Struggling Newcastle find themselves in an unusual position to be the headline act of the Premier League this weekend at the start of the Saudi-led revolution.
Often sent to the sidelines during decades of weakness, all eyes will be on the club on Sunday as they host Tottenham in their first match since the controversial takeover, in which Magpies fans join the European football elite. Dreaming of being
Manchester United will have to avoid injury as they look to get back on track in Leicester, while leader Chelsea cannot underestimate the Brentford team due to their great reputation.
AFP Sport takes a look at some of the points discussed before the weekend’s action.
Thanks to a بس 305 million (4 418 million) blockbuster funded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, Newcastle is suddenly looking forward to a brighter future, with an 80% stake in the club.
The departure of unwelcome former owner Mike Ashley and the vast financial resources provided by the Saudis could turn Newcastle into a major power in the years to come.
But while their goal is to emulate the cash-strapped Manchester City, for now they must focus on their fight for survival.
There is only one way for the Magpies, whose new owners arrive with a team in the relegation zone, without winning after their first seven league games.
Manager Steve Bruce is expected to replace a high profile, but Newcastle signaled the execution on Thursday when he said the troubled boss would take over media duties before the Spurs game.
Amnesty International has criticized the occupation, accusing Saudi Arabia of “washing away” its human rights record.
But Newcastle midfielder Jonjo Shiloh said it was a much-needed boost for longtime fans of a club that last won a major silver medal in 1969.
“It’s incredible for the club. I understand what the fans want, they want (Killian) Mbabane and (Lionel) Messi,” he said.
“It won’t come overnight, we have to be realistic. But this club can get whatever it wants now. The sky is the limit.”
Following the adrenaline rush of Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Old Trafford, reality has begun to bite Manchester United.
Ronaldo’s goal sparked some rifts in Oli Gunnar Solscar’s squad following his move from United to Juventus at the start of his second spell that threatened to derail his bid for the first major trophy since 2017.
Influenced by conflicting attacking and defensive errors, United have won just two of their last six games in all competitions.
The home league cup defeat against West Ham and the long draw in the league with Everton raised serious questions about their title hopes.
France defender Rafael Varane will be sidelined for several weeks due to a back injury, while fellow center-back Harry McGuire is unlikely to return against Leicester on Saturday following a calf issue.
Fourth-placed United face Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester City next month, and there is no time for Solskir and company to lick their wounds.
Off the pitch, the financial gap between European champions Chelsea and their West London neighbors Brent Ford is wide, but Saturday’s first league match between the clubs in 74 years could be much closer than it appears on paper.
Although Chelsea can meet some of Europe’s most expensive players, their non-neighbors have returned to the first flight for the first time since 1947 thanks to the clever use of analytics in the transport market and the tactics of manager Thomas Frank.
Brent Ford has already blown the noses of some of his more prominent top flight mates, beating Arsenal 2-0 and drawing Liverpool in a thrilling 3-3 draw.
Chelsea’s hopes of maintaining their narrow lead at the top of the table, given Brinford’s level of intensity, provide an incentive for Thomas Tachel to return from the N’Golo-Kante corona virus.