Manchester City and Liverpool, main course in Premier League

The decisive game of the Premier League weekend, if not the decisive match of the entire season, will be played in Manchester City’s Ethiad Stadium on Sunday when the league leaders take on second place Liverpool.

Liverpool’s record of 10 consecutive league wins has seen them chip away at City’s lead. The two sides are now separated by just one point and a win would take Jurgen Klopp’s men to the top of the table.

Neither of the two teams can be happy with the Premier League’s scheduling, with the game played on Sunday afternoon, just three days before the return leg of the Champions League quarterfinals next Wednesday, Xinhua reports.

Perhaps Liverpool have a slight advantage in that respect as they will defend a 3-1 first leg advantage to Benfica at home, while City have to travel to Madrid to try and hang onto a slender 1-0 lead against Atletico Madrid and that may sow seeds of doubt in Pep Guardiola’s mind over his starting 11.

Manchester United, who look set to name Ten Hag as their new coach, are first up on Saturday night in a visit to Everton that is vital for both sides.

Everton’s 3-2 defeat to Burnley on Wednesday left Frank Lampard’s side just a point clear of the bottom three, with a tough fixture list ahead of them. A highly-erratic United offer the chance of three points, but Everton will have to defend much better than in midweek to take anything from the game.

Second from bottom Watford have a vital home match against Leeds United, who have moved six points clear of the relegation zone with seven points in their last three matches.

Arsenal have to improve on Monday’s performance away to Crystal Palace if they are to move back into fourth place and a Brighton side that could only draw at home to Norwich last weekend offers a perfect chance for three vital points.

Brighton’s draw ended a run of six consecutive defeats, but did little to end the feeling they are in free fall.

Three consecutive wins have lifted Tottenham level on points with Arsenal and Antonio Conte’s men are favourites to make it four out of four when they entertain Aston Villa, who have suffered three consecutive defeats, but welcome striker Dani Ings back after he became a father.

Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel warned after his side’s 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid on Wednesday that a repeat performance away to Southampton will also see them lose on the south coast and Southampton will have seen how Real Madrid and Brentford, who put four past Chelsea last weekend, both tore holes in Tuchel’s defence.

West Ham’s battle to return to Europe next season sees them visit Brentford, who have almost assured their survival with three wins from their last four games.

Leicester City entertain Crystal Palace in a game between two teams with little at stake, before drama is guaranteed when bottom of the table Norwich entertain Burnley. Norwich looked doomed to an immediate return to the Championship, but depending on Everton’s result against Manchester United, Burnley could have a chance to climb out of the relegation zone with a win or a draw.

With Burnley failing to score in four of their last five games and Norwich not scoring more than a single goal in a match since the end of January, expect tension — but not many goals.




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