Loris Karius, Paul Pogba and Sergio Aguero all feature in our 10 talking points ahead of this weekend’s round of Premier League fixtures.
THE SPECIAL ONE RETURNS
This will not be Mourinho’s first time managing against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge – that came in 2010 when he took Inter Milan there in the Champions League. But leading another Premier League team ups the stakes and all eyes and ears will be on the reception the Portuguese receives.
MORE HEAT FOR GUARDIOLA?
Pep Guardiola’s English honeymoon is well and truly over. After winning his first 10 games in charge, the Manchester City boss has seen his side draw two and lose two of their next four. The low point was undoubtedly Wednesday’s 4-0 defeat by Barcelona in the Champions League and he will be desperate for a response against Southampton on Sunday.
AGUERO YESTERDAY’S MAN?
Is Sergio Aguero’s City career nearing its end? Guardiola denied the star striker would be forced out but his absence from the starting XI in the Nou Camp was certainly jarring. Aguero has not scored for City for a month and will hope to end that run this weekend – if given a chance.
BRAVO TO ZERO
Claudio Bravo’s City career has been a rollercoaster ride so far and the goalkeeper’s self-inflicted red card against Barcelona again cast doubt on Guardiola’s wisdom in bringing him to the Premier League. With Joe Hart impressing for Torino, Bravo has a major point to prove.
Another goalkeeper taking time to adapt to the Premier League is Liverpool’s Loris Karius, who looked particularly shaky in the goalless draw with Manchester United last Monday. The German is keeping Simon Mignolet out of the team but knows Jurgen Klopp’s patience will not last forever. He could be in for another uncomfortable afternoon against West Brom.
WIN SEARCH GOES ON FOR SUNDERLAND
With only two more Premier League fixtures left in October, Sunderland’s search for a first win of the season continues. David Moyes has this week had to deal with takeover talk and rumours of Sam Allardyce’s possible return. He will hope that West Ham’s home troubles continue when they visit the London Stadium on Saturday.
GUNNERS SHOOTING FOR EIGHT IN A ROW
At the other end of the table, an eighth successive win in all competitions would give Arsenal top spot for 24 hours at least. On a high after their 6-0 Champions League win over Ludogorets, all appears well in the world of the Gunners. Middlesbrough are the team looking to spoil the run.
POGBA UP AND DOWN
After criticism of Paul Pogba’s performance against Liverpool, the world’s most expensive footballer bounced back with two goals for Manchester United against Fenerbahce in the Europa League on Thursday. The 23-year-old has not managed as yet to find any consistency, and Stamford Bridge would be a timely place for that to start.
TERRY TACTICAL CONUNDRUM?
John Terry is fit to return for Chelsea after an ankle injury but can he slot into a back three? Chelsea boss Antonio Conte switched formation because he was unhappy at how many goals his side were conceding, and they have kept consecutive clean sheets.
CAN HULL BOUNCE BACK?
A 6-1 thrashing by Bournemouth was an inauspicious start to life as permanent Hull manager for Mike Phelan. After the Tigers’ flying start to the season, they have lost five and drawn one of their last six league matches. Saturday’s opponents Stoke, meanwhile, have picked up after a poor opening to the campaign. At least Hull have captain Michael Dawson available for the first time in 2016/17.