5 talking points from this weekend’s Premier League matches
Plenty to play for at both ends of the table.
Another exciting Premier League weekend lies ahead as the season hurtles towards a fascinating conclusion. Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at five of the main talking points this weekend.
Will Liverpool or City blink?
It is fast approaching crunch time in the most exciting Premier League title race for many a year. Liverpool hold a two-point lead at the top of the standings after riding their luck to win at Southampton last week, when Manchester City were wrapping up their place in the FA Cup final. Pep Guardiola’s men have a match in hand as a result and few would expect them to come a cropper at Crystal Palace on Sunday afternoon. Within an hour of that match ending comes the mouth-watering clash between Jurgen Klopp’s side and top-four hopefuls Chelsea. It could prove to be a defining day in the title race.
How will Spurs react to Kane’s setback?
Tottenham were pushing to make it a three-way tussle for the title not so long ago, yet now find themselves fighting for a place in the top four. Chelsea enter the weekend third, two points better off than Mauricio Pochettino’s side, who have a one-point cushion over north London rivals Arsenal. Spurs welcome relegated Huddersfield to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday lunchtime. Few are questioning the outcome of that match but it will be interesting to see how the side lines up considering the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final with Manchester City looms large and they are without Harry Kane. Spurs’ talisman faces a lengthy period on the sidelines with an ankle injury picked up in the 1-0 first-leg win and the way Spurs react will give an indication of how they plan to kick on without him at the Etihad Stadium.
Can United put wobble behind them?
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has done a superb job since taking the Manchester United reins on a temporary basis in December, but the man recently named permanent manager could really do with a shot in the arm. Wednesday’s 1-0 home loss to Barcelona in their Champions League quarter-final first leg was not too disheartening and keeps their hopes alive ahead of the return fixture at the Nou Camp – but it was their fourth loss in five matches. Defeats at Wolves in the league and FA Cup compounded the loss at top-four rivals Arsenal, meaning they desperately need to beat West Ham in Saturday’s late kick-off to get things back on track. They cannot afford to let the four-point gap to the Champions League spots grow.
Will Wolves be further wounded?
Raul Jimenez donned a wrestling mask in celebration after netting Wolves’ second goal at Wembley to put his team in control of their FA Cup semi-final but Gerard Deulofeu wrote his name into Watford folklore by inspiring a late comeback and sealing a 3-2 extra-time triumph. Nuno Espirito Santo’s side left Wembley shell-shocked and now head to resurgent, albeit still relegation-threatened, Southampton. Wolves’ hopes of capping a memorable league campaign by finishing seventh could be given a big boost at St Mary’s, where Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side will be determined to ease concerns of the drop.
Will Bluebirds be shot down at Turf Moor?
Neil Warnock leads embattled Cardiff to Lancashire on Saturday afternoon for arguably the biggest match of the day. Five points behind 17th-placed Southampton, time is running out for the Bluebirds if they are to avoid joining Fulham and Huddersfield in the Sky Bet Championship next season. There is a huge midweek trip to Brighton after travelling to Burnley, who can all but certainly secure survival by condemning Cardiff to defeat. Sean Dyche’s side have endured a topsy-turvy campaign after a memorable 2017-18 season and would move onto 39 points – 11 more than their opponents – should they triumph.