Will Jose Mourinho drop Paul Pogba and has Mesut Ozil won his battle with Aaron Ramsey?

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All eyes will be on Stamford Bridge come Saturday evening as Maurizio Sarris pass masters host Jurgen Klopps relentless pressing machine in the first top of the table clash of the new season.

If Wednesdays Carabao Cup aperitif, settled by Eden Hazards goal of the season contender, is anything to go by well be in for a teatime treat, but the Stamford Bridge summit meeting is unlikely to be the only highlight of a packed weekend…

Will Jose Mourinho drop Paul Pogba?

(FILES) In this file photo taken on January 31, 2018 Manchester United's Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho (L) talks with Manchester United's French midfielder Paul Pogba (R) after the second Tottenham goal goes in during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at Wembley Stadium in London. - Paul Pogba has been told by Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho he will never captain the club again while the Portuguese remains in charge, according to reports on September 25, 2018, as tensions between United's star midfielder and manager continue to rise. (Photo by Ian KINGTON / IKIMAGES / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images
The relationship between Paul Pogba and Jose Mourinho has taken another turn for the worse (Picture: AFP)

Already this week Paul Pogba has been stripped of the vice-captaincy, fallen foul of Old Traffords notoriously flaky Wi-Fi signal and received a very public chiding from his manager, but events could yet take a further turn for the worse on Saturday.

Manchester Uniteds 2-2 draw and subsequent penalty shootout defeat against Derby hardly provided cause for optimism ahead of what increasingly looks likely to be an imminent post-Pogba future, but Mourinhos track record suggests he is unlikely to offer an olive branch, even in the short term.

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After three straight wins, Uniteds momentum has ground to a shuddering halt. Mourinho is acutely aware of the need for a win, let alone a convincing performance, but it is hard to envisage the embattled United boss entrusting Pogba with the responsibility of lifting his side from the doldrums.

Will the real Alexis Sanchez turn up?

If anyone is benefiting from the Paul Pogba soap opera, its the goal-shy Chilean forward whose rancid performances have not been subjected to the level of scrutiny they merit on account of the breakdown in the relationship between Mourinho and his now former vice-captain.

Little under two years ago, Sanchez, deployed in a central attacking role, tore West Ham to shreds at the London stadium, scoring a hat-trick in a 5-1 Arsenal win.

Alexis Sanchez in happier times playing for Arsenal against West Ham (Picture: Getty)

His third goal that evening, the product of an outrageous dummy and dinked finish, encapsulate him at his best.

All the inventiveness and instinctiveness that characterised his best performances for Arsenal appears to have drained from his body since his January move and its not as if Mourinho is without decent, if similarly erratic, options to choose from in reserve.

Jorginho v Firmino

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: (THE SUN OUT, THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT) Roberto Firmino of Liverpool celebrates after scoring a goal during the Group C match of the UEFA Champions League between Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain at Anfield on September 18, 2018 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)
Roberto Firmino has scored four goals in his last five starts (Picture: Getty)

The majority of the pre-match focus will no doubt centre on Mohamed Salah and the emerging pretender to his PFA Player of the Year crown, Eden Hazard.

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The Belgium international settled Wednesdays gripping contest with a stunning individual goal, the sort of which came to represent Salahs calling card last season.

Salah is likely to represent a thorn in Chelseas side, despite his supposed dip in form, but it is his partner in crime Roberto Firmino who could be entrusted with a key responsibility.

Jorginho has made an impressive start to his Chelsea career (Picture: Getty)

Jorginho, the metronomic Sarri-ball disciple, has slotted in perfectly at the heart of Chelseas midfield engine room, threatening to rip up the Premier League record books but he wont have come up against an opponent of Firminos ilk many times before.

Liverpools whirling dervish of a centre forward has scored four goals in his last five starts but his defensive attributes mark him out as an essential cog in Jurgen Klopps wheel.

The Brazilian will stick to Jorginho like a limpet on Saturday and whether or not the Italian boasts the mobility and energy to shake his shadow could determine the outcome.

Are Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey incompatible?

Arsenal have withdrawn their contract offer to Aaron Ramsey (Picture: Getty)

Given one had only recently signed a new £350,000-a-week contract and the other had a year left on his deal, it was never likely to be a fair contest, but smiling assassin Unai Emery appears to have put his eggs in Mesut Ozils playmaking basket at the expense of Aaron Ramsey.

Arsene Wengers successor talked up Ramseys importance upon his appointment but it appears as though he has gathered enough evidence to put forward a convincing enough case to suggest Arsenal can do without the Welshmans talents, or that there is no room for both he and Ozil in his preferred system.


Arsenal essentially rendered the German unsellable by affording him such an enormous pay hike in February and are now lumbered, for better or worse, with the former Real Madrid star.

Ramsey, in fairness, can be equally infuriating and wasteful with a return of no goals and two assists in six matches this season owing more to wretched officiating and Alexandre Lacazettes finishing than his eye for a pass.

With a decision now reportedly made and a contract offer withdrawn, there is no real need for Emery to shoehorn both Ozil and Ramsey into his side to face Watford on Saturday.

Is James Maddison ready for an England call-up?

James Maddison is on the verge of a call-up to the senior England squad (Picture: Getty)

As newly promoted Wolves and Derby County proved at Old Trafford this last week, there is an abundance of talent in the Championship these days.

Premier League sides have, perhaps, been guilty in the past of ignoring what has been staring them in the face in recent transfer windows, but that accusation cannot be levelled at Leicester City.

They are yet to consistently get the best out of Demarai Gray, who signed in the January of their title-winning campaign, but summer recruit James Maddison appears to be cut from a different cloth.

The former Norwich midfielder has three goals and an assist already to his credit this season and is already said to be firmly on Gareth Southgates radar. A call-up to the next England squad could be on the cards if hes able to unpick a Newastle defence capable of blunting the divisions sharpest attacks.


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