Premier League: Arsenal face Liverpool in crucial game; City meet Southampton, hope to keep pressure on leader
London : As the Premier League gets into the home stretch for the 2022-23 season, clubs face crucial matches in an important round of matches this weekend and teams at both ends of the spectrum have a lot to play for as the battles heat up.
With everything still to be decided at both the top and the bottom end of the table, where everyone below 12th placed Crystal Palace is in danger of the drop.League leaders Arsenal travel to Liverpool on Sunday for what is arguably the biggest and most attractive game of the weekend.
The weekend kicks off with Arsenal eight points clear of Manchester City after playing an extra game, but that lead could have been reduced to five points by the time they kick off at Anfield, reports Xinhua.
Seven consecutive league wins to make a good case for Arsenal to be favourites for this season’s title, while Liverpool’s recent performances, including a grim 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night, also imply that Mikel Arteta’s side can end a wait of over 10 years for a win at Anfield to take another big step towards glory on Sunday.
Erling Haaland is a doubt for Manchester City’s visit to bottom-of-the-table Southampton on Saturday afternoon, but the Norwegian goal-machine wasn’t missed as City thrashed Liverpool last weekend, with Julian Alvarez and Jack Grealish both producing excellent performances.
Pep Guardiola will consider resting some players ahead of his side’s Champions League clash with Bayern Munich, but his side should have too much for a rival that is looking increasingly doomed to the drop.
Manchester United and Everton get the weekend underway with a vital game for both sides at Old Trafford. Manchester United’s 1-0 win at home to Brentford on Wednesday strengthened their position in fourth, although Luke Shaw is injured and Casemiro is still suspended against Everton, who are one of four teams level on just 27 points.
Newcastle United return to London to play Brentford just three days after their impressive 5-1 win at West Ham. Callum Wilson is returning to his best form, while Alexander Isak looks fit again at the right time of the campaign for Eddie Howe’s men.
Newcastle and Manchester United’s midweek wins took them both three points clear of fifth place Tottenham with a game in hand, which means Tottenham have to win their difficult home game against Brighton, who have an exciting prospect in 18-year-old Ewan Ferguson.
Cristian Stellini taking over from Antonio Conte failed to produce a reaction away from Everton last weekend and his side need to improve against a side just four points behind them in the table and who have played two games less.
Two coaches are in serious danger of the sack if results go against them, with Steve Cooper at Nottingham Forest told this week that “results must improve” and West Ham’s David Moyes also apparently on an ultimatum after a defeat to Newcastle.
Nottingham Forest have a difficult visit to in-form Aston Villa, who have striker Ollie Watkins in fine form and looking for their fifth win in six games. Only the top two have taken more points than the 32 Villa have amassed in their last 16 matches.
West Ham cross London to play a Fulham side that will be without suspended striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, but anything but a win could be the end for Moyes. Second from bottom Leicester City host Bournemouth in a huge relegation duel, while Frank Lampard makes his shock return to Chelsea with a visit to Wolverhampton.
Chelsea need to gain confidence ahead of their Champions League visit to Real Madrid, while Wolves have to get back to winning ways after taking just four points from the last 15. There is more relegation drama on Sunday with Leeds United at home to Crystal Palace, with a win for either side likely to give them some vital breathing space above the drop zone.
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