Premier League: 3 Things To Look Out For This Weekend
Can Manchester United finally break into the Premier League top 4?
Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United project is nearly there. United’s last Premier League defeat was all the way back in October, a 4-0 humiliation against Chelsea. Since then they have gone on a 16-match unbeaten run which has taken them to within two points of the Champions League qualification places. A tendency to draw winnable games has seen United sit in sixth-place for too long and Jose Mourinho will be hoping to break into the top-four this weekend, with the visit of struggling Bournemouth on Saturday lunchtime. The Cherries, meanwhile, have yet to win in 2017 and boss Eddie Howe will surely want to get back on track with a big away win at Old Trafford. With fourth-place Arsenal playing fifth-place Liverpool, might this be a weekend where Mourinho’s United finally occupy a top-four berth?
Do Everton have what it takes to claim a big away scalp?
Ronald Koeman might be beginning to think to himself that his Everton project is looking in good shape for next season. The Dutchman’s side are unbeaten in 2017 and posing a serious attacking threat. What they are lacking, however, is an ability to win tough matches away from the fortress that is Goodison Park. The Toffees are stalling away from home, having only won on the road four times this season, with the last two of those coming against struggling Crystal Palace and Leicester City. Their away trips those above them this season have not been up to the standard that Koeman would have expected, a 5-0 humbling at Chelsea and a 1-1 draw against Manchester City. With Liverpool and Manchester United to visit after their trip to White Hart Lane, now might be a good time to kickstart a run of form away from home.
Which under-fire manager will come out on top at Anfield?
Rewind back to August and it would have been inconceivable that Jürgen Klopp would find his position at Anfield under threat. Maybe that is overstating it a little, but crashing out of the FA Cup at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers and a limp exit from the EFL Cup at the semi-final stage to Southampton hasn’t exactly helped the German. Coupled with tame Premier League results, the latest a 3-1 surrender away at the resurgent Champions Leicester City, Klopp is starting to feel what the pressure cooker of the Premier League is like. What Klopp needs is a performance to rival that of the 2-0 victory of Tottenham Hotspur last month, where the returning Sadio Mané was unstoppable. His counterpart, Arsene Wenger, has seen his own job security thrown into doubt after the 5-1 humiliation at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions League. With rumours swirling that both Mesut Özil and Alexis Sanchez are stalling over new contracts the Frenchman has some serious thinking to do. Might both Arsenal and Wenger be ready for a parting of the ways once his contract is up in the summer, even more so now that a certain vacancy has appeared at Barcelona?