Premier League Matchday 22: Dyche out to Gun down leaders
Premier League sides are back in action after this week's transfer mayhem with a host of tantalising fixtures on the menu for Matchday 22.
Leaders Arsenal are first up for new Everton boss Sean Dyche, while Manchester City will hope to keep pace with the Gunners when they face fellow North Londoners Tottenham.
Read on as we preview all 10 games, kicking off with Chelsea against Fulham on Friday night.
Chelsea vs Fulham (Friday, 8pm, Sky Sports)
Fresh from their stunning January transfer window activity which saw nearly £300million spent on eight new signings, Chelsea welcome surprise European rivals Fulham to Stamford Bridge.
The Cottagers were 2-1 winners over their West London foes in the reverse fixture last month and are looking to secure their first ever league double over the Blues, with this the 38th campaign they have met.
Graham Potter’s men find themselves two points behind their neighbours and sit 10th having won only two of their last 11 Premier League games.
No top-flight side has used more players (29) and made more changes to their starting XI (73) than Chelsea this season.
Everton vs Arsenal (Saturday, 12.30pm, BT Sport)
Dyche’s bid to save Everton from relegation kicks off with the visit of Premier League leaders Arsenal to Goodison Park.
The two club’s fortunes could hardly be more contrasting, with Mikel Arteta’s men winning seven of their last eight outings and the Toffees tasting defeat in six of their most recent seven games.
Former Burnley boss Dyche has only lost more games against Manchester City (11) than he has versus the Gunners (10). However, he has been beaten just once in his last five meetings with the North Londoners (one win, three draws).
Another morale boost for the 19th-placed strugglers is their record of three wins in their last four clashes with Arsenal, which is as many as they had in their previous 26 matches against them.
Aston Villa vs Leicester (Saturday, 3pm)
An all-Midlands affair sees Aston Villa entertain struggling Leicester.
The Villans have raced clear of relegation danger and are now just three points off sixth place after picking up 16 points from the 21 available since Unai Emery took over.
Brendan Rodgers’ men are among a trio of teams teetering just a point above the drop zone, though they have won on two of their last three league trips to Villa Park.
Ollie Watkins has four goal contributions in his last six Premier League games (two goals, two assists) but will look to score or assist against the Foxes for the first time at the fifth attempt.
Brentford vs Southampton (Saturday, 3pm)
A tricky trip to in-form Brentford is next up for Southampton as they look to lift themselves off the foot of the table.
The Bees are without defeat in their last eight league games (four wins, four draws), while the visitors have won only one of their last nine in the league despite showing signs of improvement under Nathan Jones.
Welsh boss Jones has picked up one point from his four league meetings with Brentford across spells at previous clubs Luton and Stoke, while he has also lost seven of his last eight games in London.
Brighton vs Bournemouth (Saturday, 3pm)
Another daunting away fixture for a relegation-threatened side sees Bournemouth make the journey along the South Coast to Brighton.
The hosts have been in fine form under Roberto De Zerbi, with only Arsenal (28) and Manchester City (30) scoring more goals since the Italian replaced Potter last September (26).
In stark contrast, the Cherries have scored the fewest goals (one), won the joint-fewest points (one) and lost the joint-highest number of games (four) since the World Cup break.
Seagulls teenager Evan Ferguson has three goals and two assists in just 198 minutes of Premier League football this season, averaging a goal contribution every 40 minutes — the best rate in the division.
Manchester United vs Crystal Palace (Saturday, 3pm)
Days after reaching their first major final under Erik ten Hag, Manchester United return to league action with a home clash against Crystal Palace.
Buoyed by their 5-0 aggregate victory over Forest in the Carabao Cup, the Red Devils have work to do in the league after their draw at Palace and defeat to Arsenal.
Facing United a little over two weeks since Michael Olise earned them a point, the visitors are also eager to improve having won only one of their last seven league games.
Old Trafford favourite Marcus Rashford will look to continue his impressive run of 10 goals in his last 12 games in all competitions since the World Cup.
Wolves vs Liverpool (Saturday, 3pm)
For the third time in the space of 28 days, Wolves and Liverpool do battle with Saturday’s clash at Molineux the first of their league meetings this term.
The visitors have just one win from six games in all competitions, though that did come against Julen Lopetegui’s men in an FA Cup third-round replay.
Including that victory, earned thanks to Harvey Elliott’s strike, all three of Liverpool’s last three games at Wolves have ended 1-0.
That said, Jurgen Klopp’s outfit have lost five of their nine away league games this term — as many as they suffered in their previous two seasons combined.
Newcastle vs West Ham (Saturday, 5.30pm, Sky Sports)
Newcastle’s sensational season reached another milestone on Tuesday night when they reached their first Wembley final since 1999, thanks to their Carabao Cup triumph over Southampton.
West Ham are the next visitors to St James' Park, fresh from a 2-0 away win at Derby in the FA Cup.
Hammers boss David Moyes will move ahead of Harry Redknapp as the manager with the third-most Premier League games managed (642) on Saturday evening and is seeking his 250th win in the competition.
In the opposite dugout, Eddie Howe will hope to improve his team's output in the final third having netted only once in their last four league outings.
Nottingham Forest vs Leeds (Sunday, 2pm, Sky Sports)
An intriguing battle at the bottom kicks off Sunday’s action as Nottingham Forest host Leeds.
The Reds have distanced themselves from the drop zone following a four-match unbeaten run (two wins, two draws), while only a point separates Jesse Marsch's men from the relegation places.
No team has won fewer points away from home this term than the West Yorkshire side (five), with their solitary victory on the road coming at Liverpool last October.
Forest forward Brennan Johnson has been involved in four goals in his last three Premier League games (two goals, two assists) — double the amount he had in his first 17 in the competition (two goals).
Tottenham vs Manchester City (Sunday, 4.30pm, Sky Sports)
A blockbuster clash rounds off the weekend as Tottenham and Manchester City meet again in the Premier League following their entertaining encounter last month.
After surrendering a two-goal lead to lose 4-2 at the Etihad, Spurs will be looking to avoid losing both league meetings against the Citizens for the first time since 2018-19.
However, Pep Guardiola’s men are yet to win or score a goal in the four times they have visited the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in all competitions.
City will be desperate to avoid losing more ground in the title race having suffered defeat in two of their last five away Premier League games.
Riyad Mahrez has been involved in more goals against Spurs (11 — seven goals, four assists) than he has against any other opponent, with the Algerian having a hand in three of City’s four strikes in last month's victory.
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