This weekend’s football previewed


Erik ten Hag and Eddie Howe pit their wits in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday (Picture: Getty)

Man Utd v Newcastle

Sunday, 4.30pm, Sky Sports

An instinctive handball and red card has cost Nick Pope a Wembley final and his goalkeeping stand-in Loris Karius’ has not played for an English club since his 2018 Champions League final mishaps for Liverpool. Little wonder Newcastle boss Eddie Howe says he can ‘rewrite the story of his career.’ Expect United’s own renaissance men Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho to take centre stage.

34 – Major trophies for Man Utd since Newcastle won the 1969 Fairs Cup

Fulham v Wolves

Today, 8pm, Sky Sports

Fulham boss Marco Silva must be a contender for manager of the year having led them to sixth place in their first season back in the Premier League, although they are sweating on star striker Aleksandar Mitrovic’s hamstring ahead of tonight’s game. Wolves’ revival came to an untimely halt with last Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat to Southampton allowing boss Julen Lopetegui to warn they are far from safe: ‘There’s no space for complacency – we have to fight for 40 points.’

0-0 – Draw in the Molineux meeting, Mitrovic missing a late penalty

Everton v Aston Villa

Saturday, 3pm

With 210 previous meetings, this is the most played fixture in English football. Everton will be hoping to avoid a third successive home defeat to Villa, which would be a first in all that time, and help ensure it is on the fixture list next season. Everton have won both home games 1-0 since Sean Dyche took charge and James Garner could get a first start of the season with Amadou Onana injured. Villa boss Unai Emery, meanwhile, called back-to-back 4-2 home defeats ‘embarrassing’.

9 – Scored and nine conceded by Villa in first 15 minutes of games this season

Leeds v Southampton

Saturday, 3pm

Leeds fans - one holding a scarf up

Leeds fans will be hoping their new man in charge, Javi Gracia, can lift them out of the drop zone (Picture: Shutterstock)

Javi Gracia takes charge of Leeds for the first time against the only side below them in the Premier League table. The Spaniard took Watford to the FA Cup final in 2019 but needs to find an instant fix for a side without a win in ten Premier League games. Saints’ 1-0 victory at Chelsea last weekend has made caretaker-chief Ruben Selles favourite to become their permanent boss, having initially flirted with the ex-Leeds manager Jesse Marsch to replace the hapless Nathan Jones.

4 – Of Saints’ five league wins this season have come away from home

Leicester v Arsenal

Saturday, 3pm

Anybody who thought Arsenal’s title push would disintegrate after losing at home to Manchester City may have to think again after their spirited revival to earn a 4-2 win at Aston Villa last weekend. That was also the score when the Gunners beat Leicester in August but this is unlikely to be an easy afternoon. Brendan Rodgers’ side gave it a real go at Manchester United last Sunday, even if they did end up losing 3-0, while a 4-1 win over Tottenham in their last home game boosted their survival prospects.

10 – Goals for Bukayo Saka this term after last week’s stunning strike

West Ham v Nottingham Forest

Saturday, 3pm

It’s easy to say Forest were lucky to get a point against Manchester City last week but after some heroic defending, Chris Wood’s equaliser capped a stunning move featuring every player. Despite being 13th, Forest are far from safe and this is a huge game, with third-bottom Hammers five points behind. David Moyes is the only manager below Steve Cooper in the table to have been in his job all season and was boosted by Maxwel Cornet and Kurt Zouma returning to training this week.

3 – Away goals for Forest this term – the lowest was Norwich’s seven (2019-20)

Bournemouth v Man City

Saturday, 5.30pm, Sky Sports

After his first win since becoming the permanent Bournemouth boss in November, Gary O’Neil refused to give his players the day off when they moved out of the bottom three with a 1-0 victory at Wolves last weekend. That was hardly surprising given their next task. City’s title hopes were damaged by a late sucker punch in their 1-1 draw at Forest last week while they were similarly pegged back after a dominant first half in their midweek Champions League tie at RB Leipzig.

93 – City points in last season’s title win – this term’s maximum is 94

Crystal Palace v Liverpool

Virgil van Dijk

How will Virgil van Dijk’s Liverpool fare at Selhurst Park, the scene of a famous collapse by the Reds (Picture: Getty)

Saturday, 7.45pm, Sky Sports

There have not been too many Liverpool collapses to match the one from 2-0 up to lose 5-2 to Real Madrid in midweek. One of the most famous was at Selhurst Park, when they surrendered a 3-0 lead in the final 11 minutes to draw 3-3 and effectively end their 2014 title hopes. Back-to-back league wins had suggested Jurgen Klopp’s side were back on the right track but Palace will be looking to take advantage of Liverpool’s defensive fragility to help them out of their own mid-season rut.

4 – Draws in Palace’s last five games and they are still to win a game in 2023

Tottenham v Chelsea

Sunday, 1.30pm, Sky Sports

Graham Potter’s future as Chelsea boss is looking increasingly tenuous following their home defeat to Southampton but this is a fixture Spurs have approached with some trepidation over the years. However, Cristian Stellini continues to enhance his reputation as Antonio Conte’s stand-in while his fellow Italian recuperates in Italy and victory on Sunday would open up a four-point lead over Newcastle in the race for a Champions League spot, albeit having played two matches more.

8 – Premier League meetings without defeat for Chelsea against Spurs

Thierry Henry reveals he warned Romelu Lukaku about joining Chelsea

MORE : Mikel Arteta handed boost with Leicester star James Maddison a doubt for Arsenal clash

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