Premier League: Ten Things to Watch This Weekend

Premier League enthusiasts have an exciting weekend ahead as Matchday 30 brings forth a line-up of pivotal games that will significantly influence both ends of the table.

With the latest round of top-flight games approaching, let’s delve into some crucial statistics and talking points to keep an eye on this weekend.

Newcastle United vs West Ham United

Saturday’s Premier League action kicks off at St James’ Park with a European six-pointer between Newcastle United and West Ham United, even though the home side’s position in the table says otherwise.

Stranded in mid-table, the Magpies trail the seventh-placed Hammers by four points and must defy their underwhelming run of beating the London outfit just once in their last five meetings (D3, L1). 

However, before a 3-0 demolition of Wolverhampton Wanderers in their last home outing, Eddie Howe’s men had gone winless in four consecutive league matches on Tyneside (D2, L2).

Newcastle’s home struggles bode well for West Ham’s bid to upset the apple cart and improve the division’s second-best win ratio of 40% in away games they’ve started as outsiders this season (W4, L6).

Bournemouth vs Everton

Unbeaten in four of their last five league fixtures (W2, D2), Bournemouth headed into March’s international break far adrift of the European spots but relatively safe from being sucked into the relegation battle.

That would leave neutrals to believe they have nothing to play for in the last ten rounds. However, collecting 12 or more points down the final stretch would see the Cherries set a new club record in the top flight.

A substantial ten-point deduction sees Everton take this trip ten points below their hosts and only four clear of the drop zone. But an 11-match winless Premier League streak is far more concerning (D5, L6).

Sean Dyche will be desperate to halt the league’s longest ongoing winless run against a Bournemouth side he has beaten ‘to nil’ in both top-flight duels since taking charge of the Toffees.

Chelsea vs Burnley

Chelsea’s quest to whittle down a five-point gap on West Ham starts with a straightforward-looking fixture against Burnley, as they return to Stamford Bridge fresh off squeaking past Newcastle 3-2 before the international break.

In addition to racking up eight wins in their last ten league encounters against the Clarets (D2), the Blues boast a formidable home form, having won five of their last six Premier League games in West London (L1).

But as both those H2H draws arrived at the Bridge, second-from-bottom Burnley will hope to leave the capital unbeaten, buoyed by a 2-1 home win against Brentford and Nottingham Forest’s four-point deduction.

Nottingham Forest vs Crystal Palace

Forest paid the price for breaching the profit and sustainability rules during the break, which, in turn, plunged them into relegation territory ahead of Crystal Palace’s visit. 

While losing seven of their last nine league matches at the City Ground paints a bleak picture (W2), Nuno Espirito Santo’s charges can draw confidence from avoiding defeat in all three clashes against Palace since returning to England’s top table (W1, D2).

Palace’s form woes against the Tricky Trees are long-standing, as witnessed by their dismal record of just one victory across the last 12 showdowns between the clubs (D5, L6).

Sheffield United vs Fulham

With one foot in the Championship, rock-bottom Sheffield have no margin for error if they’re to pull off a miracle and overhaul an eight-point deficit on 17th-placed Luton Town.

Despite a 2-2 draw against Bournemouth on the cusp of the international window, United’s recent home form has been terrible, as they’ve lost their last three league contests at Bramall Lane by 5+ goals ‘to nil.’

Visiting Fulham will aim to take advantage of the Blades’ disastrous run in South Yorkshire to address their travel sickness after losing three of their last five away league matches (W1, D1).

Tottenham Hotspur vs Luton Town

After relinquishing a 38-game scoring streak in an embarrassing 3-0 defeat at Fulham last time out, every game from now on is a ‘make or break’ for Tottenham Hotspur.

Spurs come into this clash as pre-match favourites following an impressive run of six wins from their last seven home league outings (L1), but they can’t take anything for granted.

Luton will rely on Tottenham’s woeful defensive record of zero clean sheets from their last ten league assignments in North London to avenge a 1-0 defeat in October’s reverse fixture.

Aston Villa vs Wolverhampton Wanderers

A long-awaited top-four finish is on the horizon as Aston Villa entertain Wolverhampton in a must-win home match-up on Saturday, seeking redemption after going winless in back-to-back league games (D1, L1).

Unai Emery’s men hold a three-point lead on fifth-placed Spurs, but losing three of their last four Premier League matches at Villa Park (W1) compromised their hopes of securing a coveted fourth place.

As if that’s not ominous enough, it’s been over two decades since Villa last won a home encounter against Wolves in the top flight, registering four draws and three defeats since a 3-2 victory in 2003.

Brentford vs Manchester United

Sucked into the dreaded relegation scrap on the back of a six-game winless league run (D1, L5), Brentford boss Thomas Frank entered the international break with plenty on his plate.

Manchester United could compound the Bees’ misery as they bid to close a six-point gap on Tottenham after halting a two-game losing streak with a 2-0 home triumph against Everton. 

It’s perhaps paradoxical that Erik ten Hag’s men lament the worst scoring record among the sides beginning this round in the top 13 (39), considering they’ve found the net in their last 14 matches.

Liverpool vs Brighton & Hove Albion

As Jurgen Klopp’s storied career at Anfield approaches its end, Liverpool head into the season finale as the second-favourites to lift the Premier League crown, largely thanks to their outrageous home form.

The Reds have only lost once in their last 56 league outings in front of the Kop (W42, D13), increasing the likelihood of Klopp’s 300th competitive win in charge of the 19-time English champions. 

Yet, if anyone can spoil the German’s plans, it’s Brighton & Hove Albion. The Seagulls have not lost any of their last four clashes against Liverpool (W2, D2), including a goal-glutted 2-2 draw in October’s reverse fixture. 

Manchester City vs Arsenal

Manchester City’s pursuit of an unprecedented fourth consecutive Premier League title faces a crunch test as they lock horns with pacesetters Arsenal in a top-table six-pointer. 

Pep Guardiola’s men will take the field in high spirits after stringing together 22 unbeaten matches in all competitions (W19, D3), confident of extending their mind-blowing unbeaten streak at the Etihad Stadium to 34 games.

Even though the Cityzens slumped to a 1-0 defeat at the Emirates Stadium earlier this season, it remains their only loss in their last 16 Premier League meetings with Arsenal (W13, D2). 

Premier League: Ten Things to Watch This Weekend

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