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Premier League: Major talking points ahead of weekend games

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Arsenal goalkeeper duo David Raya and Aaron Ramsdale Photo TEAMtalk
Arsenal goalkeeper duo David Raya and Aaron Ramsdale. Photo/ TEAMtalk
  • Premier League weekend action is here with us and we look at the major talking points of the league.

Premier League weekend action is here with us and we look at the major talking points of the league.

Is Manchester United better without Rashford?

Marcus Rashford with Garnacho Photo

Marcus Rashford with Garnacho. Photo/ Man Utd News

Marcus Rashford was enjoying a career-best season as the 2022–2023 season drew to a close. The forward’s efforts earned him the title of Player of the Season, making him the first Manchester United player to score 30 goals in a season in ten years.

It has not been an easy season. Rashford was benched for the midweek victory against Chelsea due to his lackluster performance and current lack of favor. During his absence, Manchester United had the second-highest xG (4.07) of any Premier League club this season, maybe their finest attacking performance of the year.

Alejandro Garnacho will be tough to dethrone this weekend thanks to his impressive play from the left side, meaning Rashford may find himself starting the second straight game on the bench. In contrast to Garnacho’s passionate performance against Chelsea, Rashford was criticized for his lackluster performance in the recent loss to Newcastle. While poor form is forgiven, indifference won’t be.

While other players are performing below expectations outside Rashford, this season has felt like a relapse after last year’s looked like a true improvement.

Arsenal’s goalkeeper headache

Since the beginning of the season, Arsenal‘s goalkeeping situation has been a topic of discussion, as summer addition David Raya replaced Aaron Ramsdale in the starting lineup.

This week, Raya has faced criticism once more following a terrible showing in the victory over Luton, when the Spaniard was responsible for The Hatters’ second and third goals. After Elijah Adebayo failed to come close to a set-piece on his way home, he let Ross Barkley’s mediocre effort wriggle free of him.

The Spaniard was saved by Declan Rice’s winner, but Arsenal cannot afford for their goalie to be so unsteady this weekend. Aston Villa, who have won their last 14 games at Villa Park, will be the opponent the Gunners go to play. Villa will go into the game full of confidence after defeating Manchester City in the middle of the week to take third place in the standings.

Arsenal will need their goalkeeper to hold strong if Villa can exert the same kind of pressure on the Gunners as Manchester City did midweek. Raya lately conveyed an anxiety that has to be eliminated.

Sean Dyche masterclass

Sean Dyche

Sean Dyche.|PHOTO: CBS|

Right now, Sean Dyche is getting the greatest performance out of Everton. Everton defeated Newcastle 3-0 on Thursday to move out of the relegation zone, demonstrating perseverance on the field despite the team’s off-field problems.

If the Toffees hadn’t lost 10 points for breaking FFP regulations, they would have finished ninth after winning three of their last four games. Under Dyche’s experienced leadership, former Burnley players James Tarkowski and Dwight McNeil are making an impression, and one player in particular, Abdoulaye Doucoure, is flourishing.

The Mali international saved Everton from relegation by scoring several important goals on the last weekend of the previous campaign, including the game-winning goal against Bournemouth. Doucoure has scored five goals in 15 appearances so far this season, carrying over that form. Before Dyche took over, Doucoure had 69 appearances under four different managers and scored just four goals. He has changed.

Is Postecoglou becoming a villain?

Tottenham Hotspur manager Ange Postecoglou

Tottenham Hotspur manager Ange Postecoglou has a tough run of fixture ahead. | PHOTO: Sky |

In North London during the first several months of the Premier League season, Ange Postecoglou seemed to transform water into wine. August, September, and October saw the Australian win Premier League Manager of the Month three times in a row. He was the first coach to do so since the season began.

Everything seemed to be going well for Spurs, who were playing some of the finest football in the division, but things have changed. Spurs dropped from first place to fifth place after five games without a win, and the old “Spursy” taunts have been revived as a result of those losses.

In addition to becoming the first club in Premier League history to lose three straight games at home after leading early, Postecoglou’s team is also the first team to lose five straight games after leading.

I am an ardent sports enthusiast interested in writing about football, motorsport and athletics.

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