Premier League plotlines: Is Michael Carrick to organise Mourinho’s shapeless United?

Our writers tackle the weekend's Premier League talking points.

 

Must Mourinho send for Carrick?

Jose Mourinho has always been renowned for his ability to build teams, but so far he has failed to impose a sense of order on a group of players battling to shake off the effects of three seasons of underachievement.

Marouane Fellaini was handed responsibility for filling the holding role but the Belgian lacks the quality to control a game from that position and set the tempo of his team.

Paul Pogba is still coming to terms with the tag of being the world’s most expensive player and has yet to establish his role in the team while Wayne Rooney still looks shell-shocked following England’s disastrous Euro 2016.

Meanwhile, Michael Carrick, the one player in Mourinho’s squad capable of restoring order to a muddled midfield, remained on the bench, still waiting for his first league appearance of the season. More displays like this and it surely won’t be long before the 35-year-old is asked to step up by his manager.

Home is where the hurt is for Arsenal?

Three points from a possible six is hardly a crisis, but Arsene Wenger was keen to address Arsenal's home form after seeing his side make it seven from a possible nine with their 4-1 dismantling of Hull.

"Away from home we look more convincing at the moment," he confessed as the Gunners prepare for three of their next four league games at the Emirates Stadium, starting with Saturday's visit by Chelsea.

The Frenchman added: "Losing our first game at home (to Liverpool) was a shock for us and for our supporters and straight away, you have a little bit of scepticism and doubt in your head. It was important for us to win the next home game against Southampton and hopefully now we can show the same quality at home."

Rather than issue a rallying call for supporters to get behind the team, Wenger insists the onus is on his players to spark a reaction from the stands. "The positivity has to come from us," he added. "We have to get the supporters behind us when our performances are convincing, and not the other way around."

Is City’s indiscipline a blessing in disguise for Pep?

Pep Guardiola’s biggest headache might be squeezing all his talent into his team. Though it may have eased his problems that Sergio Aguero was given a three-match ban and Nolito will also miss three games now after his silly headbutt on Adam Smith in the dying minutes of the 4-0 victory over Bournemouth.

Kelechi Iheanacho has stepped into Aguero’s boots with ease, scoring three goals in three while Ilkay Gundogan is now fully recovered from his dislocated kneecap and has already made a huge impact.

Add to that Leroy Sane, who has looked strong from the bench, the irrepressible David Silva and the undroppable Kevin de Bruyne and Guardiola has an embarrassment of riches.

How badly would Spurs miss Harry Kane?

Tottenham have not quite hit their stride yet, with another narrow victory over a struggling team, but they appear well-placed to repeat last season's challenge for the Premier League title.

Wednesday's defeat at Wembley to Monaco, on their return to the Champions League, showed up some of the failings that cost Spurs last season, but their response yesterday was excellent, albeit against a poor Sunderland side, who will surely face another long hard season.

However, Kane’s late injury must be a huge concern, after he limped away from White Hart Lane in a protective boot.

“It was tough, he twisted the ankle," Mauricio Pochettino said. "Now he feels pain and we see tomorrow. It's painful and we need to wait. I'm sure there may be a problem with his ligaments but it's difficult to assess today. We need to wait."

Pochettino has strengthened his side in midfield and attack with the additions of Victor Wanyama, Vincent Janssen and Moussa Sissoko, who made his league debut after appearing as a substitute at Wembley.

And he insists Spurs can cope if Kane is out for an extended spell. “That is why we signed Janssen. We have plenty of options.”

Is there open revolt at Swansea?

Swansea boss Francesco Guidolin has had to deal with a second substitution spat in the space of seven days.

Having publicly fallen out with Neil Taylor after hauling him off before half-time against Chelsea last weekend, Guidolin blasted Ki Sung-yueng's attitude at being substituted at Southampton on Sunday.

Taylor was left out of the squad at St Mary's and now Guidolin will hold talks with Ki after his angry reaction to being replaced in the 66th minute of the Swans' 1-0 defeat.

"This is not a good attitude, I will have to speak to him," he said. "I respect all my players but the relationship between them and me is very important.

"There is no problem with respect between me and the players, in this squad I have found good guys and good players.

"I can understand it, but it's not a good situation."

Guidolin did confirm that Taylor is set to return to the Swansea squad when they face Manchester City in the EFL Cup on Wednesday.

Swansea players once rebelled against a manager as well-regarded as Michael Laudrup so Guidolin may be looking over his shoulder, at least until results improve significantly.


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