The first international break of the 2020/21 Premier League season is over and the managers are out in full flow for more press-conferences ahead of another gameweek. There is a lot to say after what has been an intense two weeks and a pandemic surrounded season, things get even more complicated.
Arsenal and manager Mikel Arteta face Pep Guardiola and his Manchester City side with the duo battling each other for the first time since the FA Cup semi-finals. On that particular occasion, the Gunners walked out as the winners but things have changed, for both sides, since then. That saw Arteta’s presser dominated by questions about City, Arsene Wenger and Thomas Partey.
“Our ambition is to go there and try to beat them again. We know the challenge, we know how hard it is. Every detail, every individual performance has to be top. We have to control a lot of aspects of the game against them that might be very different from the ones we had to control against Sheffield. We have to be able to adapt as a team when we face this kind of opposition.”
With the defeat to Tottenham still running through a lot of minds, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer faces a tough next few days although things might ease up going forward. The Red Devils did make three new signings before the transfer window closed as Edinson Cavani, Alex Telles and Facundo Pellistri joined the club which dominated the presser. That wasn’t the only subject with questions asked about the player’s mindset, Big Picture and more.
“Of course, we know we have started the season badly and that game ended really badly. We started [it] well but after the sending off, with ten men we couldn’t hold on or get back to getting a result. When we got the 3-1 just after the sending off, I think that was [when] the extra hope maybe went.
“We know we have to perform better but then again, we’ve now had two weeks to think about it, work on it, the ones who were here in the group. And the others that went to the internationals, they’ve had both positive and negative experiences.”
Having signed another player, Joe Rodon from Swansea City, Tottenham have ended the transfer window on a high once again. However, with Gareth Bale reportedly fit again for selection combined with Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min’s form, it certainly provides a few selection headaches for Jose Mourinho. That was one of many questions answered by the Spurs boss and he also had a pop at former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.
"Almost, but with us coaches it's always about almost. Unless you're a privileged guy in a team that doesn't respect financial fair play. More than I was expecting. Even with my analysis I didn't expect us to go as far we did. I can only praise the board and I can see in the players that feeling I love that they are happy but worried. They can see the squad getting better but they're worried about whether they'll play or not. That's the feeling I love to see and big clubs have that."
The Blues face Southampton after the international break but Super Frankie’s press conference was dominated by talk about all his new signings. Ben Chilwell, Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic are reportedly fit again while Edouard Mendy injured himself during the break. Not only that the Chelsea boss was asked about the players on the fringes of his squad, Project Big Picture and various other questions.
“Any team that wants to compete needs more than one player per position. It needs to be competitive. We've brought in players and quality levels... of course you want to improve. Yeah, there's a culmination of things. We're looking to build relationships all over the pitch. Those things can only be worked on. We're seeing players we got in are getting fit. We've a lot of work to do. Not the end product. There are teams that have shown how long it takes to be a top team. We're at the start of that journey. The work has begun but it continues.
The Champions sit fifth in the table, after a humbling defeat to Aston Villa, and will be itching to bounce back having had two weeks to steam on it. Reports have indicated that Jurgen Klopp fired his squad after that and with a game against rivals Everton, it allows them a chance at a comeback. The Toffees sit top of the points table for now and it saw Jurgen Klopp’s presser dominated by questions about Everton, Carlo Ancelotti and Big Picture.
“They did some good business and Carlo is a sensational manager. It was clear if he has time to build something and resources to build something, that is what he will do. The team look really, really good. I'd like to say something different. A lot of teams made good business in this window and they will all improve."
A two-game winless run, with a loss to Leicester City and a draw against Leeds, has many concerned for Manchester City and Pep Guardiola. There have even been calls for the Spaniard to be sacked and replaced by anybody else but something tells us that it won’t happen. Even then, the biggest talking point ahead of the weekend was projected as Big Picture with many concerned as to how Guardiola saw it. They face the Gunners and Guardiola’s former assistant in the form of Mikel Arteta which also dominated his presser.
“I want the best for football and the best for English football. I don’t have an opinion, first because I didn’t listen to the hypothetical suggestions. What I want is the best for football. I am a big fan of local teams because I came from one of those - so League One, League Two in Spain and Catalonia. I don’t know honestly what exactly is the situation. I remember in Catalonia with Barcelona and here in England when I arrived in the Premier League.
“There was an incredible amount of pessimism around the Premier League, a lot was said about it wouldn’t be good and they should have stayed with how it was before. And after, the PL is now maybe the best league in the world for many, many reasons. But I don’t have an opinion, I just want the best for football and make the Premier League as strong as possible and of course for the local teams because the towns and villages love their own teams and that is the point. I am pretty sure they will find the best solution for football.”