Everything you need to know about this weekend’s Premier League action, all in one place.
Going to: Mourinho vs Watford’s strategy (will Leicester bounce back? ‘Man to watch Game you should watch (en) A team that needs luck One thing will happen. Weekend Statistics Predictions
The biggest questions of the weekend
Is Rashford’s injury a chance for Manchester United to beat Liverpool?
It is still a bit strange to think that Manchester United remain the only team to take points off Liverpool in their last 30 games. With this knowledge, Liverpool could approach this weekend’s match between the two at Anfield in two ways: with worry, thinking that United are somehow their kryptonite, or with a wild feeling that revenge must be theirs. It is, on the whole, more likely to be the last.
Especially if United are without Marcus Rashford. Any criticism of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for bringing Rashford into their FA Cup replay against Wolves, only for him to suffer a back injury, feels misguided: United were going for a win in the only tournament they are likely to win so this season it makes perfect sense to be aggressive but without it, United look duller, less powerful, and when you play Liverpool at Anfield, you need all the power you can get.
How does Jose Mourinho approach the game against Watford?
There has been a lively debate over the past week about Jose Mourinho’s tactics against Liverpool. Much of the criticism wasn’t necessarily about how he asked Tottenham to approach this individual game, more than it was a sign of how things were going to be at Spurs, that Mourinho hadn’t changed at all and we could get us wait for some dark old encounters where there had previously been ex quotes.
Obviously Spurs won’t be as defensive against Watford as they were in the first half against Liverpool, but it will be fascinating to see how they approach a match against Nigel Pearson’s men who, Liverpool and Manchester City aside , are the form team in the Premier League.
It’s a bigger game for Spurs than you might think, because if they lose this one after the plan didn’t work last weekend, Mourinho’s authority could become fragile in the Spurs team, and all the plans he was compromised.
Will Leicester bounce back from last weekend’s defeat?
In some ways, Leicester’s defeat to Southampton last weekend was inevitable: karma almost demanded that the Saints were due some revenge, and on a more practical and rational level, that’s exactly what usually happens to a team whose success essentially relied on everything that happens Yes. Just enough holes have opened up in Leicester’s squad to make their last two games a struggle, whether it’s the injury to Wilfred Ndidi, or the uneven form of Youri Tielemans and Ben Chilwell.
But Leicester are still in a remarkable position, third in the table with an 11-point gap in fifth place. Qualifying for the Champions League looks like a modest feat compared to what they did a few years ago, but it would be pretty extraordinary if they did. They still need to get to win again though, and if they can beat a struggling Burnley team this weekend, they will be back on track.
Man to watch
The biggest blow Pierre-Emerick Aubameyangthere’s red card against Crystal Palace last weekend wasn’t that Arsenal had to survive 25 minutes with 10 men, but more than the burgeoning attacking quartet who showed signs of great promise in their last games won’t have another chance to work together.
But more specifically for one of these quartets is that the goal load has now passed from Aubameyang to Lacazette, which might not fill Arsenal fans with confidence given that the Frenchman has not scored a league goal in a month. Lacazette would have needed a goal this weekend anyway for his own purposes, but now his team needs him to score as well.
The game you do not intend to watch, but should
Norwich vs Bournemouth
One of those games you should give a swerve if what you are looking for is first class, confident football, but a device to fix on so frantic, nervous energy is your thing. Between them Norwich and Bournemouth, the last two teams in the Premier League, have collected three points out of the last 30 available, and you would have a hard time claiming one of them were unlucky in this race. This is obviously a big game for both teams, but even more so Norwich: they are already eight points adrift from safety and if they get nothing from it then their situation, if not already, will be unsanitary.
The team that needs a little luck
Or, maybe not Sheffield United, but specifically David McGoldrick. Has there ever been a Premier League striker who has such a definite place in the first team, even if he has not scored a goal? The hunt continues for McGoldrick, and while Chris Wilder recently said he would still be in the team, even if he hasn’t scored this season, a goal would be wonderful, if only for McGoldrick’s sense of confidence.
– ESPN Premier League fantasy: Sign up now!
– VAR in the Premier League: Ultimate Guide
– How the VAR has affected all Premier League clubs
– When does the transfer window close?
And especially against Arsenal, a team that rediscovers itself after the turgid tenure of Unai Emery. As the old cliché says, it just needs one to go into its back end…
Something that will certainly happen
The David Moyes derby wants to be weird
The first tentative signs are that Everton and West Ham’s respective recent management appointments are working for them, but it will still be strange when the two managers stride to these dugouts at London Stadium on Saturday.
Because who would have thought, at the beginning of the season – in October, even when these last two met – that Carlo Ancelotti would be managing Everton and David Moyes would be in charge at West Ham? A Champions League winner at a club that hasn’t won a trophy in 25 years, and a man who had been dropped 18 months earlier because the Hammers thought they could do better, make it sexier. Yes, for sure, this game is going to be pretty weird.
Provided by ESPN Stats – Information
– After breaking the Premier League record at trick last Sunday, Sergio Aguero is on the verge of another stage – he is a shy goal of 250 goals in career with Manchester City.
– Chelsea look for consecutive away Premier League wins against Newcastle for the first time since winning both in 2007-08 and 2008-09.
– Tottenham have been held goalless in the last two Premier League games. They have not played three league games without a goal since November 2013.
– Arsenal have not lost two back-to-back games against Sheffield United since 1964 and have not lost at home to Sheffield since 1971.
Watford 2-1 Tottenham
West Ham 2-2 Everton
Arsenal 1-1 Sheffield United
Brighton 2-0 Aston Villa
Manchester City 4-1 Crystal Palace
Norwich 1-0 Bournemouth
Southampton 2-1 Wolves
Newcastle 0-2 Chelsea
Burnley 1-2 Leicester City
Liverpool 3-0 Manchester United