April 16, 2021, 4:50

Premier League questions: Will Romelu Lukaku end drought? Can Mauricio Pochettino do it at a ‘big six’ side?

Premier League questions: Will Romelu Lukaku end drought? Can Mauricio Pochettino do it at a ‘big six’ side?

The Premier League is back and we have a question for every game.

Arsenal v Tottenham kicks off the action on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Premier League, before Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City are all in action on a busy Saturday fixture list.

David Moyes takes charge of West Ham for the first time on Sunday against Watford, which is live on Super Sunday, and Brighton host Stoke City on Monday Night Football.

Can Pochettino do it on the road against a top-six rival? (Arsenal v Tottenham, Sky Sports Premier League from 11.30am on Saturday)

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has been lavished with praise for his work progressing Spurs into a genuine force, yet one area continues to hold them back. Under Pochettino, Spurs have a miserable record against the fellow ‘big six’ when playing away from home, winning just one of his 16 matches in charge.

No side has won more Premier League away games in 2017 than Tottenham (10), while the Lilywhites have also scored a league-high 37 goals on the road in this calendar year, which makes their struggles on the road against the big teams even more of a conundrum.

Arsenal vs Tottenham

November 18, 2017, 11:30am

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The chances of improving their record this weekend at The Emirates does look plausible though as Pochettino has led Spurs to three consecutive 1-1 draws in this fixture and remains unbeaten against Arsene Wenger in north London derbies.

Can Man City make it six of the best away from home? (Leicester v Man City, Saturday, 3pm)

Pep Guardiola’s rampaging side roll into Leicester on Saturday afternoon with the hope of maintaining their outrageous start to the Premier League campaign. City are bidding to become only the second team to win their first six away games in a Premier League campaign, after Chelsea in 2008-09 (won their first eight).

However, Leicester look revitalised under Claude Puel and have won two of their last three Premier League meetings with City, including a 4-2 win in this exact fixture last campaign, where Jamie Vardy netted his first and only Premier League hat-trick.

Will Tony Pulis hold back the turning tide from his own supporters against Chelsea? (West Brom v Chelsea, Saturday, 3pm)

The last team Tony Pulis would have wanted to welcome this weekend would’ve been Chelsea.

Pulis, whose West Brom side are winless in their last nine, has lost 12 Premier League games as a manager against Chelsea, including the last two meetings at The Hawthorns.

Many West Brom fans have made their feelings clear about the lack of imagination shown by Pulis, who has been in charge since 2015. Along with chants for him to go in their recent defeat at Huddersfield, banners reading “Pulis out” and “Do one Tony” were seen at the Grand Slam of Darts during the week in nearby Wolverhampton.

Can Virgil van Dijk impress in front of the watching Jurgen Klopp? (Liverpool v Southampton, Saturday, 3pm)

Liverpool had trouble breaking down Southampton’s defence last season. The two sides met four times in all competitions with Liverpool failing to win and score in all four contests (W0 D2 L2). Saints centre-half Virgil van Dijk played in two of those games and his influence on the team is growing following a turbulent period of injuries and transfer speculation.

He’s likely to start at Anfield, which will give him a chance to show Jurgen Klopp what he missed out on after talks broke down between the two clubs over a £50million transfer.

Can goal-shy Tom Ince turn chances into goals for Huddersfield? (Bournemouth v Huddersfield, Saturday, 3pm)

Despite their fantastic start to life in the Premier League, goals have been hard to come by for Huddersfield, especially on the road. Since winning their first ever Premier League away game 3-0 against Crystal Palace, the Terriers have failed to score in their subsequent four away days.

It’s not through the want of trying though.

No player has had more shots without scoring in the Premier League this season than Huddersfield’s Tom Ince (27 including blocked, level with Nathan Redmond). The winger has started every Premier League game since moving from Derby County in the summer and surely isn’t far away from matching his high energy performances with goals for David Wagner’s well-drilled side.

Will England international Jack Cork show Swansea what their missing? (Burnley v Swansea, Saturday, 3pm)

Jack Cork earned his first senior England cap last Friday against Germany at Wembley – showcasing just how much his influence has played a part in Burnley’s strong start to the season.

Cork was snapped up for £10million from Swansea in the summer by Sean Dyche as Paul Clement replaced him with midfielders Roque Mesa, Sam Clucas and Renato Sanches, who have all struggled to make their mark.

Swansea toiled in their previous fixture at home to Brighton, losing 1-0 in front of a disgruntled Liberty Stadium, where a lack of bite in midfield was clear to see. Cork will be hoping to win that battle this weekend.

Is time running out already for Palace? (Crystal Palace v Everton, Saturday, 3pm)

If Crystal Palace suffer defeat on Saturday, they’ll equal the record for fewest points after 12 games in a Premier League season. The current record stands at just four points, currently held by Everton in 1994/95 and QPR in 2012/13.

However, despite sitting bottom of the table with just four points, there is reason for hope. Palace will have felt aggrieved to have left Wembley pointless in their last game against Tottenham after spurning a number of presentable chances, while third-choice Tottenham goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga was also called upon to make several impressive saves.

Their attacking intent is demonstrated by the fact Palace have the eighth highest expected goals tally so far (13.81).

Will Romelu Lukaku end his goal drought against the Toon? (Manchester United v Newcastle, Saturday, 5.30pm)

After scoring 11 goals in his first 10 games for United, Lukaku has since gone seven without a goal, firing in just five shots on target in this period as Jose Mourinho’s men have lost their mojo slightly.

Lukaku looked in good shape for Belgium over the international break, scoring twice in a friendly win over Mexico. He feels the reason the goals have dried up is due to a lack of service.

“Lately we haven’t performed like we did at the start of the season, we started by blowing teams away, being dominant and creating chances,” Lukaku told Sky Sports.

“But in the last few weeks we didn’t play at the same level and that made it more difficult for me.”

Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku ended a run of seven games without a goal when he scored a brace for Belgium against Mexico on Friday.

Who can return to form after a tricky few weeks as David Moyes returns to the Premier League? (Watford v West Ham, Super Sunday, live on Sky Sports Premier League 4pm)

David Moyes is back, and though a trip to Vicarage Road may have been a daunting task a few weeks back, West Ham have a few reasons to be hopeful going into Super Sunday.

Watford vs West Ham

November 19, 2017, 3:30pm

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After a strong start to the season, Watford have picked up zero points from their past three, while West Ham have only earned one, meaning Saturday takes on extra importance as we approach the busy winter period.

The Hammers need a win, and fast. Their December looks daunting, with Man City, Arsenal (twice) and Tottenham all to play before the new year, meaning Sunday is just about West Ham’s biggest game of the season.

Can Brighton consolidate a place in the top half? (Brighton v Stoke, Monday Night Football, live on Sky Sports Premier League, 8pm)

Having won two out of three and gone four unbeaten, Chris Hughton’s Brighton have lifted themselves to the heady heights of eighth in their first Premier League season.

Brighton vs Stoke

November 20, 2017, 7:00pm

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But as we’ve seen plenty of times before, a strong start for newly-promoted side does not guarantee safety come May, and Hughton will be desperate to prolong his side’s good form well into the winter.

They host Stoke on MNF, who are on a mini-revival after some poor results in September and October, and a win for Mark Hughes’ side could see them jump up into the top half.

Source: skysports.com

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