LONDON — It’s a weekend that could impact the final Premier League table as four of the top five play each other today. Arsenal travel to the blue half of Manchester, while the red half go to Chelsea.
The first is likely to be the more entertaining of the two, with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger saying his team will not adopt a defensive approach. Pep Guardiola’s City are off to a best ever start to a Premier League campaign with 28 points from 10 games, having remained unbeaten and scored 35 goals in the process.
Arsenal’s three league defeats this season have come on the road but Wenger is adamant his side will play to their strengths and not risk defending deep against a top attacking unit.
“We’ll not hide,” Wenger told reporters. “We want as well to play and have the ball and create dangerous situations. The best way to defend sometimes is to attack.” Arsenal are currently fifth in the league with 19 points, trailing City by nine points.
City’s incredible run is because of many factors — strikers Sergio Aguero and Gabrial Jesus in form for instance — but Kevin De Bruyne is surely an important one. He is enjoying playing under Pep and credits the Spaniard’s tactics for helping him thrive. De Bruyne has provided nine assists and scored twice in 16 appearances across all competitions this campaign. He’ll be the man to watch out for as well today.
Over in Chelsea — who had turned last season’s league race into a procession — it’s been hard going with three defeats already (they lost only five the whole of last season). Manager Antonio Conte criticised his side after they crashed 0-3 in Rome in the Champions League, saying they “lacked everything”.
Chelsea are already nine points behind leaders City and a defeat against United at Stamford Bridge would leave them with an impossible task. “We must find the hunger we showed all of last season, and sometimes this season,” said Conte.
Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho was lambasted for his cautious tactics in a 0-0 bore draw at Anfield last month, with critics saying he had missed a trick by failing to test Liverpool’s suspect defence.
Since then they have laboured to a couple of wins against Benfica in the Champions League and beaten Spurs 1-0 on home turf in the Premier League, as well as losing to Huddersfield. He’s likely to play for a 1-0 win once again and has played down his history with the club.
Mourinho also said United’s preparations for the game would not be affected by his appearance in a Madrid court on Friday relating to a tax case.
Premier League results and fixtures:
Yesterday: Huddersfield 1-0 West Brom, Newcastle 0-1 Bournemouth, Southampton 0-1 Burnley, Stoke 2-2 Leicester, Swansea 0-1 Brighton, West Ham v Liverpool (played late).
Tomorrow: Chelsea v Man Utd (6:30pm), Manchester City v Arsenal (4:15pm), Tottenham v Crystal Palace (6:30pm), Everton v Watford (6:30pm).