Eight talking points for the Premier League weekend

Liverpool faces bitter rival Manchester United at Old Trafford and is the favourite to win, while Manchester City looks to bounce back against Crystal Palace.

In the 2018-19 season, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester United and Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool played out a goalless draw at Old Trafford.   -  Getty Images

The Premier League returns this weekend with what promises to be an enthralling run of games.

Manchester City was defeated by Wolves last time out and now trails Liverpool by eight points, but it has the chance to close the gap on Jurgen Klopp's men when it faces Crystal Palace on Saturday.

City will be relying on a favour from Manchester United, however, with under-pressure Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in desperate need of a win. Three points against Liverpool would do nicely for United, while Tottenham and Everton will also be out to end dismal runs.

Can Solskjaer and Co turn it around?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be without David De Gea, Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard when United hosts Liverpool.   -  Getty Images

 

The gap between Liverpool and Manchester United has rarely been bigger than it is right now.

Yet United is unbeaten in its last five home league meetings with Liverpool, with four of the last six Premier League fixtures between the sides ending level.

This is the first time since October 1996 that Liverpool will face United in a Premier League match while being top of the table, with Jurgen Klopp's side a win away from equalling the all-time English top-flight record of 18 consecutive victories, set by Manchester City in 2017.

Liverpool could welcome back first-choice goalkeeper Alisson and centre-back Joel Matip if deemed match fit. United, meanwhile, will be missing the services of David de Gea who is sidelined due to a groin issue. He joins the list of absentees, Jesse Lingard, Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial.

READ | Solskjaer has 'no problem at all' with Pogba meeting Zidane

City resumes hunt against Palace

Manchester City is now eight points behind Liverpool in the Premier League table.   -  Getty Images

 

Manchester City will be out to respond in force to its loss to Wolves, but Crystal Palace are in good form.

Roy Hodgson's Palace side is looking to secure three consecutive Premier League wins within the same season for the first time since May 2018.

Palace is winless in its last four top-flight home games against City, though, and Pep Guardiola's weekend visitor has scored in 15 of its last 16 Premier League meetings with the Eagles, while the champion has won 10 of its last 11 away matches overall.

Guardiola was handed a fitness boost as his side's chief creator Kevin De Bruyne and John Stones have joined the team training midweek. There are no signs of full-back Benjamin Mendy making it to the match squad despite recovering from a thigh injury. Hodgson will be without the services of Mamadou Sakho and Connor Wickham.

READ | Manchester City, Liverpool fined by UEFA

Gunners up against stingy Blades

Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette was back in full team training.   -  Getty Images

 

Arsenal has won its last seven Premier League games in Yorkshire - the longest winning run by an away side in the county in English top-flight history. It has not beaten Sheffield United in the league at Bramall Lane since April 1991, however, drawing three times and losing once.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored 49 goals in 75 games for Arsenal – one here would see him become the sixth fastest player to reach 50 for the club.

The Blades, meanwhile, have not lost a league game on a Monday since January 2012, winning six and drawing six since.

Return of striker Alexandre Lacazette will make Unai Emery happy, but a leaky defence has been a problem for the Gunners in crunch games. If Arsenal wishes to keep its Champions League spot, then away games such as Monday's trip to Sheffield are going to prove crucial.

READ | Ozil improves Arsenal training effort to leave Emery encouraged

Confident Newcastle out to upset Blues

Matty Longstaff scored the lone goal in the win against Manchester United.   -  Getty Images

 

Steve Bruce ended his long wait for a win over Manchester United as a manager last time out, thanks to Matty Longstaff's debut goal, but now he must organise his Newcastle team for a clash with Chelsea.

Frank Lampard's Chelsea team has struggled at home this season, taking just five points from its four Premier League matches at Stamford Bridge. However, the Blues have only grown in confidence ever since the 2-0 home win against Brighton and will look to put on a strong show on Saturday.

Newcastle, though, has won only one of its last 25 away league games against the Blues.

READ | Chelsea boss Lampard against Champions League reforms

Spurs desperate to get back on track

Mauricio Pochettino (Left) will look to end Tottenham's dismal run against bottom-placed Watford.   -  Getty Images

 

Tottenham endured a torrid week before the international break, but Mauricio Pochettino's side has the chance to recover against Watford, which has lost its last nine top-flight away games at Spurs.

Indeed, Watford has won just one of its 12 Premier League matches against Spurs, and the Hornets are still in search of their first league win of the season.

Tottenham, however, has lost more games in all competitions in 2019 than any other Premier League side, suffering 17 defeats.

READ | Pochettino downplays Tottenham unrest

Leicester hosts European contender Burnley

Brendan Rodgers' Leicester City is a strong contender for a Champions League spot this season.   -  Getty Images

 

Leicester City looked set to end Liverpool's winning streak at Anfield last time out, only for James Milner to score a last-gasp penalty. However, Brendan Rodger's side looks in a good position to secure a Champions League berth with its tenacious displays.

If given a chance, the Foxes could be leapfrogged by Burnley which is just two points adrift in seventh position. Odds favour Leicester as it is undefeated to the Clarets in the last eight matches at the King Power Stadium.

Also, Brendan Rodgers' side is unbeaten in six home league games, while Burnley has kept just one clean sheet in its last 16 Premier League matches on the road.

READ | Hudson-Odoi supports England team stance on racist abuse

Will Norwich escape the drop zone?

Norwich City's form has nosedived since the win against Manchester City.   -  Getty Images

 

Form has swiftly deteriorated for Norwich since its brilliant win over Manchester City, and Daniel Farke's side must rally from its heavy home defeat to Aston Villa last time out.

Norwich has conceded 21 goals so far in the league this term, and in Bournemouth it faces the only other team yet to keep a clean sheet. A long list of injuries is not a helpful sight for the newly-promoted side going into the tie.

The Canaries has conceded at least twice in each of its last six Premier League games, and it last conceded two goals in seven consecutive league games in April 1985.

READ | Liverpool's Alexander-Arnold enters Guinness World Records book

Marco Silva on the edge as Toffees seek miracle

Marco Silva's job could be on the line if Everton fails to claw out of the relegation zone in the next three games.   -  Getty Images

 

Four successive league defeats for Everton have left Marco Silva apparently on the brink, with reports suggesting the Toffees boss has three games to save his job after guiding the club to their longest losing streak since 2005.

Everton lost this fixture 3-1 last term, but there are some good omens for Silva ahead of the Goodison Park clash. The host has achieved more Premier League wins against West Ham than against any other side, although it is winless in its last eight early Saturday kick-offs.

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