Premier League: 10 things to watch out for this weekend

<span>From left to right: <a class=Everton’s Dominic Calvert-LewinChelsea’s Mykhailo Mudryk and Aston Villa’s Nicolò Zaniolo.Composite: Guardian design” src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Ng–/ a9ef2a077″ data -src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Ng–/ 9ef2a077″/ >

Howe can benefit from the back-three experiment

Eddie Howe turned radical when Newcastle lost the FA Cup quarter-final at Manchester City earlier this month, firing up a trio. For a confirmed manager with four players at the back, this was quite a departure, but keeping him could well suit Newcastle’s staff, especially against West Ham at St James’ Park last Saturday. Considering that Sven Botman is sidelined for nine months after cruciate ligament surgery – and in retrospect the Dutch defender should have had that operation when he first damaged his knee in September – the best three backs would certainly be Jamaal Lascelles, Fabian Schär and Then there will be Burn, flanked by Kieran Trippier, if fit, or Tino Livramento and Lewis Hall. Hall has been disappointed after his summer loan at Chelsea, but a left-back position could finally allow him to demonstrate why many once believed he was an England player in the making. With Schär showing his ball skills at sweeper, 3-5-2 could still put Newcastle into Europa League contention next season. Louise Taylor

Everton’s desperate need for firepower

After a run of eleven winless games in the league, things are looking bleak for Everton, especially with the threat of another potential points deduction. The good news is that they have already beaten Bournemouth 3-0 this season in what was their first home win after four consecutive defeats. It was a result that Sean Dyche needed and set up a run of seven wins in ten games. What the manager would do for something similar this time. The players know they can beat their opponents, but their biggest problem is the lack of goal threat. They have scored just seven times in their past 11 games and Dominic Calvert-Lewin has not beaten a goalkeeper since late October, while his rival for the sole striker role, Beto, has scored two goals in the league all season. If they want to win again, they need one of their strikers to find form quickly. Otherwise, it could be a grim final two months in the Premier League. Will win

Mudryk provides more sharpness for Chelsea

Mykhailo Mudryk has had a great week. The winger must be buzzing after scoring the goal that sent Ukraine to the 2024 European Championship. It was a huge moment for Mudryk, who is showing flashes of the talent that convinced Chelsea to sign him last year. He remains raw and inconsistent, but his goal in Chelsea’s recent 3-2 win over Newcastle was also special. Newcastle’s defense was sliced ​​open by Mudryk, who is on the mend under Mauricio Pochettino. The Argentinian will hope the youngster can continue his good form when Burnley visit Stamford Bridge. Jacob Steinberg

Forest must find his resistance… and quickly

It may have come to your attention that Nottingham Forest have been awarded four points by the Premier League for breaching profit and sustainability rules, which they are appealing. Meanwhile, they lie 18th, desperately need a win and can use the perceived injustice to fuel their run-in. Nuno Espírito Santo has led his side to one win in the past nine league matches, but within the club they feel he has done well, even if the results have been disappointing. Of the seven defeats in the competition since the Portuguese took over at the end of December, six have been by one goal, indicating the small margins. Matters are made worse by the fact that they are without their main scoring threat, Taiwo Awoniyi, who has been on the sidelines for weeks. Forest must determine what he can do on the pitch; their next three home games are against Crystal Palace, then Fulham and Wolves, giving them a good chance to secure maximum points while being supported by a riotous City Ground. WU

Blades’ desperate attempt to escape the depths

Fulham are planning to open a rooftop pool, reserved for VIP match-goers, as the jewel in the crown of their new Riverside Stand at Craven Cottage, but Sheffield United appear almost certain to be diving into less hospitable championship waters. Chris Wilder’s side entertain Marco Silva’s west Londoners at a time when they sit bottom of the Premier League, eight points behind fourth-place Luton, albeit with a game in hand. Wilder says he “still believes” the Blades can survive but accepts the players “must show desire”. Somewhat scathingly, the United manager added: ‘If we continue the way we have been in the last four or five home games we have no chance. We need to be stricter and that is something the staff has addressed.” Wilder also admitted that Bramall Lane regulars have been “let down” and need to be given “something to shout about”. It’s safe to assume he wasn’t talking about a shiny swimming pool. LT

Dragusin needs to step up for Spurs

There was little to remember fondly about Tottenham’s last game, a 3-0 defeat at Fulham. They were completely incompetent and sidelined. One problem was the absence of Micky van de Ven, who was sidelined with a hamstring injury. The Dutch centre-back was ruled out for two months earlier this season due to a similar problem, but Ange Postecoglou insists the matter is less serious this time around, although caution is needed. If Van de Ven fails to recover in time, it could mean a second start for Radu Dragusin, who started life in the Premier League at Craven Cottage in January. The Romanian centre-back is only 22 and still has plenty of time to improve, but he will look to show why Spurs invested around €27 million in him. Luton’s physical forward could make things problematic for the new boy for another 90 minutes; it will be up to him to prove his worth. WU

Crunch time for Zaniolo’s Villa ambitions

Nicolò Zaniolo saved Villa in their most recent outing at West Ham, but whether he can do the same for his Premier League career in the next two months is up for debate. The Italian has struggled to make a notable impact since joining on loan from Galatasaray and while Villa have an option to make the transfer permanent, that seems unlikely. The forward last started a Premier League match on December 3 and was substituted at half-time against Bournemouth. He clearly hasn’t earned Unai Emery’s full trust, but the equalizer at West Ham and two more international appearances for Italy could give him some momentum. Even if he doesn’t deserve a start on Saturday, he has shown that he can make a difference from the bench. If he wants to find a good move in the summer, he must prove the doubters wrong. WU

Ten Hag tries to avoid another stab in the tail

Erik ten Hag may still be struggling with nightmares about last season’s 4-0 defeat at Brentford. It was an indication of how much work was needed to make his Manchester United side competitive again. They were outclassed and defeated by the Bees, who made impressive light work of an expensively assembled team that had a new manager to impress. Nineteen months later, little has changed at United; there is still a lot of room for improvement and they have at least regressed this season to a top four finish, which looks like a very difficult prospect with ten games to go. What Ten Hag can do is show that this is no longer the weak side that learned a lesson from Thomas Frank’s team. Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool have all won at Brentford this season and if United want to play in that category again they need a win to show that progress is being made. WU

An Anfield audition for De Zerbi?

Whisper it, but Jurgen Klopp is leaving Liverpool at the end of the season and they need someone to replace him. One of the names linked to the Anfield hotseat is Roberto De Zerbi, who will bring his vibrant style of football to Merseyside on Sunday. The Italian has solid references, but the question is whether he can make the step to a club that is competing for silverware. Liverpool’s new sporting director Richard Hughes once recommended that De Zerbi take over at former club Bournemouth, making his views known. It might help that Hughes speaks Italian and is very knowledgeable about European football. One thing that could help De Zerbi is the fact that he has Adam Lallana on his coaching staff, even though the midfielder is still playing, not to mention James Milner in his ranks. Sunday will be an audition to some extent for De Zerbi, and if he were to end up at Anfield permanently, putting Milner and Lallana in the boot room could help the transition. WU

A heavyweight and potentially decisive confrontation

In this three-way title battle, the blockbuster fights keep coming, so expect riveting entertainment as Arsenal hope to beat Manchester City and open a four-point lead over the champions with just 27 left to fight for. Pep Guardiola will undoubtedly have used Catalan to jinx an international breakthrough, with his key figures Kyle Walker and John Stones returning from injuries. And then there’s the problem that his treble victors and three-peat champions have yet to be consistently brilliant this season. Will they finally click against Arsenal or will Mikel Arteta have engineered a historic win at the final whistle that could potentially – still only – mean a shift in power from east Manchester to north London? Jamie Jackson











Men’s city


Aston Villa


Tottenham Hotspur


Man Utd


West Ham












AFC Bournemouth


Crystal Palace








Nottm Bos




Sheff United States

Leave a Comment