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

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1) Cucurella and Olise key to rivalry match

Hostilities resume in the unlikely derby as Brighton search their first league win towards Crystal Palace in six makes an attempt. In September’s reverse fixture, Brighton wanted a Neal Maupay objective 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 could possibly 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 will likely 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 in the FA Cup victory against Millwall final weekend and within the league defeat towards West Ham seven days beforehand. His battle towards Brighton’s vastly spectacular Spanish wing-back Marc Cucurella should be key in deciding the result of a probably fiery match that appears extraordinarily tough to name. BG

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2) Arsenal a well-known nemesis for Conte

At Chelsea, Antonio Conte had a depressing report towards 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 last, 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 supplied the framework for Chelsea’s dominant title win that season. However the 2017 FA Cup final, a defeat to a motivated, glorious Arsenal to raise 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 advised 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 needs laser-like Chelsea focus

For all Chelsea’s midweek dominance towards Tottenham –except for one temporary second-half spell, Thomas Tuchel appeared extraordinarily displeased together with his gamers though they’d comfortably booked their berth in subsequent month’s Carabao Cup last. “We were almost punished for our lack of focus,” he stated on the last whistle. “We played at 90% and that’s not our style – 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 take care of any hope of reeling within the runaway leaders. Chelsea is probably not adequate to beat a Metropolis facet at the moment firing on all cylinders, however ought to they fail to take action, it in all probability gained’t be all the way 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 take care of their losses

Burnley have extra league matches remaining this season than some other crew within the high flight, so that’s one factor of their favour. Now all they should do is discover a approach, and a participant, to attain sufficient objectives for them to outlive. With Chris Wooden bought to Newcastle this week and Max Cornet away on the Africa Cup of Nations, Burnley will host Leicester with a strike drive that boasts one league objective between them this season – and that’s provided that Matej Vydra has recovered from Covid and a nagging groin drawback. Their assault will most definitely be led by Jay Rodriguez, who at the least scored in final week’s home 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 harm doubt – however Brendan Rodgers’ facet do at the least have midfielders who can weigh in with objectives. Burnley’s probabilities of scoring on Saturday could hinge on Ben Mee, their high 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 seek out 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 surely make his debut on Saturday with Lucas Digne doubtless to take action too. Steven Gerrard has clearly made Villa engaging to a better-heeled tranche of footballers, however leads to the final month have been somewhat much less spectacular than their switch enterprise. Three defeats have adopted the win at Norwich – losses to Chelsea and Manchester United both facet 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 power ranges in direction of the tip of matches. At Old Trafford on Monday, Villa had a sagging, incoherent United on the ropes from the beginning of the second half, just for the FA Cup third-round tie to be closed out fairly 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 nasty 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 prone to have additional enraged a fanbase whose endurance with their supervisor was already carrying cigarette paper-thin. “Sometimes it only takes one person from outside to destroy a beautiful love affair,” wrote Digne in his farewell message, in what has broadly been perceived as a dig at his former supervisor. With Benítez’s facet heading to Carrow Highway to face an abominably unhealthy Norwich Metropolis facet on Saturday, something lower than emphatic victory would additional harm 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 will also be seen as an extension of Mohamed Salah’s contract negotiations. The crew made a powerful case for giving Salah every part he needs by performing prosaically towards 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 self-love of Liverpool’s squad – by lacking an open objective late on. An identical efficiency after they host Brentford within the league on Sunday may end in 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 problem of recruitment within the January switch window. Wooden, a good, troublesome and unselfish ahead, should 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 underneath a former Turf Moor supervisor in Eddie Howe. Harpooning the probabilities of a much less rich relegation rival is the limit of Newcastle ambitions for now – and till the drop is averted, the membership can solely function on such a short-term footing. What followers might need stated if Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce had turned to Wooden as the reply is one for the birds. A primary Wooden objective in seven weeks and a defeat of Watford, one other relegation rival, is desperately required. JB

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 stay with a back-three formation after taking cost of Wolves final summer season, with the emergence of Max Kilman on the correct serving to the crew proceed utilizing the form with which a lot of the gamers had been acquainted. However with Romain Saïss on the Cup of Nations with Morocco, Lage has to seek out one other participant to deploy alongside Kilman and Conor Coady. Marçal did properly on the left facet of the again three in final weekend’s FA Cup win over Sheffield United till being pressured off by harm at half-time, after which the midfielder Leander Dendoncker stuffed in competently. However Southampton will pose a harder take a look at on Saturday, particularly with Armando Broja persevering with to tell apart himself as an excellent younger attacking expertise. Ralph Hassenhüttl hopes to persuade Southampton’s new proprietor to discover a approach of constructing Broja’s mortgage transfer from Chelsea everlasting in the summertime. It is going to be as much as 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 power, as occurred final season, however David Moyes’s crew are at the moment in fourth place on advantage. The development 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 repute at Preston and Everton. Rice is a reminder that stars will be made somewhat than purchased in, whereas Bowen, who scored twice in Wednesday’s win over Norwich, is a reminder that stars will also be purchased and made out of the decrease tiers. Such old school values are prevailing over the elite golf equipment chasing West Ham’s tail, and a repeat of last week’s 2-0 FA Cup defeat of Leeds would hold the Hammers forward. JB

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