Premier League Tactical Preview: Yedlin v Redmond and other key battles

Newcastle manager Rafa Beniteee
Newcastle are in big trouble if they lose to Southampton this weekend.
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Alex Keble returns with his tactical analysis for the big Premier League games, including why Chelsea and Arsenal could be in for yet more misery...

"At the other end, the constant positional errors of Petr Cech and Laurent Koscielny should allow Troy Deeney and Richarlison to bully Arsenal."

Manchester United v Liverpool

Sanchez tackling back v Klopp's midfield
Saturday, 12:30 GMT, Live on Sky Sports Premier League

Liverpool's defensive improvements continue to be overlooked. Jurgen Klopp's side rarely concede goals in the Premier League these days, largely because their front three are forcing opponents into retreat, but also because their central midfield has become considerably better at screening the back four. Man Utd will follow this pattern, defending in a deep block at Old Trafford to limit space behind for Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

In a game with a predictable tactical pattern of attack versus defence, in which Jose Mourinho is likely to produce another low-scoring game, the notable key battle is between Alexis Sanchez and the Liverpool midfield. The Chilean was much improved after moving into the centre during the second half at Crystal Palace, building on his central attacking midfield display the previous weekend against Chelsea. Assuming this means he starts in the middle, Sanchez's tireless running and tackling back could hurt Liverpool on the break.

Michail Antonio's goal for West Ham at Liverpool came after Cheikhou Kouyate tackled Emre Can in the middle of the park with Klopp's side already bursting forward; it is on the counter-counter that United can grab a goal on Saturday. However, unless Sanchez catches the visitors on the ball it is unlikely United will be confrontational enough to break with intent, making another dreary 0-0 the most likely outcome.

Recommended Bet
Back under 1.5 goals at 29/10 (Sportsbook)


Newcastle United v Southampton

Yedlin v Redmond
Saturday, 15:00 GMT

Newcastle have conceded just four goals in their last six home league games - but have scored just three in that time, reflecting Rafa Benitez's increasingly conservative tactics as he looks to crawl over the line. Southampton are on the up, at least stylistically if not in terms of results, and so with Mario Lemina in superb form defensively they should be considered slight favourites to win this crucial relegation six-pointer.

Nathan Redmond, combining with Ryan Bertrand down the left, could win Saints the game. Prior to Liverpool's 2-0 win over Newcastle at Anfield last weekend (in which the hosts consistently attacked through the centre of the pitch) Benitez's team have looked very vulnerable down their right. Right-back DeAndre Yedlin struggled badly against Ryan Fraser at Dean Court (both of Bournemouth's goals came down that side) and could not contain Wilfried Zaha in the 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace.

Redmond was very impressive against Stoke City, completing four key passes and seven dribbles, to build on his man-of-the-match display in the 1-1 draw at Burnley (four key passes, five dribbles). Eventually the English winger's good form will translate into goals and wins for Mauricio Pellegrino; his trickery on the inside left should hurt Yedlin.

Recommended Bet
Back Southampton to win at 9/5 (Sportsbook)


Chelsea v Crystal Palace

Rudiger & Alonso v Townsend & Aaron Wan-Bissaka
Saturday, 17:30 GMT, Live on BT Sport 1

Chelsea's developing crisis could get even worse this weekend when Crystal Palace visit Stamford Bridge, with the visitors looking particularly strong down the right against Man Utd on Monday night - which is exactly where Chelsea are weakest. The threat of Andros Townsend and Aaron Wan-Bissaka might not be enough to win points, but Palace should get on the score sheet.

Wan-Bissaka is an outstanding athlete, bombing up and down the right to great effect. He has helped make the right flank Palace's strongest area, with Townsend similarly energetic and hard-working on the counter. Together, they should cause serious damage against Antonio Rudiger and Marcus Alonso, who have looked confused and lethargic recently.

They managed just two tackles and one interception between them against Manchester United - and didn't fare much better last weekend. It was Alonso who switched off at the far post to allow Bernardo Silva to score the winner.

Recommended Bet
Back Both Teams To Score at 23/20 (Sportsbook)


Arsenal v Watford

Arsenal's shaky defence v Watford's aggression
Sunday, 13:30 GMT, Live on Sky Sports Premier League

Arsenal's run of four straight defeats culminated in a remarkably gutless display at Brighton last weekend, and although they are considerably more confident at the Emirates, the Gunners nervousness hands Watford a crucial advantage. Javi Gracia's side, on a run of three wins from their last four league games, will use a narrow high-press to counter the hosts.

Injuries have forced Watford to move back to a 4-2-3-1 formation, but this has at least solidified central midfield for the Hornets, which should mean Arsenal struggle to play with enough tempo to break them down. It is easy to envisage Etienne Capoue and Abdoulaye Doucoure forming a strong defensive shield that prevents Henrikh Mkhitaryan or Mesut Ozil from finding the space they crave.

At the other end, the constant positional errors of Petr Cech and Laurent Koscielny should allow Troy Deeney and Richarlison to bully Arsenal. As Watford press aggressively (they commit the second most fouls in the division, 11.7 per match) the hosts will begin making mistakes... which should allow the more cohesive and hungry team to collect at least a point.

Recommended Bet
Back double chance Watford/draw at 6/4 (Sportsbook)

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