Another fascinating weekend awaits in the Premier League with the highlight Sunday’s north London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham.
MARTIN KEOWN discusses that as well as the reasons why Alexis Sanchez failed at Manchester United and the England squad named by Gareth Southgate.
Martin was speaking to KIERAN GILL.
Why did Alexis Sanchez fail at Manchester United?
Manchester United are apparently paying £175,000 a week to not have him at the club, and that’s remarkable. That is United admitting they made a mistake by signing him in 2018.
Let’s not forget Manchester City came close to nabbing him first, but the Chilean opted for United instead. I branded him a mercenary at the time, and I stand by that.
Sometimes when you go to a club for the wrong reasons, things don’t go according to plan. I once went to Arsenal’s training ground and Sanchez was there, working out on his day off. That impressed me. It showed his desire.
But those moments of magic we saw with Arsenal never arrived in Manchester. He hasn’t been the same player.
Alexis Sanchez can’t hide his delight at getting away from Man United to sign for Inter Milan
Would United not have been better off keeping Sanchez, though?
The Sanchez deal has been a disaster from start to finish.
It shows you how desperate United were to get rid of him that they have left themselves short in attack as a result of his departure.
Look at Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s options up front now. There’s Marcus Rashford. There’s Anthony Martial, who occasionally gets injured, and Jesse Lingard, who has been criticised lately.
Solskjaer has to hope the attackers at his disposal do not pick up problems. Their trip to Southampton on Saturday is a big one.
United have won only one of their last eight Premier League games. There is pressure on the Norwegian to get back to winning ways.
Now Sanchez has left, United may find themselves short of attacking options if injury strikes
What have you made of David Luiz at Arsenal so far?
Watching Mohamed Salah make a fool out of Luiz last weekend, I could not help but think the Brazilian needs some one-on-one work on the training ground.
He is 32 now but you are never too old to learn. The way Luiz got caught out wide by Salah was particularly poor. The former Chelsea defender is one of those all-or-nothing players.
Instead of dropping off or staying goal-side to Salah, he committed to trying to get the ball. He failed to anticipate that the forward would simply skip by him and score to give Liverpool a 3-0 lead.
We all know what a wonderful passer of the ball Luiz is. I would just like him to get better at defending in these sorts of scenarios.
As a player, I would take things like this personally. I would not want to pick up the newspaper the next day and read about how the man I was supposed to keep quiet took me to the cleaners. I’d find that embarrassing, and I’d want to improve.
I hope Luiz sees it that way too.
David Luiz was run ragged last weekend as Arsenal suffered a 3-1 defeat at Liverpool
What system should Unai Emery use against Tottenham?
Emery loves to chop and change his shape. He showed that last season.
On February 3, for example, Arsenal used a classic 4-4-2 formation against Manchester City. In the following fixture, they used 3-4-3 against Huddersfield.
Next up came a 4-2-3-1 shape against Southampton, then a 3-4-2-1 against Bournemouth.
Even I’m getting confused just thinking about it. As a defender, you like consistency. You like to know what you’re doing. So far this season, Emery has stood by four at the back.
I’d suggest sticking with that for Tottenham, as well as starting their big three in attack. I’d like to see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe all start, but your guess is as good as mine what system he will use!
Unai Emery shouldn’t be afraid to unleash Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette when Arsenal play Tottenham on Sunday afternoon
Should Christian Eriksen start at the Emirates Stadium?
He has to start against Arsenal. Eriksen is too talented to be on the substitutes’ bench.
Throwing him on with half an hour to go against Newcastle and saying, ‘Go on then, go save us the game’, is wrong. Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino is cutting his nose off to spite his face by dropping the Dane.
Does the 27-year-old want to leave? Yes, because he wants to win trophies elsewhere.
But as long as Eriksen is still at Tottenham, they have to use him. Harry Kane, quiet against Newcastle last weekend, can only benefit from having the playmaker behind him.
Christian Eriksen has to start against Arsenal on Sunday to offer Tottenham a creative spark
What did you make of Gareth Southgate’s England squad?
Southgate must be so pleased to see so many English youngsters thriving in the Premier League.
James Maddison earned his call-up. He will bring vision and quality to the Three Lions. People I’ve spoken to who have worked with Maddison say he is one of the best they’ve worked with, and you have to admire that. He will only get better under Brendan Rodgers at Leicester this season.
Mason Mount has performed well for Chelsea, too. There are currently nine British managers working in the Premier League, so English players are going to continue getting chances.
Leicester’s James Maddison thoroughly deserves his England call up for next week’s matches