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Steven Gerrard under pressure, West Ham vs Spurs and Alexander Isak’s debut: 10 things to look for

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A blockbuster Premier League weekend saw Liverpool hit nine against Bournemouth, Manchester City and Arsenal pull off stunning comebacks and United continue their resurgence under Erik ten Hag – and now we’re set to go again just days later.

Fans are being treated to another 10 matches in midweek from Tuesday until Thursday, with the games coming thick and fast during a shake-up of the fixtures ahead of this year’s World Cup in Qatar.

It might be tough on the legs for the players, but for supporters it adds another layer of excitement to an eventful season already and there are plenty of storylines and factors coming into play for this week’s round of matches.

We’ve got a London derby between Tottenham and West Ham, a boss is in danger of being sacked ahead of a trip to the league leaders, players making potential debuts and managerless Bournemouth looking to rebuild after Scott Parker’s exit. 

Sportsmail has outlined 10 things you should be looking out for during this week’s midweek fixtures. 

The Premier League gave us an exciting weekend of action and another round of fixtures are just around the corner in midweek

COULD IT BE CURTAINS FOR GERRARD?

After Parker’s shock sacking by Bournemouth on Tuesday morning, Steven Gerrard is the frontrunner to be the next Premier League boss axed.

This is a results business and the Aston Villa manager just can’t get them at the moment. He started the season with a 2-0 loss to the newly-promoted Cherries before beating Everton 2-1, but has since suffered a 3-1 loss to Palace before losing 1-0 to West Ham on Sunday. 

With three losses and one win, things aren’t looking great for Gerrard – and some fans already want him gone. Of all the fixtures you could wish for to spark a revival from an out-of-form side, one of the last you would think of is a trip to top of the table Arsenal. 

The Gunners have a 100 per cent record after overcoming Fulham 2-1 with a comeback victory in the dying minutes on Saturday evening, and even though Marco Silva’s men gave them a real test, they showed they are made of steel this season as Gabriel Magalhaes rectified his earlier howler by scoring the winner.

Steven Gerrard (R) is at risk of being sacked by Aston Villa

He will come under huge pressure if his side lose heavily to Mikel Arteta and Arsenal

Steven Gerrard (left) is at risk of being sacked if his Aston Villa lose heavily to Mikel Arteta (right) and Arsenal this week

Arsenal have scored 11 goals, conceding just three, and look a real menace in the league this season with their new-look side – including Gabriel Jesus in attack, Oleksandr Zinchenko in defence and William Saliba at the back.

Surely Aston Villa will have more patience than some fans are showing, but you would expect the heat to be rising on Gerrard if he loses heavily at the Emirates.

Gerrard joined Villa last season and saved them from relegation. Many see him as the successor to Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool but if he was axed this early into the season, it would be a huge blow to his managerial ambitions. 

A FEISTY LONDON DERBY

We’ve got a tasty London derby in the offing and it’s one that usually produces a few fireworks. Unbeaten Tottenham will travel across London to face David Moyes’ Hammers, who started the season poorly but picked up their first win on Sunday.

Their 1-0 victory over Villa last time out will give them confidence – and in perfect time ahead of arguably one of their biggest games of the season. West Ham players always raise their game against Spurs, one of their fiercest rivals, and you should see tackles flying in, perhaps a few scuffles and cards shown. 

Tottenham will be a big test for West Ham after their three wins so far, as well as a draw at Chelsea in which they showed their mean streak. It was dubbed ‘Battle of the Bridge Part II’, with boss Antonio Conte getting involved in a bust-up with counterpart Thomas Tuchel. 

West Ham host Tottenham in what promises to be a fiery and adrenaline-fuelled contest

West Ham host Tottenham in what promises to be a fiery and adrenaline-fuelled contest 

PREMIER LEAGUE MIDWEEK FIXTURES 

TUESDAY

Crystal Palace v Brentford – 19.30

Fulham v Brighton – 19.30

Southampton v Chelsea – 19.45

Leeds v Everton – 20.00

WEDNESDAY

Bournemouth v Wolves – 19.30

Man City v Nottingham Forest – 19.30 

Arsenal v Aston Villa – 19.30

West Ham v Tottenham – 19.45

Liverpool v Newcastle – 20.00

THURSDAY 

Leicester v Man United – 20.00 

So there’s a real possibility you’ll see Spurs getting stuck in with this game. Richarlison has already proven he’s a wind-up merchant having infuriated Nottingham Forest players by showboating – and he’s in line for a start after setting up Harry Kane at the City Ground having replaced the out-of-form Son Heung-min.

Spurs have won their last two meetings against West Ham – while the Hammers won the two before that. 

BATTLE OF THE UNDERACHIEVERS

Both Leicester and Manchester United suffered terrible starts to the season – but only one has managed to push on since then and that’s the Red Devils. 

The two sides certainly have something to prove ahead of their clash at the King Power this week, but it will be Erik ten Hag’s men who go into this one with confidence.

United were staring at another looming crisis after losing their first two matches of the season to Brighton and Brentford – the latter of which was a crushing 4-0 defeat that sent shockwaves around the world.

But things are starting to look up again for Ten Hag’s men having beaten Liverpool and Southampton in successive games. This United team is far from perfect, however, and they still have major weaknesses that Leicester can exploit – and that should give Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers hope. 

Manchester United are on the up again under Erik ten Hag after a turbulent early spell

Manchester United are on the up again under Erik ten Hag after a turbulent early spell 

Brendan Rodgers' Leicester, however, are rock bottom after three defeats and one draw

Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester, however, are rock bottom after three defeats and one draw 

The former Liverpool manager will be scratching his head wondering how to fix their floundering season with the team rooted to the bottom of the table. The club have made just one signing this summer, while James Maddison has been targeted by Newcastle and Wesley Fofana is set to join Chelsea.

The 2015-16 Premier League champions have had a rough patch in the last couple of seasons but it appears to have reached a head now. Thursday night’s game will be an interesting one between two sides who have struggled recently and there is a real opportunity to seize on the uncertainty in both camps.

The match could also see Antony make his United debut. The club are on the verge of sealing an £84m deal for the Ajax star. 

HOW WILL BOURNEMOUTH RESPOND?

How do you come back from losing a game 9-0? It’s not an straightforward task and one Bournemouth will have to tackle without Parker in the dugout.

The former England midfielder was sacked on Tuesday morning – less than three days after his side were thrashed by Liverpool at Anfield – amid a row with the club’s owners over their lack of transfer business this summer.  

Interim boss Gary O’Neil has been asked to inspire a reaction from the Cherries’ squad when they face Wolves at home on Wednesday evening.  

It’s not a terrible game to have given Bruno Lage’s men are below them in the table with just two points from four games, but confidence will likely be at rock bottom following a result which Parker called the worst of his career.

Bournemouth are clearly not up to scratch and look in serious need of more signings – and an experienced new manager – if they are to survive this season.

Bournemouth sacked boss Scott Parker following their 9-0 defeat by Liverpool on Saturday

Bournemouth sacked boss Scott Parker following their 9-0 defeat by Liverpool on Saturday

ARE BRIGHTON SERIOUS EUROPEAN CONTENDERS?

We’re only a handful of games into the new season, but is it too soon to be getting carried away about Brighton?

The Seagulls are currently fourth in the table after three wins and a draw in an impressive start that has seen them beat Manchester United and West Ham away, and in-form Leeds United at home. 

Graham Potter’s men deserve huge credit for pushing on despite losing their two best players in Yves Bissouma and Marc Cucurella, while Neal Maupay has also left, but they haven’t missed them at all yet.

Could Brighton be surprise contenders for European football after their superb early start?

Could Brighton be surprise contenders for European football after their superb early start?

Pascal Gross has banged in three goals, though they’ve only netted five in total and still look a little light when it comes to putting the ball in the back of the net.

Tonight they travel to Fulham, who have also been impressive at times this season and were unlucky to lose late on against Arsenal last time out. 

The Whites have Aleksandr Mitrovic firing on all cylinders finally and this clash will be a real test of Brighton’s mettle as they bid to maintain their unbeaten streak. 

ISAK’S BIG CHANCE

Newcastle hope to have their club-record signing Alexander Isak, who joined from Real Sociedad for £60million last week, available for their trip to Liverpool as they look to secure his work permit in time for him to feature. 

Eddie Howe is desperate to have his new star striker at his disposal for their testing clash at Anfield, knowing Jurgen Klopp’s men have just wiped the floor with Bournemouth and are in confident mood. 

Isak scored just 10 goals last season but netted 17 the season before that in LaLiga, and Howe believes he has the ‘X-factor’ to be a real hit in the Premier League.

Newcastle face a race against time to register Alexander Isak ahead of Liverpool clash

Newcastle face a race against time to register Alexander Isak ahead of Liverpool clash 

Newcastle are still unbeaten in the league and sit in seventh, one point above Liverpool. The two teams have played out some classics across the years and with both sides showing quality this season, it promises to be an exciting encounter.

Howe has revealed that the club have until 75 minutes before kick-off at Anfield for Isak’s work permit to come through in time for him to play a part, which could mean the manager’s team selection is made at extremely short notice.

But with Isak as an option – either from the start or off the bench – Newcastle will fancy their chances of causing an upset against the title challengers. 

ULTIMATE TEST FOR UNPREDICTABLE FOREST

There’s no respite for Forest. Having just played their hearts out against Tottenham, next up is a trip to Premier League champions Manchester City. 

Forest played well and earned credit with their performance despite losing at home to Spurs. They had 17 shots but just one on target, while Antonio Conte’s men were far more clinical.

It’s no surprise Forest have only scored twice since returning to the Premier League. As a team that’s signed 18 players this summer, they were always going to need a transitional period – perhaps one that lasts an entire season. 

Nottingham Forest are still adjusting as a team ahead of a tough trip to Manchester City

Nottingham Forest are still adjusting as a team ahead of a tough trip to Manchester City 

Still, going forward they look like a threat at times with Jesse Lingard, Brennan Johnson and Morgan Gibbs-White. Ultimately, you never know what you’re going to get with Forest, who certainly look like they lack cohesion. It only takes a few of their bizarre corner routines to see they need time to gel.

In defence, they’ve let in five goals – the same amount as their next opponents City. Manager Steve Cooper has tried to keep a solid spine by retaining the same three defenders who helped him secure promotion in Joe Worrall, Steve Cook and Scott McKenna. 

But Spurs were able to carve through them like butter on the counter attack and you do fear for Forest when thinking about the prospect of Kevin de Bruyne and Bernardo Silva putting in balls for Erling Haaland. 

PALACE’S AWFUL DERBY RECORD

It was looking all rosy for Crystal Palace against Man City. Two goals up at the Etihad and all set for the biggest shock of the season – then the second half happened. 

Four goals conceded after the break and their lead was swiftly surrendered. It was a shame for Patrick Vieira’s men, because up until that point it had looked like being an excellent start to the season. They lost to leaders Arsenal first up, drew with Liverpool at Anfield and then beat Villa before causing City some real problems.

Against Brentford they have an opportunity to get back to winning ways, though a major hoodoo appears to stand in their way of success.

In their last 19 games against fellow London sides, Palace have won just twice. Brentford are not a team to take lightly after they took Man United to the cleaners a few weeks ago. Can the Eagles soar above that horrible record? 

Patrick Vieira's Crystal Palace have an awful record in London derbies as they face Brentford

Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace have an awful record in London derbies as they face Brentford

SHACKLES OFF STERLING

There’s always pressure on a big-money forward until you get your first goal for your new club, and Raheem Sterling has that now after netting twice in Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Leicester.

The Blues are looking to the £50m star to score the majority of their goals alongside Kai Havertz after loaning Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan and shipping Timo Werner back to RB Leipzig.

Sterling showed he can be the man to step up and contribute when the chips are down and he’ll fancy his chances of adding to his goal tally against Southampton.

The Saints have a woeful record against Chelsea – letting in 44 goals against them in previous Premier League meetings – and the last meeting at St Mary’s ended in a thumping 6-0 win for the Blues. 

Raheem Sterling can push on for more goals at Chelsea against Southampton this week

Raheem Sterling can push on for more goals at Chelsea against Southampton this week

CAN EVERTON COPE AT ELLAND ROAD?

Leeds’ home ground looks like it could become something of a fortress this season after Jesse Marsch’s men won both of their opening matches there against Wolves and Chelsea. 

The atmosphere Elland Road generates should be a huge boost for the Whites too and already the opposition have admitted the electricity it generates is something they will have to be mindful of.

Speaking before their clash tonight, Everton boss Frank Lampard, who is still waiting for their first win of the season, said: ‘[We] understand that it’s going to be a tough night, a big atmosphere at Leeds.  

Elland Road is becoming something of a fortress for Leeds in the Premier League this season - and Everton are wary of the hostile atmosphere

Elland Road is becoming something of a fortress for Leeds in the Premier League this season – and Everton are wary of the hostile atmosphere

‘Every game is tough in this Premier League, we know that so you can definitely see big signs that we’re getting better. 

‘It’ll be tough. A lot of them [Everton’s players] will be used to that [hostile atmosphere], they’ve played in those things before. [A] calm head [is needed].’ 

Leeds had a wobble last time out after losing to Brighton but can take great confidence from the way they thrashed Chelsea. They’ll feel positive about taking apart a struggling Everton side, who look like they could be in and amongst the relegation candidates again this season. 

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