Liverpool have become increasingly stronger at the top of the league, with the Reds travelling to Bournemouth on the same day as the Manchester derby.Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur will attempt to get back to winning ways when they welcome Burnley after Wednesday’s 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford.
Elsewhere, Chelsea travel to Everton, with the Toffees searching for a new coach after sacking Marco Silva, and Arsenal visit West Ham United on Monday.Leicester City remain Liverpool’s nearest Premier League challengers, with the Foxes featuring on Sunday at Aston Villa.
Just a few weeks ago, Manchester United’s confidence was crumbling, and Manchester City appeared ready to fight Liverpool until the bitter end in the Premier League.
However, Pep Guardiola’s team have displayed uncharacteristic signs of inconsistency, while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men carved out an impressive win over Spurs in their last game.
Even at this early stage of the campaign, City have much to lose if they suffer a shock home loss against their Manchester neighbours, with Liverpool heading south to play a Bournemouth team in poor form.
Despite their recent troubles, City looked back on track during Tuesday’s 4-1 win at Burnley, providing them a perfect tonic before the derby as Gabriel Jesus netted a brace.
According to Alex Milne of the Mirror, Guardiola described Solskjaer as “an exceptional person” ahead of the clash, with the Spaniard highlighting United’s qualities. City are expected to start the match without the injured Sergio Aguero, but United’s Anthony Martial could be available after missing the win over Spurs because of a knock.
Jesus has stepped into the breach with Aguero absent, and the Brazil international has said he knows he must impress when the Argentinian is out, per Sky Sports: “I know my qualities, I know I can score. I have to score when I play, Sergio scores every time. That is my ambition. I want to play and score every time.”
Liverpool’s unbeaten charge has handed City a monumental challenge in the Premier League, and with the champions trailing by nine points, the Sky Blues cannot afford to draw or lose on Saturday.
United showed promising signs when they comprehensively beat Mourinho’s side on his return to Old Trafford, but there’s a huge gulf between the Mancunian sides, especially if City play to their rampant potential.
Mourinho appeared bright and enthusiastic after succeeding Mauricio Pochettino in north London, but after Spurs failed to move through the gears against United, the Portuguese has asked for a change of attitude from his squad.
According to Matt Barlow for MailOnline, Mourinho told a press conference ahead of Saturday’s visit of Burnley his players must develop a stronger mindset after noticing their disappointment after losing to United.
“I saw a sad dressing room, a sad bus and a sad plane and that’s not what I like after a defeat. After a defeat, you cannot be sad. You have to be more than that. You have to be raging or angry—not sad. Being sad will not resolve your problems. You need that mentality.”Spurs appeared relaxed in the early stages at Old Trafford but failed to raise their intensity when United twice took the lead.
Despite the loss, Mourinho has a mature and experienced team to work with, and their consistency in recent seasons has been no fluke. Dele Alli is displaying signs of the previous form that propelled him to stardom in a Spurs shirt, and Harry Kane has already plundered 13 goals in the Premier League and Europe this term, suggesting he could go on a bigger spree.
Burnley have been erratic this season, and Sean Dyche’s team have lost five of their last seven Premier League games.Spurs have the firepower to force the visitors on to the back foot on Saturday, and Mourinho will expect his men to claim three points against a team who are four points above the relegation zone.