Manchester derby under microscope in Premier League

Manchester derby under microscope in Premier League

London, Mar 1: The Manchester derby between Manchester United and Manchester City on Sunday is the biggest game at the weekend in the Premier League and one which could have a major impact on both the destiny of the title and also the future of United coach Erik ten Hag.

A late goal saw Manchester United into the quarterfinals of the FA Cup in midweek, but fans at Old Trafford have fresh memories of last weekend’s defeat at home to Fulham and the Norwegian needs a good performance, otherwise doubts over his leadership will continue to grow.

Manchester City scored six goals away to Luton on Tuesday night and although they have lost Jack Grealish to injury, Erling Haaland scored five goals in the game and if he and Kevin de Bruyne remain in their best form, it could be a painful afternoon on Sunday at Old Trafford.

Liverpool returns to league action after last weekend’s Carabao Cup win over Chelsea and a midweek FA Cup success, in which the club’s younger players all showed their promising futures.

Jurgen Klopp will field a more recognizable side for their trip to play Nottingham Forest team that sits in 17th place in the table, just four points above Luton Town.

Tottenham needs a boost to their season when they entertain Crystal Palace, but it will be interesting to see how the visitors perform after enjoying a comfortable 3-0 win at home to Burnley in Oliver Glasner’s first game as coach and this could be a high-octane fixture.

Spurs has dropped seven points in their last five matches and that has allowed Aston Villa to open up a five-point lead in fourth.

Villa faces Luton Town, who suddenly finds themselves four points adrift of safety after Everton’s 10-point penalty for breaching financial fair play rules was reduced to six points earlier this week.

That has given Everton a slight breathing space ahead of their home game against West Ham United, which sees David Moyes return to Goodison. Although Sean Dyche has forced Everton into a solid defensive outfit, Moyes’ return always highlights how far fortunes at the club has fallen since the success of his long spell at the club.

Chelsea coach Mauricio Pochettino had to stress during the week that he retained the support of the club in the wake of their Carabao Cup defeat to Liverpool.

Chelsea makes the short trip to play Brentford on Saturday, and their main problem will be to stop striker Ivan Toney, who has been proposed as the solution for their problems in front of goal for next season.

Newcastle United sneaked through an FA Cup penalty shoot-out against Blackburn in midweek, but another 120 minutes of football will take its toll on the already tired legs of Eddie Howe’s injury-affected squad and a well-drilled Wolverhampton, with Pedro Neto in some of the best form of his career.

Fulham is at home to Brighton, with Evan Ferguson likely to return for the visitors after a slight ankle injury and aiming to end a run of 16 games without a goal.

Burnley is in a desperate position and a win at home to a Bournemouth side that has run out of steam and has gone eight league games without a win is vital for Vincent Kompany’s side.

Arsenal ends the round of games with a visit to Sheffield United and home fans can be forgiven for approaching the game with a feeling of dread given that their side has conceded an eye-watering 66 goals this season and faces a rival that has netted 15 goals in their last three league outings.


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