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Tuesday, 22 July 2014, 19:45

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Weekend Watch

We look ahead to the weekend's action and pinpoint a series of potential talking points.

Last Updated: 16/09/13 at 08:23

Issues for Moyes

Four points from three games might not have been the start that David Moyes was after but it is the questions over his transfer policy and team selection that are occupying fans' thoughts. The signing of Marouane Fellaini was rather predictable but how the Scot plans to use his former Everton midfielder remains to be seen. Can Fellaini adapt seamlessly to life at Old Trafford or will he be a bypassed battering ram instead? If his inclusion in an advanced role sees Shinji Kagawa overlooked once more then any slip up against Crystal Palace will really sour the mood.

Read about what Fellaini can bring to United as well as the Kagawa conundrum here AB

Keep an eye on Cleverley, too

Billed as one of England's brightest rising stars when he first emerged at Manchester United, and then on loan at Wigan Athletic, Tom Cleverley's form has come under scrutiny. The midfielder was poor in United's most recent Premier League game - the defeat at Liverpool before the international break - and lost his place in England's first XI for the World Cup qualifying double-header against Moldova and Ukraine. United's transfer deadline day signing of Fellaini is also likely to cost Cleverley his United first-team spot against Palace on Saturday lunchtime. Is Cleverley another example of a young Englishman who has been overhyped or is he simply failing to fulfil his potential? PF

New look Everton

There will be no Romelu Lukaku for Everton at the weekend against parent club Chelsea but it could still be a very different looking home team in action at Goodison Park. With Fellaini gone, it could be a midfield of Gareth Barry and James McCarthy for Roberto Martinez's side and it will be interesting to see whether that represents a better fit for the passing game or it will see Chelsea dominate their hosts in the absence of the big Belgian.

You can watch Everton v Chelsea live on Saturday Night Football at 5.30pm AB

Still a Super Sunday

It might not be a box office fixture but do not turn your nose up at Southampton v West Ham, it could be an intriguing tactical battle to watch. These are two very evenly matched sides who both have big ambition. They sit level on points so far this season and there were just five points between them in the last campaign. It will be interesting to see if Southampton, who on average won possession a mighty 32 metres from their own goal in their only other Premier League home game to date against Sunderland, can break down a stingy West Ham defence who have only conceded once. Add to this the fact England international Rickie Lambert might not even get in Southampton's starting XI and there are plenty of talking points.

You can watch Southampton v West Ham live on Super Sunday at 4pm PF

Midfield mix

Many expected Tottenham to overrun Arsenal in midfield a fortnight ago but their physically strong trio were undone early on and then lacked the subtlety to find a way through when chasing the game. The subsequent arrival of Christian Eriksen along with Erik Lamela, a substitute at the Emirates Stadium, could yet provide the creativity needed to transform this team. Andre Villas-Boas may have ruled out a title challenge but three points at home to Norwich will get the fans excited again. AB

Lift off for Baggies?

It's been an underwhelming start to the season for last year's surprise package West Brom and with the one point from the opening three games, questions are now being asked about the Black Country club. Seventeen points from 21 matches in 2013 is relegation form so much will depend on that rejigged forward line with Victor Anichebe joining Matej Vydra and Nicolas Anelka among the forward options. A trip to Fulham on Saturday will provide a good indication of how this season is likely to pan out for both teams. AB

Desperate Di Canio?

Paolo Di Canio got plenty of laughs at Steve Harper's testimonial in midweek but it won't be the last time he has the Geordie fans chuckling if Sunderland's early season form is anything to go by. Di Canio's public criticism of John O'Shea last time out raised fears that a prolonged period of poor results could lead to mayhem on Wearside. Sir Alex Ferguson's blueprint for success came to mind. "No one likes to be criticised," said Ferguson. "Most respond to encouragement. For any human being - there is nothing better than hearing 'Well done'. Those are the two best words ever invented." With Arsenal and Mesut Ozil next up on Saturday, Di Canio will be desperately hoping he gets to say those words to his players at the weekend.

Click here to read Sir Alex Ferguson's blueprint for successful football management AB

Mesut magic

While Di Canio is unlikely to agree, Ozil's debut is a source of real excitement in the Premier League - the arrival of a genuinely world class player. It will be intriguing to see how Arsene Wenger juggles his squad to accommodate the German but Olivier Giroud can be expected to thrive on those throughballs and the interchange with Santi Cazorla should be something to look out for too. A strong performance at the Stadium of Light could be enough to take Arsenal to the top of the table - a stunning turnaround after the howls of derision that greeted the opening day defeat to Aston Villa.

You can read why the arrival of Mesut Ozil is such a huge boost to Arsenal right here AB

Bale begins

Ozil's exit has left some annoyed players and supporters in the Spanish capital with Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo both expressing their disappointment, but at least they have a new star name to play with. That handshake between Gareth Bale and Ronaldo outside the Madrid training ground oozed testosterone in a particularly metrosexual way and the message for the Portuguese poster boy is clear - there's a new gun in town. After a summer of hype, now Bale just has to deliver on the pitch. The pressure of that extraordinary fee will be immense.

Bale makes his Real Madrid debut on Saturday against Villarreal live on Sky Sports AB

Kaka comeback

In another of the comings and goings at the Bernabeu over the summer, Kaka also made a move - returning to AC Milan on a free transfer. It was a low key exit given that he had arrived for a world record transfer fee just four years earlier. Even so, there remains hope that the brilliant Brazilian can recapture some of his best form in Italy. At just 31, it cannot be discounted and while there are suggestions that he will be eased back into things at Milan, Saturday's return against Torino could tell us more.

Click here to read more on The Decline of Kaka during his four year spell in Madrid AB

What should I be betting on?

Tottenham Hotspur are one of only three home sides to be odds-on for a win this weekend (Manchester United and Southampton being the other two) but there is reason to suggest there is better value in backing them to beat Norwich City without conceding.

Sky Bet offer 11/8 on such an outcome, which is backed up by Tottenham's fine home form having lost just once in their last 14 games at White Hart Lane, 10 of which have been wins. They are also on a run of three consecutive clean sheets at home while the Canaries have been abysmal on the road in 2013, winning just once in their last 11 trips.

However, Tottenham are yet to score from open play in the Premier League this term, so backing the home team to win with under 2.5 goals (11/4) may pay dividends. The same bet could be applied on Southampton, who are 5/6 to beat West Ham United but have scored just four goals in their last eight league games.

The Saints are unbeaten in their last four home meetings with the Hammers, who have won only one of their last 15 away games in their Premier League, and backing the hosts to win with under 2.5 goals (3/1) in a double with the same outcome in Tottenham's favour generates odds of 14/1 with Sky Bet.


Courtesy of Opta...

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e made his power play to try and get Sheikhy to raise his wages or trade him to PSG. PSG were probably not interested and he is stuck with no cake and no vacation. @Jay_D> Surely you jest about FFP being real, right? All Platini is doing is making billionaries pay measly fines, so he and his cronies can get rich. If a fool can pay 50 mil for David Luiz, he will happily pay some fine to UEFA. FFP has failed as for it to succeed UEFA had to take it...

Toure: I am staying with City


uess we can expect Toure's explanation of his behaviour around the same time Pete Townshend publishes his book then.

Toure: I am staying with City


amn you Yaya, don't scare me like that! I only ate the icing. I didn't eat the soft and scrumptious middle - I will buy you another cake!

Toure: I am staying with City

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