5️⃣ big questions ahead of the Premier League weekend | OneFootball

5️⃣ big questions ahead of the Premier League weekend | OneFootball

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OneFootball

Peter Fitzpatrick·24 February 2024

5️⃣ big questions ahead of the Premier League weekend

Article image:5️⃣ big questions ahead of the Premier League weekend

There might be two less Premier League games this weekend due to the EFL Cup final but there is still more than enough action and potential drama at both ends of the table.

Here are our biggest questions ahead of it all.


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Can Arsenal and Manchester City close the gap on cup finalists Liverpool?

Article image:5️⃣ big questions ahead of the Premier League weekend

Liverpool’s midweek win against Luton Town saw them go four points clear at the top of the table, albeit having played a game more than their title rivals, Manchester City and Arsenal.

Nonetheless, points on the board are what really matters, and the pressure is on both sides to respond and close the gap once again on Jürgen Klopp’s Reds.

City travel to the south coast to take on Bournemouth, a side they have a flawless recent history against – their 13 wins from 13 games is the best 100% record in Premier League history.

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However, Pep Guardiola’s men have been slightly wobbly away from home as of late, going behind in their last six, although, they have managed to come back and win in four of those. Kevin De Bruyne’s fitness is a concern, and City will have to be at the races against the Cherries, particularly with Dominic Solanke in top form.

Arsenal will be looking to bounce back from their disappointing loss in Porto when they host Newcastle at the Emirates. Their recent league form has been brilliant though, with five straight wins and 21 goals since the turn of the year.

They face a Magpies side who they have not lost to at home since 2010, but one who did beat them in controversial fashion back in November. Eddie Howe’s side’s games are also full of goals, so it could be a cracker in north London.


Will Villa and United heap the pressure on Spurs?

Article image:5️⃣ big questions ahead of the Premier League weekend

Spurs are not in action this weekend, with their fixture against Chelsea postponed due to the Blues’ presence in the Wembley final.

This gives both Aston Villa and Manchester United a great chance to heap the pressure onto Ange Postecoglou’s side with wins, which would put them five points clear and level respectively in the race for Champions League qualification.

Villa entertain Nottingham Forest in a Midlands derby, hoping to snap a three-game losing streak at the once-fortress Villa Park. While Forest have been poor on their travels – just two wins in 12 so far – they did beat Unai Emery’s side 2-0 back in November, being just one of three sides to shut Ollie Watkins and co. out this season.

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Watkins roared back into form at Fulham last weekend to give his team the win, and will be looking to build on his brace with another match-winning performance this time around.

Conversely, United will be without their main marksman when they face the Cottagers on Saturday, with Rasmus Højlund joining Luke Shaw and Lisandro Martínez on the injury list for at least the next fortnight.

The Dane had become the youngest player to net in six straight Premier League games but Erik ten Hag will need to find goals elsewhere for now. They do come up against a favourite opponent though, with Fulham failing to have won in the last 16 clashes between the pair, and not at Old Trafford since October 2003.


Is this the dawn of a new era at Crystal Palace?

Article image:5️⃣ big questions ahead of the Premier League weekend

It’s been a tumultuous season at Crystal Palace, to say the least, but the dawn of a new era could be beckoning with the appointment of Oliver Glasner.

The Austrian arrives at Selhurst Park with a stellar CV, having guided both Wolfsburg and Eintracht Frankfurt to the Champions League knockout stages, as well as winning the Europa League in 2022 with the latter.

He is the progressive and forward thinking manager that many Eagles’ fans have been crying out for, but implementing a new style will have to be balanced with getting the points to keep the club in the Premier League.

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Their bid to secure their top-flight status for a record-extending 11th straight season was helped by a battling point at Everton on Monday night, which keeps them four points from the relegation zone.

That could become seven this weekend as Glasner has been handed arguably the most ideal first game, with freefalling Burnley the visitors to south London.

Vincent Kompany’s Clarets are conceding goals at an alarming rate – Arsenal’s five last time around made it 55 for the season – and have not won a Premier League game since before Christmas, although that did come in the capital.

Even with the absence of several key players, Glasner should be confident of getting off to a dream start.


Could the relegation picture unexpectedly change this weekend?

Article image:5️⃣ big questions ahead of the Premier League weekend

With Luton not in action due to playing Liverpool midweek, could any of the sides around them make a move this weekend?

Burnley and Nottingham Forest have been covered but what about Everton and Sheffield United? Both face daunting away days but there is room for optimism.

The Toffees make the trip to Brighton and the high-flying Seagulls but it is a fixture that will bring back fond memories for Sean Dyche and his team.

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Their successful survival bid last season saw them storm the AmEx and come away with a stunning 5-1 win, Abdoulaye Doucouré and Dwight McNeill both grabbing doubles. Same again this time? It would keep them in 17th but three points clear of safety.

The Blades, on the other hand, look doomed for an instant return to the Championship, and will be huge underdogs at Molineux against one of the surprise packages of the season, Wolves.

Gary O’Neil has his sights set on a top-half finish but United have been better away from Bramall Lane of late, winning on their last away day at Luton.

Could they spring a major shock this weekend and kick-start the greatest of great escapes?


Is there any way back for David Moyes at West Ham?

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In what feels like Groundhog Day at this point, David Moyes is coming under increasing pressure at West Ham.

Well, at least from the fans, with the Scottish manager revealing on Friday that he has a new contract offer on the table, despite being winless in eight and having conceded 11 without reply in their last three outings.

Mutiny may be in the air at the London Stadium, particularly if they concede first, and Brentford will fancy their chances of piling on the misery this weekend.

They could also do with a win to keep any fears of a relegation battle at bay – they currently sit in 14th and five points clear of danger.

With Ivan Toney in red-hot form since his return (four goals in five games) and chasing a Euro 2024 spot, could the Bees be the latest to sting Moyes and West Ham?