Another Premier League weekend is upon us as clubs struggle to catch their breath following some frantic midweek action.
Here, the PA news agency picks out five of the main talking points heading into the 16th round of fixtures
CAN LIVERPOOL KEEP THEIR FOOT ON THE GAS?
Jurgen Klopp’s side are eight points clear at top of the Premier League on the back of Wednesday’s 5-2 derby triumph against lacklustre Everton, extending their club record top-flight unbeaten run to 32 matches. Few expect that to come to an end on the south coast against out-of-sorts Bournemouth, who are in the midst of a four-match losing streak. Defeated by 10-man Crystal Palace in midweek, few expect the Cherries to prove much of a problem for the rampant Reds on Saturday afternoon.
CITY TO GIVE UNITED THE BLUES?
Following a frustrating late draw at Newcastle, Manchester City roared back to form with a thumping 4-1 win against Burnley on Tuesday. It was a welcome return to winning ways – just as Manchester United enjoyed the following night as under-fire Ole Gunnar Solskjaer oversaw a deserved 2-1 win against Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham. Following that up with a derby win looks a tough ask for the red half of the city on Saturday evening, but former striker Solskjaer is sure to have them up for the fight.
TOFFEES TO EMERGE FROM STICKY PATCH?
Marco Silva became the fourth Premier League manager to lose their job in a matter of weeks following Wednesday’s Merseyside derby humiliation. Everton slipped into the relegation zone after conceding five goals against Liverpool for the first time since November 1982. Fan favourite Duncan Ferguson steps into the hotseat on a temporary basis and faces the unenviable task of halting Frank Lampard’s talented Chelsea side at Goodison Park. The Blues have already won five on the road this season.
MORE WATFORD WOE?
Just like Everton, relegation-threatened Watford head into their weekend fixture with a caretaker manager in charge. Under-23 coach Hayden Mullins will again be in the hotseat when Crystal Palace visit on Saturday, just as he was as when the Hornets slumped to a 2-0 defeat at high-flying Leicester. Watford have mustered just eight points from 15 matches this season and desperately need to pick up a win on Saturday with the gap to safety already standing at an eye-watering seven points.
CAN LJUNGBERG STOP THE ROT?
“This is not Arsenal, we have to give it a crack” – that was the message former Arsenal midfielder turned caretaker boss Freddie Ljungberg gave to his players at half-time on Thursday, with the side trailing by a goal at home to Brighton. It seemed to work as Alexandre Lacazette levelled five minutes into the second half, only for Neal Maupay to secure a 2-1 win for the visitors. Unai Emery’s exit has yet to bring about a change in fortunes in north London and winning at West Ham feels crucial heading into the festive period.
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