KAMPALA: Two of the foremost candidates to step into England’s managerial hot seat collide in a battle of wits when Newcastle United lock horns with Chelsea at St James Park on Saturday evening. Eddie Howe has spectacularly restored his exalted reputation, having suffered the ignominy of relegation with Bournemouth. His Magpies have accumulated the third highest points tally this calendar year, sit third in the standings and boast the Premier League’s meanest defense going into the World Cup break.
Graham Potter’s Chelsea tenure is encountering a number of bumps. The Stamford Bridge club’s four match winless run has seen the west Londoners tumble down the Premier League table with many a pundit questioning the tactics and team selections of the former Ostersund, Swansea and Brighton Hove Albion gaffer. Potter has especially taken flak for the deployment of pint sized Spaniard Marc Cucurella at centre back and Three Lions World Cup bound striker Raheem Sterling as a wing back.
Potter received welcome support from the division’s top rated boss Pep Guardiola but knows time is of the essence if he is to guide the Stamford Bridge club to a top four slot that guarantees qualification into the money spinning Uefa Champions League. Not a single player has improved during his brief tenure yet Howe can point to Qatar 2022 bound Callum Wilson, Nick Pope, Bruno Guimares and Fabian Schar, plus Paraguay wing flyer Miguel Almiron and Brazilian midfield powerhouse Joelinton as players directly benefitting from his excellent tutelage.
Champions Manchester City have a fabulous chance to put leaders Arsenal under extra pressure when they host Brentford in Saturday’s early kick off. Leading marksman Erling Braut Haaland is poised to return to the starting line up, having missed City’s 2-0 Carabao Cup victory over Chelsea. Former La Roja boss Julen Lopetegui makes his Wolverhampton Wanderers managerial bow as his side tests compatriot Mikel Arteta’s Gunners.
Manchester City v Brentford,
Bournemouth v Everton,
Liverpool v Southampton,
Nottingham Forest v Crystal Palace,
Tottenham Hotspur v Leeds United,
West Ham United v Leicester City,
Newcastle United v Chelsea,
Wolves v Arsenal
Brighton Hove Albion v Aston Villa,
Fulham v Manchester United