Weekend In Numbers: Pep vs. Mou rivalry to evolve, and can Hull keep the fairy tale going?
Week three is upon us, so here are the numbers to keep an eye on16:41 Friday 9 September 2016, 16:41 9 Sep 2016
As Premier League 2016/2017 enters week three, a long established rivalry is about to enter a new chapter. The international break is over, and the Premier League is back on the agenda again.
Pep v Mourinho in the Premier League
There was a time when they were allies, memories of which stretch back to the days when they were part of the one force in Barcelona. Mourinho was already plying his trade on the managerial circuit - he was the assistant coach. Pep on the other hand, with a full head of hair, was a player being moulded into the Cruyff model. Maybe the fact that he was someone else's acolyte was the starting point of where their paths diverted.
When did the battle begin? 2010, when Mourinho was appointed the Madrid manager for the purpose of giving Pep's Barcelona a schooling. It trundled on for seven years in which they had 16 competitive meetings across five clubs. As the younger of the two put it ahead of their meeting in the 2011 Champions League Semi-Final, 'I know him and he knows me.'
The pair are back to familiar ways, sharing residency in the same country. But this time, their rivalry will be even more localised as they face off in a city which is already divided by club allegiances.
Prior to their arrival in England, the records favoured Guardiola who has seven victories to Mourinho's three. And he'll be looking to assimilate that into City's already dominant position over their neighbours as they go in search of their 51st derby win. United have lost three of the last five league derbies at Old Trafford - that's more defeats than they had suffered in the previous 29.
Hull City living out the fairytale start - But will it last?
Back in the top flight after being relegated the previous season, Hull City are aiming to retain their spot in the Premier League for a second consecutive season, having previously done so in 2008/09 and 2013/14.
Steve Bruce's departure on the back of a deteriorating relationship with the vice-chairman Ehab Allam left the newly promoted side on an unsettled footing. Having just 13 fit players available for selection compounded their woes; only midfielder Shaun Maloney and defender Harry Maguire have come off the bench.
But despite the setbacks, Hull City have enjoyed an exceptional opening to the Premier League season. Mike Phelan has steered the side to momentum building victories over Swansea City and reigning Premier League holders, Leicester.
But against Burnley this weekend, that impressive start is in compromised territory, based on the competitive history between the sides. Burnley have won all four of their previous Premier League meetings.
Burnley have also secured the signature of Ireland's Jeff Hendrick, who offers a classy attacking option from midfield.
Tune into Off The Ball this weekend, where we will have live commentary from the match between Swansea and Chelsea with Dave McIntyre and Alan McLoughlin in the gantry.
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