Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend | Premier League

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1) Arteta returns to a tense Goodison

As the eighth permanent manager of the calamitous Farhad Moshiri era takes his bow at Everton, accompanied by further protests against a board who may or may not be present at Goodison Park, the sight of Mikel Arteta patrolling the opposition technical area and leading a stylish Arsenal team with designs on the title will bring fresh torment for the home crowd. There really is an endless supply at present. The former Everton midfielder was hired by Arsenal when Moshiri opted for the Hollywood appointment of Carlo Ancelotti in December 2019. Some at Goodison felt the then Manchester City assistant coach would be a more suitable fit but, had they got their way, there is little chance Arteta would have been allowed to transform Everton. Arsenal possess the patience, recruitment strategy and organisational expertise needed for a manager to flourish. All are absent at Everton, as Sean Dyche may have already discovered. Andy Hunter

2) New full-backs on view at Spurs

There will be notable absentees from the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. For Spurs, Antonio Conte is recuperating from having his gall bladder removed, while Matt Doherty is now an Atlético Madrid player. For City, life begins without João Cancelo, who made his Bayern Munich on Wednesday having lost the faith of Pep Guardiola. The only likely new face on show will be Pedro Porro, who failed to make the grade at City as a youngster before being sold to Sporting for £7m in 2020. Tottenham, after Porro’s initial loan, will eventually pay £39.7m for a player signed to solve their problems in the right wing-back position. Doherty and Emerson Royal could not make that position their own. Similar goes for City. Cancelo had lately dropped from prominence and it remains to be seen who assumes his role on the left. Nathan Aké is the man in possession, though Rico Lewis, only 18, could be the heir apparent. John Brewin

‘A new adventure’: João Cancelo joins Bayern Munich on loan – video

3) Guimaráes leaves a Newcastle hole

Eddie Howe is not given to criticising Newcastle’s board but he described the club’s transfer window dealings as “not perfect” and was “very sad” to lose his cover centre forward Chris Wood and central midfielder Jonjo Shelvey. It made financial sense and, by helping Newcastle remain on the right side of financial fair play rules, facilitated Anthony Gordon’s £45m recruitment. But when Bruno Guimarães, Howe’s key central midfielder, collected a red card and three-game suspension during the team’s Carabao semi-final, David Moyes must have felt a surge of optimism for West Ham’s visit to St James’ Park. It will be interesting to see how Newcastle cope without Guimarāes when Shelvey was the Brazilian’s natural replacement. Similarly, with Callum Wilson struggling to regain pre-World Cup form and Alexander Isak adapting to the Premier League, Wood might have been useful striker to have on the bench in pursuing Champions League qualification. Shelvey looks the bigger loss. Will Newcastle regret offloading him while failing to sign someone capable of understudying Guimarães? Louise Taylor

4) Wolves smell blood with Reds

There is nothing quite like a desire for revenge to fuel motivation, and Wolves have a freshly acquired grievance to take into Saturday’s encounter stemming from their recent FA Cup exit against Jürgen Klopp’s team. Toti’s disallowed winner in the first leg ensured a 2-2 draw, and gave Liverpool a second chance that they duly seized, winning the replay 1-0. A furious Julen Lopetegui insisted on the night of the first leg that replays proved Gomes’s late effort should have stood, and that the VAR had got it wrong. If that incident is not mentioned in his pre-match team talk, it will certainly be in the players’ minds. Liverpool went on to be knocked out by Brighton in the fourth round, the latest dispiriting result for a side that looked close to invincible not so long ago. Klopp’s men are yet to win a league match in 2023 and Wolves will smell blood. Luke McLaughlin

5) Ten Hag juggles injury-hit squad

It begins here, against Crystal Palace at Old Trafford, on Saturday: the business end of Erik ten Hag’s attempt to claim trophies (this month’s Carabao Cup final is a good start) and ensure a Champions League place. For this challenge he has to soak up the blow of losing Christian Eriksen (until early May, maybe) and Scott McTominay for two weeks or more, while pondering if Marcus Rashford, who has 18 goals, can keep carrying the attack, the serially injured Anthony Martial can stay fit enough to aid the latter, and Jadon Sancho can at last be a true force following physical and mental wellbeing issues. Oh, and pray that his key man, Casemiro, does not join Eriksen in the treatment room for a long time. Wout Weghorst is the stand-in for Rashford and Martial, and Marcel Sabitzer is Eriksen’s: if Ten Hag needs to call on one or both his ability to keep the team on track will be seriously tested. Jamie Jackson

Jadon Sancho appeared in good spirits during his comeback appearance for Manchester United on Wednesday.
Jadon Sancho appeared in good spirits during his comeback appearance for Manchester United on Wednesday. Photograph: Matthew Peters/Manchester United/Getty Images

6) Caicedo back after failure to launch

Last weekend the Brighton manager, Roberto de Zerbi, said he “loves” Moisés Caicedo, adding that he wanted him to stay until the end of the season rather than swan off to Arsenal in the January transfer window. He got his wish. Caicedo looks certain to be departing in the summer, then, but with regard to the immediate future, De Zerbi’s selectorial hand may be forced by Alexis Mac Allister’s suspension after the Argentinian collected five yellow cards. Reinserting the Ecuadorian into the starting lineup comes with a risk of disruption – he will probably face some hostility from home fans after downing tools and demanding a move. But he is far from the first Premier League player to attempt to force a transfer, fail, and soon be happily reintegrated. Caicedo will no doubt get his head down and work hard for the team, not least because he has an impending summer transfer to think about. LMc

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7) Saints’ arrivals face tough start

Southampton need to get moving and they certainly made end-of-window signings who can up the ante. Given their league position the capture of Kamaldeen Sulemana, a lightning quick winger from Rennes, feels like a major coup while the 6ft 7in striker Paul Onuachu will add presence and, judging by his record in Belgium, goals. They bear a fresher look than some of their relegation rivals and it would be a useful statement if Nathan Jones’s revamped group can leave Brentford with a positive result. The task is severe: only Arsenal have left this part of west London with three points all season. The Bees, unbeaten in eight, felt comfortable enough in their skins not to make wholesale changes in the transfer window; everything is functioning well and they would burnish their not-outlandish European credentials by taking the expected three points. Jones must hope the Saints’ season starts here. Nick Ames

8) Reinforced Forest battle hangover

With four unbeaten matches behind them in the Premier League – two wins, two draws – Nottingham Forest’s 5-0 aggregate drubbing by Manchester United in the Carabao Cup semi-final may be seen as a cold blast of reality. A Wembley final would have been nice, of course, as well as symbolically important in the club’s mission to rediscover past glories, but was ultimately an irrelevance compared to the priority of preserving Premier League status. In a tight table, Forest’s recent positive run has propelled them to 13th. But they remain only six points above the bottom side, Southampton, and three above Sunday’s opponents, Leeds, who are 15th. It would only take a couple of bad results for the pressure to be cranked up again. Steve Cooper must ensure there is no Cup hangover against Jesse Marsch’s high-tempo side; his ever-increasing squad may help to that end. LMc

Steve Cooper’s Nottingham Forest are currently four points clear of the drop zone.
Steve Cooper’s Nottingham Forest are currently four points clear of the drop zone. Photograph: MI News/NurPhoto/Shutterstock

9) Villa return fresh and strengthened

For Aston Villa, the upside of being shocked in the FA Cup by Stevenage last month was a two-week break before facing Leicester. They should not lack freshness and energy, and the good news doesn’t stop there – John McGinn and Lucas Digne are back in training and in contention to return to the team following injuries. In particular, having McGinn’s midfield hustle to call on will be a fillip for Unai Emery, who has won five out of seven league games since arriving in November. Leicester mustered FA Cup wins against Gillingham and Walsall in January while losing to Fulham, Newcastle, Nottingham Forest, and (most recently) drawing 2-2 with Brighton. Brendan Rodgers says one of his midfield generals, Wilfrid Ndidi, will be missing due to “a personal issue” while Harry Soutar, a deadline-day arrival from Stoke, is doubtful with a hip problem. Emery will fancy making it six out of eight. LMc

10) Mount becoming swamped?

Graham Potter cannot complain about a lack of options in attack. Mykhailo Mudryk, João Félix and Noni Madueke joined Chelsea’s armoury of creative weapons during January, while Hakim Ziyech is still around after his hopes of joining Paris Saint-Germain on loan ended in farcical circumstances on deadline day. The competition for places will be fierce, even with Christian Pulisic and Armando Broja sidelined by long-term injuries. With Ziyech not in the best of moods, it will not be easy for Potter to keep everyone happy. Where do Raheem Sterling, Kai Havertz, Mason Mount and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fit into Chelsea’s plans? Mount’s situation is particularly fascinating. The attacking midfielder is a fan-favourite and Chelsea should be looking to build around him. And yet his contract expires in 18 months while his form has dipped recently. With Félix suspended, Mount could do with a good performance against Fulham. Jacob Steinberg

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