Will Aubameyang fire Gunners back on track?
A year ago José Mourinho was widely being cast as a dour, retrograde choice for the Spurs job while Mikel Arteta was to be hailed as the man to drive Arsenal into a bright new future. They may have one thing in common at Sunday’s north London derby, though: neither Mourinho nor Arteta is minded to be gung-ho in games of this magnitude, much as Arteta in particular might behave differently if he had a better-balanced squad. This looks likely to be a cautious affair given Spurs’ increasingly convincing designs on the title and Arsenal’s need to arrest a deeply concerning autumn slump. Both sides will be looking for their front men to make the most of chances.
Kelleher, the surprise replacement of Alisson to face another test against Wolves
While Neco Williams and Curtis Jones conjured the winning goal between them against Ajax, Caoimhín Kelleher was first to receive a bear hug from Klopp. The goalkeeper’s ability to play with the ball at his feet, born of playing as a midfielder in his schoolboy days back in Ireland, would seem to push him ahead of Adrián. Williams and Jones may play their part, too, as Klopp’s rage at the scheduling continues to be justified by senior players breaking down. Wolves are also having to look to youth, with Raúl Jiménez set to be missing for some time after fracturing his skull at Arsenal on Sunday. Fábio Silva, who came on at the Emirates after that sickening injury, showed fleeting glimpses of what made him worth £35m from Porto.
Will Ancelotti stick or twist with formation?
Carlo Ancelotti kicked off his spell in charge of Everton with a Boxing Day win over Burnley and could scarcely ask for more accommodating opposition as his team try to emerge from the rut that has followed their blistering start to the season. A laboured win over Fulham halted a run of three consecutive defeats for Everton, who subsequently squandered enough chances to win several games in an entertaining defeat against Leeds. Ancelotti has switched from 4-4-2 to a 3-4-3 in their past two games, a formation that left them vulnerable at the back but helped them bag three goals against Fulham.
Parker to repeat plan that did for Leicester or heavy defeat reckoning?
A textbook counterattacking performance helped Fulham to a confidence-boosting win over Leicester and Scott Parker’s side will need every ounce of belief available to them for their trip to the Etihad to face Manchester City. Parker tried a 5-4-1 formation on Monday, his focus on nullifying the threat of Jamie Vardy, Youri Tielemans and James Maddison, then attacking at speed on the break. Having enjoyed such success he is likely to go with it again and it could conceivably yield further dividends if his side catches the City defence on one of their increasingly frequent off-days.
Pereira and Zaha will be key at Hawthorns
Zaha or not Zaha? Despite the signing of Eberechi Eze, Palace remain heavily reliant on Wilfried Zaha, whose absence in their last two matches led to sorry defeats against Burnley and Newcastle. If he is not fit enough to play this weekend, then West Brom will be even more confident of following up their maiden league win of the season with another. They will hope that Matheus Pereira plays as well as he did in last weekend’s victory over Sheffield United, when the Brazilian constantly created havoc for the opposition with his tricky dribbling, astute passing and precise set-piece deliveries
Moyes magic against an inconsistent United side
Among many people’s favourites for relegation before the season began, David Moyes’s side have now won three games on the spin, prompting speculation their manager has finally got his mojo back since it deserted him six years ago at Manchester United. It is his former club who travel to the London Stadium this weekend, where they will face a Hammers collective bolstered by shrewd recruits and all apparently pulling in the same direction for a manager many considered to be a beaten docket. On the pitch at least, West Ham are far from the basket-case outfit many predicted before the season began.