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Premier League preview: What (definitely) will and won't happen

Crystal Palace vs Liverpool (Saturday, 12.30pm)

The big talking point: Palace's survival hopes. You expect - but probably shouldn't assume - that Southampton and Stoke will improve before much longer, so Roy Hodgson's players could really do with moving themselves away from the bottom three.

What will happen: Palace will return to something like full strength. Hodgson still has a few long-term absentees, but can now pick from Wilfried Zaha (hopefully), Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mamadou Sakho at a critical time.

What won't happen: Jurgen Klopp will likely be without Andy Robertson, who picked up an injury on international duty, while Emre Can and Dejan Lovren are also doubts. Joe Gomez is out. The Robertson injury is particularly problematic as it's not a coincidence that Liverpool's good form has run parallel to his inclusion in the side.

Brighton vs Leicester (Saturday, 3pm)

The big talking point: By our estimate, one more win could see Brighton safe. Not mathematically, of course, but given the limitations of the sides below, a nine-point gap with seven games to go should be enough.

What will happen: Finally, finally, finally, Shinji Okazaki should return to the Leicester starting line-up. It's strange but true: this team and the way it functions still isn't the same without him and that's a reality which has now transcended three different managers.

What won't happen: Anthony Knockaert begins a suspension following his recent red card, so won't face his old club. For Leicester, Kelechi Iheanacho (broken hand picked up on international duty) and Daniel Amartey are both injury concerns for Claude Puel.

Manchester United vs Swansea (Saturday, 3pm)

The big talking point: Is there one? Swansea will presumably have their mind on next week's huge game with West Brom and United, you suspect, should have enough to get comfortably home.

What will happen: Jordan Ayew serves the second game of his suspension following his sending-off at Huddersfield, so Tammy Abraham will get the chance to lead the line. Interesting, because Abraham probably hasn't done enough yet to convince anyone that he deserves to stay at Chelsea next season. The end of this campaign is important for him and this will be a good opportunity.

What won't happen: Scott McTominay has returned from his first international break carrying a knock, so we'll be denied the confected Paul Pogba controversy. Ashley Young is also a doubt, while Phil Jones, Ander Herrera and Daley Blind all remain out.

Newcastle vs Huddersfield (Saturday, 3pm)

The big talking point: Relegation. Huddersfield will start three points off the relegation places, Newcastle four - this is not a game to lose.

What will happen: You just have more faith in Rafa Benitez, don't you? The planning, the preparation, the experience - and in this instance, the better players too. Huddersfield have battled bravely this season, recording plenty of admirable results along the way, but they've looked exhausted over the last few weeks. Home win.

What won't happen: Aaron Mooy withdrew from the Australia squad, so is a (critical) doubt here, but better news for Newcastle: Islam Slimani made his return from injury for Algeria this week and should finally feature for them.

Watford vs Bournemouth (Saturday, 3pm)

The big talking point: The deadest of dead rubbers. Both of these sides are essentially safe; both know that they are too.

What will happen: Asmir Begovic is listed as doubtful for this one - and his form has been pretty dreadful anyway - so Artur Boruc and his many, many tattoos could reappear from the bench.

What won't happen: An away win. Javi Gracia's impact may not have been seismic - he did take over at a difficult time to be fair - but Watford have still won all of their last three home games (West Brom, Everton, Chelsea), and that in spite of a very long injury list.

West Brom vs Burnley (Saturday, 3pm)

The big talking point: Doom. As in "West Brom are DOOMED". It's over, it has been for a while... there's nothing more to say.

What will happen: Burnley will arrive having arrested their poor form and are now unbeaten in three games. Conversely, West Brom have won just once since...*scrolls*.... *scrolls again*... August. Away win, dagger in, party over.

What won't happen: It seems unlikely that Tom Heaton will play. What an unfortunate situation this is: if Nick Pope is replaced now, his chance of going to the World Cup will disappear - but then, game time for Heaton would probably open the door for an opportunity that he too probably deserves. Very difficult for Sean Dyche.

West Ham vs Southampton (Saturday, 3pm)

The big talking point: The London Stadium crowd. Because obviously. West Ham have made all the right noises following the Burnley debacle and banned all the right people, but should the team lose this and slip further towards the relegation zone, that anger won't take long to reappear.

What will happen: A calming of the nerves. West Ham might not have quite enough to win this game, but they shouldn't lose. Southampton have scored just once in their last three Premier League games and that's descriptive of a problem they've had all season: they just don't do enough around the opposition box. Charlie Austin may return, that would help, but Mark Hughes has big balance problems with this team.

What won't happen: Manuel Lanzini collected an injury on international duty - during which he scored a fantastic goal, by the way - and James Collins is also a doubt. Pedro Obiang, Winston Reid and Cheick Kouyate all remain sidelined. Ryan Betrand will be missing for Southampton, so too Steven Davis.

Everton vs Manchester City (Saturday, 5.30pm)

The big talking point: Two more wins for City should be enough to confirm their third Premier League title - and three points here is a virtual certainty.

What will happen: The kind of game which, were he to win, Sam Allardyce would revel in. All the normal stuff: grandstanding in the press conference, cupping his hand to the crowd. Et cetera. Unfortunately for him: no chance. City will be too quick, too smart and too powerful for an Everton team that - win against Stoke aside - barely look interested in keeping their manager employed beyond the end of the season.

What won't happen: Mason Holgate has been added to Allardyce's injury list, having pulled out of the England U21 camp last weekend. Gylfi Sigurdsson, Eliaquim Mangala and James McCarthy are all out for the rest of the season, while Ashley Williams serves the second game of his ban. Benjamin Mendy is nearing a comeback for City.

Arsenal vs Stoke (Sunday, 1.30pm)

The big talking point: The issues at Stoke. Paul Lambert doesn't seem to be making many friends or influencing anybody: Ibrahim Afellay has been ordered to stay away from the club and Erik Pieters recently broke a team curfew. If a revival is going to happen, we're not sure where it's going to come from.

What will happen: This is long way from being the Stoke team which Arsenal used to fear. Their forward threat is gone, they can't seem to defend to anything like an acceptable standard, and this Arsenal team should run up a score without breaking a sweat. Stranger things have happened of course but, realistically, Stoke are circling the drain.

What won't happen: Alexandre Lacazette should be fit enough to return to the Arsenal bench, but Jack Wilshere won't be available after he was injured while away with England. Stoke will be missing Charlie Adam, banned for that ludicrous tackle against Everton, and Eric Choupo-Mouting is injured.

Chelsea vs Tottenham (Sunday, 4pm)

The big talking point: A game which speaks for itself. Even if they lose, Tottenham will stay ahead of Chelsea in the race for the Champions League, but a win could theoretically take them up above Liverpool and into third, while almost killing off Chelsea's European ambitions.

What will happen: A draw. Both teams enter without a fit, recognised first-choice forward, meaning that it will likely be a battle of the false nines (Eden Hazard/Son Heung-min). Tottenham are stronger, they're certainly in better form, but there's something about Stamford Bridge which short-circuits their functionality. 0-0, 1-1... something like that - and, actually, that's probably a result the visitors would take.

What won't happen: Andreas Christensen and Thibaut Courtois are both unlikely to play for Chelsea, meaning recalls for Willy Caballero and - most likely - David Luiz.

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