The Premier League will be back this weekend, and we’re looking forward to some intriguing matchups. While their team was unconvincing and fortunate in their midweek draw with Leicester and the win against Manchester United that preceded it, Everton fans will be unconcerned about how their players perform or how many goals they score as long as they can keep accumulating enough points to keep them ahead of Burnley in the table.
As they peak at the proper time, there appears to be no limit to the number of Liverpool players determined to lead them to the crown. Manchester City, on the other hand, has looked exhausted in recent weeks and needs an individual saviour to keep them top of the Premier League.
In recent weeks, Manchester United has gone AWOL on Merseyside twice, while Arsenal has been losing against anyone from south of the Thames. After breaking out of their funk by thrashing Chelsea, they should be able to do it again here – though one strange aspect of United’s poor season has been how they’ve picked up points against their immediate rivals, beating Spurs and West Ham twice apiece and Arsenal once.
Here are some of the key quotes from the manager pre-match press conference leading to this weekend’s fixtures:
- Pep Guardiola calls Erik ten Hag a top class manager and congratulates him on the United job: “Just watch his Ajax in the last years and you will see his qualities.”
- Pep Guardiola: “[Kyle Walker] is getting better. We will see tomorrow. [John Stones had] a niggle. Little problems, like Nathan [Ake]. Today we make an assessment, tomorrow we decide.”
- Jesse Marsch: “We had an unfortunate injury with Adam Forshaw two days ago. He took a knock in a collision and fractured his knee cap. It’s a six-week injury, so that puts him out for the season.”
- Arteta says that Manchester United announcing Erik ten Hag before they face Arsenal won’t affect the game : “For us nothing changes.”
- Arteta on whether Eddie Nketiah will start again: “We will see, let’s see how recovers, how everybody is, and we’ll try to put the best possible team tomorrow to win the game.”
- Arteta on Lacazette: “He trained yesterday and hopefully he will be feeling [good] today. After Covid, we have players that have struggled for weeks, others have recovered quicker. Let’s see. Hopefully, he can recover quickly.”
- Ralf Rangnick is questioned on the potential ins and outs at Manchester United in the summer for Erik ten Hag: “It will be a significant change and rebuild necessary.”
- Ralf Rangnick: “Scott McTominay will be back and fit to play. The same with Rafa Varane and obviously Cristiano Ronaldo is available again. All the other [recent absentees] are still injured plus Paul Pogba.”
- Rangnick on Pogba: “After the scan we did the day before yesterday, it’s very unlikely he will play until the end of the season again. The doctor told me that it will take four weeks minimum for him to recover.”
- Jurgen Klopp says he loves the merseyside derby and would miss it if Everton were to be relegated this season: “I hope they [Everton] stay in the league, the merseyside derby should always be on the fixture list.”
- Jurgen Klopp: “Not that I know yet, no other problems. Bobby [Firmino], getting better and better, it’s just uncomfortable, painful. So we have to make sure. Today, first day on the pitch. Still two days to go, so maybe.”
- Jurgen Klopp: “If Bobby gives the thumbs up, then he will be involved. If not, then we wait another few days but I think after that it should be possible.”
- Frank Lampard is looking forward to managing Everton in the Merseyside derby: “What have you been told this week about this game?” Frank “Not so much I’ve been at the training ground and my flat.”
- Steven Gerrard calls Erik ten Hag a good appointment for United but understands nobody who supports the club will be listening: “No one in Manchester will care what I say about Manchester United.”
- Thomas Tuchel’s response to whether Sir Lewis Hamilton being an Arsenal fan bothers him: “That might explain something regarding two days ago.”
- Antonio Conte does not rule out the possibility of Tottenham re-signing Christian Eriksen: “When you have this type of player, great player, a good man, every manager and coach likes to work with them.”
- Mike Jackson dismisses the idea that he’s teaching the Burnley players to do anything massively different: “The players have just remembered who they are and what they’re good at.”