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PL Pulse: Two blockbuster clashes as Manchester United take on Newcastle and Postecoglou’s Spurs face daunting Manchester City test.

01 December, 2023

Insights into this weekend’s Premier League action! Explore our exclusive analysis and tips for key matchups like Man Utd vs. Newcastle, Spurs vs. Man City, Arsenal vs. Wolves, and Liverpool vs. Fulham

Pressure Mounts as Reds Lock Horns with Toon Army

After squandering leads midweek in frustrating European stalemates, wounded Manchester United and high-flying Newcastle collide in Sunday’s early kick off.

The match shapes as season-defining for both clubs still chasing the top four. We preview the heavyweight battle – plus City’s blockbuster bout against Spurs and the full slate of fixtures.

United’s Champions League hopes teeter after letting victory slip through their grasp in Istanbul. But the spirited fightback illuminated a potential pathway out of their malaise.

With Raphael Varane banished from the first team fold and Casemiro sidelined through injury, United’s seasoned stars continue to misfire. Enter Academy graduate Kobbie Mainoo.

Still only 18, the dynamic midfielder dazzled on his full Premier League debut last weekend, outshining far more seasoned teammates in a 3-0 drubbing of Everton.

His guile and poise supplemented the trickery of Alejandro Garnacho, whose audacious scissor-kick contender for goal of the season stole the headlines against the Toffees.

Together, they form an embryonic axis brimming with promise. Qualities in short supply across United’s ageing and inconsistent squad.

But harnessing that talent comes loaded with risk. Boss Erik Ten Hag cannot afford to blood the kids at the expense of results with United already eight points adrift of fourth.

The outcome of Sunday’s acid test at St. James’ Park might crystallise Ten Hag’s thinking. Will he place his trust in the precocious pair to unlock Newcastle’s famously stubborn backline?

Or revert to more conservative selections like Scott McTominay and Marcus Rashford, hoping experience triumphs over exuberance?

How the Dutchman navigates that balancing act could determine whether United mount a genuine top-four push across the slog of winter.


Advantage Toon in Six-Pointer

Across the divide, Eddie Howe’s charges are flying high in second spot as we enter the pointy end of the season.

United’s Champions League capitulation means Newcastle now boast a five-point buffer inside the top four. Victory on Sunday would strike a potentially decisive blow in the race for European qualification.

Yet Howe cannot allow his players to become distracted by loftier ambitions. Their immediate priority is entrenching their unexpected spot near the summit, not gazing wistfully further afield.

United might be struggling for consistency, but they still boast the individual firepower to breach Newcastle’s notoriously stingy backline.

So the template is straightforward for Howe; more of the disciplined, organised and efficient blueprint that has powered their breakout season. Let the likes of Bruno Guimaraes and Miguel Almiron supply the moments of magic going forward.

Two of the league’s form teams collide in a potential six-pointer this weekend. But with both nursing European hangovers, who will empty the tank to claim three invaluable points?

Advantage Newcastle in front of a bouncing St. James’ faithful.

Spurs’ Mettle Faces Acid Test Against Wounded City

Ange Postecoglou’s maiden Premier League campaign confronts its most daunting assignment yet as injury-ravaged Spurs limp to the Etihad Stadium. Manchester City await, determined to reassert their dominance after last weekend’s shock home draw against Liverpool.

Postecoglou’s overachieving charges appeared set to exceed expectations this season. But the harsh realities of tournament football now confront a depleted squad bereft of rhythm after three successive league losses.

Still, the Australian remains characteristically defiant. Postecoglou insists the courageous, high-tempo approach that propelled Spurs’ early season surge won’t be abandoned wholesale after a testing week.

Mitigating factors partly explain their worrying slide down the standings though. Having lost commanding leads across all three defeats, the unavailability of pivotal players proved telling.

Micky van de Ven, the pacey foil for central defensive pillar Cristian Romero, headlined the injury list ahead of daunting trips to City and the Emirates either side of a derby date with the Hammers.

So few expect anything other than a City procession on Sunday evening. The Etihad remains an impenetrable fortress; Liverpool’s late equaliser last weekend halted City’s Premier League record winning streak, but Guardiola won’t tolerate consecutive home slip-ups.

Especially against opponents who perennially trouble them. Spurs boast an imposing recent record against City, winning three of their past four league meetings.

So Postecoglou will doubling down on the fearless approach that defined Tottenham’s early season exploits according to reports. After all, the Australian favours brave failures over timid defeats. Why abandon a formula that propelled Spurs to unexpected heights?

Yet City cannot afford any mishaps this weekend. The draw against Liverpool knocked them off top spot for the first time since August, handing the initiative to high-flying Arsenal.

So Guardiola will welcome back the cavalry as City launch their title defence in earnest. Ederson returns in goal, while John Stones is tipped to slot back into midfield to set the tempo alongside Rodri.

Injuries have largely stunted the England defender’s impact since last season’s outstanding campaign. But with midfield general Kevin de Bruyne absent until the New Year, Guardiola requires Stones’ poise and distribution at the base of a reloaded midfield.

The major selection dilemma surrounds the left wing berth. Jack Grealish’s experience makes him favourite to fend off Jeremy Doku’s energetic threat, despite the Belgian teenager’s eye-catching cameos since arriving from Rennes.

Haaland’s sensational form means Guardiola’s psychological edge over compatriot Postecoglou might prove insignificant on Sunday evening. With City’s array of match-winners purring once more, the defending champions can ill afford further title race slip-ups

Around the Grounds

Arsenal vs Wolves

League leaders Arsenal host Wolves. Arsenal grinded out a win last week to stay top, while Wolves have scored in 14 straight matches across competitions. Both teams finding the net seems likely given Wolves’ scoring run and Arsenal’s league-best defense conceding at least once.


Brentford vs Luton

After losses to the league’s top teams, Brentford should bounce back at home against mid-table Luton. Brentford has scored 3+ goals in recent home wins, while Luton has conceded the most league goals. An open, high-scoring affair is expected.


Burnley vs Sheffield United

Two struggling sides meet, with neither able to defend well lately. Sheffield has allowed the most league goals while Burnley is close behind. With defensive issues for both, an entertaining high-scoring contest could ensue.


Nottingham Forest vs Everton

Despite losing last week, Everton could prove good value against Forest, having lost five of their last six league games. Everton should control this match if they start fast, but the team looks absolutely luckless at the moment, as highlighted in last week’s 3-0 defeat to Manchester United. The scoreline honestly flattered United in that game, but Everton just can’t seem to find the back of the net. 


Bournemouth vs Aston Villa

Despite a morale-boosting win last week, Aston Villa seems generously priced against Bournemouth, who have just one impressive win this season. Villa is capable of a poor performance but should have enough quality here.


Chelsea vs Brighton

Brighton got back on track last week but is without key defender Lewis Dunk due to suspension. However, Brighton’s attack could trouble Chelsea’s defense, which has conceded 4 goals in back-to-back matches. An upset wouldn’t shock.


Liverpool vs Fulham

Liverpool should comfortably defeat a poor Fulham side who needed luck to beat Wolves last time out. At home, Liverpool has scored 3 goals in their last two league matches and should put a few past Fulham.


West Ham vs Crystal Palace

Out-of-form Crystal Palace has lost four of five matches. West Ham may be flat after European competition but their quality should still be too much for Palace at home.



Arsenal v Wolves – Arsenal to win

Brentford v Luton – Brentford to win

Burnley v Sheffield United – Burnley to win

Nottingham Forest v Everton – Draw

Newcastle v Manchester United – Newcastle to win

Bournemouth v Aston Villa – Aston Villa to win

Chelsea v Brighton – Draw

Liverpool v Fulham – Liverpool to win

West Ham v Crystal Palace – Draw

Manchester City v Tottenham – Manchester City to win


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