‘IF LUKAKU GETS IN OVER RONALDO, I RIOT!’ | The Eye Test | 888sport

Liverpool and Man City, the two most recent champions of the Premier League go head-to-head this weekend and while the panel were lined up to pick a combined XI, they thought better of it and went for a combined XI from last season's top four.

It's fair to say they didn't agree on much with Chelsea fan and host @Rory Jennings vehemently backing his contingent Champions of Europe with Mason Mount, N'Golo Kante and Romelu Lukaku all put forward.

Man City fan Steven McInerney of @Esteemed Kompany - A Man City Fan Channel wouldn't back down from Kevin De Bruyne, Ruben Dias and Phil Foden. Flex of@United View had his say with Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo firmly in his team.

The trio gave Liverpool a fair representation, but it was in midfield and up front that they struggled to agree on who would make it in.

Would you pick Romelu Lukaku or Cristiano Ronaldo? How about Kevin De Bruyne or Bruno Fernandes? Or Mason Mount or Phil Foden? What would be your combined XI?


DOES TUCHEL HAVE PEP’S NUMBER? | CHELSEA V MAN CITY PREVIEW | The Eye Test | 888sport

Two of the favourites for the Premier League will clash as Chelsea and Manchester City clash at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Flex of @United View  provides the neutral voice of reason as Chelsea fan @Rory Jennings  and Man City fan Steven McInerney, @Esteemed Kompany - A Man City Fan Channel discuss who is going to triumph in this one.

This match up pits two of the finest minds in modern football against each other, as Thomas Tuchel and Pep Guardiola lock horns again.

So far, Thomas Tuchel has dominated the match up, with his Chelsea side defeating Man City all three times they have faced off, including in the Champions League final.

Pep has a lock on the Premier League though, winning it in three of his five years in charge, and if he wants to win it again improving his record against Tuchel will go a long way to achieving that.

Since the last match up he has bolstered his squad with Jack Grealish being added to the ranks, some creative flair that he hopes will help him break down Chelsea’s stellar defence.

But Chelsea also added attacking strength, with Romelu Lukaku returning to Stamford Bridge. The striker was the only obvious hole in Chelsea’s Champions League winning side, and so far this signing looks to have taken the Blues to the next level.

Can Pep get revenge on Tuchel? Will Grealish or Lukaku be the difference? How pivotal will this match be for the title race?


ARE SPURS AND ARSENAL FINISHED AS TOP SIX CLUBS? | The Eye Test | 888sport

An interesting start to the Premier League season, but as expected Man City, Man United, Liverpool and Chelsea are looking dominant once again. 

@Rory Jennings, @Esteemed Kompany and Flex from @United View discuss who they think is most likely to break into the top four - and who is at risk of dropping out of the Big Six. 

Last season the two surprising packages were Leicester City and West Ham. The Foxes have been terrific under Brendan Rodgers, and despite failing to clinch a Champions League spot, they lifted their first ever FA Cup.

West Ham qualified for the Europa League and David Moyes has helped reform the reputation he once built at his time with Everton. A long run in the Europa League could potentially stifle domestic campaigns, though they have started this season at a pace.

Another team in Europe are Tottenham, though with a mixed start of season and question marks over their squad, are they still contenders for a Champions League place this year? Or are they at risk of dropping out of the Big Six? Nuno Espirito Santos certainly has a job on his hands.

One final club that has the potential to do some damage is Everton, under the guidance of Rafa Benitez.

Despite the Toffees’ jury being out, Rafa is one of the finest tacticians of the modern era, and has Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and new recruit Demarai Gray flourishing already.

Which team can break into the top four? Who is at risk of dropping off? Are there any obvious candidates the panel missed? How much of a factor will European football play?


DOES RONALDO BLOW THE TITLE RACE WIDE OPEN? | The Eye Test | 888sport

The summer transfer window has slammed shut with all eyes on the return of Cristiano Ronaldo to Old Trafford. But will CR7 be a success or a flop for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this season?

And have United done the best business this summer, or has someone else? @Rory Jennings , @Esteemed Kompany - A Man City Fan Channel and Flex from @United View, discuss the craziest transfer window in history.

There have been marquee signings across the top teams in the Premier League, with Romelu Lukaku returning to Chelsea, Jack Grealish moving to Manchester City as well as the homecoming of Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester United, plus the additions of Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho at Old Trafford.

Do you think CR7's return to Old Trafford will propel Man United back to the summit of the Premier League table - or is either Jadon Sancho or Raphael Varane an even better signing for the Red Devils? And does this mount the pressure on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to bring back the glory days to United?

What makes for a good transfer window? Most of the big clubs have splashed out on one or two big players, while Arsenal, this summer’s biggest spenders, have brought in six players for just shy of £150m with Ben White and Martin Odegaard being the most notable names.

The Eye Test panel are not convinced by Mikel Arteta’s dealings and fear he may not be the right man for the Gunners going forward.

What do you think - are Manchester United now favourites for the Premier League? Was Jack Grealish the right man to bring in, or should Man City have chased harder for Harry Kane? Who was signing of the summer?


IS SOUTHGATE STILL THE ONE? | The Eye Test | 888sport

The last two major tournaments for England has been their most successful since winning the World Cup in 1966, all under the stewardship of Gareth Southgate. 

Despite a semi-final and final in the only two major tournaments he's taken charge of Southgate still has some detractors, and on the fourth episode of The Eye Test, our panel of @Rory Jennings, @Esteemed Kompany - A Man City Fan Channel  and @Stevo The Mad Man, discuss if Gareth Southgate should still be leading England going forward.

When appointed, if someone had said Southgate would guide England to a World Cup semi final and a European Championship final, a lot of people would have barely believed you.

However, ever-ambitious England fans spot have been left wanting more and feel a better manager would have guided England to glory in one or both tournaments.

Southgate has shored up the defence, adopting a system utilising multiple holding midfield players such as Declan Rice, Kalvin Philips and Jordan Henderson, or playing with five at the back, with the likes of Luke Shaw and Kieran Trippier thriving in these systems. 

But with the attacking options available, a prime Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling, as well as promising talents such as Jadon Sancho, Phil Foden and Jack Grealish, Southgate has been criticised for being too defensive.

Do YOU think Southgate should stay as manager? Did England flop in the final against Italy and the semi final against Croatia? If Southgate was to leave the job, who would be the man to replace him?


IS PEP A FAILURE IF MAN CITY DON'T WIN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE? | The Eye Test | 888sport

The Premier League has come back with a bang with last season's Champions and pre-season favourites Manchester City losing on the opening day to Spurs.

Meanwhile, the Champions League's return is just around the corner, with the draw for the group stages taking place this week, and Guardiola's men will have their eyes set on going one better in Europe after losing last season's final to rivals Chelsea. 

In the third episode of The Eye Test, our panel of @Rory Jennings, @Esteemed Kompany - A Man City Fan Channel and @Stevo The Mad Man discuss which Premier League teams have got the potential to win European football’s top continental competition, with current winners Chelsea, Man City, Man United and Liverpool all vying for Champions League glory.

Holders Chelsea have looked like a different beast since Thomas Tuchel took the helm, their victory last season emphasising how strong they have become, and they'll be contenders yet again.

Pep Guardiola's Man City have struggled in the competition, with last season being the first time he made the final and the trio discuss whether failing to win this season will be determined as a failure, and detrimental to his legacy in Manchester. 

Regardless of how well teams play domestically, some sides always seem capable of winning the Champions League because of how the format is set and none of the panel rule out the chances of Liverpool or Man United.

Outside the Premier League, Bayern Munich, Juventus and PSG seem like the squads most capable of taking the trophy away from English football, with Real Madrid and Barcelona now seen as underdogs.

What four teams in Europe do YOU predict to make the semi-finals? Is Guardiola a failure if he fails to bring the trophy to the Etihad? Can any teams outside of England claim the trophy?


MAN CITY ARE NOT A 'BIG CLUB' | The Eye Test | 888sport

The Premier League returned to action with a bang last week as Manchester United and Chelsea secured comfortable wins, but champions Manchester City were defeated by a Tottenham side who were missing their top talisman and potential City target in Harry Kane.

Since coming into money, Manchester City have been a dominant force in the Premier League for over a decade now, breaking numerous records.

Before them, Chelsea did the same, becoming a frequent title challenger after a massive cash injection. But are Chelsea or Manchester City ‘big’ clubs, in all senses, not just financially?

In a very fiery second episode of The Eye Test, returning panellists from last week @Rory Jennings , @Esteemed Kompany - A Man City Fan Channel  and @Stevo The Mad Man  discuss what makes a club ‘big’ and clash over their opinions. Rory and Esteemed Kompany don’t hold back!

Stevo doesn’t have a horse in this race and acknowledges that both Man City and Chelsea are both big clubs. However, he was shut down for suggesting West ham are in the same bracket!

Steven McInerney, of Esteemed Kompany channel, thinks that global reach, quality of player and current stature make a club 'big'. With over a decade competing at an elite level, Steven is confident that City are one of the biggest in world football.

Rory disagrees, noting there is a difference to being 'big' and being relevant. He reckons City shouldn't even be in the conversation until more time passes.

Only then could they be classed a big club like Chelsea - a club operating at the top level for over 20 years and winning the Champions League.

What do YOU think makes a club ‘big’? Are Man City and Chelsea ‘big’ clubs? Was Rory being childish?


THE PREMIER LEAGUE SEASON PREVIEW | The Eye Test | 888sport

Manchester City fan Steven McInerney is backing his team to win the league after romping to the title last season.

He is confident that the Citizens can repeat that feat after Pep Guardiola has added attacking flair in Jack Grealish and he thinks City's chances of winning the league would go from a probability to an inevitability if they were to bring in a striker like Harry Kane, who's rumoured to be on the way.

The chasing pack looks like it could be more competitive than ever. Liverpool welcome defensive rock Virgil Van Dijk back to the squad but Blues fan Rory believes that Chelsea are Man City's main competitors this season.

Fired up and given heart due to their three consecutive wins when facing Man City, including a Champions League final triumph, Rory feels Thomas Tuchel is the man to outwit Pep Guardiola for the Premier League title.

West Ham fan Stevo the Mad Man feels that Leicester City are being underrated, after more shrewd transfer business this summer and believes it'd be naive to underestimate their capabilities under Brendan Rogers - but Rory disagrees and thinks the Leicester manager is the reason they WON'T make top four. 

Stevo is tipping Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United to finally have an excellent season, depsite their Europa League final defeat in May.

Man for man, Rory thinks both Manchester clubs are on a level playing field but doesn’t believe Ole is the man to get United to challenge Man City for the Premier League title.

Neither Arsenal or Spurs get much of a look-in for the top four and all three panellists agree they won't be in the picture, and they agree the Champions League spots will go to the same four from last season. 
 
However, the panel are expecting a dogfight to avoid relegation and find it tough to pick who'll go down this season.

Three sides that were known for free-flowing football in the Championship last season gained promotion, but will they be able to replicate that style in the topflight? Or will strugglers from last season, like Brighton or Newcastle, take the plunge?

With fans back in stadiums, we're in for an exciting season and it could be the most competitive season for a long time - but how do you see it panning out?

Do you agree with our panellists - will Pep’s Manchester City retain the league? Can anyone break into last season’s top 4? Will any of the three promoted clubs survive?

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The 888sport blog, based at 888 Towers in the heart of London, employs an army of betting and tipping experts for your daily punting pleasure, as well as an irreverent, and occasionally opinionated, look at the absolute madness that is the world of sport.