There is no doubt over what is the highlight of the weekend in the Premier League as Manchester United make the short trip west to face league leaders and Champions elect, Liverpool at Anfield.
Manchester United remain far from convincing at times, but they have climbed to fifth in the table while this week saw them knock Wolves out of the third round of the FA Cup.
Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer’s side will also take heart from the fact that their 1-1 draw against Liverpool at Old Trafford was the only time Liverpool have dropped points this season.
Liverpool should have the injured trip of Joel Matip, Febinho and Dejan Lovren available for selection, while Harry Maguire has just been named as Manchester United’s new captain with Ashley Young on the verge of a move to Inter Milan.
Liverpool have a game in hand and a 14-point lead over second-place Manchester City, who play at home to Crystal Palace.
Last week’s 6-1 win away to Aston Villa implied that Pep Guardiola’s side is approaching their best form of the season, but they would do well to remember that last season Crystal Palace shocked them with a 3-2 win at the Etihad Stadium.
Three defeats in their last five games appear to be a reality check for Leicester City, who have slipped behind Manchester City in the league table but still have a nine-point cushion over fifth-placed Manchester United.
Last weekend saw Southampton play some excellent football to beat Leicester 2-1 (after losing 9-0 at home to them earlier this season) and Brendan Rodgers’ men, who will again be without Wilfred Ndidi, will have to show resilience for their visit to play Burnley at Turf Moor.
Sean Dyche’s side has dropped too close to the relegation zone for comfort after four straight defeats and needs a turnaround in form.
Sheffield United look set to provide a stiff test for Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium and Arsenal’s task is not made any easier by the suspension for top-scorer and captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
New Tottenham signing Gedson Fernandes is likely to make his debut as Jose Mourinho’s men travel to face a resurgent Watford, who have won four of their last five games and climbed out of the bottom three after last weekend’s 3-0 win away to Bournemouth.
Tottenham remain without Harry Kane and the trip to Vicarage Road is a good indicator of what they can expect in the second half of the season.
Expect tension as Aston Villa visit Brighton hoping to pull their rivals into the relegation dogfight. The visitors were stunned by Manchester City last weekend and sorely need to sign a striker with Wesley a long term injury loss.
14 goals this season, with 12 coming in the last 16 games, have taken Danny Ings back into contention for an England call up and helped lift Southampton into mid-table and they will be confident of continuing their form at home to Wolves.
Meanwhile there is an interesting clash of recently arrived coaches as David Moyes’ West Ham entertain Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton with West Ham just a point above the relegation zone and Everton looking to climb towards Europe.
Chelsea travel to face Newcastle United who are recovering players after injury, while there is drama in Norwich as the bottom of the table side entertains a Bournemouth in freefall in a game neither team can afford not to win. Enditem