New Year’s Day felt a bit rubbish football wise didn’t it.
Gone are the days of a packed fixture schedule on the traditional days. It’s watered down to fit the TV companies and in a way it had to happen this year because of the no fans in grounds rule.
But still, New Year’s Day didn’t feel like it usually does.
Anyway, it’s back to it today with the majority of fixtures going ahead at the top but lower down clubs are still suffering the impacts of Covid.
With cases numbers and postponements rising we could see authorities forced into a decision.
Anyway we have some belters as always in the Premier League this week, and here are four to look out for.
Spurs vs Leeds – a dream match up for the tacticians out there
This one should be fascinating and it certainly won’t be boring.
We’re told the respective managers are two of the sharpest minds in world football and we will see that laid bare tomorrow.
Leeds will attack. Home or away, big team or small Bielsa will be sticking to his principles and you can do nothing but admire him for that whether you agree with it or not.
Mourinho’s side will know the danger they face and they will be resolute, tight, compact, but will also have those devastating breakaways in their armoury.
I’m sure Leeds would take a point at the start, but for Spurs a win would address their mini slide and potentially see them climb again.
Crystal Palace vs Sheffield United – Nine pointer for Wilder
You still can’t help but feel sorry for Chris Wilder.
Obviously a great coach from what he did last year, but this year they have been devoid of luck which in turn has left them devoid of points.
They haven’t been far away with a large percentage of their games being lost by a single goal.
This one is very much winnable. Despite taking 19 points already Palace, at times, have been less than convincing.
Could this be the game that Wilder addresses the disastrous start to the campaign.
It has to happen sometime. All it needs is a deflection of a shin, an arm or even an arse. That could flip a season.
Chelsea vs Manchester City – The battle to get back in the big club
Both managers will admit things haven’t been good enough.
Despite City being in a lower position, it has been Frank Lampard who has been more vocally critical of his players in the media.
When that happens, especially after signing so many big names for big money, it can go one of two ways.
He hasn’t dug anyone out individually, but in this day and age when some players are so precious it can turn against a manager.
Both sides, despite less than impressive starts are still there or there abouts and we all know how quickly football can change.
A defeat for City won’t pile huge pressure on Pep despite him being further down the table.
A defeat for Lampard may put the squeeze on his him though.
Southampton vs Liverpool – Tough nut for Klopp or less to break down?
After two games against sides who sat in and played more than two banks of four, I’m sure the Reds will be happy for a change of scenary.
Klopp bemoaned West Brom’s defensive style in their 1-1 draw, then days later his side were left stumped again by Newcastle.
But in Southampton they face a side who like to play more on the front foot, more aggressive and a side that carries more attacking threat going forward.
Will that bode well for Liverpool’s attacking prowess?
It will certainly give their flare players more room to operate, but in turn it will mean Southampton should be in a position, with their quality, to try and expose Liverpool.
And it could be interesting if they concede any needless free kicks around the box to James Ward-Prowse