London,England | THE INDEPENDENT | A Merseyside derby and Manchester City’s visit to Arsenal promise to be the highlights of the weekend’s games in the Premier League when the relegation dogfight could also look a lot clearer.
The Merseyside derby between Everton and Liverpool comes after Everton last week suffered home defeats to Fulham and Manchester City, which stopped them overtaking their neighbors in the Premier League.
Liverpool claimed a solid Champions League win away to RB Leipzig on Tuesday night, but have lost their last three Premier League games, conceding eight goals in the process and a defeat at Goodison Park would allow Everton to draw level on points with Jurgen Klopp’s side.
The good news for Liverpool is that Fabinho’s return should allow Jordan Henderson to return into his favored midfield role.
Chelsea’s form of four wins from five games and just one goal conceded since Thomas Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard has seen them climb into fourth place and they will fancy their chances of adding to that run when they visit a Southampton side in freefall after losing their last six league games.
Thiago Silva and Tammy Abraham are out for Chelsea, while Tuchel may make some changes ahead of next week’s Champions League clash against La Liga leaders, Atletico Madrid.
Saturday’s two remaining matches will have a big impact on the relegation battle, where both West Brom and Sheffield United look doomed and Fulham are six points behind fourth from bottom Newcastle United.
Burnley entertain West Brom in a game which pits the Premier League’s second least effective attack against its worst defense, but despite Burnley’s problems scoring goals, a win for the home side would take them to 30 points and just about clear of any lingering threat of relegation.
Fulham are at home to Sheffield United and Scott Parker’s side go into the game with one win and four draws from their last six games. A win for Fulham would put the pressure on Newcastle United, who have a difficult visit to play Manchester United on Sunday without the injured top scorer Callum Wilson or defender Fabian Schar.
Manchester United won 4-0 away to Real Sociedad in the Europa League on Thursday and Dean Henderson could keep his place in goal ahead of David de Geal after another assured display.
Manchester City visit Arsenal on Sunday as Pep Guardiola’s men look to claim an 18th consecutive win against the side coached by former City assistant boss Mikel Arteta.
Loanee Martin Odegaard impressed in Arsenal’s 1-1 draw away to Benfica on Thursday and could well start to link midfield and attack on Sunday, while Guardiola may look at his side’s 10-point lead in the Premier League and rest some players ahead of their return to the Champions League.
Tottenham enjoyed some much-needed relief when they won away in the Europa League on Thursday, but Sunday’s trip to fifth place West Ham should be much tougher and the Spurs need to end a run of four defeats in five league matches to both keep hopes of qualifying for Europe alive and silence the growing rumors about dressing room discontent with Jose Mourinho.
Aston Villa face Leicester City in what promises to be an entertaining game between two sides that are well-matched in midfield, and Monday’s game gives Brighton the chance to continue their climb away from trouble when they renew their rivalry with an injury-affected Crystal Palace.