A Manchester derby, Antonio Conte’s new Spurs system and pressure for Dean Smith

Dean Smith’s reversion to a 4-3-3 formation against West Ham last weekend was undermined by the red card shown to Ezri Konsa on 50 minutes. The dismissal forced the early withdrawal of a visibly displeased Emi Buendía so Tyrone Mings could slot into defence having started the game fuming on the substitutes’ bench to which he had been dropped. These obvious signs of player disquiet are to be expected but do little to dispel rumours that all is not harmonious behind the scenes at Villa Park. Smith takes his side to Southampton on the back of four straight defeats in which they have conceded an average of three goals per game. Their hosts are inconsistent and have just two league wins to their name, so there are far more difficult tests Villa could face. One suspects another defeat will seriously drain any of the remaining credit we keep hearing Smith has in the Villa bank. BG

Southampton v Aston Villa, Friday 8pm (all times GMT)

Manchester United v Manchester City, Saturday 12.30pm

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