Richard Buxton: Little between Red Devils and Gunners
In his picks for this weekend's matches, our columnist says two teams in transition won't live up to 'pizza-gate' days
Scalping a second Merseyside club in the space of a week is in the Blades' sights.
But Liverpool will not prove as easy to dislodge in tomorrow's high-noon encounter as Everton proved seven days earlier. Juergen Klopp's side passed their League Cup trip to MK Dons yesterday morning (Singapore time) with flying colours and callow youth at its heart.
Normality is set to be restored with a near full-strength team containing the likes of Sadio Mane, Virgil van Dijk and Georginio Wijnaldum expected to play at Bramall Lane.
The English Premier League leaders' second stringers could probably hold their own against Chris Wilder's newcomers, but even Klopp's sense of adventure will take a backseat with a 30-year title wait on the line.
|CHELSEA||BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION|
"When you know you made a mistake..." Christian Pulisic could be forgiven for wondering whether his tweet from February 2014 was actually a premonition for his Chelsea career.
The United States international found himself overlooked by Frank Lampard for three successive EPL games.
Little wonder, then, that he struggled to make a real impact for the Blues as they ran riot over Grimsby Town in midweek.
But the visit of Brighton offers Pulisic another chance to stake a regular claim as Chelsea look to build on the morale-boosting win over Grimsby.
The Seagulls' winless run in west London will continue in all likeliness, but the same was said of Sheffield's own barren record just four weeks ago.
In the six months since they swaggered across Europe, Tottenham are now in a slump.
Defeat, albeit from a penalty shoot-out, by lowly Colchester United in the League Cup showed how far last season's Champions League finalists have fallen.
Mauricio Pochettino no longer appears to have a plan and is increasingly running out of purpose.
Facing his former club should offer a rare uplift and give credence to the Argentine's missive of togetherness.
Whether a disjointed Lilywhites team can get it together consistently, as has rarely been the case this term, remains to be seen.
Pep Guardiola thrives on duels against Jose Mourinho, so a meeting with his low-budget equivalent in Marco Silva is a welcome one.
Everton also know a thing or two about Man City's current predicament of existing in Liverpool's shadow.
Back-to-back EPL defeats have led to supporter unrest, which threatens to make Silva the fourth managerial casualty at Goodison Park since 2016.
A loss to the champions would nudge the Portuguese closer to the trapdoor, while also allowing David Silva to etch his name into the English top flight's record books.
Should the midfielder feature in a victorious City side on Sunday, he will eclipse former Chelsea star John Terry as the quickest player to rack up 200 EPL victories in 16 appearances fewer.
United's young guns barely scraped past lower-league opposition Rochdale yesterday morning, while Jesse Lingard and Paul Pogba were among established first-teamers who also under-performed.
Arsenal's visit invariably throws up memories of a white-hot rivalry in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
But two teams in transition cannot hold a candle to the days of Roy Keane's finger-pointing and "pizza-gate".
Without urgent redress, United could find themselves losing further ground in a top-six bid, which has yet to even get off the ground this season.