After a drama-filled international window, the Premier League is back.
With a month-and-a-half to go before the English top flight split up again for the FIFA World Cup in November, it’s shaping up to be a tie-breaker block.
The players will be looking to claim a World Cup place at the last minute as the owners view the World Cup break as an opportune time to bring in a new manager, should they deem it necessary.
But before that happens, a week of exceptional action awaits!
Foxsports.com.au examines the most intriguing storylines from the latest edition of Late mail PL!
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HAALAND’S SCARY SHOT AT UNITED AS RED DEVILS APPLY TO BECOME A FAMILIAR FACE
Erling Haaland’s decision to join City has made him public enemy No.1 on Manchester’s red side, but a recent revelation has further heightened anger.
Manchester City host United on Sunday night in the first derby of the season as Pep Guardiola’s side look to keep the pressure on league leaders Arsenal while the Red Devils look to cause an almighty upset.
Haaland joined the Etihad in the summer and has been a goalscoring machine since his arrival, with 11 goals in seven games.
But his decision to join City was by no means a foregone conclusion, as revealed in a documentary called ‘Haaland: The Big Decision’.
City topped a shortlist of seven clubs which included a who’s who of European heavyweights such as Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich when it came to Haaland’s next club.
However, Manchester United – one of the game’s most historic and biggest clubs – failed to make the cut in another sign of their downfall of late.
One man who will go out of his way to steal Haaland’s headlines is United’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Portuguese superstar is in line for his first club start in seven weeks as Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial both face a race against time to be fit for the Manchester derby.
Neither Rashford nor Martial have fully trained this week and Ronaldo, who just made appearances for Portugal during the recent international break, looks likely to be called up.
The 37-year-old has just one goal for the Red Devils this season: a penalty in a 2-0 Europa League win against Moldovan side Sheriff Tiraspol.
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LIVERPOOL ACE HAVE EIGHT MATCHES TO SHINE AMID THREAT OF ULTIMATE SNUB
Liverpool star Trent Alexander-Arnold’s poor start to the season has set him back so far that he is now the English outfit’s fourth right-back.
England boss Gareth Southgate has selected Reece James and Kyle Walker ahead of Alexander-Arnold for the Three Lions’ UEFA Nations League matches against Italy and Germany despite the 23-year-old’s presence on the team.
And Southgate’s recent comments could give Alexander-Arnold fears for his place in England’s 26-man squad in Qatar, as he believes Kieran Trippier’s ‘all-round game is ahead’ of the Liverpool ace.
Alexander-Arnold has eight league appearances to prove he deserves to be in the final team.
But if he doesn’t, former England international Gabriel Agbonlahor believes Alexander-Arnold needs to take drastic action.
“If I were Trent I would retire from international duty if I didn’t make the World Cup squad,” Agbonlahor told talkSPORT.
“I would retire until a new manager takes over England. 100 per cent.
“What’s the point of getting away from these international breaks? You can stay with your club, rest and prepare for Liverpool.
“For Southgate to come out and say Trippier is better overall than Trent, I think that’s an insult.
Liverpool will take on Brighton at Anfield and many eyes will be watching Alexander-Arnold’s reaction.
You can bet a pair of eyes will belong to Southgate.
ARSENAL FACE ULTIMATE TEST TO PROVE THEY ARE CONTAINERS
It was a North London derby that all but sealed Arsenal’s fate at the end of last season.
The Gunners lost 3-0 to a creeping Tottenham Hotspur side in May last year as their season ended in embarrassment.
But now Mikel Arteta’s side are flying high atop the Premier League after seven games with 18 points.
Still, Spurs are breathing down the necks of their rivals and are just one point behind Arsenal.
The Gunners won six and lost just one, but the defeat came against Manchester United.
They faltered in their first big test, so Arteta needs to prove his side are in contention, not pretenders.
As for Tottenham, Antonio Conte is set to be without star winger Dejan Kulusevski due to a suspected hamstring injury.
Kulusevski has been a revelation on Spurs’ right wing this season but Conte can call on Richarlison and Heung-Min Son to fill the void left by the Swede who is set to miss the derby.
Son scored in South Korea’s matches against Costa Rica and Cameroon, while Richarlison netted three times against Ghana and Tunisia.
LEICESTER PRESIDENT JETS AS PRESSURE MOUNTS ON RODGERS
If Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers thought he was under pressure, he better think again.
Foxes chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, better known as ‘Top’, will be in attendance for Leicester’s crucial clash against Nottingham Forest.
‘Top’ haven’t been one game away from Leicester since a 2-1 loss to Southampton on August 20 due to trade commitments in Thailand, but Rodgers’ side haven’t done much better since and are rooted at the bottom of the ladder.
However, Leicester matches to date have included games against Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham and Chelsea.
Although Rodgers appears to have the chairman’s backing, a home crowd against Forest could turn on the Northern Irishman in an instant with the Reds taking an early lead.
If Rodgers keeps the opposition at bay with a win over Forest, the mood could turn more positive as Leicester take on Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, Leeds and Wolves in the coming weeks.