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ENGLAND - Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend

Selection headaches for José Mourinho and Pep Guardiola, a glaring omission at Liverpool and might Tottenham Hotspur make a fresh start at Wembley?

1) Spurs set to impress at Wembley?

Spurs may not have signed anyone this summer but, thanks to Chelsea, they go into their first home match of the season looking stronger than the only team who finished above them last term. Chelsea have made quite the palaver of their start to the campaign, thus inviting rivals to take advantage. With injuries and suspensions forcing Antonio Conte into defensive and midfield changes, Tottenham have an ideal opportunity to make themselves feel at home at Wembley. Will they seize it? Paul Doyle

2) Everton have strengthened but City’s options rule

There is a complaint that can still be heard on phone-in shows if you care to listen: that such-and-such a manager “doesn’t even know his best 11”. Go on then, tell us Manchester City’s best 11? It’s a redundant notion when you can have players such as Bernardo Silva, Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sané on the bench and still be utterly dominant, as City were at Brighton on the opening day. Everton are not yet operating at that luxurious level but they are sure trying to get there, and it will be interesting to see where their new £45m recruit, Gylfi Sigurdsson, fits in. Starting both him and Wayne Rooney away to City could prove an extravagance. The paradox enjoyed by Guardiola is that he is a meticulous obsessive who can afford to be a tad less discerning than most rivals. PD

3) Rodríguez and Stoke hope for happier times against Arsenal

Arsenal’s visits to Stoke-on-Trent have been torrid affairs infused with dark passions ever since that bad tackle by Ryan Shawcross on Aaron Ramsey in 2010. Until last season, that is, when Arsenal eased to a 4-1 victory against a strangely lifeless Stoke side. Mark Hughes needs his team to rediscover a robust sense of purpose this Saturday. Perhaps Jesé Rodríguez can help motivate them by pointing out that a win would give him a happier memory of Sead Kolasinac, the Arsenal defender who, when playing for Schalke in 2014, was involved in a tackle that left Rodríguez with a serious knee injury from which his career at Real Madrid never recovered. Good wholesome grudge matches can be very satisfying so long as everyone does their utmost to ensure no one gets seriously hurt. Stoke and Arsenal should show the way. PD

4) Robertson needed to stop Liverpool’s left-back worries

The sooner Andy Robertson is integrated into Liverpool’s starting lineup, the better. Alberto Moreno has qualities but a sound defensive instinct is not among them and Jürgen Klopp does not appear to have changed that. Robertson, on the other hand, is a savvy defender and, although not as quick as Moreno, a useful contributor to attacks thanks to his fine crossing. On Saturday the Scot should at least be given a chance to stake his claim for the status of first-choice left-back because that is an issue that needs to be finally sorted: Liverpool’s next three matches after the visit of Crystal Palace are the second leg of the Champions League qualifier against Hoffenheim (even with Liverpool’s 2-1 lead from the away leg, the tie remains very much in the balance) and Premier League jousts with Manchester City and Arsenal. As for Palace, they have many more issues that need sorting: they were an ominous jumble in their opening day defeat against Huddersfield Town and Frank De Boer must at least show evidence of progress. PD

5) Keane replacement key to Burnley’s hopes

Successfully replacing Michael Keane will be critical for Burnley this season so Sean Dyche must have taken great heart from the performance of James Tarkowski, in particular, during last weekend’s sensational win at Stamford Bridge. The 24-year-old was excellent against the champions, continuing the strong form he showed towards the end of last season, first as a partner for Keane and now as a natural-looking replacement. He will face a different type of challenge against West Bromwich Albion this weekend but the indications so far are that he can cope with most of what is thrown or kicked at him. PD

6) Will Herrera return for Manchester United?

There was no need for José Mourinho to select three central midfielders for Manchester United’s opening game. Nemanja Matic provided more than enough protection for United’s defence at the base of midfield, freeing Paul Pogba to combine with the trio behind the rampaging Romelu Lukaku, but that meant that there was no room for Ander Herrera, one of Mourinho’s most consistent performers last season. The Spaniard is one of the manager’s favourites, but shoehorning him into the starting XI against West Ham would have been unnecessarily cautious, especially as the absence of a top winger in United’s squad means that they are likely to be more fluid in a 4-2-3-1 instead of a 4-3-3. Their title challenge will largely depend on making the most of their enviable attacking options at home. But will it be a different story in away games? United visit Swansea City on Saturday and it will be intriguing to see whether Mourinho opts for more strength in the middle by dropping one of Juan Mata, Henrikh Mkhitaryan or Marcus Rashford for Herrera. Given how impressive they were against West Ham, that could be an unwise move. Jacob Steinberg

7) Will Defoe start for Bournemouth?

Despite enjoying plenty of possession against West Bromwich Albion, Bournemouth had only one shot on target and lost 1-0 after conceding from a set-piece. Their defensive frailties might be under examination again at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday – Watford scored from two corners in their 3-3 draw with Liverpool – but Eddie Howe was also concerned about his side’s lack of incision at the Hawthorns. “We dominated possession but didn’t do enough with it,” he said. “We were too slow and predictable.” There are likely to be changes against Watford. Marc Pugh was replaced at half-time by Jordon Ibe and there could also be a full debut for Jermain Defoe, who started on the bench against West Brom after recovering from a minor groin injury. Defoe could not rescue Bournemouth after coming on for the disappointing Benik Afobe in the 64th minute, but their threat is sure to increase with their big summer signing in the side from the start. JS

8) Terriers can show Toon how far they’ve come

When Huddersfield dropped out of the First Division in 1972, they did so with a thud, failing to win any of their last 22 league matches. So you have to go back to November 1971 for their last home victory in the top-flight, 2-1 against Derby County, who, funnily enough, went on to win the league that season under Brian Clough. David Wagner was six weeks old at the time and now here he is, showing that he is a pretty special manager himself as he leads Huddersfield into their first home match of the Premier League era, a joyous occasion that they can be confident of celebrating with a win. Newcastle won 3-1 at the John Smith’s Stadium in the Championship last season (after Huddersfield won at St James’ Park) but Wagner’s team are stronger now whereas Newcastle’s might not be, especially without the injured Florian Lejeune, Paul Dummett and the suspended Jonjo Shelvey. PD

9) Can Southampton end home hoodoo?

It’s 545 minutes and counting for Southampton. They have not scored a home goal since beating Crystal Palace on 5 April and hardly raised optimism for what lies ahead by treating the St Mary’s crowd to a goalless draw with Swansea last weekend. But while Claude Puel lost his job because of his team’s tedious play, at least there were a few encouraging signs in Mauricio Pellegrino’s opening game. Southampton lacked conviction rather than ambition against Paul Clement’s men, working the goalkeeper with two of their 27 shots, and it seems that Pellegrino will need time to rebuild his forwards’ low confidence. That said, Saturday’s visit from West Ham is a good opportunity for Southampton to end their barren run. Having conceded four at Old Trafford, Slaven Bilic’s defence could be there for the taking. JS

10) Brighton bound to envy Leicester’s front line

Despite Brighton setting a club record to sign José Izquierdo this week, Chris Hughton must envy the attacking options available to Craig Shakespeare. The main question faced by the Leicester manger this weekend is whether to partner Jamie Vardy with Shinji Okazaki, who scored at Arsenal last week, or the new signing Kelechi Iheanacho, who can be expected to convert nearly every chance he gets. If Iheanacho can offer as much mobility as the Japanese in addition to goals, then the answer is obvious. But how about giving Okazaki a starting place, too? In central midfield, since Danny Drinkwater and Vicente Iborra are unavailable. He and Wilfred Ndidi could, at least temporarily, form a very useful partnership. PD
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