Jai Singh takes a look at this week’s happenings.
In what was supposed to be the blockbuster fixture of the weekend, and the biggest game of the season so far, it is safe to say that Liverpool v Manchester United was a very timid game. Neither side created an excellent opportunity, and neither side would have been happy to come away with just a point. More alarmingly, it is over 300 minutes since the Reds netted in the Premier League. It is something that Klopp will need to address soon if he is to make sure he does not fall further behind in the race for the title. The return of Joel Matip will help. Having a recognised senior centre-back, who can play out the back will be key to helping Liverpool break down teams. Even more important than that would be Diogo Jota. The Portugal international was a breath of fresh air and applied pressure and options to a front 3 that have looked tired and worn out in the last month. Getting him back soon, and keeping players fit, is key to stopping the rut.
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Stones at The Euros?
Many expected that when Ruben Dias arrived from Benfica, that he would partner Aymeric Laporte at the heart of the City defence. However, with Laporte still looking shaky after returning for a long time on the side-line, John Stones has stepped into the starting XI. Arguably, he is playing his finest football ever. The defender looks strong, quick, and as comfortable on the ball, and alongside Dias has been key in City’s excellent defensive resolve. With Joe Gomez unlikely to feature in Euro 2021, John Stones has surely cemented his place alongside Harry Maguire in the upcoming competition. If he continues in this vein of form, he would cement his long-term future for both club and country.
West Ham for Europe
Another week, another West Ham. This time, they ran out 1-0 winners over Burnley at the Olympic Stadium. They currently sit 9th on 29 points, only 5 points of Liverpool in 4th. What would’ve started as an outside dream at the start of the season is seemingly a firm reality at this point. They are defensively solid, looking potent in attack and, most importantly, can seemingly get goals from midfield. Thomas Soucek is David Moyes’ new Fellaini. He is big, strong, and more than competent in the air. He provides a threat from set-pieces whilst also being a tidy player with and without the ball. Where they might struggle is depth up-top. They are relying on Michail Antonio staying fit having sold Sebastian Haller to Ajax. However, rumours are circulating they are chasing Seville striker Youssef En- Nesyri to supplement their attack. If they were to add the Moroccan striker, and he continues his form from Spain, they might be dreaming of the Champions League in this hectic season.
Wolves a one-man team?
Wolves continued their patchy form with a defeat in the Black Country derby. What was arguably the game of the weekend, with goals, penalties and drama, it was clearly noticeable that Wolves were missing Raul Jimenez. The Mexican international would have been licking his lips at some of the deliveries put in box, but its more than his goals they miss. His presence up top to challenge defenders, run in behind and link up play has been vital to the attacking Wolves side we have seen since their return to the Premier League. With the window nearing a close, and no timescale on Jimenez’s return, Wolves will need Fabio Silva to step up.