Antonio Conte previews Man Utd trip
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Manchester United have been brutally ignored in the Premier League top-four conversation by former striker Dion Dublin, who has included a left-field shout in his early prediction. The Red Devils are outside contenders in the top-four race in Erik ten Hag’s first season and are apparently out of Dublin’s thinking altogether.
Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur look best placed for a spot after the first 10 games after Chelsea and Liverpool endured sticky starts to the campaign. But the Blues have looked revitalised since Graham Potter replaced Thomas Tuchel, while Jurgen Klopp’s side could be propelled by their win over Man City on Sunday.
United have been picking up results after back-to-back defeats to start the campaign, winning five of their last seven league games, including triumphs over Liverpool and Arsenal. However, speaking exclusively to Express Sport, Dublin didn’t mention the Red Devils – where he won the Premier League in 1993 – when asked for his leading contenders.
He said: “I would still say that Liverpool will find their way to the top four. They’ll go on a run of games very, very soon. They’ll win four, five, six, seven in a row, or they won’t lose in seven or eight in a row, and they’ll find themselves picking up, you know, the odd 20 points here, 25 points there. They’re so good [and] they’ve got so many good players that they will find their way back.
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“It’s so tough to call the top four because I expect Liverpool to be there. I mean, you’re looking at teams like Chelsea. At the moment, they’re looking good. Graham Potter has got them playing relaxed football, and they’re all smiling while they’re playing, which is very rare for a Chelsea team. They’re all enjoying their football, and it’s making a huge difference to their results as well.
“So you know, City, obviously, Liverpool, it’s going to take a massive task for them to get back to where they need to be, but they’ve got everything they need. Chelsea have turned a corner [and] Arsenal are top of the tree. Antonio Conte and Spurs, I mean, I could go on. Outside as well… Brighton are playing some good stuff. I’m glad it’s so open, to be honest with you. I’m glad there are teams in and around the top 10 that you probably wouldn’t expect to be there, and I’m glad because it just makes it a little bit more interesting.”
United could fall 10 points behind Tottenham and six points outside the top four if they’re beaten on Wednesday night, with the Europa League already emerging as a more enticing way to return to the Champions League next season. And Dublin has a feeling Ten Hag’s side are in for a tough night at Old Trafford now that Antonio Conte is successfully injecting his philosophy throughout the north London club.
“I think it’s a difficult one for United,” Dublin admitted. “United have got more than enough when it comes to quality, but I just think Spurs have got that Antonio Conte [character], especially in midfield. They’ve got a bit of grit in there, a bit of anger. You know, they’ve got some physical presence in there and looking up top, Son and Kane, they do what they do, they score goals.
“But having a coach like Antonio Conte, you can’t rest on your laurels. You can’t sit on your heels. You’ve got to stay on the front foot all the time. That’s what they’re doing, Spurs, they’re playing some good stuff, scoring some good goals, and they’ve got an ugly side to their game where they’re doing well. So United are going to find it really difficult against Spurs, but they’ve got enough in their locker.”
Amazon Prime Video will be broadcasting 10 Premier League fixtures between October 18-20, including Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool vs West Ham.
Dion Dublin will be working as a pundit at the Fulham vs Aston Villa fixture on October 20, with commentary from Guy Mowbray.
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