Premier League

Spurs fans want a Mourinho side to win, plus more Premier League weekend talking points

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ByMichael Hincks
22/11/2019 at 18:03 | Updated 22/11/2019 at 18:42

The Premier League returns after the international break, and it will start with Tottenham fans wanting a Jose Mourinho side to win. Weird.

That, and three more talking points going into the 13th round of Premier League fixtures.


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Spurs want a Jose side to win

It still doesn’t feel real, but at 12.30pm on Saturday it certainly will, when we see Tottenham Hotspur head coach Jose Mourinho shake hands with Manuel Pellegrini at West Ham’s London Stadium.

The warmth had hardly left Mauricio Pochettino’s office chair when Mourinho was announced as Spurs’ new head coach on Wednesday morning, and just thee days later ‘The Humble One’ will take to the dugout to well and truly kick off his fourth stint as a Premier League manager.

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It’s important to remember amid all the hubbub about this shock departure and swift appointment that Spurs are 14th and winless in five Premier League games.

There is little time for Mourinho to settle in, especially with a Champions League knockout place to confirm as well, and he will be hoping the classic ‘new manager bounce’ will lift his new side up into the top half of the table going into the busy Christmas schedule.

West Ham are 16th themselves and in dire need of a win – this is not an ideal place for Mourinho to begin his Spurs tenure.

Follow the match live here at 12:30 UK time.

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Pressure on Ole

By proxy of Pochettino’s sacking, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer finds himself under greater pressure at Manchester United.

The man many fans wanted in charge at Old Trafford is now free to snap up, compensation free, and though Solskjaer has said he isn’t bothered by Pochettino’s availability, here’s a (not so) bold claim: He will be.

Pochettino’s Spurs project may have ended on a sour note and without a trophy, but with time and little resource he proved he was capable of getting a club to punch above its weight.

United do have the resources, meanwhile, meaning Ed Woodward will no doubt be pondering how that could look with Poch at the wheel.

And like Mourinho heading to West Ham, Solskjaer could have hardly asked for a worse weekend fixture amid all the speculation, with United heading the Sheffield United for a United Derby on Sunday.

The Blades are fifth in the league, unbeaten in five games, and boast the second-best defence in the league behind Leicester. It would not even be a shock if they took all three points against the second-best United as things stand.

Follow Manchester United's trip to Sheffield United here from Sunday at 16:30.

Man City must-win?

It’s another case of an inconveniently tricky match as defending champions Manchester City host Chelsea two weeks after their defeat at Liverpool.

Chelsea are currently flying high under Frank Lampard and defying expectations, meaning Saturday evening’s tie will feel like somewhat of a free shot against City, who find themselves fourth behind the Blues and Leicester in their bid to track down Liverpool.

And with Liverpool facing Crystal Palace in a 3pm kick-off on Saturday, City could start the game 12 points behind Jurgen Klopp’s table-toppers. It’s a big old weekend alright.

Follow Man City's clash with Chelsea from 17:30 on Saturday here.

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Xhaka’s return

While Spurs fans get used to applauding Mourinho, Arsenal supporters will be pondering how they react to Granit Xhaka’s possible inclusion against Southampton on Saturday.

Unai Emery says Xhaka will be in contention for the home game at 3pm, in what could be the midfielder’s first match since telling fans to ‘f*** off’ after he was jeered off the pitch.

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Here’s predicting a mixed reaction, but as is so often the case, the jeers will make the headlines should he actually feature.

How Xhaka reacts, and performs, could perhaps be a defining point in whether he stays at the club beyond January.

See whether Xhaka starts by following live coverage of the game here.

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