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5 things to watch out for in the Premier League this weekend

Tune in to find out which English top-flight fixtures are must watch this weekend
Tune in to find out which English top-flight fixtures are must watch this weekend
Akshay Tahiliani
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If you are left counting days for yet another Premier League matchday to get underway then it is not your fault. December always brings the fans relentless and fast paced action from the English top-flight and fans are always left begging for more.

The manner in which the first weekend of 2022 began was ecstatic. Thrilling encounters, controversial decisions, high quality football and intense passion, it was a great snapshot for what's to come.

The focus then shifted to the third Round of FA Cup, which did not disappoint one bit. We've seen games with one-way traffic in them, some narrow margins to victory and a few giant killings. There's more action waiting in mid-week, with EFL Cup semi-finals also taking place.

This Premier League weekend promises high octane drama and action

We turn our eyes to the English top-flight at the weekend, where a lot of crunch ties await us. It could be a very crucial matchday for how the title race shapes here onwards or if we will even have a title race after this. The fourth place is being contested with its own drama and this weekend will clear the picture in that regard too. Or will it?

Without sending more ambiguity your way, here are five things to watch out for in the Premier League this weekend.

#1 Chelsea better stop Manchester City this weekend before the title race is beyond saving

Chelsea v Manchester City - Premier League
Chelsea v Manchester City - Premier League

One look at the Premier League table and it would be human of you to put your bets on Manchester City to conquer the title. Pep Guardiola's side are 10 points clear of second-placed Chelsea and 11 clear of Liverpool in third place. The Blues will try their best to stop the Cityzens and this heavyweight clash will be the highlight of the weekend.

City have won their last 11 games in the Premier League and were arguably only given a tough time by Arsenal. Tuchel would look to that game and study the blueprint of how the Gunners were able to frustrate the reigning champions.

Chelsea comfortably defeated Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 over two legs in the EFL Cup semi-finals and that confidence will surely help their cause.

1 - Just 350 days after his first game in charge of Chelsea, Thomas Tuchel has become the first manager in the club's history to guide the Blues to the final of each of the League Cup, FA Cup and Champions League/European Cup. Imposing. https://t.co/STkUKoMffl

Earlier this season, Guardiola's side visited Stamford Bridge and displayed a dominant performance that was not justified by their 1-0 victory. This will only be the fourth time in the 21st century if City secure a PL double over Chelsea.

It would be a great occasion to mark the 50th clash between these sides in the English top-flight. Tuchel will be wary of their current form in the league, having managed to win only one game from the last five. Chelsea must prevail at all costs or their title ambitions will remain far from reality.


#2 A spicy north London derby awaits as Arsenal and Spurs look to gain ground for the fourth spot

Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League

It is difficult to take sides when one is faced with the question of who has improved the most in the past six months, Tottenham or Arsenal. However, the fact that both teams have really taken progressive steps in the Premier League cannot be denied. So much so that many believe they both have a fair shot at making the top-four.

Arsenal currently sit in fifth position with 35 points. Spurs are sixth 33 points and have two games in hand over the Gunners.

The Gunners have continued to rely on their young crop of players who have answered the manager's call on most occasions. Meanwhile, Antonio Conte's arrival has stabilized the Spurs defense, although not completely, but significantly. The Italian is unbeaten in eight Premier League fixtures and is enjoying the best start a Spurs manager has had.

Arsenal have had their fair share of problems away from home and in the FA Cup Round 3, they continued to struggle. Along with Newcastle, the Gunners were the other giants who were slaughtered by a League One side, Nottingham Forest.

πŸ₯ Introducing our December Player of the Month...πŸ”΄ Games: 7⚽️ Goals: 3🎯 Assists: 2⭐️ Gabi Martinelli ⭐️

Arsenal have not managed to beat Spurs in the Premier League in their last five away games and they will be made to work hard. Conte will be without Heung-Min Son for this all-important derby as he is nursing a hamstring injury.

Arteta could miss the likes of Thomas Partey, Takehiro Tomiyasu and Emile Smith Rowe. Partey is on AFCON duty with Ghana with Tomiyasu and Smith Rowe are dealing with Covid-19 and injury respectively.

This will be an action-packed game with a big result that impacts the top-four significantly.

#3 Manchester United look to better their average standards as they visit Aston Villa

Manchester United v Aston Villa: The Emirates FA Cup Third Round
Manchester United v Aston Villa: The Emirates FA Cup Third Round

These are testing times for Manchester United supporters who are annoyed as their club sits seventh in the Premier League. Ralf Rangnick's appointment in November initially looked like a great move but with every passing game, doubts are beginning to creep up. The Red Devils have become accustomed to a scoreline of 1-0 which is quite uncharacteristic of them, and are at a standstill.

They are far from their best and are only grinding out results in most games. Confidence looks at an all-time low for some players who have lacked the clarity of their role in the side.

Stevan Gerrard, on the other hand, has helped his Aston Villa side improve and he's leading the rebuild in January.

Cristiano Ronaldo is not happy with Manchester United's season 😑 https://t.co/Zt7GV2MflU

This will be the second meeting in a week between the two after United won their FA Cup game at Old Trafford on Monday. Villa looked like the better side for the majority of the game and had the ball in the back of the net a couple of times. Unfortunately, they were all ruled out due to VAR intervention.

Clearly, Gerrard's tactics got the better of Rangnick and with home advantage, Villa could really damage United in the Premier league. At this point, it would be difficult to expect this to be a one-sided tie, although in their last 22 visits, the Red Devils are unbeaten against the home side. Earlier this season, the side managed by Dean Smith beat United 1-0.

The fans want improved displays, not just three points this time.


#4 Liverpool gear up for an exciting reverse fixture in Premier League against the Bees

Brentford v Liverpool - Premier League
Brentford v Liverpool - Premier League

Remember we mentioned earlier that Chelsea have a lot riding on them to save the Premier League title race, Liverpool are no different. With a game in hand, the Reds are in third place, one point adrift of the Blues. Winning their next game could bring an important long-term advantage.

But it's easier said than done, especially if your opponent has already matched you toe-to-toe once before. Liverpool are not in the best form in the Premier League recently. They have dropped points in their last three fixtures, giving away the lead in two games.

That may ring a bell because Liverpool lost the lead twice when they visited Brentford in the Premier League earlier this season. A thoroughly entertaining draw that ended 3-3 with the Bees equalizing twice. It was a great sign of their character and replicating the same at Anfield would be a Herculean task.

Salah tonight trying to escape back to Liverpool https://t.co/WqXbmWIfVz

But you can't put it beyond their scope considering the absence of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane due to AFCON. But Diogo Jota has been in inspirational form, netting two goals in his last four Premier League appearances. We have a feeling that this game will not be devoid of goals and could either move Liverpool closer to Man City or result in a setback.


#5 Newcastle United look for three huge points as relegation contenders Watford visit

Watford v Newcastle United - Premier League
Watford v Newcastle United - Premier League

These are some seriously worrying times for Newcastle United fans who have been disappointed in their team, week in and week out. This Premier League campaign was supposed to be an exciting one for the Magpies as a result of their successful takeover, but it has been quite the opposite.

Their FA Cup defeat to English football's third tier side Cambridge United was a big setback and despite playing a full strength side, Eddie Howe's team lost. Keiran Trippier arrived as their first big signing of the new era and had a forgetful debut as far as the result is concerned.

Goals have not come for the Magpies, who have now signed Chris Wood from relegation-fighting Burnley. Well, what's better than strengthening yourself and weakening your opponent at the same time? But this is as crucial a contest for Watford as it is for Newcastle. The last game in the league was a 1-1 draw, but sharing points will be meaningless this time.

πŸ—£ Eddie Howe on the signing of Chris Wood:"Chris is an important signing for us at a crucial time. He is a very dangerous attacking threat, has a physicality and character that I really like, and he has vast experience in the Premier League. He will be a great fit for us." https://t.co/eejW4wHqy1

The Hornets sit just above the relegation zone, two points better of the Toons and these three points could provide some breathing space. The fixture has not been kind to the hosts, who have won only one game from last 10 in the Premier League against Watford.

Claudio Ranieri's side battered a clueless Man United and if Newcastle do not put their A-game on the table, their downfall could begin here on.

Edited by Aditya Singh
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