The transfer window may be shut but that has not stopped my colleague Will Unwin from breaking transfer news!
The Fifa ban on Brazilian players this weekend is still hanging over Premier League sides. There is still a possibility that the Premier League and Fifa come to some sort of late agreement given the unprecedented circumstances that led to them not travelling but, as yet, nothing has been thrashed out. Five teams are affected: Liverpool (Alisson, Fabinho, Roberto Firmino), Manchester United (Fred), Manchester City, (Ederson and Gabriel Jesus) Chelsea (Thiago Silva) and Leeds United (Raphinha). I’ll bring you any news as it comes in.
Good morning. All eyes will be on Manchester United’s returning No 7 at Old Trafford on Saturday. Expect cameras to focus on every stretch, yawn and mumbled word if, as expected, his second coming begins on the bench. If you’re in the UK, don’t expect to see such riveting TV live, as the 3pm blackout means you will have to wait for Match of the Day. There’s nothing wrong with that, mind. It’s nice to be reminded that, even in this “gotta have it NOW!” society we can still be made to wait. For further reading on Ronaldo, this piece by Max Rushden is a good one on why the Portugal star’s return should provoke awkward conversations as well as excitement.
Here are the full weekend fixtures in the Premier League (Sat 3pm BST unless stated otherwise):
- Crystal Palace v Tottenham (Sat 12.30pm)
- Arsenal v Norwich
- Brentford v Brighton
- Leicester v Man City
- Man Utd v Newcastle
- Southampton v West Ham
- Watford v Wolves
- Chelsea v Aston Villa (Sat 5.30pm)
- Leeds v Liverpool (Sun 4.30pm)
- Everton v Burnley (Mon 8pm)
Of those matches, the basement battle between Arsenal and Norwich looks to be a vital one for Mikel Arteta. The pressure will be intense if the Gunners fail to win that one against a side who are more than a little generous in their defending. Tottenham, meanwhile, have the chance to extend their 100% record under Nuno and take a five-point lead at the top before anyone else plays.
Leeds v Liverpool at a packed-out Elland Road on Sunday brings back memories of some fine clashes of old. I’ll also bring you any news on Fifa’s plans for a biennial World Cup after Uefa threatened a boycott. Julian Nagelsmann travels back to Leipzig as Bayern manager on Saturday evening and, in case you missed it last night, Lionel Messi was in scintillating form for Argentina, scoring a hat-trick to break Pelé’s record as South America’s top male international goalscorer. There’s a full schedule of WSL matches this weekend, too. I’ll keep you up to speed on any news ahead of those.