Allison shows De Gea the way and Arsenal must face life without Aubameyang. Here are our talking points in this weekend’s Premier League fixtures. You can bet on the games here
Allison to prove status as league’s best goalkeeper
Before last season David De Gea was widely considered to be the Premier League’s best goalkeeper. However, costly errors this season, most notably against Crystal Palace and Watford, mean the Spaniard is no longer such a formidable opponent. On Sunday he will play opposite Liverpool’s Alisson, who can now lay claim to be the league’s standout shot-stopper. Having recorded 21 clean sheets in his debut season, he has not conceded in the league since November 23rd, seven games ago. Manchester United’s forwards can expect frustration on Sunday but Liverpool should be warned: the two longest unbeaten runs in Premier League history have been ended by United. Their current run is the third-longest.
Can Arsenal find a way without Aubameyang?
Arsenal head into their game against Sheffield United without the services of leading scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who misses the Gunners’ next three domestic matches following his dismissal at Crystal Palace. Mikel Arteta’s statement that his absence will be “a big loss” is an understatement. Aubameyang has netted more Premier League goals than any other player since his arrival two years ago, lifting one Golden Boot in the process. He has only missed two league games in that spell and, without him, the pressure is on Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe to provide the goals. Sheffield United have silenced any doubters this season and, should they win, they will be the first promoted team to beat the Gunners home and away since 1993. Can Arsenal’s other players step up to stop them?
Alli out to stop Watford winning streak
In six and a half seasons in the Premier League, Watford have won four consecutive games on two occasions. The last of those runs came in 2018 when they defeated Tottenham 2-1 at Vicarage Road. Sixteen months on, the Hornets have racked up three wins in a row under Nigel Pearson and can equal their record when they host Tottenham again on Saturday. The visitors were fortunate to take a point from the reverse fixture in October as Dele Alli snatched a late equaliser and, with Harry Kane missing through injury, Jose Mourinho will look to him once again. Alli has five league goals against Watford, his joint-highest tally against any side, and another here would settle some nerves in the Spurs camp.
Basement battle at Carrow Road
Norwich’s clash with Bournemouth on Saturday will be the fifth meeting this season between the teams occupying the bottom two places in the Premier League. On current evidence, neither side will have left the relegation zone come May. Norwich haven’t won at home since a famous 3-2 win over Manchester City in September that gave Canaries fans false hope for the season ahead. Bournemouth, meanwhile, look rudderless under Eddie Howe after a run of nine defeats in 11 games. Victory for either team here would not guarantee a turnaround in fortunes.
New managers seek to stamp mark at London Stadium
David Moyes’ fourth game since returning to West Ham sees him host Everton, the club at which he made his name in an 11-year spell. Last Friday’s defeat at Sheffield United has brought the Irons back down to earth after wins over Bournemouth and Gillingham in Moyes’ first two matches, but he can get back on track with victory over his former side. The Toffees have shown signs of improvement since the arrival of Carlo Ancelotti last month and the winner here could be decided by whichever manager can motivate their new playing staff.