Five things: Premier League weekend preview

Manchester City has the chance to exert some short-term pressure on runaway leader Liverpool this weekend as Manchester United looks to end its away day blues.

Tottenham is winless in its past eight league visits to Anfield.   -  Getty Images

Manchester City has the chance to exert some short-term pressure on runaway Premier League leader Liverpool this weekend as Manchester United looks to end its away day blues.

Jurgen Klopp’s side saw its long winning streak ended by a hungry United in a draw at Old Trafford last week but still has a comfortable six-point lead over second-placed City.

Guardiola’s defending champion can cut that gap to just three points, at least temporarily, if it beats Aston Villa at home on Saturday, while Liverpool has a trickier-looking tie against Spurs the following day.

Frank Lampard’s young Chelsea side travels to Burnley on the back of a six-match winning run in all competitions while third-placed Leicester visits Southampton on Friday.

Manchester United will be desperate to put more distance between itself and the relegation zone but travels to Norwich without an away win in the Premier League since February.

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

 

Fortress Anfield

Liverpool goes into its home match against Tottenham after falling one game short of matching Manchester City’s record 18-match winning run in the Premier League.

The European champion, on a 44-match unbeaten run at home in the league, has forgotten how to lose at Anfield but will be facing a Spurs team buoyed by a 5-0 victory at home to Red Star Belgrade in midweek.

 

Erik Lamela, who scored against Red Star on his 200th appearance for Spurs, said the size of the victory had given the struggling team an injection of confidence.

“Our confidence is better after winning the game 5-0,” said the Argentine. “We need to take this game, keep going, try to get better and better and now focus on Liverpool.”

Spurs is seeking revenge for defeat in last season’s Champions League final, but the odds are stacked against it. Tottenham has won just once in 15 matches against Liverpool and has not won away in the Premier League since January.

 

Sterling soars

Pep Guardiola urged his team to be more clinical after its 2-0 victory last week against Crystal Palace and his team responded by thumping Atalanta 5-1 in the Champions League.

Despite Guardiola’s exhortations, City has not been shy in front of goal this season, hitting 29 in just nine Premier League matches.

Its top-scorer in all competitions is Raheem Sterling, whose hat-trick in midweek led to gushing praise from his boss, who called him an “extraordinary player“.

Premier League weekend quiz

Sterling has 16 goals already this season for club and country -- already more than half of his tally of 31 during the previous campaign.

Despite his comments about his attackers, Guardiola’s more pressing concern will be sorting out his defence, which has looked vulnerable this season in the absence of Aymeric Laporte.

Rodri’s hamstring injury against Atalanta has restricted the manager’s defensive options even further but John Stones will be hoping to put a frustrating spell behind him and re-establish himself in the starting XI.

 

United’s away-day woes

Manchester United came within minutes of beating Liverpool at Old Trafford last week but Sunday’s visit to Norwich will likely be a truer test of the team’s current form.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, just two points above the relegation zone, has not won away in the league since the Norwegian was appointed as the permanent boss.

 

The match at Carrow Road will be the second of four successive away games in all competitions. United did at least secure its first win on the road since March at Partizan Belgrade in the Europa League on Thursday.

“It’s an issue that we have to deal with and sort out as soon as possible,” said Solskjaer on his side’s away form.

 

Four in a row for Lampard?

Frank Lampard is seeking a fourth successive league victory for the first time in his managerial career when Chelsea head to Burnley.

The Blues have also won their last three Premier League away games, scoring three or more goals on each occasion and netting 12 in total.

Burnley has already lost 3-0 at home to Liverpool this term and has won only one of its 25 Premier League encounters with 'big-six' clubs.

 

Gunners eye comeback from Sheffield loss

Arsenal's eight-match unbeaten run in all competitions was ended by Sheffield United, putting added importance on Sunday's visit of London rivals Crystal Palace.

The Eagles won this corresponding fixture 3-2 in April and are looking to secure back-to-back wins against Arsenal in all competitions for the first time.

Unai Emery has not lost successive home league matches against an opponent since 2013 when in charge of Sevilla, however, and Arsenal has not been defeated in a home league game in the month of October since 2002.

 

 

Fixtures

Friday: Southampton vs Leicester

Saturday: Manchester City vs Aston Villa, Brighton vs Everton, Watford vs Bournemouth, West Ham vs Sheffield United, Burnley vs Chelsea

Sunday: Newcastle vs Wolves, Arsenal vs Crystal Palace, Liverpool vs Tottenham, Norwich vs Manchester United

 

With inputs from AFP and Omnisport.

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