Premier League Matchday 20: Derbies galore in thrilling top-flight weekend
Derby drama is on the menu this weekend in a blockbuster Premier League Matchday 20.
Manchester United entertain fierce foes Manchester City, leaders Arsenal head across North London to take on Tottenham while Nottingham Forest host Leicester.
Chelsea will look to put their woes behind them by beating London neighbours Crystal Palace and there are a pair of juicy relegation scraps to get stuck into.
Read on as we preview all 10 games, kicking off with Aston Villa against Leeds on Friday night.
Aston Villa vs Leeds (Friday, 8pm, Sky Sports)
Unai Emery’s Villa will be keen to make last Sunday’s dismal FA Cup exit to Stevenage a distant memory as they host struggling Leeds.
The Villans have won three of five top-flight outings under their Basque coach and are unbeaten in their last four games against the Whites, with two wins and two draws.
Jesse Marsch’s men are slipping towards danger after picking up just two points from the last 12 available as they look to win their first game since November 5.
Supporters could be poised for a fast start at Villa Park, with 13 goals flying in during the opening 15 minutes of the West Midlands outfit’s home games this term — more than any other side in the division.
Manchester United vs Manchester City (Saturday, 12.30pm, BT Sport)
A thrilling encounter kicks off Saturday as in-form Manchester United look to get the better of arch-rivals and title favourites Manchester City at Old Trafford.
The Citizens were 6-3 victors in the reverse fixture last October but Erik ten Hag’s men may fancy their chances this time having won 15 of their last 18 games in all competitions — including all of their most recent eight.
Pep Guardiola’s visitors will be no easy opponent though, having hit 12 goals past the Red Devils in their last three meetings.
Marcus Rashford is in red-hot form with seven goals in his last six games in all competitions. He is looking to score in four straight Premier League games for the first time since January 2019.
Brighton vs Liverpool (Saturday, 3pm)
Liverpool’s top-four hopes suffered a big blow at Brentford and another tricky away clash awaits Jurgen Klopp’s men as they head to Brighton.
The Reds are seven points adrift of a Champions League place and face a side just a point behind them in eighth — but they do boast an unbeaten record in their last 10 away meetings with the Seagulls.
After winning none of their first five Premier League games under Roberto De Zerbi, the South Coast outfit have won four of their last six under the Italian boss.
Brighton teenager Evan Ferguson has scored in his last two top-flight games against Arsenal and Everton. At 18 years and 87 days on Saturday, he could become the third youngest player to score in three straight Premier League outings.
Everton vs Southampton (Saturday, 3pm)
A potential six-pointer sees 18th-placed Everton battle it out with rock-bottom Southampton.
Six straight league defeats have left the Saints three points adrift of safety, though they will hope their impressive cup form inspires an upturn in their fortunes after beating Crystal Palace in the FA Cup third round and then Manchester City in their Carabao Cup quarter-final.
Boss Nathan Jones is still seeking his first Premier League win though and will see a clash against an Everton side who have lost nine of their last 12 matches as an ideal opportunity to get up and running.
The Toffees are looking to avoid losing four straight home league games for the first time since 1958, though under-fire boss Frank Lampard can take solace in the fact they are without defeat in 17 Premier League meetings with Southampton at Goodison Park.
Nottingham Forest vs Leicester (Saturday, 3pm)
In an action-packed Saturday, East Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest and Leicester go head-to-head for their first Premier League meeting at the City Ground since May 1999.
The Foxes ran out convincing 4-0 winners in the reverse fixture but a recent resurgence by Steve Cooper’s men mean the pair head into the clash level on points, two above the drop zone.
Forest are looking to secure back-to-back league victories for the first time this season, while reaching the Carabao Cup semi-final in midweek will be a further boost to their confidence.
Striker Jamie Vardy has scored just once in 18 Premier League appearances this term — the fewest he has had at this stage of a top-flight season since 2014-15.
Wolves vs West Ham (Saturday, 3pm)
Wolves in 19th will look to drag 17th-placed West Ham deep into relegation trouble when the pair face off at Molineux.
The Hammers are teetering above Everton by virtue of a single goal, with the pressure piling on David Moyes after picking up only one point in their last six league games.
Wolves are suffering similar struggles but will take solace from the four points they have picked up in their last three games, as well as their well-earned 2-2 FA Cup draw at Liverpool.
Daniel Podence has found the net in two of his last three league outings, while injury doubt Gianluca Scamacca will hope his effort against Leeds will inspire a run of scoring form.
The Italian’s first Premier League goal came against the Midlands outfit in October’s reverse fixture.
Brentford vs Bournemouth (Saturday, 5.30pm, Sky Sports)
Brentford are among the surprise sides battling for a European place this season as they host struggling Bournemouth.
The Bees have picked up seven points in three games since the Premier League’s resumption and have not tasted defeat in six top-flight outings — their longest unbeaten run since 1938.
In contrast, the Cherries concerningly have lost all five matches since Gary O’Neil’s permanent appointment — conceding 12 goals in that time.
Goalkeeper Mark Travers has let in 39 goals in 14 league games this season. Only one player has ever conceded 40 or more in the first 15 games in the division (Dave Watson for Barnsley in 1997-98).
Chelsea vs Crystal Palace (Sunday, 2pm)
A 2-1 defeat at Fulham piled even more pressure on Chelsea boss Graham Potter as the Blues prepare for a quick-fire turnaround against Crystal Palace.
That loss at Craven Cottage was the West Londoners' third on the bounce and seventh in 10 games in all competitions, leaving them down in 10th.
It might not get any easier for the former Brighton manager with Palace making the trip across the capital. They have lost three of their last six home London derbies in the Premier League, including their only one with Potter in charge — a 1-0 defeat to Arsenal in November.
However, the 12th-placed Eagles have had similar troubles in such games, with no side losing more (four) or collecting fewer points (four) in all-London clashes this term.
Newcastle vs Fulham (Sunday, 2pm, Sky Sports)
Chelsea's conquerors Fulham now sit pretty in sixth place in the table ahead of their trip to another high-flying side, Newcastle.
The visitors have won all five of their games after the World Cup break, including four league successes.
However, the third-placed Magpies have lost only one league game all season and not on their own patch since April — making this an enticing encounter at St James’ Park.
Aleksandar Mitrovic returns from suspension to face his former side. He has not scored against the Geordies in four attempts but has found the net in his last three top-flight games on the road.
Tottenham vs Arsenal (Sunday, 4.30pm, Sky Sports)
A dramatic weekend reaches its finale with Tottenham’s clash against North London foes Arsenal.
The Gunners are favourites for this game as they command an 11-point lead over their rivals at the top of the Premier League, while also running out convincing 3-1 victors at the Emirates earlier this term.
But they are yet to win at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in three attempts, with a 3-0 defeat there last season proving to be detrimental to their top-four hopes.
Mikel Arteta’s men will be determined to prove things are different this time though and their six wins in six London derbies in the top flight this term will be a source of encouragement.
Harry Kane is the highest scoring player in the North London derby with 14 goals and has netted in all but one of his eight home Premier League clashes against the Gunners.
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