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Premier League Matchday 28: Leaders Arsenal host managerless Palace
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Matthew Hill
Mikel Arteta and Arsenal are back at the Emirates this weekend to face Crystal Palace
Mikel Arteta and Arsenal are back at the Emirates this weekend to face Crystal Palace

Arsenal can move eight points clear at the Premier League summit when they host managerless Crystal Palace during a reduced Matchday 28 schedule.

The FA Cup quarter-finals mean Manchester City are one of six sides not in league action this weekend, presenting Mikel Arteta’s men with a chance to extend their lead heading into the international break.

The six other clashes see a cluster of relegation-threatened sides chasing points, most notably when Wolves host Leeds meet at Molineux.

We preview the top tier’s seven upcoming contests in detail.

Nottingham Forest vs Newcastle (Friday, 8pm, Sky Sports)

Nottingham Forest must snap their top-flight hoodoo when facing Newcastle if they are to further boost their survival hopes on Friday evening.

The Magpies are unbeaten in their nine previous Premier League meetings with Forest (six wins, three draws) — their best such run against a single opponent in the competition’s history.

Eddie Howe’s visitors still harbour hopes of continental qualification and will be confident of sealing back-to-back wins for the first time in 2023, although they are four without a win on the road.

Forest’s home form has been magnificent recently. Only Manchester United (12 games) can better their current streak of nine games without defeat on home turf (four wins, five draws).

Aston Villa vs Bournemouth (Saturday, 3pm)

Bournemouth rode their luck en route to a massive win over Liverpool last weekend
Bournemouth rode their luck en route to a massive win over Liverpool last weekend

Bournemouth will look to make it five straight Premier League wins over Aston Villa when they travel to the West Midlands.

The Cherries’ remarkable run against their loftier opponents has seen them net two goals on each occasion, including two 2-1 triumphs at Villa Park.

Playing promoted sides has been a tricky task for the Villans in recent campaigns, having picked up just two wins from their last 10 such contests and one point from a possible nine this term.

The visitors have only one clean sheet in 23 top-flight away games, which will be music to the ears of Ollie Watkins — he needs one goal to become the first Villa player to net double-figures in three straight campaigns since Christian Benteke in 2014-15.

Brentford vs Leicester (Saturday, 3pm)

Brentford’s fine home form could spell bad news for spiralling Leicester in their quest to ease renewed relegation fears.

The Foxes have been dragged back into the mire with four straight Premier League losses, in which Brendan Rodgers has seen his side score only one goal.

Now they head to the capital to take on Thomas Frank’s Bees, who have been imperious on their own patch with seven wins and just one defeat from 13 home contests this term.

James Maddison will be key to visiting prospects and is looking to become only the second player ever after Ruud van Nistelrooy to score in five straight Premier League away trips to London.

Southampton vs Tottenham (Saturday, 3pm)

Southampton and Tottenham both have ample reason to be feeling anxious ahead of their Saturday showdown.

For the rock-bottom Saints, Spurs are an opponent they have beaten only twice in their last 10 top-flight meetings at St Mary’s, while the Londoners have scored in 20 of the last 21 meetings between the pair.

However, Antonio Conte’s side have now lost their last four away from home in all competitions, drawing a blank in the most recent three — their worst such run since May 2019.

Harry Kane needs one more strike to score 10 away goals in a seventh different Premier League season and will be relishing this trip, having bagged 11 times against the Saints over the years.

Wolves vs Leeds (Saturday, 3pm)

Leeds are still playing an aggressive brand of football under Javi Gracia
Leeds are still playing an aggressive brand of football under Javi Gracia

A third straight victory over Wolves could hand Leeds a much-needed boost to their survival battle in one of the season’s first real six-pointers.

The Whites had gone six league meetings without success against the men from the Midlands but are now looking to record a first top-tier double over them since 1973-74.

But it will not come easy for the visitors, who have been dire on their travels — they have a league-low six points from 13 trips, winning just once away from home this term.

Meanwhile, Wolves are on a good run on their own patch having won three of their last four, while all five of their Molineux successes have been accompanied by a clean sheet.

Chelsea vs Everton (Saturday, 5.30pm, Sky Sports)

History suggests Chelsea can make it three straight Premier League wins for the first time since last October when Everton visit Stamford Bridge.

The Blues are on a 27-game unbeaten streak against the Toffees at home in the top tier stretching back to November 1994, which is unsurprisingly their longest such run in the competition.

Everton have not won any of their last 11 trips to the capital either, though Sean Dyche’s arrival has galvanised things — his three victories in seven outings have already matched Frank Lampard’s win tally this term.

If they are to reverse the formbook, a smash-and-grab looks likely. Dyche has seen a whopping 40% of his Premier League wins come via a 1-0 scoreline (30 out of 75).

Arsenal vs Crystal Palace (Sunday, 2pm)

Arsenal will pray the sacking of their former club captain Patrick Vieira does not spark Crystal Palace into life as they bid to go eight points clear at the Premier League summit.

The Gunners have struggled to see off the Eagles at home in recent times, drawing the last three meetings at the Emirates and losing the clash before those.

However, Mikel Arteta’s leaders comfortably outplayed their London rivals at Selhurst Park in the season’s opening contest and are on a five-game winning streak in the league.

Vieira’s sacking was announced on Friday morning following a 12-game winless run which has seen the goal-shy Eagles sucked into the relegation battle — they have scored just 21 times in 27 games this term.


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Premier LeagueNottingham ForestNewcastle UnitedAston VillaAFC BournemouthBrentfordLeicester CitySouthamptonTottenham HotspurWolverhampton WanderersLeeds UnitedChelseaEvertonArsenalCrystal Palace
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