Pep Guardiola knows victory on Saturday could point towards a fourth league title as Manchester City boss

Pep Guardiola knows victory on Saturday could point towards a fourth league title as Manchester City boss

Manchester City’s top-of-the-table clash with Chelsea and the North London derby are among a thrilling set of Premier League fixtures this weekend.

Elsewhere, Newcastle face fellow relegation candidates Watford and former Liverpool man Philippe Coutinho could make his Aston Villa debut against Manchester United.

With Burnley’s game against Leicester postponed, we take a look at all nine of this weekend’s games.

Brighton vs Crystal Palace (Friday, 8pm, Sky Sports)

The Premier League weekend kicks off with a tasty derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace.

The Seagulls are winless in their last five top-flight games against Palace, needing a late Neal Maupay equaliser to avoid defeat in a 1-1 draw earlier this season.

In fact, the last three meetings between the pair have all seen a result-altering goal in injury time — with Brighton salvaging two draws and a last-gasp Christian Benteke strike earning the Eagles an unlikely win last season.

Palace have never won a Premier League game on a Friday, drawing three and losing four of their previous encounters.

Read more: The unlikely rivalry between Brighton and Crystal Palace

Manchester City vs Chelsea (Saturday, 12.30pm, BT Sport 1)

With 10 points between Man City and Chelsea at the top of the table, the Blues know their Saturday lunchtime clash is a must-win for their faint title hopes.

The Citizens are looking to secure the Premier League double over Chelsea for the fourth time following their 1-0 reverse at Stamford Bridge earlier this term.

Kevin De Bruyne will hope to continue his good run against Chelsea, having been involved in four goals in his last four league games against his former side.

Since the start of last season, no Chelsea player has scored more Premier League goals than Jorginho, with all 13 of the Italian’s strikes in that time coming from the penalty spot.

Jorginho has scored 13 penalties since the start of last season — making him Chelsea's top Premier League scorer in that time
Jorginho has scored 13 penalties since the start of last season — making him Chelsea's top Premier League scorer in that time

Joleon Lescott column: City could wrap up title race by beating Blues

Newcastle vs Watford (Saturday, 3pm)

Newcastle have been busy in the transfer market this month, but Premier League survival remains the priority for Eddie Howe as his side prepare to face fellow strugglers Watford.

The pair are separated by just two points with the Hornets currently sitting just outside the relegation places after a run of six-straight league defeats.

The Magpies have won just one of their last 10 league meetings with Saturday’s opponents, but are facing a Watford team without a clean sheet in 28 top-flight games, dating all the way back to February 2020 — a 3-0 victory over Liverpool.

The Hornets will hope forward Emmanuel Dennis passes a late fitness test — the Nigerian has been directly involved in 10 goals in his last nine Premier League games.

Read more: Magpies complete Wood swoop from relegation rivals Burnley

Norwich vs Everton (Saturday, 3pm)

Also in the midst of a dreadful six-defeat league run is Norwich who will be desperate to breathe life into their survival campaign with a win over out-of-sorts Everton.

Pressure is growing on Toffees boss Rafa Benitez after slipping down to 15th in the table, following a run of only one win in their last 12 league games.

Opposing manager Dean Smith is unbeaten in all five Premier League games against the Merseyside outfit, registering a 3-0 victory over them earlier this season with his former club Aston Villa.

Andros Townsend has scored in his last two Premier League games against Norwich — in September 2019 with Crystal Palace and the reverse fixture at Goodison Park this season. He has never scored in three consecutive games versus an opponent.

Dean Smith's Norwich are struggling but his managerial record against Everton is strong
Dean Smith's Norwich are struggling but his managerial record against Everton is strong

Wolves vs Southampton (Saturday, 3pm)

An impressive campaign so far for Wolves has them looking up towards the European places but their next opponent is a Southampton team in buoyant mood following a 4-1 win over Brentford in midweek.

The hosts have scored 14 goals this season — only Norwich have netted fewer — but the 14 goals they have conceded is a record bettered only by Man City.

Overall, the Midlands outfit have as many goals in the final 10 minutes of games as they have in the opening 45 minutes this term.

In contrast, Saints striker Armando Broja’s goals are flowing right now after finding the net three times and claiming a further assist in his last six league games.

Aston Villa vs Manchester United (Saturday, 5.30pm, Sky Sports)

Aston Villa and Manchester United meet for the second time in six days after the Red Devils were narrowly victorious in the FA Cup third round on Monday.

Coutinho is in line to make his debut at Villa Park — the former Liverpool man has faced United on 11 previous occasions, winning five times and finding the net twice.

And as a player, Villa boss Steven Gerrard was on the winning side of 10 league meetings with Liverpool’s old rivals — a joint record alongside Nicolas Anelka, John Terry and Petr Cech.

Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo has scored eight Premier League goals against the Midlands outfit in the past, the most against any team in the competition.

Steven Gerrard's record against Manchester United as a player
Steven Gerrard's record against Manchester United as a player

Read more: Coutinho can Phil his boots under shrewd pal Gerrard

Liverpool vs Brentford (Sunday, 2pm)

Liverpool play Brentford for their first Anfield meeting since 1989 knowing they too are up against it in their bid to catch runaway leaders Man City.

The Reds will be without two of their top three goalscorers in Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, but Diogo Jota has notched four goals in his last four home league games.

After a 14-game winning run, Liverpool have failed to win either of their last two Premier League home games with promoted teams — drawing with West Brom and losing to Fulham last season.

And Thomas Frank’s men will be desperate to put their away troubles behind them after picking up just two points from their last 15 available on the road.

West Ham vs Leeds (Sunday, 2pm, Sky Sports)

Just a week after West Ham knocked Leeds out of the FA Cup, the pair meet again in the Premier League.

A 2-0 midweek victory over Norwich for David Moyes’ men saw them re-enter the top four, while Leeds’ focus is fixed on separating themselves from the clubs in danger.

But the Hammers have a poor record against the Yorkshire outfit in the Premier League, winning just five of their 23 meetings, though they are on a run of three-straight league victories against Sunday’s opponents.

Since they returned to the Premier League under Marcelo Bielsa, the Whites have lost seven of their eight away games in London.

After a brace on Wednesday night, Jarrod Bowen has now been directly involved in 16 goals in all competitions this season (eight goals, eight assists) — the most of any English player for Premier League clubs this term.

Jarrod Bowen has been in fine form for West Ham this season
Jarrod Bowen has been in fine form for West Ham this season

Tottenham vs Arsenal (Sunday, 4.30pm, Sky Sports)

Rounding off the weekend is a blockbuster battle between North London foes Tottenham and Arsenal.

There will be more than just bragging rights on the line at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with the hosts knowing they will leapfrog Mikel Arteta’s men with a win.

Following a 3-1 victory earlier this season, the Gunners are looking to complete their first league double over their rivals since 2014.

But they are up against a Spurs side who are unbeaten in Antonio Conte’s first eight Premier League games as manager, the longest run without defeat for a new manager of the club in their history.

Read more: Four classic North London derby clashes