Five things: Premier League weekend preview

Liverpool has yet another chance to extend its lead at the top as it faces Aston Villa, whereas Southampton faces Manchester City again in a gap of two days.

Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold will make his 100th Premier League appearance this weekend.   -  Getty Images

Liverpool has yet another chance to extend its lead at the top as it faces Aston Villa on the weekend. Arsenal desperately needs a positive result against Wolves if it is to draw a line under a tumultuous week at Emirates Stadium.

Amongst other fixtures, Southampton takes on Manchester City again in a gap of two days, while Manchester United could be without its in-form striker Marcus Rashford.

Here are some of the talking points ahead of the weekend’s matches:

 

In-form Rashford doubtful for Bournemouth trip

Manchester United could be without Marcus Rashford, Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof for Saturday's Premier League trip to Bournemouth.

All three players sustained knocks in the 2-1 EFL Cup victory at Chelsea on Wednesday, a result that stretched United's winning run away from home to three games in all competitions.

Rashford, who scored a penalty and then a stunning free-kick to seal the win, was seen with an ice pack on his knee after being substituted at Stamford Bridge, while Lindelof was replaced by Anthony Martial 66 minutes in and Maguire was seen limping in the closing stages.

When asked for an update on the trio on Friday, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told a news conference: "It's still early. Hopefully we can get them back on the pitch tomorrow.

"They had some treatment yesterday, a little more treatment today, a light session. Hopefully, they're ready. I can't tell you exactly now."

United heads into the match in seventh place in the Premier League, ahead of Bournemouth on goal difference. A win will move it to within four points of the top four before Chelsea's match away to Watford.

 

Xhaka to be left out for Wolves clash

Granit Xhaka will not be involved for Arsenal in Saturday's Premier League match against Wolves, head coach Unai Emery has confirmed.

The club captain appeared to swear loudly and cupped his hand to his ear as sections of the home fans booed him when he was substituted after Arsenal had let a two-goal lead slip.

Xhaka was then left out of the thrilling EFL Cup encounter with Liverpool on Wednesday and later released a statement to explain his outburst, revealing he has received abusive messages online that include death threats made against his family.

After confirming Xhaka would not play, Emery told reporters on Friday: "He is training. He didn't play at Liverpool. For me, he is continuing; above all, [we are] focusing on tomorrow.

Arsenal desperately needs a positive result against Wolves if it is to draw a line under a tumultuous week at Emirates Stadium, but Nuno Espirito Santo's men have a strong record against the top flight's 'big six'.

 

Alexander-Arnold set for 100th Premier League cap

Trent Alexander-Arnold is set to make his 100th appearance for the Premier League leader against Aston Villa on Saturday.

The 21-year-old right-back has delighted Liverpool fans with not only his performances but the fact he is a locally-born player.

Klopp said Alexander-Arnold's rise to stardom had been in part due to his determination to set himself ambitious goals.

“He's so young and already so experienced,” said Klopp at his eve of match press conference. “It's a wonderful story for different reasons.

“I know that in Liverpool everyone was desperate to have a 'scouse' hero making his way into the first team.

“When he made his first appearance he said 'great, but it's not about having one game, it's about having 100'.

“Now we can talk about that, and there were not a lot of bad games in that 100.”

Klopp's side leads Manchester City by six points going into this weekend's matches

 

Saints face City again

Southampton will face Manchester City again on the weekend, in a gap of two days, having been defeated by the defending PL champ in the EFL Cup.

The Saints bowed out of the tournament after a 1-3 loss but Ralph Hasenhüttl's side will have a chance to improve its result when it takes on the same opponent again.

Prior to the loss to City, Southampton was on the receiving end of 9-0 thrashing by Leicester City at its home turf.

Pep Guardiola could make several changes from the midweek Carabao Cup tie, with Kevin de Bruyne and David Silva expected to return.

As for Southampton, Nathan Redmond and Sofiane Boufal return but Ryan Bertrand is suspended.

 

Chelsea faces winless Watford but must wait for Rudiger's return

Frank Lampard denied Antonio Rudiger is fit to return for Chelsea, revealing the Germany centre-back is set to see a consultant on Monday.

Rudiger was forced off at half-time in Chelsea's 5-2 victory over Wolves on September 14, which remains his only appearance for the first team since sustaining a knee injury in April.

Lampard insisted Rudiger will not be available for Saturday's meeting with Watford and there is no timetable for his return.

"He's not fit. I saw the quotes, whether there was a miscommunication I don't know," said the Chelsea head coach.

Watford is winless at the bottom of the Premier League this season but Lampard warned the Blues, who saw a run of seven straight victories end with a 2-1 loss to Manchester United in the EFL Cup on Wednesday, against complacency.

Asked if the circumstances made the meeting with Watford more dangerous, Lampard replied: "Without a doubt. I'm very much of that mindset.

"First, I look at us, and since we've been on the winning run, the game became more dangerous because of the idea of overconfidence.

"We saw what Watford did last year and the personnel are very similar. We cannot underestimate a team that will be hurting because they haven't won for a while."

 

 

Fixtures

Saturday: Bournemouth vs Manchester United, West Ham vs Newcastle United, Aston Villa vs Liverpool, Arsenal vs Wolverhampton, Sheffield United vs Burnley, Brighton vs Norwich City, Manchester City vs Southampton, Watford vs Chelsea

Sunday: Crystal Palace vs Leicester City, Everton vs Tottenham

 

With inputs from AFP and Omnisport.

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