Weekend Wanderings: Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham face West Ham while Man City take on Chelsea and Everton Women vs Tottenham Hotspur Women

Alasdair Hooper runs down the matches to watch out for this weekend, as the Premier League returns after the international break.

Despite the fact it was international week, it’s been another action-packed week of football.
 
With Tottenham fans still coming to terms with the surprise sacking of Mauricio Pochettino, and the almost instant appointment of a certain Jose Mourinho, there is much to look forward to this weekend.
 
Here are the games we’ve picked out for you in this Weekend Wanderings.


West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur (Saturday, 12.30pm)

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This game probably would have made the list of featured fixtures anyway thanks to the rivalry between both West Ham and Tottenham.

However, after this week’s news – namely the sacking of Pochettino – it will be the game that has most attention.

It has been 11 months since we last saw Jose Mourinho manage in the Premier League as things appeared to be metaphorically catching fire all around him and Manchester United.

But Tottenham’s new manager has plenty of experience of winning, albeit in a different manner to how Pochettino had his team playing, and West Ham should be very wary.

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are on a dismal run of form themselves anyway and a cheeky tweet from the club’s social media account aimed at Mourinho might just backfire.

After all, the Hammers haven’t won a game since they tweeted a picture of Pellegrini with the caption ‘at the wheel’ following on from their 2-0 win over Manchester United in September. Worrying.


Manchester City v Chelsea (Saturday, 5.30pm)

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Saturday sees a massive top-six clash as Manchester City look to claw back some ground on leaders Liverpool.

You get the sense that Pep Guardiola’s side can’t afford to give up any more ground on the leaders if they are to retain their league title this season.

But for Chelsea it represents another massive test in this young side’s development.

Frank Lampard’s team are very much ahead of schedule, and are an incredibly exciting side to watch play, but it’s big games like this where the young players arguably become unstuck.

The defensive capabilities are still very much a question mark and, with the quality Manchester City have in attack, you know this could be a high-scoring game.

But if Chelsea show a level of maturity here then that could signal yet another positive result as these players show what they’re made of.


Everton Women v Tottenham Hotspur Women (Sunday, 12.30pm)

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After the success of the Women’s Football Weekend, both Everton and Tottenham will want to keep their own feel-good campaigns going.

Willie Kirk’s Everton are arguably one of the surprise packages of the WSL season so far – they currently lie fourth with 12 points.

Last weekend’s 1-0 win over Liverpool at Anfield will be particularly sweet for the side but they are coming up against an equally strong Tottenham team who are exceeding expectations.

Spurs’ own big stadium outing last weekend didn’t go according to plan but there was much to take from their 2-0 defeat to Arsenal, who are one of the league’s best after all.
The work Karen Hills has been doing as coach has more than paid off and Tottenham are only three points behind their opponents this weekend.
This should be a very close and entertaining affair.


West Ham United v Reading Women (Sunday, 3pm)

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If there was an award for the most inconsistent side then West Ham Women might just be the runaway leaders.

You never quite know what you’re going to get from Matt Beard’s team, despite boasting seasoned professionals like Kenza Dali and Gilly Flaherty, but their league position shows just how flak they’ve been so far.

Currently they are eighth with just six points won.

This weekend’s opponents Reading went toe to toe with them for much of last season – who can forget that FA Cup semi-final after all?

This season Kelly Chambers’ team are still floating around the same area as the Hammers, they are just a point and a place better off in the WSL table although they do have a game in hand.

You get the sense that both of these teams could do with some much-needed momentum, this game could be the perfect opportunity to get that going.


AC Milan v Napoli (Saturday, 5pm)

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In among all the Serie A action we have a game that, traditionally, would be seen as a game between two of Italy’s big hitters.

As it happens this Saturday’s game between AC Milan and Napoli is very much a match-up between two of the league’s biggest underachievers.

Milan are having a sorry season by their standards, languishing in 14th, and the pressure is very much on the team.

A loss here to Napoli and their former manager Carlo Ancelotti would set an unwanted club record – never before have AC Milan lost eight in their opening 13 games but that is very much on the cards here.

However, Napoli aren’t in a great place either with the squad at loggerheads with the club hierarchy.

The players refused to go on a recent training retreat at the orders of the club president Aurelio De Laurentiis and that almost led to the departure of Ancelotti.

On Wednesday Napoli’s vice-president Edo De Laurentiis – Aurelio’s son – hit out at the squad and claimed they lacked ‘balls’.

That’s far from the ideal build up for a team fighting to get back into the top four.

Follow Alasdair on Twitter at @adjhooper1992

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