Christian Eriksen’s footballing return will offer a boost to the whole sport while Ukraine’s Aleksandr Zinchenko intends to play on despite the ordeals of his homeland.
Here, the PA news agency looks at some of the main Premier League talking points ahead of another packed weekend.
Eriksen’s return a bright moment for football
Christian Eriksen’s return to top-level football this weekend will be celebrated the world over. Anyone who loves the sport will be buoyed by the Denmark playmaker’s impending Brentford debut in Saturday’s home clash with Newcastle. The former Spurs star suffered a cardiac arrest on the field at Euro 2020 and “died for five minutes” in Denmark’s clash with Finland. But not only has he regained health, he is now back in football thanks to a implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) device. Bees boss Thomas Frank expects an “amazing” moment when Eriksen steps onto the pitch, and few will disagree.
Zinchenko backed to set homeland worries aside for City
Pep Guardiola has thrown his support behind Oleksandr Zinchenko after Russia invaded the Manchester City player’s Ukraine homeland. Zinchenko attended a demonstration in Manchester city centre on Thursday evening following Russia’s invasion. Guardiola explained Zinchenko’s understandable worries, but insisted the 25-year-old can and will focus on the job, amid robust and warm support from his team-mates and colleagues.
Newcastle can take another giant leap towards safety
📺 Eddie Howe spoke with the media this morning ahead of Saturday's trip to Brentford.— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) February 25, 2022
Eddie Howe’s Newcastle would have been forgiven for expecting a torrid time at the Brentford Community Stadium had they arrived before the turn of the year. But the Bees have not won at all since January 2, and have suffered seven defeats and one draw in that sequence. Thomas Frank’s men will be desperate to arrest that worrying slump, but Newcastle are a side with renewed confidence and vigour, and would even leapfrog Brentford with a victory that would lift them even further away from the relegation picture.
Manchester City eyeing a return to recent dominance
Rarely these days do Pep Guardiola’s men enter a Premier League game feeling any kind of pinch, but last weekend’s shock home loss to Tottenham has put a pause in their step. Hosts Everton have been far stronger under new boss Frank Lampard at home than away, but City will still arrive at Goodison Park with a point to prove. Guardiola and company will be itching to extend their three-point lead on title rivals Liverpool, with their advantage at the summit having shrunk significantly in the last few weeks.
Antonio Conte must prove his commitment
🎙 “We have to use our experience.”— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) February 25, 2022
While Leeds will be desperate to arrest a recent worrying slump culminating in the 6-0 midweek thrashing at Liverpool, Tottenham are simply fretting over their manager. Spurs will pitch up at Elland Road with boss Antonio Conte’s reassurances still ringing in their ears. Conte insists he is “committed” to the club despite questioning his own future in midweek. Spurs followed up their superb 3-2 win at Manchester City with defeat at Burnley, leaving Conte to put his own future into doubt. The Italian has since claimed to have set the record straight with chairman Daniel Levy, but will now need actions to back up those words.
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