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Football preview: what (definitely) will and won't happen this weekend

FA Cup...

Manchester United vs Tottenham (5.15pm, Saturday)

The big talking point: FA Cup semi-finals speak for themselves, but this is a real heavyweight game. Tottenham are seeking tangible reward for all their progress, while Jose Mourinho will be hoping to add some gloss to a fairly unremarkable season.

What will happen: Don't be surprised if Tottenham set up with three centre-backs. Toby Alderweireld came through 90 minutes against Brighton in midweek, performing well, and Spurs' defence could certainly do with some added security against Mourinho's frontline.

What won't happen: Danny Rose and Harry Winks are both missing for Tottenham, while Mourinho will likely return Luke Shaw and Marcus Rashford to the bench. Ignore the empty threats made a few days ago, all the famous names will start.

Chelsea vs Southampton (3pm, Sunday)

The big talking point: This isn't quite as a straightforward as it looks. As last weekend showed, Southampton are fully capable of causing this Chelsea team issues and, for Mark Hughes and his players, this will be a liberating, nothing-to-lose afternoon. That's always, always dangerous.

What will happen: We - sticking out necks out - are going to back the upset here. Chelsea's form is improving and they've certainly been better over the last two games, but they're still without a regular source of goals. Alvaro Morata's bad miss at Turf Moor suggests that he's far from a confident player, so Olivier Giroud will likely start. Conte's defence, last season the basis for so much success, is now without a clean sheet against Premier League opposition since December 12.

What won't happen: Crucially, there'll be no Marcos Alonso. He may not be the very best wing-back in the game, but it's remarkable just how often he manages to be the difference in big games. Without him, Antonio Conte's left side really isn't the same.

Premier League...

West Brom vs Liverpool (Saturday, 12.30pm)

The big talking point: Good news for West Brom: they can't actually be mathematically relegated this weekend. That's the reward for winning at Old Trafford, even if it does seem like they only delayed the inevitable.

What will happen: Rotation. Liverpool play the first leg of their Champions League semi-final with Roma next week, so expect Jurgen Klopp to have his mind on that. Emre Can is out, so Jordan Henderson won't be getting a day off, but Dominic Solanke, Danny Ings and Alberto Moreno should all come in. Mohamed Salah is still in race for the Golden Boot, so he should get an opportunity to increase his lead over Harry Kane.

What won't happen: No Daniel Sturridge, of course, as he's ineligible to face his parent club. Klopp will have to do without Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip, who are both carrying injuries and unlikely to be risked.

Watford vs Crystal Palace (Saturday, 3pm)

The big talking point: Safety. Palace can't make themselves safe with a win here, but they can do everything but.

What will happen: Rumours have leaked out this week about Christian Benteke's future. Roy Hodgson has apparently grow frustrated with the Belgian and is willing to sell him over the summer; expected Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend to start at the top of the pitch for Palace.

What won't happen: Watford, again, seem to have signed off in the middle of a season. Without that excellent win over Chelsea, Javi Gracia's arrival would be seen as having made little difference to their trajectory or any impact on their collective attitude. A revival now - they're without a win in any of their last five games - seems unlikely and, really, this is a problem which has to be addressed sooner rather than later.

Stoke vs Burnley (Sunday, 1.30pm)

The big talking point: A very last chance for Stoke. Their performances have improved recently - noticeably so - but they just haven't taken the points necessary to move out of the relegation zone. They can't drop on Saturday, irrespective of what happens everywhere else, but a loss combined with other unfavourable results will make their doom a virtual certainty.

What will happen: Stoke will at least have the benefit of playing a fatigued opponent. If there's one gripe to be had about football at this time of year, it's the lack of parity in the schedule. Burnley play on Thursday night and will have just two days' rest before travelling to Staffordshire; given what's at stake, is that really fair on everyone?

What won't happen: Based on what they've shown in recent games, is there really much to suggest that Stoke are capable of breaking Burnley down? They have, Xherdan Shaqiri aside, almost no craft and no regular goalscorer, and will have to rely on outworking - arguably - the most stubborn team in the league.

Arsenal vs West Ham (Sunday, 1.30pm)

The big talking point:Arsene Wenger announced his Arsenal departure on Friday and the curtain will now start to draw on one of the finest managerial careers in European football history. This game will be secondary to an emotional day at the Emirates.

What will happen: Wenger's team selection will reflect his focus. The Premier League was deprioritised some time ago and, obviously, the Frenchman would love to depart having finally captured that elusive European trophy. Expect plenty of rotation, then, as he aims his guns at the Europa League.

What won't happen: The suggestion this week is that David Moyes is set for a contract extension at West Ham and that, as part of that, he'll assume full control of the club's transfer policy. He's certainly improved the side, even if it has become quite robotic, but that seems premature - under him, have they done anything other than avoid relegation? Yes, that was of huge importance, but surely there's ambition beyond just basic stability at London Stadium.

Manchester City vs Swansea (Sunday, 4.30pm)

The big talking point: The Premier League trophy will be in the building. Manchester City are worthy champions and this, against a Swansea side with an eye on more winnable fixtures, will be the coronation they've earned.

What will happen: Swansea face Chelsea at home next weekend and then two huge games with Bournemouth and Southampton in the weeks after, so Carlos Carvalhal might use this as an opportunity for some rotation. The last thing the Portuguese needs is another injury or a further suspension, because one more win should be enough to see his club safe - improbably - for another year.

What won't happen: Renato Sanches has returned to the club and is back in training after his long, long injury absence (he hasn't played since January 27), but this game will come too soon for him.

Everton vs Newcastle (Monday, 8pm)

The big talking point: Not a talking point as such, but it will be interesting to hear the reception afforded to Sam "11 of out 10" Allardyce after this week's survey controversy.

What will happen: Newcastle will get the single point they need for safety. As and when they do, Rafa Benitez should be in any conversation relating to the manager-of-the-season award. Think of the squad he has, the limitations he's worked under, and then recognise what he's still managed to do. It's not winning the Champions League with Liverpool, but it's a far greater achievement than is being assumed.

What won't happen: Allardyce's comments this week won't do him any favours. Given the standard of performance he's overseen, this was a time to be conciliatory and attempt to build some bridges with Everton's supporters. Instead, he's fallen back into his old routine, swaggering with hubris and puffing out his chest. His departure has never been more inevitable.

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