No matter what the fixtures are, Sky Sports insist on calling their coverage of Premier League matches on a Sunday ‘Super Sunday’.
Often, the use of the word ‘Super’ can be very deceiving indeed.
For example, back in September, ‘Super Sunday’ consisted of just one match - Brighton vs Newcastle. It finished 1-0 to The Seagulls in a game that was far from ‘Super.’
However, there are occasions when the fixtures justify the use of such a strong adjective.
Friday 05 January 2018
Liverpool - Everton
In fact, there’s a ’Super Sunday’ coming up that probably needs a slighter stronger word than ‘Super.’
Sensational Sunday? Supreme Sunday? Significant Sunday? Super-duper Sunday…
All of the above apply to December 10.
Whatever you do, don’t make any plans for that day.
Why? Because we are set to be treated to an incredible two matches on Sky Sports with the Merseyside derby being followed by the Manchester derby.
Don’t even think about stepping out into the cold to do some Christmas shopping. If ever there was a day to stay in the warm and sit and watch football all day, it’s Sunday, December 10.
But why is this particular ‘Super Sunday’ so unmissable? Well, there are countless reasons but here are the five biggest talking points ahead of what is sure to be a fascinating day of Premier League action.
Can Jose Mourinho’s bus put the handbrake on City's winning run?
Much was made of Mourinho’s decision to ‘park the bus’ when his side travelled to Liverpool in October and picked up a 0-0 draw. Was it negative? Was it a tactical masterclass? That is, of course, open to interpretation.
Two weeks later, though, Mourinho was up to his same old tricks at home to Tottenham. The Red Devils had very little attacking intent, despite playing at the Theatre of Dreams, but Mourinho was spared any criticism when Anthony Martial popped up with an 81st-minute winner.
And you’d be a fool if you thought United will approach the Manchester derby in any other way.
Yes, United need the three points as they currently trail their city-rivals by eight points but you just know Mourinho would take a 0-0 if you offered it to him right now.
But this is Man City we’re talking about. The Citizens have scored a staggering 46 goals in 15 league matches this season. With the likes of Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane, Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus scoring for fun, with Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva only too willing to supply them with chances, it’s almost impossible to stop them this season.
In fact, only Championship side Wolves have managed to keep a clean sheet against them this season - holding them to a 0-0 draw in the Carabao Cup after 120 minutes.
Who will come out on top, though? Mourinho’s bus or Guardiola’s irresistible attack?
Something has to give.
Romelu Lukaku or Zlatan Ibrahimovic?
When Zlatan Ibrahimovic re-signed for Man Utd in August, there was doubt over whether he would play before the turn of the New Year. Upon signing his new deal, the Swede would have glanced down the fixture list and identified this Manchester derby as the perfect chance to announce his return from a serious knee injury.
While he’s already returned to the fold, he hasn’t been declared fit enough to start a match yet. What is very interesting ahead of the derby, though, is whether Mourinho will start Romelu Lukaku or Ibrahimovic up-front against City.
When Zlatan made his long-awaited return against Newcastle as a substitute last month, he instructed Lukaku to move to the wing. It immediately raised a question whether the two could play together.
Ibrahimovic will understand being named on the bench against the likes of Newcastle and Watford as he works his way back to full fitness but he will be desperate to start against City. He thrives in big matches and he’ll be trying to convince Mourinho in the days leading up to the match that he’s more than ready. But it’s clear that only one of Ibrahimovic or Lukaku will be named in the starting XI and it’s going to be fascinating to see which one gets the nod.
Can Mohamed Salah do it when it really matters?
Mohamed Salah is already looking an absolute bargain despite Liverpool spending a club-record £37 million on the Egyptian in the summer. The winger has scored 17 goals in his first 22 appearances in all competitions, breaking numerous record in the process.
But how will he fare in his first Merseyside derby?
While he’s grabbed goals in big matches against Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea already, he failed to make an impression against Manchester United and Manchester City, squandering chances in both games.
But continuing his incredible run and scoring against Everton would not only prove he really can do it in the big matches but it would also make Liverpool fans love him even more - if that’s possible.
Can Sam Allardyce stop the Merseyslide?
While football fans might be mega-excited for December 10, you couldn’t blame Everton fans if they aren’t really looking forward to it. They travel across Stanley Park having failed to win their previous 14 meetings against their neighbours.
While you have to go back to September 1999 when Kevin Campbell scored a fourth-minute winner for their last success at Anfield.
However, despite their poor start to the season, Everton are bound to be buoyed by the appointment of Sam Allardyce and have won their last two games, scoring six goals and conceding none which coincides nicely with the Merseyside derby.
And wouldn’t Allardyce just love to get one over Jurgen Klopp.
The two managers haven’t exactly seen eye-to-eye in the past and the Liverpool boss remembers an incident between them when Allardyce was in charge of Sunderland last December.
“With Sam, I have a history when he was at Sunderland. He said something after the game and then he had to row back,” Klopp said after Allardyce’s appointment.
With Allardyce at the helm, could Everton finally stop their winless run against the red-half of Merseyside?
Jose Mourinho v Pep Guardiola
While Man United and Man City have had a fierce rivalry long before Mourinho and Guardiola came to town - and will continue to do so after they’ve left - there’s no doubt that with these two managers in opposite dugouts, the Manchester derby is even more intriguing than usual.
The intense relationship between Mourinho and Guardiola started when the former was in charge of Real Madrid and the latter was the manager of Barcelona. They clashed on numerous occasions as the two El Clasico rivals went head-to-head for La Liga glory.
While the majority of it was confined to press conferences, it sometimes turned ugly like when Mourinho eye-gouged Guardiola’s assistant, Tito Vilanova, back in 2011.
They might claim to be on good terms now but with the Premier League trophy up for grabs, don’t be surprised to see things boil over on the touchline at Old Trafford.
Friday 05 January 2018
Liverpool - Everton
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://www.givemesport.com/writeforgms