World News – GB – How United and Co can stop Liverpool from running away with title again


Posted: 12:18 PM EDT September 28, 2020 | Updated: 3:09 p.m. EDT September 28, 2020

Last season’s Premier League title race was more of a procession than a competition – and there’s a good chance this campaign will follow the same pattern

Liverpool finished 18 points clear at the top of the table last season and, having started the new season with two out of two wins, including a comfortable win over alleged challengers Chelsea, Jurgen Klopp’s men are already appearing for the fight to keep their crown

But in addition to demonstrating the Reds’ strengths, the first weeks of the delayed campaign also raised a number of weaknesses among their rivals Big Six, with Manchester City’s shocking 5-2 home loss to Leicester on Sunday a early blow to the title hopes of Pep Guardiola

City’s defense was a shambles at the Etihad, while Manchester United’s four full-backs looked extremely vulnerable in a first loss to Crystal Palace and narrow victory at Brighton

Frank Lampard also has issues at the back, in addition to a number of fitness issues, with North London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham both having puzzles to solve in midfield s ‘they must challenge at the top

Ahead of the Gunners’ visit to Anfield tonight, Sportsmail takes a closer look at the issues the other Big Six must resolve if they are to face Liverpool this season

It’s pretty amazing that a quality Manchester City side, with so much money invested in new players since Pep Guardiola arrived in 2016, can be so bad at the back

Their defensive woes were ruthlessly exposed by Leicester on Sunday, with new boy Nathan Ake and Co simply unable to handle Jamie Vardy’s pace and direct run

Not only did Guardiola’s men concede three penalties – all of which were sent past Ederson – they looked shaky as soon as the Foxes regained their feet and started playing higher up the pitch in the second half

Rodri doesn’t sniff danger like aging Fernandinho in midfield, while runaway defender Eric Garcia appeared to have his head already back at Barcelona

Fortunately for Guardiola, there is still a long way to go Ake is still in bed at City after his important transfer from Bournemouth, while their best center-back Aymeric Laporte was only on the bench on Sunday

Jamie Vardy scores the first of three goals against City at the Etihad on Sunday night

They also rated Ruben Dias very well on his way to Benfica in a move that will see Nicolas Otamendi, so often a rear-end, go the other way

While deciding on a return to four – and getting Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy to eliminate their mistakes – is a priority for Guardiola, he also hopes to see some key faces again in the weeks to come.

The absence of Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus due to injury began City’s attack threat on Sunday, while Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan are among other first-team regulars currently excluded

The City bench was visibly weak on Sunday and Guardiola knows that everyone will be in good shape – with bright options ahead – will be the key to getting back on track

Star forward Sergio Aguero is one of many key players currently unavailable for City

Despite a first win of the season under the most dramatic circumstances at Brighton on Saturday, United’s departure left many fans worried

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men conceded three home goals at Crystal Palace in a surprise opening loss and were lucky not to lose heavily at Amex

Graham Potter’s men hit the woodwork an incredible five times and scored twice, and on another day they would have won three points themselves, rather than losing to a late Bruno Fernandes penalty

Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof appeared trembling in the center of the defense, with Red Devils favorite Rio Ferdinand describing them as ‘slow and bulky’ and calling on his former club to invest in a new center-back in front of the ‘Dortmund striker Jadon Sancho

But while defense is a major issue for Solskjaer to tackle, his midfield lineup is also of concern as he tries to protect the back four and provide his forward three

Nemanja Matic, Fernandes and Paul Pogba started together on Saturday, but the latter put in another disappointing performance and was replaced by Fred after 65 minutes

Paul Pogba struggled to make an impact against Brighton and was knocked out in the second half

With the summer signing of Donny van de Beek waiting behind the scenes and desperate to make a good impression, Solskjaer must find the right mix in the midfield while keeping the players happy and giving the Dutchman £ 40million a chance to make his mark

The other issue still hanging over United is Sancho, with the club currently preparing a late offer to snatch them away from Dortmund before the transfer window closes

While the England star would undoubtedly add a new dimension to United’s attack, the longest transfer saga of the summer has to be decided soon If a deal cannot be made, this money could be wisely invested somewhere else before the window closes

There’s a questionable defenses theme emerging here – and Chelsea’s are almost certainly the worst of a bad group

All four of the Blues’ full-backs put on an embarrassing display at West Brom on Saturday night, conceding to the Premier League’s new boys three times in the opening 27 minutes

Summer signing Thiago Silva struggled in his first high-flying appearance after receiving the captain’s armband, while the decision to start Marcos Alonso at left-back against Cesar Azpilicueta left some puzzled fans

Lampard has cut and changed his back four since returning to Stamford Bridge as boss, leading to the worst away defensive record away from home of any team to have featured in the previous two seasons , with 42 goals conceded

The ex-Derby manager needs to find a formula that works and put his faith in a well-established defense that learns to work together, rather than switching players after a mistake or poor performance

He will be aided by the return to fitness of Ben Chilwell, who has yet to play in the league since arriving from Leicester, as he draws closer to shaping his new Chelsea squad in the field

Lampard has also been without summer signing Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic, both of whom could be part of an exciting front three with Timo Werner

Hakim Ziyech’s summer signing is one of boss Frank Lampard’s many injury issues

Spurs’ start to the season has been mixed to say the least – a miserable 1-0 home loss to Everton, a 5-2 beating from Southampton to St Mary’s and Sunday’s controversial 1-1 draw with Newcastle

Perhaps the biggest problem to emerge during these matches is the similarity between midfielder duo Harry Winks and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, both of whom lack dynamism and positivity on Tanguy Ndombele’s ball. and Giovani Lo Celso

Jose Mourinho might be content to trust his creative midfielders more to avoid the kind of lethargic display we saw at home against Carlo Ancelotti’s men on opening weekend

And while Harry Kane has fallen deep for dramatic effect against the Saints, providing all four goals for Son Heung-min, they need that kind of vision from the midfielder, rather than all of it coming from their own. star striker

Fans have complained that the ball was not moved quickly enough at times, as the need to be more clinical in front of goal was apparent in yesterday’s draw with Newcastle The game should have been over long before Callum Wilson equalized in extra time

Elsewhere, Mourinho still has business to do in the transfer market with a new center-back, namely Inter Milan’s Milan Skriniar on his wishlist, and Dele Alli’s future still hanging in the air. window’s last productive week is vital

Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho has a lot to decide in the final week of the transfer window

Unlike City, United, Chelsea and Spurs, Arsenal have started the new season with maximum points and are heading into tonight’s game at Anfield with full confidence

Mikel Arteta made his side meaner at the back and can still count on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to strike in goal after convincing the much-requested striker to sign a new UAE contract

Maintaining consistency and ensuring that defensive mistakes that have hampered their performances for years are less frequent will be key for Arteta as he seeks to move the Gunners from the first four challengers to title contenders.

However, there is still work to be done on the board to ensure the talented Spaniard has a squad capable of competing with the best in the Premier League.

Arteta clearly sees his midfielder as a weak point after strengthening at the back and attacking this summer, and has identified Lyon’s Houssem Aouar and Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey as the players to pass his team at the top level

Negotiations have so far failed with Atletico keen to keep Partey despite an attempt to include Lucas Torreira in a player-to-cash swap deal

They also failed in their attempt to sign the highly rated Aouar, with their first offer falling well below the French club’s valuation

If they make a breakthrough in the talks over the next week, the arrival of one – or both – of Arteta’s main targets would be a real signal of intent – and a big blow to thumbs up for the team during what will certainly be a grueling season at home and in Europe

Lyon’s Houssem Aouar is Arteta’s midfielder first target, but they couldn’t get along

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Liverpool FC, Manchester City FC, Arsenal FC, Premier League, Manchester United FC

World news – UK – How United and Co can stop Liverpool from running away with the title again



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