Man City, Mourinho share centre stage as Premier League returns
LONDON – A Manchester City side looking to get back to their winning ways and a fresh start for Jose Mourinho highlight the Premier League's return this weekend.
Man City dug themselves a deep hole by losing to leaders Liverpool in their last game before the international break.
The 3-1 defeat left the two-time defending champions in fourth place, nine points behind Liverpool and one back of Leicester City and Chelsea.
City have a chance to make up ground on at least one of that trio when they host Chelsea on Saturday and manager Pep Guardiola isn't conceding anything yet.
"Always be positive and never give up, that's why we won back to back titles," he declared after the Liverpool match.
"We want to fight until the end. There is still seven months to go.
"We showed many times why we are the champions. There are three teams in front with more chance to be champions."
Outside of Liverpool, no club may be playing better in the league right now than Chelsea.
The Blues have started to flourish under first-year manager Frank Lampard, winning six straight in the league to climb from 11th to third.
But Lampard isn't thinking titles just yet.
"To say [they are contenders] would be a bit naive because we are not even a third of the way through the season," he said after beating Crystal Palace last time out.
"If we can keep replicating the form, keep replicating the results, then we can certainly close the gap and I think that is the first step."
While Chelsea's new manager has them on an upswing, their old boss tries to resurrect the fortunes of a London rival.
Jose Mourinho will make his debut as Tottenham manager when Spurs visit West Ham on Saturday.
The "Special One" was hired on Wednesday, one day after Mauricio Pochettino was sacked.
After reaching the Champions League final last season things haven't gone as planned this campaign for Spurs, who've won just three of 12 so far to sit in 14th place.
Now it's up to Mourinho, who won three titles at Chelsea but hasn't worked since being sacked by Manchester United last December, to turn their fortunes around.
"I really like this squad," Mourinho told Spurs TV.
"Of course, I'm not going to say names, I'm not going to tell you individuals because this is completely against my concept of what a team has to be, but I like a lot the ability of the squad."
Liverpool look to pad their cushion at the top of the table when they travel to Crystal Palace.
The unbeaten Reds stand eight points clear of Leicester, who visit Brighton, and Chelsea.
"If you would have told me that you can have 34 points [at this stage of the season], wow!" manager Juergen Klopp said.
"It's pretty much impossible but we did it."
Arsenal host Southampton, Wolverhampton Wanderers visit Bournemouth, Everton take on Norwich, Watford face Burnley, Manchester United are at Sheffield United and Newcastle travel to Aston Villa in the other matches.dpa