Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend | Premier League

1) Will Klopp and Potter ring the changes?

Shoots of recovery or a false dawn? Both Jürgen Klopp and Graham Potter will be desperately hoping their respective 1-0 wins last time out demonstrated the former. Liverpool versus Chelsea may lack its usual consequence with the teams occupying ninth and 10th place in the table and a 10 point chasm between themselves and fourth place, but their managers would beg to differ. Klopp admitted there would have been genuine doubt around Anfield on Saturday had Liverpool repeated theirs tame efforts at Brighton in the FA Cup replay at Wolves. An improved display from a much-changed team at Molineux, particularly in terms of Liverpool’s pressing and energy, left Klopp with major selection dilemmas for Saturday as well as renewed optimism. Potter was simply relieved after Chelsea secured only a second win in 10 games last weekend against Crystal Palace. Mykhaylo Mudryk could be involved for the first time since his big money arrival from Shakhtar Donetsk as the visitors strive for much-needed momentum. Andy Hunter

2) Casemiro suspension leaves Ten Hag in a pickle

With around 10 minutes left of their match at Selhurst Park, Manchester United would have felt buoyant at the prospect of facing a virtually unstoppable Arsenal on Sunday. Their optimism was duly punctured by Michael Olise’s free-kick and the suspension Casemiro picked up after an unusually wild foul on Wilfried Zaha. The Brazilian could have been fancied to give Arsenal’s imperious midfield a run for their money and, with all respect to the likes of Fred and Scott McTominay, United’s alternatives represent a severe drop-off. Fred, in particular, did not exactly excel in his audition after coming on as a substitute at Palace. His foul di lui led to the equalizer and hammered home the point that Casemiro’s nous will be missed. Ten Hag’s side remain capable of giving the leaders one of their more severe tests, but the Dutchman will have to find a workable solution to his midfield conundrum first. Nick Ames

3) Who will get ax in east London?

Whoever loses this relegation tussle between West Ham and Everton at the London Stadium could very likely be picking up their P45 on Monday morning. There is extra spice involved for both managers. David Moyes’s spell at Goodison Park created his reputation in the Premier League, while Frank Lampard is returning to the club where he made his name as a player. Added to that, if Lampard does get the chop, Moyes is in the frame to replace him. When the opponents mean so much to the person involved, it results in a desperation to stop them causing the fatal blow. West Ham and Everton have failed to win their past seven Premier League matches, an incredible achievement for both clubs. Everton will be pleased they are away from home because the atmosphere at Goodison Park is toxic, not that things are much better at West Ham. Everton might find it as light relief and play with a level of freedom not seen in recent months because things are so bad that they do not have much to lose under Lampard. WU

Everton manager Frank Lampard celebrates with goalscorer Neal Maupay as West Ham manager David Moyes looks dejected following the Hammers' 1-0 defeat at Goodison Park in the corresponding fixture in September 2022.
Frank Lampard celebrates Everton’s 1-0 win at West Ham at Goodison Park in the reverse fixture earlier this season. Photograph: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

4) Lopetegui gives Wolves nothing to fear

In Julen Lopetegui Wolves may have made as smart a managerial signing as their Midlands rivals down the M6, Aston Villa, who in Unai Emery hired a four-time Europa League-winner. Lopetegui has one of those on the CV plus stints leading Spain and Real Madrid and has lost only twice in his eight games in England – to Manchester United (league) and Liverpool (FA Cup). At Anfield, Wolves went close to knocking out Jürgen Klopp’s men and Pep Guardiola will have taken note of how his compatriot has his gold-shirted charges performing with a greater energy and quality since arriving in November. Wolves do not usually beat Manchester City – they have done so only twice in 20 years – but with his résumé Lopetegui can credibly inform his players he has no fear of the champions, and demand that they too should harbor none. JJ

5) Magpies face up to Guimarães absence

Newcastle have conceded once in their past nine matches in all competitions. One of the key reasons behind their success is not just the back four but also the work of Bruno Guimarães and his colleagues in midfield. The Brazilian will be absent for Newcastle at Selhurst Park due to an injury picked up in the win over Fulham last weekend. Without Guimarães, Newcastle are undoubtedly weaker and will need his replacement to step up. When Guimarães has missed matches since signing, Newcastle have won only 20% of them, a sign of his importance. It is likely that his compatriot Joelinton will move back into midfield and Allan Saint-Maximin will start on the wing against Crystal Palace as part of an Eddie Howe rejig. If Newcastle are to maintain their Champions League form, they need their entire squad to maintain Guimarães’s high standards. WU

6) Hennessey gets chance to prove worth

Wayne Hennessey is set to start for Nottingham Forest after Dean Henderson was ruled out for six weeks with a muscle injury sustained in their 2-0 win over Leicester last week. The Wales international has had an interesting time between the sticks when called upon recently by club and country. For Wales, his World Cup ended when he was sent off for charging out of his goal and trying to kick off an opponent’s head in a crucial group game against Iran. Back at Forest, he has conceded three at Old Trafford and four at Championship Blackpool in the FA Cup. Due to Henderson’s absence, Forest are considering bringing in a goalkeeper to deputise for the Manchester Untied loanee, which shows a lack of faith in Hennessey. This could be the experienced stopper’s final chance to show Steve Cooper and the club’s hierarchy he is the man for the job. WU

7) Saints cannot risk losing momentum

It’s tight at the bottom, that’s for sure. It looked like Nathan Jones and Southampton were doomed until the new head coach kickstarted his reign with a morale-boosting shellacking of Manchester City in the Carabao Cup. City were poor that night but the victory was imperative for the atmosphere within the squad. Even more importantly, they followed up that win with a victory at relegation rivals Everton last week. The Premier League season is at the halfway stage and there are still at least eight teams concerned about dropping into the Championship. A third win in a row would take Saints off the bottom and almost certainly out of the relegation zone. Momentum is key in football, especially with a squad as young as Jones’s, and Southampton currently have a little bit that they need to grow if they are to survive. WU

James Ward-Prowse of Southampton celebrates after scoring to make it 1-1 against Everton.
Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse gives his trademark celebration at Goodison Park last weekend. Photograph: Matt Watson/Southampton FC/Getty Images

8) Rutter needs to hit ground running

Jesse Marsch is on a long list of Premier League managers under pressure and potentially a defeat away from being sacked. Most can claim mitigating circumstances. For Marsch, it has been the lack of Patrick Bamford for much of the season. His 11 league appearances have mustered a solitary goal, but two in the FA Cup against Cardiff on Wednesday will have boosted his confidence. However, there is a new striker in town: club-record signing Georginio Rutter. The deal could see Leeds pay Hoffenheim the not-insignificant sum of £32m, which will please the German club who signed him for £500,000 two years ago from Rennes. He was introduced to the crowd before Wednesday’s FA Cup replay, although he was not permitted to play having signed after the original tie in Cardiff. The Frenchman is only 20 but a record of two goals in 17 appearances this season needs to improve. Rutter might be young but with Leeds in a relegation battle he needs to hit the ground running. WU

9) Spurs should beware wounded Mitrovic

Aleksandar Mitrovic is not a man who likes to lose, especially against a former club where he failed to gain the respect he believed was warranted. After having his penalty ruled out for kicking the ball twice at Newcastle last week, he will be desperate to make a point against Spurs, a team whose defense seems easily rattled. He scored an incredible consolation goal in the reverse fixture earlier in the season and his confidence has grown since thanks to his 11 goals overall. Spurs’ defense have struggled to contain most teams in recent weeks and a wounded Mitrovic knows how to get the best of defenders who aren’t up for the fight. A win for Fulham would take them above Spurs, which would be an incredible situation for Marco Silva’s side and, with Mitrovic up top, you might even make them favourites. WU

Fulham's Aleksandar Mitrovic (centre) scores with a fine finish in the match at Spurs in September 2022.
Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic (centre) scores with a fine finish in the match at Spurs earlier in the season. Photograph: Bradley Collyer/PA

10) Foxes need freshening up in window

One of Leicester’s biggest problems – of which there have been many this season – has been the lack of investment in new players. Only Wout Faes and third-choice goalkeeper Alex Smithies joined in the summer. The squad has looked stale; the players Brendan Rodgers has relied on for the past few years have failed to replicate their previous form. Jamie Vardy has a solitary goal in the Premier League all season, Youri Tielemans has looked like a man with one eye on the exit door and Harvey Barnes is not at his ferocious best on the wing. The good news is that full-back Victor Kristiansen is set to join from Copenhagen after lengthy talks between the two clubs. He might not be the most exciting signing but he has played in the Champions League this season and will hopefully provide some freshness in the dressing room to lift the spirits of a Leicester team looking down rather than up. WU

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