Premier League: Chelsea to face Man Utd at Stamford Bridge while Arsenal, Liverpool and City expected to secure three points

(Football news) The Premier League weekend is on the horizon with the blockbuster fixture of the week being the one between league leaders Chelsea and eighth place Manchester United. While their positions in the table might suggest otherwise, it’s the rivalry that makes this clash one to watch out for as Thomas Tuchel’s side have won nine of their last 12 league games and a win against Manchester United will at least maintain the three point gap over Manchester City.

The Blues will be without N’Golo Kante and Ben Chilwell who were substituted in the midweek clash against Chelsea due to knee injuries while Mateo Kovacic is also ruled out due to a thigh injury. Romelu Lukaku is expected to start against his former side but Kai Havertz remains a doubt after picking up a thigh injury against Leicester City last week.

Caretaker manager Michael Carrick will be hoping Man United can avoid a defeat at Stamford Bridge with a draw being an acceptable result under the current circumstances. The Red Devils sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last week after a humiliating 4-1 defeat by Watford at Vicarage Road but are now boosted by the return of Edinson Cavani and Luke Shaw. Raphael Varane and Paul Pogba remain sidelined due to injury while Mason Greenwood will be unavailable for selection after testing positive for COVID-19 and Harry Maguire is suspended for the clash.

At the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal will face relegation-threatened Newcastle United in the first Premier League match of the weekend. The Gunners were defeated 4-0 by Liverpool last weekend and will look to get back to winning ways, especially considering West Ham, who are currently three points ahead, will be facing Manchester City. The hosts don’t have any fresh injury concerns, the likes of Granit Xhaka and Saed Kolasinac remain sidelined due to injuries. Kieran Tierney is expected to replace Nuno Tavares after his poor performance at Anfield and  Albert Sambi Lokonga is expected to retain his midfield spot despite pressure from Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

For Newcastle, Fabian Schar picked up a hamstring strain against Brentford and will be unavailable for selection, Emil Krafth is expected to feature in the defensive line-up. Joe Willock is a strong possibility to start against his former club despite his goal scoring drought as well as Isaac Hayden and Martin Dubravka. Most importantly, it will be interesting to see if Newcastle’s new manager Eddie Howe is cleared to appear on the sidelines after testing positive for COVID-19 soon after taking charge of the club.

Also read: Bundesliga: Bayern take on relegation threatened Arminia as Dortmund breathe down their neck

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool will welcome Southampton this weekend hoping to secure three points and apply pressure on league leaders Chelsea and 2nd place Manchester City. The Reds have scored at least two goals in their last 16 matches across all competitions and are yet to suffer defeat at Anfield. To make matters worse, Southampton have the worst Premier League away record this year but managed to defeat Liverpool 1-0 at the St. Mary’s Stadium last term. Naby Keita is expected to be available for Liverpool this weekend but Roberto Firmino, Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott and Joe Gomez remain sidelined.

For Southampton, Nathan Redmond is available for selection after missing last weekend’s clash against Norwich due to the birth of his child while Stuart Armstrong and Moussa Djenepo remain doubtful. Jack Stephens is still recuperating from a knee injury and will remain unavailable while Ibrahima Diallo is expected to be on the bench after Redmond’s return. Anything less than three points for Liverpool would be considered a disappointment in this fixture.

Reigning Premier League champions Manchester City face a tough test at the Etihad Stadium as they welcome fourth place West Ham this weekend. Pep Guardiola’s team will aim to make it five straight wins but will face a vengeful West Ham side who lost to Wolves last weekend. City will be without Kevin De Bruyne after the Belgian tested positive for COVID-19 while Jack Grealish and Phil Foden remain doubtful for the match. Ferran Torres is a long term absentee for Pep Guardiola’s side as the Spaniard is currently recovering from a fractured metatarsal.

West Ham have already defeated Man City in the EFL Cup this season but will need a special performance to come away with three points at the Etihad Stadium. The Hammers will be without Angelo Ogbonna who requires a knee surgery which means Craig Dawson is expected to partner alongside Kurt Zouma for the foreseeable future. The hosts are favourites to secure a win against West Ham but a draw is not out of the realm of possibility for David Moyes’ team.


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