Premier League: 10 things to watch out for this weekend

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The City’s chance to taste the first place

The good news for Manchester City is that Liverpool’s 3-1 win at Arsenal last Sunday and their early kick-off on Saturday means Pep Guardiola’s side have the chance to go top of the Premier League for the first time since September, on for a few hours at least. The bad news for Liverpool and the other title contenders is that City are looking back at their best, all fit. City have 11 wins and one draw from their last 12 games in all competitions. Sean Dyche and Everton, who reach the Etihad in the relegation zone, could be in for 90 minutes. Jamie Jackson

Which Fulham will it be?

Fulham’s form has dipped again. They have not won in the Premier League since Arsenal were beaten on New Year’s Eve and suffered deflation when they dropped both cups last month. The heartbreak against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup was a blow and when fans turned up their noses at high ticket prices for the FA Cup final against Newcastle it suggested that a club was in danger of lose way. However, Fulham are still capable of playing smart, attractive football under Marco Silva. They blew a 2-0 lead against Burnley last week, their game management letting them down, but Bournemouth have the potential to improve. It is still difficult to know which will be Fulham. Jacob Steinberg

Burnley struggled for Liverpool’s backlash

Liverpool’s performance at Arsenal will trouble Jürgen Klopp more than the result which tipped the title race slightly in Manchester City’s favour. A second-from-bottom Burnley side with two away wins to their name all season cannot repeat at home. To that end, the availability of Darwin Núñez should boost Liverpool’s confidence to respond immediately. The criticism of Klopp’s decision to bench Núñez at the Emirates was strange considering the striker had walked away from Anfield four days earlier with his foot in a protective boot. However, his absence from the starting line-up in Liverpool’s two Premier League wins this season underlines the importance of the unpredictable but relentless striker. Burnley will be ready for a comeback. Andy Hunter

Luton looking for a heady height of the 15th

Luton have lost one of their last six and are out of the relegation zone, a great achievement. They welcome the league team on Saturday; a win would lift them to 23 points with 15 games remaining to take them 17 away from the traditional survival benchmark of 40. If all goes their way, Rob Edwards’ side could end up in 15th place at the end of the weekend, that would be a great boost. morale going into tough games. This is a very tight group of players who are excellent but their next four games are against Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City (in the FA Cup) and Aston Villa, meaning a win is vital to keep their head up. the water. With a thrilling end to the season, with other clubs waiting for points deductions, beating rivals at home will be vital and Luton know it. Will Unwin

Will Mac and Richarlison stay in sync?

Everyone knows how high Ange Postecoglou is for Son Heung-min. The Tottenham manager does not miss the opportunity to praise the player he appointed as captain and is delighted to have him back after the Asian Cup; Mac reported to the training ground on Thursday after South Korea’s shock semi-final win over Jordan. Will Postecoglou start in Saturday’s home game against Brighton? The better question regarding Mac’s return is whether he can pick up where he left off with Richarlison. The latter felt his season – and his Spurs career – when Postecoglou started him in the No. 9 against Newcastle in December, moving Son back to the left wing. The tip was for Richarlison to embark on a run of nine goals in 10 games. Mac, who was in fine form for Spurs before leaving for the Asian Cup, helped ignite Richarlison’s purple patch by setting up the first of two goals against Newcastle. David Hytner

Hwang returns to support Wolves

As the saying goes, one person’s loss is another person’s gain. For Hwang Hee-chan, South Korea’s shock exit at the Asian Cup is a personal disappointment to stomach, but Wolves will welcome the forward back with open arms. Hwang returned to England on Wednesday and reported for training with his Wolves teammates on Thursday. If things aren’t already going well – Wolves are six points off Manchester United in sixth after victory at Chelsea – the return of Hwang, who has already scored 10 league goals this campaign, will only improve the resurgent attack. Matheus Cunha, who scored a hat-trick last time out, Pedro Neto and Pablo Sarabia and a Wolves side managed by impressive boss Gary O’Neil have another chance to sink their teeth against Brentford. Ben Fisher

Sels Forest out to prove a point

The Matz Sels derby will take place on Saturday evening, a game that few expected to see forever. The Belgian spent two seasons at Newcastle, the second on loan at Anderlecht, but they managed just nine appearances in their promotion campaign from the Championship in 2016-17 as he failed to impress Rafa Benítez. that he was better than former Forest goalkeeper Karl Darlow. . Since leaving St James’ Park, Sels has been a regular at Strasbourg but decided the Premier League was too good to pass up. Amidst the chaos of the Forest goalkeeping department, Sels was immediately installed as No. 1 against Bournemouth and looked consistent enough compared to Matt Turner and Odysseas Vlachodimos. It might help that his first home game comes against a team that didn’t think he could be first choice. A little extra incentive goes a long way in football. WU

Can West Ham fill a creativity gap?

West Ham are struggling without Lucas Paquetá. They have not won since December 28 and their attacking output has dried up with the Brazilian out with a calf injury. They miss Paquetá’s skill and eye for passing but David Moyes must find a way to deal with him without his main attacker. He still has Jarrod Bowen and Mohammed Kudus, two forwards who have injured Arsenal this season. Maxwel Cornet could use more and Michail Antonio could return from a knee injury when Arsenal visit the London Stadium. Nothing is lost, even as Paquetá expects to be out for at least another week. JS

A crucial game for Villa in the top four race

Even if the results don’t go their way on Saturday, Aston Villa are quietly hoping that Manchester City and Liverpool will be a sign of the company Unai Emery’s side are keeping. This time last year Villa were in the middle of the table, January did not lose in the league which left them free from relegation trouble. For all the hype about Villa being a title contender heading into the new year, securing a Champions League spot is a remarkable achievement in itself. That’s why Villa’s game at home to Manchester United feels significant. A win would open up an 11-point gap for United, a healthy margin even with 14 games to play. The win leaves United, one of their biggest rivals for a top four spot, five points behind them. BF

Hodgson and Pochettino face off

The top two meet at Selhurst Park on Monday night, albeit not in terms of league position but in the bookies’ consideration of the next Premier League manager to get the start. It’s not a particularly nice race to be in and one win won’t solve all the problems facing Roy Hodgson (first) or Mauricio Pochettino (second). Despite the rumor mill continuing to churn as Palace look for a suitable replacement for Hodgson, Palace are winless in their last three home games, winning two, while Chelsea have lost five of their last six. The absence of Michael Olise will make things more difficult for Palace but there is still hope that their manager could make a statement with a win and allow Pochettino to move into the sack race. WU









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Aston Villa


Tottenham Hotspur


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AFC Bournemouth




Crystal Palace




Nottm Forest








Sheff Utd

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