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

1) Will Rashford reveal City’s high defensive line?

Manchester United’s resurgence since their 6-3 defeat by Manchester City in the reverse fixture in October helps make the 189th derby the most exciting in recent years. Champions Pep Guardiola have dropped four of their last 12 points while Erik Ten Hag’s ever-improving side have racked up 27 of their last 30 available. Guardiola enjoys a new level of questionable calls: Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne didn’t start in Wednesday’s Carabao Cup loss to Southampton and left him until it was too late to make changes when they drew with Everton last month. In Marcus Rashford – 15 goals in all competitions – United have the kind of quick striker who can unravel City’s high line but City have a good record of responding to mid-season dips. With true seating style, the view here is that this local duel is extremely difficult to call. Jimmy Jackson

2) Son needs to reaffirm his credentials in the big game

All eyes will be on Harry Kane. He scored twice against Arsenal on Sunday and will become Tottenham’s all-time top scorer, overtaking Jimmy Greaves. Most likely he will end up on the winning team as well. However, the derby set up well for his strike partner, Son Heung-min, albeit for different reasons. It was a frustrating period for South Korea, who shared the Premier League Golden Boot last season but only have four goals in the tournament this time around. At the World Cup, during which he wore a mask to protect his eye socket which was fractured against Marseille on 1 November, there was a feeling among some of his teammates that he was not quite fit; He wasn’t able to challenge volleys, which meant they needed to make changes to their game. Son continued to wear the mask for Tottenham and play oddly on the sidelines. When is the right time for him to take center stage. David Hytner

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    3) Coutinho speeds towards the Villa exit

    Philippe Coutinho made his debut under Unai Emery against Stevenage last weekend, playing poorly, hanging up after 66 minutes and having to look off the bench as Aston Villa were embarrassed by their League Two visitors. While he is unlikely to start against Leeds this weekend, just over a year after his arrival, his future at Villa looks uncertain at best. In late December, the Brazilian took to social media to rage against what he described as “lies” suggesting he was unhappy at Villa and asked to leave in January. Given how little he has done for the club over the past 12 months, despite making a stunning debut against Manchester United, it’s hard to imagine many fans mourning him and soon running out of opportunities to impress. If he really wanted to stay at Villa Park, now would be the time to prove it with field actions rather than Instagram tantrums. BG

    4) Lampard win or fail

    The importance of this match for both Everton and Southampton cannot be overstated. Everton boss Frank Lampard received a simple vote of confidence from Farhad Moshiri on Wednesday after a run of 9 defeats in 12 matches would have, earlier in the owner’s erratic tenure, resulted in the P45. A visit to a bottom-of-the-table club and manager without a point in the Premier League seemed the perfect opportunity to recover, but that was before Southampton clicked under Nathan Jones and impressively defeated Manchester City in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals. last. Southampton’s constancy in the counter-attack could, if repeated, prey on what is likely to be a anxious Goodison Park. Everton fans plan to resume welcoming their manager en masse before kick-off, a feature of last season’s escape from relegation, but they are also staging a sit-in protest against a boardroom that Moshiri believes is doing well. Lampard, caught in the middle, really needs a win. Andy Hunter

    Pep Guardiola: Manchester City ‘Not Close’ To Good Enough Against Southampton – VIDEO

    5) Mitrovic is back to maturity on Tyneside

    Something to give at St James’ Park. Will it be the best defensive record in the Premier League? After all, Newcastle’s Eddie Howe has conceded just 11 times in the league this season. Or could this be Nick Pope’s unusual clean sheet run? Howe’s England goalkeeper has not conceded a goal in his last seven matches for the club. Aleksandar Mitrovic, who had recovered from a foot injury and was fresh from Fulham missing out on a win against Chelsea through suspension, spent three years on Tyneside but eventually left for Fulham after proving to be a poor discipline partner with Rafael Benitez. Despite the suspension this week, Mitrovic is more disciplined – and a bit younger – these days. His 11 goals in 15 league appearances for Fulham this season show he has also matured into a highly dangerous striker in the Premier League. His potential duel with Newcastle midfielder Sven Bothman is expected to be a compelling secondary plot. Louise Taylor

    6) Brighton rigorously tested the ailing Liverpool

    Roberto De Zerbi’s first match in charge of Brighton was a very interesting match with Liverpool, and the Italian now welcomes Jürgen Klopp and his team to the Amex Stadium. The game ended in a 3-3 draw and such was Brighton’s lead under their Italian coach it wouldn’t come as much of a shock if they wanted to go one better. Brighton enter the game on the back of impressive demolition jobs over Middlesbrough and Everton, while Liverpool failed to win their previous two matches. A faultless first-half performance cost them all three points at Brentford and Klopp will be keen to avoid a repeat performance – it was his team’s slowness to get out of the traps that allowed Brighton to take a two-goal lead at Anfield. In what promises to be a stern test of sophistication for both teams midway through the season, a Seagulls victory would take them within striking distance of their visitors and cast further doubt on Liverpool’s credentials in the top four. BG

    7) The palace is looking for a spark to deepen Chelsea’s problems

    Will a third consecutive London derby at Selhurst Park in the Premier League be lucky for Crystal Palace? They conceded seven unanswered goals against Fulham and Tottenham over the holiday period and alarm bells will ring louder if Chelsea, who have their own problems, find similarly easy goals. To make matters worse, Southampton left south London with an FA Cup win last weekend, and voices of discontent could be heard. The minors can do that by strengthening both ends, as Patrick Vieira knows well, but perspective is also important. They are in 12th place and very unlikely to be dragged into any sort of relegation scrap. They finished last season in 14th place, so maybe that’s progression. But there is a difference; Palace made their home a bulwark last season, losing just four times, and they were full of life in front of their fans when the big occasions came. Whether he digs deeper into Chelsea’s woes or not, Vieira must see some spark and energy injected quickly if the cloud is to lift. Nick Ames

    Wilfried Zaha responds to a heavy defeat against Tottenham. Photo: Zach Goodwin/PA

    8) Potential fireworks at the Molineux touchline

    Only in action after a few wet weekends, Wolves manager Julen Lopetegui is already developing a reputation as a serial thrower of intrigue on the touchline and a post-match whine. In David Moyes, he will take on one of the best in the business when it comes to rebutting perceived or real injustice. With both sides in the scrap of relegation, any controversial decisions made by the admins either at Molineux or from behind the tinted windows of the Stockley Park VAR cellar will be riven with fury. While Lopetegui recently had his feet under the table at Wolves, his counterpart at West Ham could soon be cleaning out the contents of his desk. West Ham fans are getting impatient and, with only one league point available from their last 18, defeat at relegation rivals at Molineux could signal the end of the Moyes era. BG

    9) Leicester may lack the latest in form to relegate Forest

    Separated by just 30 miles of the M1 motorway on the map and goal difference in the league table, Nottingham Forest at the City Ground faces greater risk than bragging rights. While neither side is in the relegation zone, the safety of the Premier League is far from assured, but Forest are on an upward trajectory. Leicester lost its last three league matches, a decline that coincided with the absence of James Maddison. The standout amongst a host of key individuals currently clogging up the fitness room, Maddison is almost certain to miss this fixture and with Batson Daka and Jamie Vardy out of form, it’s hard to know where any goals from Leicester will come from. Against Gillingham last weekend, Kelechi Iheanacho added one more to his impressive FA Cup resume to double his tally for a disappointing season. Whether or not he can take on stronger opposition than the Football League’s worst team remains to be seen, but Brendan Rodgers desperately needs someone to start firing frequently in Madison’s continued absence. BG

    10) Brentford can go higher

    Can Brentford run towards Europe? Thomas Frank was keen to scale back that notion after their final league game, a lowly 3-1 thrashing of Liverpool, but the ninth-placed Bees are in excellent form. The home win against Bournemouth would be their fourth win in five and five of their losing streak had already reached six; They’ve only lost four times, fewer than anyone outside the Champions League spots, and look wonderfully comfortable in their own skins. Opportunity knocks. The visit of Gary O’Neill’s squad is the first of five invited missions between now and mid-March, with Fulham the only first-half contender among them. This is a good opportunity to confirm their credentials. Brentford, as Frank has pointed out, are only a few key injury out of trouble but seem just as fickle as anyone in the league. Their director does a great job of avoiding any semblance of season two syndrome and it may be that the best is yet to come.

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