Monday 23 September 2019

Guardiola v Mourinho and managers under fire – the Premier League talking points

All eyes will be on the Manchester derby on Sunday afternoon.

Pep Guardiola, left, and Jose Mourinho, right, meet in the Manchester derby on Sunday (Martin Rickett/PA)
Pep Guardiola, left, and Jose Mourinho, right, meet in the Manchester derby on Sunday (Martin Rickett/PA)

By Press Association Sport staff

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho are set to renew rivalries during Sunday’s eagerly-anticipated derby.

Elsewhere, Leicester return home for the first time since the death of owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, while under-pressure managers Mark Hughes and Slavisa Jokanovic are desperate for points.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at some of the Premier League’s main talking points ahead of this weekend’s matches.

Pep versus Jose for Manchester pride

Guardiola’s champions face another stern test of their unbeaten record when their near neighbours arrive at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Free-scoring City are favourites for the game, but Mourinho’s United proved last season that they can pull off a surprise success on enemy territory. While City have been winning in style – hitting 23 goals in their last six games in all competitions – United have been scraping narrow victories and relying on late goals. The long-standing rivalry between the two coaches should make for an intriguing tactical battle, as well as adding extra spice on the touchline.

King Power send-off for Srivaddhanaprabha

It promises to be another emotional day for Leicester when they return to the King Power Stadium for the first time since the helicopter crash which claimed the lives of owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and four others a fortnight ago. Burnley’s visit on Saturday comes at the end of a week where the Foxes players and management flew around 12,000 miles to attend Srivaddhanaprabha’s funeral in Bangkok. Leicester won at Cardiff last weekend but manager Claude Puel has warned it will be harder to find the right balance between emotion and concentration this weekend.

Sackings at St Mary’s

Les Reed, pictured to right of Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Southampton’s precarious position was underlined on Thursday with the departures of the club’s vice-chairman Les Reed and technical director Martin Hunter. Saints manager Mark Hughes insists the boardroom changes do not affect his position as manager. But, having gone five top-flight games without scoring prior to last week’s 6-1 drubbing at Manchester City, the Welshman is under pressure to secure a much-needed win at home to Watford on Saturday. Success-starved Saints fans have witnessed just two league victories in a year at St Mary’s.

Can Jokanovic spring Anfield surprise?

Another man searching for an overdue win is Fulham’s Slavisa Jokanovic. The Cottagers spent more than £100million following promotion but slumped to the bottom of the table after Monday’s defeat at fellow strugglers Huddersfield. With the worst defence in the division and five successive top-flight defeats, a trip to unbeaten Liverpool would not have been top of the Serbian’s wish list. Pressure on Jokanovic’s position appears to be mounting week by week and Jurgen Klopp’s hosts will be keen to quickly erase memories of Tuesday’s shock Champions League defeat to Red Star Belgrade.

PA Media

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