Ranieri return to Leicester and carry on Carrick – Premier League talking points

Patrick Vieira and Steven Gerrard will lock horns once again as Palace tackle Villa.

By Press Association Published: 26 November 2021 - 1.23pm

Claudio Ranieri will return to the scene of his fairytale title success as Watford head for Leicester this weekend.

There will also be a reunion of sorts at Selhurst Park, where Patrick Vieira and Steven Gerrard will renew a rivalry off the pitch which began on it.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look a some of the talking points surrounding the latest round of Premier League fixtures.

Dilly-ding, dilly-dong

Whatever else Watford boss Claudio Ranieri has achieved during his long and varied career, he will be remembered forever in England for his unlikely Premier League title charge with unfashionable Leicester in 2016. The 70-year-old will return to the King Power Stadium on Sunday, this time in the opposition dug-out, but he is certain to take his seat to a rapturous welcome from the locals.

Carrick on regardless?

Manchester United interim manager Michael Carrick during the Champions League victory over Villarreal
Manchester United interim manager Michael Carrick during the Champions League victory over Villarreal (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Michael Carrick will hope for more of the same as Manchester United attempt to thrash out a deal to bring in Ralf Rangnick as interim manager in the wake of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s departure. The former United midfielder took charge for Tuesday night’s Champions League trip to Villarreal and emerged with a creditable 2-0 victory. His task on Sunday, however, is likely to prove even more testing with the Red Devils heading for Stamford Bridge to face a Chelsea side sitting three points clear at the top of the table and which thrashed Juventus 4-0 on the same night.

Midfield maestros

Arsenal’s Patrick Vieira tussles with Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard
Arsenal’s Patrick Vieira tussles with Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard (Nick Potts/PA)

As players, Patrick Vieira and Steven Gerrard were Premier League royalty. The World Cup-winning Frenchman helped to drive Arsenal to two Doubles and their unbeaten Invincibles season, while Liverpool’s Gerrard was a beacon for his home-town club, which he famously inspired to Champions League victory over AC Milan in 2005, a game in which they trailed 3-0 at half-time. On Saturday, two men who enjoyed a series of battles on the pitch will renew their rivalry, but this time as the respective managers of Crystal Palace and Aston Villa.

Howe’s that for starters?

Eddie Howe was eagerly anticipating his first game as Newcastle’s head coach, a home fixture against Brentford last Saturday, when a positive Covid-19 test ruined his big day. The 43-year-old instead watched on television from his hotel room, where he has been in isolation ever since. Howe will be in the dugout this weekend when the Magpies travel to Arsenal still looking for a first win of the campaign, but the omens are not good – they have lost there on each of their last nine league visits.

Pep poised

Amid the excitement over Chelsea’s fine form under Thomas Tuchel, it has perhaps gone unnoticed that perennial title-chasers Manchester City are also ticking over impressively within three points of the leaders. They entertain fourth-placed West Ham on Sunday having won their last four games, the most recent of them Wednesday night’s 2-1 Champions League victory over Paris St Germain. However, they bowed out of the Carabao Cup on penalties last month at the hands of the Hammers, who beat Liverpool 3-2 three weeks ago, and can take nothing for granted.

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