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

1) Cucurella and Olise key to rivalry match

Hostilities resume within the unlikely derby as Brighton search their first league win in opposition to Crystal Palace in six makes an attempt. In September’s reverse fixture, Brighton wanted a Neal Maupay aim within the fifth minute of added time to rescue a degree from a spicy encounter at Selhurst Park. Friday’s fixture on the Amex Stadium may very well be as a lot about who’s current as who isn’t, with either side lacking key gamers on obligation on the Africa Cup of Nations. Mali’s Yves Bissouma shall be absent from the Brighton ranks, whereas Palace discover themselves with out Wilfried Zaha, Cheikhou Kouyaté and the in-form Jordan Ayew. The Ghanaian’s absence will herald one other beginning alternative for Michael Olise, who was excellent within the FA Cup victory in opposition to Millwall final weekend and within the league defeat in opposition to West Ham seven days beforehand. His battle in opposition to Brighton’s vastly spectacular Spanish wing-back Marc Cucurella ought to be key in deciding the end result of a doubtlessly fiery match that appears extraordinarily troublesome to name. BG

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2) Arsenal a well-known nemesis for Conte

At Chelsea, Antonio Conte had a depressing document in opposition to Arsenal: only one win from eight encounters – and at a time when the west Londoners had been a a lot stronger outfit, with Arsène Wenger within the remaining, troubled stretch of his tenure. Defeats to Arsenal bookended Conte’s imperial interval at Chelsea. Three objectives down on the Emirates in September 2016, Conte switched to a back-three formation that offered the framework for Chelsea’s dominant title win that season. However the 2017 FA Cup remaining, a defeat to a motivated, wonderful Arsenal to carry the ultimate trophy of Wenger’s profession, was the start of the tip for Conte at Chelsea. It got here forward of a switch window the place bridges had been burned between him and the membership hierarchy. It seems too early for that but in his Tottenham reign, however a considerably submissive choice in Wednesday’s Carabao Cup semi defeat to Chelsea steered he was sending a message of honest dissatisfaction. Watch that house. JB

Antonio Conte making himself heard in more ways than one on Wednesday.
Antonio Conte making himself heard in additional methods than one on Wednesday. {Photograph}: Motion Foto Sport/NurPhoto/Rex/Shutterstock

3) Tuchel desires laser-like Chelsea focus

For all Chelsea’s midweek dominance in opposition to Tottenham –apart from one transient second-half spell, Thomas Tuchel appeared extraordinarily displeased along with his gamers although they’d comfortably booked their berth in subsequent month’s Carabao Cup remaining. “We had been virtually punished for our lack of focus,” he mentioned on the remaining whistle. “We performed at 90% and that’s not our model – we shouldn’t do this.” With a Saturday lunchtime appointment at Manchester Metropolis looming, it was a well timed broadside throughout the bows of gamers who merely should win on the Etihad to preserve any hope of reeling within the runaway leaders. Chelsea is probably not ok to beat a Metropolis aspect at present firing on all cylinders, however ought to they fail to achieve this, it most likely received’t be down to any lack of focus or utility following their supervisor’s rocket up the collective bottom. BG

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4) How Burnley cope with their losses

Burnley have extra league matches remaining this season than another crew within the prime flight, so that’s one factor of their favour. Now all they want to do is discover a means, and a participant, to rating sufficient objectives for them to survive. With Chris Wooden offered to Newcastle this week and Max Cornet away on the Africa Cup of Nations, Burnley will host Leicester with a strike pressure that boasts one league aim between them this season – and that’s provided that Matej Vydra has recovered from Covid and a nagging groin drawback. Their assault will almost certainly be led by Jay Rodriguez, who at the very least scored in final week’s dwelling FA Cup defeat to Huddersfield. Leicester have striker issues too – Jamie Vardy is injured, Kelechi Iheanacho is on the Cup of Nations and Patson Dakais an damage doubt – however Brendan Rodgers’ aspect do at the very least have midfielders who can weigh in with objectives. Burnley’s possibilities of scoring on Saturday might hinge on Ben Mee, their prime league scorer this season after Wooden and Cornet, and a participant able to exploiting Leicester’s ongoing set-piece issues. PD

Jay Rodriguez has scored five times for Burnley this season, but is yet to find the net in the league.
Jay Rodriguez has scored 5 instances for Burnley this season, however is but to discover the online within the league. {Photograph}: MI Information/NurPhoto/Shutterstock

5) Villa falling in need of Gerrard’s calls for

These are thrilling instances at Aston Villa. Philippe Coutinho will certainly make his debut on Saturday with Lucas Digne probably to achieve this too. Steven Gerrard has clearly made Villa engaging to a better-heeled tranche of footballers, however ends in the final month have been quite much less spectacular than their switch enterprise. Three defeats have adopted the win at Norwich – losses to Chelsea and Manchester United both aspect of a extra worrying show at Brentford, the place Mads Roerslev’s late winner was maybe most indicative. The all-action model Gerrard calls for from his gamers seems to coincide with flagging vitality ranges in the direction of the tip of matches. At Previous Trafford on Monday, Villa had a sagging, incoherent United on the ropes from the beginning of the second half, solely for the FA Cup third-round tie to be closed out moderately comfortably. It might take time – and a pre-season – for Villa to have the ability to meet their supervisor’s bodily calls for. JB

6) A foul week to worsen for Everton?

After seeing their crew win only one recreation and draw three from their previous 12 Premier League outings, Everton supporters are mutinous. This week’s sale of their gifted French left-back Lucas Digne to Aston Villa, within the wake of his reported falling-out with Rafa Benítez, is probably going to have additional enraged a fanbase whose endurance with their supervisor was already sporting cigarette paper-thin. “Typically it solely takes one individual from outdoors to destroy a phenomenal love affair,” wrote Digne in his farewell message, in what has extensively been perceived as a dig at his former supervisor. With Benítez’s aspect heading to Carrow Street to face an abominably unhealthy Norwich Metropolis aspect on Saturday, something lower than emphatic victory would additional injury the already fractious relationship between Everton followers and their supervisor. BG

New arrival Nathan Patterson during Everton training this week.
New arrival Nathan Patterson throughout Everton coaching this week. {Photograph}: Tony McArdle/Everton FC/Getty Photos

7) Salah’s inventory rises additional in his absence

Liverpool’s present run of fixtures can be seen as an extension of Mohamed Salah’s contract negotiations. The crew made a robust case for giving Salah every part he desires by performing prosaically in opposition to 10-man Arsenal in Thursday’s Carabao Cup semi-final first leg at Anfield. The hosts lacked sharpness and ingenuity with out Salah and Sadio Mané, amongst others, whereas Salah’s ostensible deputy, Takumi Minamino, underlined the Egyptian’s significance – and the vanity of Liverpool’s squad – by lacking an open aim late on. The same efficiency once they host Brentford within the league on Sunday may lead to them falling even additional behind within the title race. PD

8) Wooden exhibits Newcastle’s short-term goals

Jackie Milburn, Malcolm Macdonald, Les Ferdinand, Alan Shearer … Chris Wooden? The New Zealander filling a Callum Wilson-shaped gap in Newcastle’s assault, and the £25m paid for a striker with three objectives all season, exhibits the issue of recruitment within the January switch window. Wooden, a good, troublesome and unselfish ahead, could have to do for now as Newcastle look much less a superclub in ready than Burnley-on-Tyne, with Wooden becoming a member of ex-Claret Kieran Tripper of their ranks beneath a former Turf Moor supervisor in Eddie Howe. Harpooning the possibilities of a much less rich relegation rival is the restrict of Newcastle ambitions for now – and till the drop is prevented, the membership can solely function on such a short-term footing. What followers might need mentioned if Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce had turned to Wooden as the reply is one for the birds. A primary Wooden aim in seven weeks and a defeat of Watford, one other relegation rival, is desperately required. JB

(*10*)Chris Wood in training with Newcastle on Thursday.
Chris Wooden in coaching with Newcastle on Thursday. {Photograph}: Serena Taylor/Newcastle United/Getty Photos

9) Broja will take a look at retooled Wolves back-line

Bruno Lage was shrewd sufficient to keep on with a back-three formation after taking cost of Wolves final summer season, with the emergence of Max Kilman on the appropriate serving to the crew proceed utilizing the form with which many of the gamers had been acquainted. However with Romain Saïss on the Cup of Nations with Morocco, Lage has to discover one other participant to deploy alongside Kilman and Conor Coady. Marçal did effectively on the left aspect of the again three in final weekend’s FA Cup win over Sheffield United till being compelled off by damage at half-time, after which the midfielder Leander Dendoncker crammed in competently. However Southampton will pose a harder take a look at on Saturday, particularly with Armando Broja persevering with to distinguish himself as an impressive younger attacking expertise. Ralph Hassenhüttl hopes to persuade Southampton’s new proprietor to discover a means of creating Broja’s mortgage transfer from Chelsea everlasting in the summertime. It will likely be up to Wolves’ makeshift defence to cease the 20-year-old from strengthening the argument for doing so. PD

10) Previous-school values firing Hammers

As Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United falter of their chase for a top-four place, West Ham have been taking good care of enterprise. The expectation is a skinny squad will ultimately run out of vitality, as occurred final season, however David Moyes’s crew are at present in fourth place on benefit. The advance within the final 18 months of the likes of Jarrod Bowen, Manuel Lanzini and Declan Rice is a tribute to their supervisor, a rediscovery of the team-building experience that first made his status at Preston and Everton. Rice is a reminder that stars could be made quite than purchased in, whereas Bowen, who scored twice in Wednesday’s win over Norwich, is a reminder that stars can be purchased and constructed from the decrease tiers. Such old style values are prevailing over the elite golf equipment chasing West Ham’s tail, and a repeat of final week’s 2-0 FA Cup defeat of Leeds would hold the Hammers forward. JB

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