The key storylines in Saturday’s Premier League action
Toffees’ goal ace & new Swans gaffer
There are seven Premier League games on the cards this Saturday. Two of the bottom three face crucial clashes, with Swansea City hoping their new boss can have an instant impact.
Higher up the table, Manchester United and Everton both face intriguing tests against South Coast opponents.
Once again, the Coral News Team have been casting their eye over the major talking points ahead of Saturday’s key fixtures.
Swans boss looking to spark instant revival
Things have not gone well at the Liberty Stadium this season. Swansea sit bottom of the table, having scored just 11 goals in 20 games. And reports suggest they could well lose key defender Alfie Mawson in the January transfer window.
However, could newly-appointed manager Carlos Carvalhal be the answer to fans’ prayers?
The Portuguese boss helped turn Sheffield Wednesday from mid-table also-rans to promotion challengers in the Championship within half a season. He has the same time frame to transform the Swans from relegation favourites to Prem survivors.
Saturday sees a visit to a Watford side who have collected just four points from seven games. With a talented new manager installed, the away side could well improve on recent results.
Will Jose fix Red Devils’ wasteful ways?
Jesse Lingard snatched a point for Manchester United on Boxing Day, with the 25-year-old’s brace cancelling out Burnley’s 2-0 lead at Old Trafford.
But after three winless games – including defeat to Championship Bristol City – something has to change. Despite having over 70% possession against the Clarets, and 24 shots to three, it took Jose Mourinho’s men until the 91st minute to equalise.
In recent weeks, United have played with a system focusing on wide men. But having fired in one cross after another to little avail in those games, it could now be time for a new approach.
With target men Romelu Lukaku and Zlatan Ibrahimovic largely ineffective in recent weeks, the Red Devils could be better off relying on pace and passing this weekend.
Their opponents are Southampton. The Saints are enduring a miserable run of form, and could prove ideal fodder for a United side needing to rejuvenate – and maybe reinvent – itself. The hosts are 4/11 to return to winning ways on home turf, while Lingard to Score Anytime is a 19/10 shot.
Roo could be Toffees’ difference-maker again
Following solid goalless draws against Chelsea and West Bromwich Albion, Sam Allardyce will be expecting Everton to offer more up front at AFC Bournemouth.
The Toffees’ main man in this fixture had been Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian had netted six times in five meetings with the Cherries. Without him, they were fortunate to scrape a 2-1 comeback win at Goodison Park in September’s meeting.
With Eddie Howe’s men fighting for their lives at the wrong end of the table, they’ll be desperate to shore things up on Saturday. But Wayne Rooney could well prove their undoing.
The 32-year-old has netted three times in Everton’s last five games, and has registered twice against the Cherries in four meetings.
Up against an ageing and disorganised Bournemouth backline, Rooney’s diminishing pace will be no real issue. And he’ll likely get the time and space needed to prove his deadly accuracy in front of goal.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing