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

1) Will Rashford expose City’s excessive defensive position?

Manchester United’s resurgence since being trounced 6-3 by Manchester City in October’s reverse fixture helps to arrange the 189th derby as probably the most fascinating in recent times. Pep Guardiola’s champions have dropped 4 factors from the final 12 whereas Erik ten Hag’s ever-improving facet have claimed 27 from the final 30 accessible. Guardiola has latest kind for questionable calls: he didn’t begin Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne within the Carabao Cup defeat at Southampton on Wednesday and left it till too late to make adjustments when drawing with Everton final month. In Marcus Rashford – 15 targets in all competitions – United have the kind of pacy ahead that may expose City’s excessive line however City have a tremendous file of responding to mid-campaign dips. In true sat-on-the-fence vogue, the view right here is that this native joust is extremely tough to name. Jamie Jackson

2) Son wants to reassert his big-game credentials

All eyes shall be on Harry Kane. Score a few targets towards Arsenal on Sunday and he would change into Tottenham’s all-time file scorer, transferring away from Jimmy Greaves. He would most probably end on the profitable workforce, too. Yet the derby is about up equally nicely for his strike accomplice, Son Heung-min, albeit for completely different causes. It has been a irritating interval for the South Korean, who shared the Premier League’s Golden Boot final season however has solely 4 targets within the competitors this time out. At the World Cup, throughout which he wore a masks to shield the eye-socket he fractured towards Marseille on November 1, there was the sense amongst a few of his teammates that he was not absolutely match; he was unable to problem for aerial balls, which meant they wanted to make adjustments to how they performed. Son has continued to put on the masks for Spurs and play unusually on the fringes. What a time it will be for him to assume heart stage. David Hytner

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    3) Coutinho rushes in direction of Villa exit

    Handed his first begin beneath Unai Emery towards Stevenage final weekend, Philippe Coutinho performed badly, received hooked after 66 minutes and was pressured to look on from the bench as Aston Villa had been embarrassed by their guests from League Two. While he’s unlikely to begin towards Leeds this weekend, simply over a yr after his arrival, his future at Villa appears unsure at finest. In late December, the Brazilian took to social media to rage towards what he described as “lies” suggesting he was sad at Villa and had requested to go away in January. Given how little he has delivered for the membership previously 12 months, regardless of a surprising debut towards Manchester United, it’s tough to think about too many followers mourning him and he’s quick operating out of alternatives to impress. If he actually needs to keep at Villa Park, now can be a great time to show it with on-field actions quite than Instagram tantrums. BG

    4) Win or bust for Lampard

    The significance of this fixture for each Everton and Southampton can’t be overstated. Everton supervisor Frank Lampard obtained a fairly tame vote of confidence from Farhad Moshiri on Wednesday following a run of 9 defeats in 12 video games that, earlier within the erratic proprietor’s tenure, would have prompted a P45. A go to from a bottom-of-the-table workforce and a supervisor with no Premier League level to his title appeared a perfect alternative for restoration, however that was earlier than Southampton clicked beneath Nathan Jones and impressively beat Manchester City within the Carabao Cup quarter- remaining. Southampton’s incisiveness on the counter-attack might, if repeated, prey on what is probably going to be an anxious Goodison Park. Everton followers plan to resume greeting the workforce coach en masse earlier than kick off, a function of final season’s escape from relegation, but in addition stage a sit-in protest towards a board that Moshiri thinks is working simply tremendous. Lampard, caught within the center, actually wants a win. Andy Hunter

    Pep Guardiola: Manchester City ‘not even shut’ to adequate towards Southampton – video

    5) Matured Mitrovic again on Tyneside

    Something could have to give at St James’ Park. Will it’s one of the best defensive file within the Premier League? After all, Eddie Howe’s Newcastle have conceded solely 11 occasions within the League this season. Or may it’s Nick Pope’s extraordinary run of unpolluted sheets? Howe’s England goalkeeper has not conceded a single aim in his final seven membership appearances. Aleksandar Mitrovic, recovered from a foot harm and contemporary from lacking Fulham’s win over Chelsea via suspension, had three years on Tyneside however in the end left for Fulham after proving too ailing disciplined for Rafael Benítez. Despite this week’s suspension, Mitrovic is way more disciplined – and fairly a bit leaner – today. His 11 targets in 15 League appearances for Fulham this season show that he has additionally matured into a particularly harmful Premier League striker. His probably duel with Newcastle’s star center-half Sven Botman guarantees to show a compelling sub-plot. Louise Taylor

    6) Brighton a stern take a look at for ailing Liverpool

    Roberto De Zerbi’s first match in control of Brighton was a massively entertaining contest with Liverpool and the Italian now welcomes Jürgen Klopp and his workforce to the Amex Stadium. The corresponding fixture resulted in a 3-3 draw and such has been Brighton’s progress beneath their Italian supervisor it will come as no nice shock in the event that they had been to go one higher. Brighton went into the sport on the again of spectacular demolition jobs over Middlesbrough and Everton, whereas Liverpool have failed to win their previous two video games. An error-strewn first-half efficiency value all of them three factors at Brentford and Klopp shall be keen to keep away from a repeat efficiency – it was his workforce’s sluggishness out of the traps that allowed Brighton to race right into a two-goal lead at Anfield. In what guarantees to be a stern take a look at of each workforce’s mid-season mettle, victory for the Seagulls would take them to inside some extent of their guests and forged additional doubt over Liverpool’s top-four credentials. BG

    7) Palace search spark to deepen Chelsea’s woes

    Will a 3rd straight London derby at Selhurst Park within the prime flight be fortunate for Crystal Palace? They conceded seven with out reply towards Fulham and Spurs over the vacation interval and alarm bells shall be sounded much more loudly if Chelsea, beset with their very own issues, discover targets equally straightforward to come by. To make issues worse, Southampton left south London with an FA Cup win final weekend, noises of discontent changing into audible. Palace might do with strengthening at each ends, as Patrick Vieira is aware of nicely, however perspective is essential too. They are twelfth and unlikely to get pulled into any form of relegation scrap. Last season they completed 14th so maybe this is progress. But there’s a distinction; Palace made their dwelling a fortress final season, shedding solely 4 occasions, and had been vigorous in entrance of their matchgoing followers when the large events got here round. Whether or not they deepen Chelsea’s issues, Vieira should see some spark and power injected shortly if the cloud is to raise. Nick Ames

    (*10*)
    Wilfried Zaha reacts to a heavy defeat to Spurs. Photograph: Zac Goodwin/PA

    8) Potential touchline fireworks at Molineux

    Only within the job a couple of moist weekends and Wolves supervisor Julen Lopetegui is already creating a repute as a serial thrower of touchline tizzies and post-match moaning. In David Moyes he’ll come up towards among the finest within the enterprise when it comes to railing towards perceived or real injustices. With either side within the relegation scrap, any contentious choices made by officialdom both at Molineux or from behind the squinting home windows of the Stockley Park VAR bunker shall be pounced upon with righteous fury. While Lopetegui solely just lately received his toes beneath the desk at Wolves, his West Ham counterpart might quickly be clearing the contents of his desk. Patience amongst West Ham followers is carrying skinny and after one league level from the previous 18 accessible, defeat towards relegation rivals at Molineux might mark the tip of the Moyes period. BG

    9) Leicester could lack leading edge to fell Forest

    Separated by simply 30 miles of the M1 motorway on the map and aim distinction within the league desk, Nottingham Forest tackle Leicester on the City Ground with extra at stake than bragging rights. While neither facet is within the relegation zone, their Premier League security is much from assured, however it’s Forest on an upward trajectory. Leicester have misplaced their previous three league video games, a hunch that has coincided with the absence of James Maddison. The standout participant amongst a gaggle of key people who’re at present clogging up the physio room, Maddison is sort of sure to miss this sport and with Patson Daka and Jamie Vardy each out of kind, it is tough to see the place any Leicester targets will come from. Against Gillingham final weekend, Kelechi Iheanacho added one other one to his spectacular FA Cup CV to double his tally for an underwhelming season. Whether or not he can step up towards stiffer opposition than the Football League’s worst facet stays to be seen however Brendan Rodgers desperately wants any person to begin firing with frequency in Maddison’s ongoing absence. BG

    10) Brentford can climb even larger

    Could Brentford make a run for Europe? Thomas Frank was keen to play that concept down after their final league sport, the 3-1 humbling of Liverpool, however the ninth-placed Bees are in glorious kind. Victory at dwelling towards Bournemouth can be their fourth win in 5 and their unbeaten streak already stands at six; they’ve misplaced solely 4 occasions, fewer than anybody outdoors the Champions League spots, and look splendidly comfy in their very own skins. Opportunity knocks. The go to of Gary O’Neil’s facet is the primary of 5 inviting dwelling assignments between now and mid-March, Fulham the one top-half opponents amongst them. This is a tremendous probability to assert their credentials. Brentford are, as Frank pointed out, solely ever a couple of key accidents away from issues however look as tightly-drilled as anybody within the league. Their supervisor is doing a outstanding job in avoiding any semblance of second-season syndrome and one of the best could also be but to come.

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