Mourinho faces Liverpool again while Chelsea look to avoid another home defeat. Here are the things to look out for in the Premier League this weekend.
Mourinho powerless to stop Liverpool this time
Having come close to glory six years ago, the Reds were just weeks from the crown only to slip up against Chelsea and relinquish their lead to Manchester City, with Blues boss Jose Mourinho celebrating at full time with little restraint. Now at Tottenham, the Portuguese will not deny them when they meet on Saturday. Jurgen Klopp’s side are 13 points clear and even if he were to defeat them, it would not be enough to stop their march to the title. The last time Mourinho faced the Reds, he lost and was promptly sacked as manager of Manchester United. Considering Spurs are missing Harry Kane, Moussa Sissoko and Tanguy Ndombele, revenge seems a long shot.
Revived Xhaka and Torreira could hold key at Palace
Arsenal’s last game against Crystal Palace, a 2-2 draw in October, is best remembered for captain Granit Xhaka’s angry reaction to his substitution (or, more accurately, to the Gunners fans’ response). It seems he still has a place in new manager Mikel Arteta’s plans, though, as does fellow midfielder Lucas Torreira. Having been deployed further forward by Unai Emery, he has returned to his role as a defensive screen under Arteta and is flourishing, with his performances recognised as he was named Arsenal Player of the Month in December. The Gunners have failed to beat Palace in any of their last three meetings, conceding seven goals in that spell. Their midfield duo will be key to ending that run on Saturday.
Will Burnley become the latest team to spring a surprise at Stamford Bridge?
Despite still sitting fourth in the Premier League, Chelsea have lost three of their last four league games at Stamford Bridge. More worryingly, all of these defeats came against teams in the bottom half of the table. Burnley are their next visitors and the hosts cannot afford to take them lightly. Chelsea haven’t beaten the Clarets twice in the same season since 2009/10 and drew 2-2 with them in their last meeting at the Bridge. Frank Lampard’s side cannot let complacency creep in.
Aguero chases Henry record
Eight and a half years after arriving on these shores, Sergio Aguero has netted 174 goals in 254 Premier League appearances. He is now just one shy of the record set by Thierry Henry for a foreign player in England’s top flight, the Frenchman having played four games more. Aguero can claim the record outright with a brace this Sunday against Aston Villa, against whom he has six goals in six appearances. The Argentinian has enjoyed an incredible career at Manchester City and his achievements deserve further recognition.
Reckless Watford have got to be careful
Watford are now unbeaten in their last five games in all competitions, an enviable run of form that has given hope of survival to their fans. However, their draw against Tranmere in the FA Cup last Saturday was the third successive game in which they received a red card. Nigel Pearson’s side should be commended for their ability to avoid defeat despite the deficit, but their luck can only continue for so long. They meet fellow strugglers Bournemouth on Sunday and they stand a much better chance of leapfrogging their opponents with all 11 men on the field.
Southampton seek revenge at Leicester
An unforgettable Friday night in late October saw Southampton lose 9-0 at to Leicester, the heaviest home defeat in the history of England’s top division. That result cemented the Foxes’ status as contenders in the Premier League again, while it sent Southampton into the relegation zone. It is remarkable that this time around the Saints are actually in better form, with four wins in their last five games in all competitions. It is unlikely that they will inflict revenge on Saturday, especially given the return of league top scorer Jamie Vardy, but it should be noted that Southampton’s Danny Ings is just behind Vardy on 13 goals.