London, England | THE INDEPENDENT | It promises to be a revealing weekend in the Premier League as two of the top-three sides meet and two more without a win all season go head-to-head.
The round of games kicks off on Friday night with mid-table Crystal Palace at home to Newcastle United, who have lost their way in recent weeks with consecutive defeats.
Saturday kicks off with Brighton midfielder Adam Lallana facing his former club Liverpool, who have not had a lot of time to recover from a surprise 2-0 home defeat to Atalanta in the Champions League.
A long list of key players, among them Joe Gomez, Jordan Henderson, Nabi Keita and Trent Alexander Arnold, out injured will not help Jurgen Klopp’s selection problems.
Manchester City welcome Sergio Aguero back after injury and the Argentinean striker should give Pep Guardiola’s side more punch in attack as they entertain Burnley.
Burnley claimed their first win of the season last weekend but a repeat in the Ethiad Stadium would be a major shock despite Manchester City’s irregular league displays this season.
Leeds United need to halt a slide that has seen them win just one of their last six league games, but face a difficult task as Everton look to build on last weekend’s win away to Fulham.
Everton coach Carlo Ancelotti’s main worry is finding a replacement for left back Lucas Digne, who is out for several months after damaging ankle ligaments with Niels Nkounkou likely to get a chance to impress.
Saturday ends with a match between two sides still without a win this season as West Brom take on Sheffield United. The fact Sheffield and West Brom have scored just 10 goals between them so far this season doesn’t point to a high-scoring game.
Sunday starts with a fascinating match as fifth place Southampton test their seven game unbeaten record at home to Manchester United who, despite their poor home form, have won their last seven away games in the Premier League and scored 20 goals in the process.
Perhaps the main point of interest will be to see whether Donny van der Beek and Bruno Fernandes are able to fit together in central midfield for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
Jose Mourinho returns to Stamford Bridge with his Tottenham side top of the league and starting to look like real title contenders, while the arrival of Thiago Silva and Edouard Mendy has seen Chelsea concede just two goals in their last eight matches in all competitions.
Chelsea will have the advantage of two more days to prepare after midweek European competition but the clash between two in-form sides promises to reveal a great deal about their respective aims for the season.
Arsenal look to improve on their record of just one win in five league games when they take on a Wolverhampton side with just one defeat in six. Nicholas Pepe is suspended for Arsenal while Thomas Partey is currently an injury doubt.
There are two games on Monday with Leicester City aiming to bounce back from their defeat to Liverpool with a home match against Fulham, while West Ham face an irregular Aston Villa.