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Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend | Premier League


1) Fading Brighton face powerful job

Brighton’s 4 defeats on the spin appeared to return from nowhere and, within the area of three weeks, doubled their variety of losses for the season. They won’t be relegated however a European spot is unquestionably now out of the query, with no ensures issues will flip dramatically when Liverpool go to. “Each staff could have a tricky interval and we’re going by way of ours now,” stated the midfielder Steven Alzate, one in every of few Seagulls gamers to return out with a lot credit score from the defeat at Newcastle. Brighton do have a tendency to offer Liverpool a sport, on the constructive aspect. They drew this fixture final season and their comeback from two all the way down to earn some extent at Anfield might but come to be an episode Jürgen Klopp regrets bitterly when he seems to be again on the title race. Earlier than what seems to be to be a defining 4 weeks for Klopp’s hopes, with Liverpool because of go to Arsenal and Manchester Metropolis, Alzate and firm will hope to place one other enormous spanner within the works. NA

2) A six-pointer for the top-four chasers

The equation is pretty easy for Manchester United and Tottenham. It is a sport neither can actually afford to lose as they pursue Arsenal for a top-four spot. Within the hosts’ case, dropping additional floor when the Gunners could have 4 video games in hand on Saturday evening can be notably expensive. A win would a minimum of put them fourth and provides rivals one thing to topple. It is going to be intriguing to see how these two sides reply, respectively, to a crushing derby defeat and a thumping win over a dejected Everton. Spurs’ lack of consistency is persistent however a fourth league win in 5 would alleviate a few of Antonio Conte’s issues and present their sensational victory final time they have been in Manchester was no fluke. For United, all bets are off, whether or not or not Cristiano Ronaldo is ready to return from his hip flexor downside. It will not be stunning to see both aspect win by two or three. Given their new-found place of supremacy, Arsenal can have enjoyable sitting again and seeing who comes off worse. NA

Harry Kane and Son Heung-min will surely pose Manchester United problems at Old Trafford.
Harry Kane and Son Heung-min will certainly pose Manchester United issues at Previous Trafford. {Photograph}: James Gill – Danehouse/Getty Photographs

3) Chelsea face Magpies amid turmoil

Even when she had hacked into the Premier League’s fixture laptop, a Russian cyber felon might hardly have organized a extra placing match-up for Chelsea. After every week wherein the west London membership have had a monetary clamp placed on them due to their proprietor’s undesirable connections, Thomas Tuchel’s aspect are to host none apart from Newcastle United, a de facto public relations automobile for a Saudi regime accused of committing conflict crimes in Yemen, amongst different atrocities. Sunday’s match at Stamford Bridge will probably be delivered to you in affiliation with Hypocrisy. PD

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4) Wavering Wolves go to Goodison

Not for the primary time since their takeover, Wolves acquired themselves into a superb place from which to assault a top-four spot, then flopped. Final time it occurred, in 2019-20, it was simple in charge Nuno Espiríto Santo, whose tepid method did a colossal disservice to a gifted group who have been able to significantly better. Bruno Lage usually sends his staff out to play positively and but, the second the Champions League was in sight, issues once more went fallacious. Wolves have been knocked out of the FA Cup by Norwich after which overwhelmed at dwelling by Arsenal. After rallying with two wins, Lage’s aspect then misplaced three in a row, their late collapse within the Arsenal return notably embarrassing. Victory over Watford, although, means they journey to Merseyside in good coronary heart, to satisfy one other relegation-threatened aspect. There’s a very good probability this would be the nerviest, scrappiest match of the weekend – and all of the extra gratifying for it. DH

5) No Vardy, possibly a celebration for Gunners

The excellent news retains on coming for Arsenal. Jamie Vardy has scored 11 instances towards them in 14 appearances and, in Leicester’s final two visits to the Emirates, got here up with game-altering objectives within the dying minutes. Aaron Ramsdale, who was not on the receiving finish of these contributions however has confronted Vardy with Bournemouth and Sheffield United, says the striker is “the one I hate enjoying towards most”. On Sunday Ramsdale and his teammates will probably be spared. Vardy has a knee downside and can miss the following month or so, which means Arsenal are at no danger of a repeat efficiency from their nemesis. Not so way back, Leicester have been extensively seen because the shining instance for a flailing Arsenal. The league desk doesn’t make that case anymore and a fifth straight win seems to be nicely inside Mikel Arteta’s grasp, particularly because the Foxes confronted Rennes on Thursday evening. Vardy’s absence will do the hosts no hurt. NA

Jamie Vardy scores Leicester’s winner at the Emirates in October 2020.
Jamie Vardy scores Leicester’s winner on the Emirates in October 2020. {Photograph}: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

6) Leeds journey provides hope for Smith

Dean Smith described final weekend’s match towards Brentford as a “must-not-lose”. Sadly, Norwich misplaced it. Saturday brings one other six-pointer towards Leeds, dragged into the relegation mire following the determined run that introduced an finish to Marcelo Bielsa’s tenure. There may be nonetheless hope for Norwich, as a result of Everton might also be in free-fall. It was Norwich’s 2-1 win at Carrow Street in January that prompted the dismissal of Rafael Benítez and the following arrival of Frank Lampard. If Norwich can muster most factors towards one other relegation rival it in all probability gained’t immediate one other managerial change – it’ll solely be Jesse Marsch’s third match in cost – however the battle to keep away from the drop might look tighter than ever. LM

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7) Eriksen can deepen Burnley’s issues

One other six-pointer? There may be an argument that Burnley’s go to to Brentford constitutes a type of, given Sean Dyche’s aspect can meet up with the Bees by profitable their two video games in hand. Brentford have performed extra instances than anybody within the backside half and are removed from out of the woods, though final weekend’s convincing win at Norwich provided enormous aid after a torrid run. Security will loom into view if they will break Burnley down. Christian Eriksen’s presence might work wonders, given the guile he has added. The Danish playmaker was wonderful towards the Canaries in his first begin and has returned in remarkably fine condition. Burnley have been introduced sharply all the way down to earth from their upturn in type by successive dwelling defeats to Leicester and Chelsea, and this isn’t the time for grinding out attracts. NA

8) Palace search unlikely Metropolis double

As one in every of solely two groups to have overwhelmed Manchester Metropolis within the Premier League this season, Crystal Palace could also be one of many largest obstacles remaining between Pep Guardiola’s aspect and one other title triumph. Aymeric Laporte actually can not dispute that declare. The centre-back appears very prone to begin with Rúben Dias out injured, however was given the run-around by Palace in October. Laporte was dispossessed within the build-up Palace’s first objective and was laid low with Wilfried Zaha for 45 minutes earlier than getting himself despatched off for hacking the ahead down. Liverpool, who actually know what it’s prefer to blow a title probability at Selhurst Park, will probably be hoping for extra of the identical on Monday. PD

Aymeric Laporte brings down Wilfried Zaha during Crystal Palace’s 2-0 win at the Etihad in October.
Aymeric Laporte brings down Wilfried Zaha throughout Crystal Palace’s 2-0 win on the Etihad in October. {Photograph}: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Photographs

9) Gerrard seeks one other assertion win

It’s been a blended begin at Villa Park for Steven Gerrard. In 14 league video games, his staff have overwhelmed only one aspect at present sitting within the high half of the desk – Southampton, final week. And there stay questions on Gerrard’s administration. Maybe he acquired fortunate at Rangers, profiting from Celtic’s unsuccessful rehiring of Neil Lennon. Gerrard’s outdated aspect, in the meantime, look simply nearly as good below Giovanni van Bronckhorst. Although he’s nonetheless studying the position, the significance of a “nicely finished” from somebody of his standing as a participant shouldn’t be underestimated. He might have stumble on the formation which serves his greatest gamers greatest. The 4-3-1-2 he has adopted provides him solidity and enterprise in midfield, permits Philippe Coutinho to roam, and imposes each Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings upon opposing centre-backs. Villa ought to fancy their probabilities towards a weary West Ham. DH

10) Saints to welcome again Salisu’s expertise

Along with Ralph Hassenhüttl’s gripes about Newcastle’s January signings and their postponed assembly, he now has some good old school fixture congestion to take care of, with three matches to play in 9 days. After a heartening run, final weekend’s heavy defeat by Aston Villa was a major wobble. The return of Mohammed Salisu, one in every of Saints’ excellent performers this season amongst a buoyant squad, is a purpose to be cheerful and to take pleasure in for now. Making an attempt to hold on to Saints’ greatest gamers, corresponding to Salisu, in the summertime will shift into focus over the approaching weeks. LM


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