Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend | Premier League

1) Will Klopp and Potter make changes?

Healing Buds or False Dawn? Jurgen Klopp and Graham Potter are both desperate to win 1-0 the last time they show the former. Liverpool against Chelsea may lack its usual result with the two teams occupying the ninth and tenth places in the table and a 10-point difference between them and fourth place, but the coaches may disagree. Klopp admitted there could have been real skepticism around Anfield on Saturday had Liverpool repeated their modest efforts at Brighton in the FA Cup replay at Wolverhampton. An improved display from a much-changed squad at Molineux, particularly in terms of Liverpool’s pressure and energy, left Klopp with major selection dilemmas on Saturday as well as renewed optimism. Potter was relieved after Chelsea recorded only a second win in 10 games last weekend against Crystal Palace. Mykhaylo Mudryk could feature for the first time since his big-money arrival from Shakhtar Donetsk as the visitors strive for much-needed impetus. Andy Hunter

2) Casemiro’s comment leaves Ten Hag in a pickle

With around 10 minutes remaining at Selhurst Park, Manchester United were feeling rejuvenated at the prospect of facing the virtually unstoppable Arsenal on Sunday. Their optimism was punctuated by Michael Ulis’ free-kick and Casemiro’s suspension after an unusual foul on Wilfried Zaha. The Brazilian would have been fantastical to give Arsenal’s daring midfield a run for their money, and with all due respect to the likes of Fred and Scott McTominay, United’s replacements are a steep drop-off. Fred, in particular, didn’t quite excel in his Test run after coming on as a substitute at Palace. His mistake led to an equalizer and threatened a point that Casemiro would lose. Ten Hag’s side could still give the leaders one of their harshest tests, but the Dutchman will have to find a workable solution to their midfield conundrum first. Nick Ames

3) Who will get the ax in East London?

Whoever loses this relegation struggle between West Ham and Everton at the London Stadium will very likely pick the P45 on Monday morning. There are more spices used for both principals. David Moyes’ stint at Goodison Park established his reputation in the Premier League, while Frank Lampard returned to the club where he made his name as a player. Added to this, if Lampard gets the cut, Moyes will be in the frame to replace him. When adversaries mean too much to the person involved, it leads to desperation to prevent them from causing the fatal blow. West Ham and Everton have failed to win their past seven Premier League matches, an astonishing feat for both clubs. Everton will be glad they are away from home because the atmosphere at Goodison Park is toxic, not because things are much better at West Ham. Everton may find that a light relief and play with a level of freedom not seen in recent months because things are so bad they don’t have much to lose under Lampard. WU

Frank Lampard celebrates Everton’s 1-0 victory over West Ham at Goodison Park in the reverse fixture earlier this season. Photo: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

4) Lopetegui gives the wolves nothing to fear

In Julen Lopetegui, Wolves may have pulled off a managerial signing as shrewd as their M6 Midlands rivals, Aston Villa, who have landed in four-time Europa League winner Unai Emery. Lopetegui has one of those on his CV as well as spells in charge of Spain and Real Madrid and has only lost twice in his eight matches in England – against Manchester United (League) and Liverpool (FA Cup). At Anfield, Wolverhampton came close to eliminating Jurgen Klopp’s men, and Pep Guardiola had noticed how his compatriot had been playing with his golden shirts with greater strength and quality since his arrival in November. Wolves don’t usually beat Manchester City – they’ve only done so twice in 20 years – but from his résumé Lopetegui can credibly tell his players he’s not afraid of champions, and also demand that they fear nothing. g

5) The magpies face the absence of Guimarães

Newcastle have conceded once in their past nine matches in all competitions. One of the main reasons behind their success is not only the back four but also the work of Bruno Guimarães and his colleagues in midfield. The Brazilian will miss Newcastle at Selhurst Park due to the injury he picked up in the win over Fulham last weekend. Without Guimarães, Newcastle will undoubtedly be weaker and will need their replacement to rise. When Guimarães has missed matches since signing, Newcastle have won just 20%, a testament to his importance. Countryman Jolinton is likely to return to midfield and Alain Saint-Maximin will start on the wing against Crystal Palace as part of the Eddie Howe bring-back. If Newcastle are to maintain their Champions League form, they will need their entire squad to keep Guimarães’ high levels. WU

6) Hennessy gets a chance to prove her worth

Wayne Hennessey is set to start for Nottingham Forest after Dean Henderson was ruled out for six weeks with a muscle injury sustained in their 2-0 win over Leicester City last week. The Wales international had a lovely time between the sticks when club and country called him up recently. For Wales, the World Cup ended when he was sent off for stepping out of his goal and attempting to head the ball to an opponent in a crucial group match against Iran. Returning to Forest, he conceded three at Old Trafford and four at Blackpool in the FA Cup. Due to Henderson’s absence, Forest is considering bringing in a goalkeeper to replace loanee Manchester United, showing a lack of confidence in Hennessey. This could be the experienced keeper’s last chance to show Steve Cooper and the club hierarchy that he is the man for the job. WU

7) The Saints can’t risk losing momentum

It’s tight at the bottom, that’s for sure. It looked like Nathan Jones and Southampton were doomed until the new boss kicked off his reign with a morale boost for Manchester City in the Carabao Cup. City were bad that night but the victory was essential to the atmosphere within the team. More importantly, they followed that up with a win over relegation rivals Everton last week. The Premier League season has reached its halfway point and there are still no fewer than eight teams worried about making it to the Championship. A third win in a row would take Saints off the bottom and certainly out of the relegation zone. Momentum is key in football, especially with a young side like Jones, and Southampton currently have the little they need to grow if they are to survive. WU

James Ward Bruce of Southampton celebrates after scoring to equalize 1-1 against Everton.
Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse celebrated his trademark touch at Goodison Park last weekend. Photograph: Matt Watson/Southampton FC/Getty Images

8) The router needs to hit the ground running

Jesse Marsh is on a long list of Premier League managers under pressure and possibly defeat away from sacking. Most can claim mitigating circumstances. For Marsh, it was the lack of Patrick Bamford for much of the season. His 11 league games have netted him a single goal, but two FA Cup appearances against Cardiff on Wednesday will boost his confidence. However, there’s a new striker in town: club record signing Georginho Rutter. The deal could include Leeds paying Hoffenheim an insignificant £32m, which would please the German club that signed him for £500,000 two years before Rennes. He was introduced to the crowd ahead of Wednesday’s FA Cup replay, although he was not allowed to play after he signed after the original match in Cardiff. The Frenchman is only 20 years old, but his record two goals in 17 matches this season needs to be improved. Ratter may be small but with Leeds in the relegation battle he needs to hit the ground running. WU

9) The injured spurs must warn Mitrović

Aleksandar Mitrović is not a man who likes to lose, especially against a former club where he failed to command the respect he thought was justified. Having had his penalty overturned for kicking the ball twice at Newcastle last week, he will be desperate to make a point against Tottenham, a team whose defense appears so easily shaken. He scored an amazing goal in the reverse fixture earlier in the season and his confidence has increased since then thanks to his 11 goals overall. Tottenham’s defense has struggled to contain most teams in recent weeks and the injured Mitrovic knows how to get the best of defenders who aren’t up for a fight. A Fulham victory would see them overtake Tottenham, an incredible situation for Marco Silva’s side, and with Mitrovic at the top, it might make them favourites. WU

Fulham's Aleksandar Mitrović scores an amazing goal against Tottenham in September 2022.
Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrović (midfield) scored a fine goal against Tottenham earlier in the season. Photograph: Bradley Collier/Pennsylvania

10) The foxes need to cool off at the window

One of Leicester’s biggest problems – of which there have been many this season – has been their lack of investment in new players. Only the Wout Faes and third guard Alex Smithies joined in the summer. The band looked old. The players Brendan Rodgers has relied on in the past few years have failed to replicate their former form. Jamie Vardy has just one Premier League goal all season, Youri Tielemans has looked like a man with one eye on the exit door and Harvey Barnes is not at his best on the wing. The good news is that full-back Viktor Christiansen is set to join from Copenhagen after lengthy talks between the two clubs. He may not be the most exciting signing but he has played in the Champions League this season and hopefully he can provide some freshness in the dressing room to lift the spirits of a Leicester side who look down rather than up. WU

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