ratings: Arsenal pair obliterate Tottenham amid Kane horror show
Superb displays from an Arsenal pair helped dismantle Tottenham on an afternoon where Harry Kane earned a dismal score in our player ratings . © PA Images Arsenal pair Emile Smith Rowe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hugging 2021 Spurred on by a raucous atmosphere, Arsenal flew out of the traps and took an early lead when two of their brightest sparks combined. Bukayo Saka dropped a shoulder and crafted half a yard on Sergio Reguilon before squaring into a dangerous area. Emile Smith Rowe arrived on the scene and nipped in ahead of Davinson Sanchez to strike home from close range.
Hopefully in between all the yelling at clouds, Guardiola has found some time to prepare his side for a nice straightforward Premier League fixture this weekend. They’ve got *checks notes* Chelsea away.
Oh. Should be fine. I’m sure it’ll be fine.
Football League game to watch – Reading v Middlesbrough
It’s still September and Reading are going to be the second Championship club hit with a significant points deduction. The good news for Reading fans is that in their case, while obviously still a massive blow, it doesno matter what the table might suggest in the short term.
European game to watch – Lazio v Roma
Maurizio Sarri v Jose Mourinho at the Stadio Olimpico. Of course you’re watching. Mourinho’s Roma are still in that phase a bit like his early days at Spurs when they’re still accidentally quite fun because he hasn’t quite got his claws into them yet. As at Spurs, ‘fun’ doesn’t necessarily equate to ‘good’, as shown by last weekend’s 3-2 defeat at Verona, but at least it means watching this game shouldn’t actively make you want to gouge your eyes out.
"You do wonder..." - Journalist drops worrying Adama Traore claim amid new contract reports .
He was dropped for the first time this season last weekendSpain international Traore found himself on the substitutes bench for Wolves' trip to Southampton last weekend, with Raul Jimenez firing Lage's side to all three points at St Mary's.