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A packed slate of midweek Premier League fixtures - the key talking points

A packed slate of midweek Premier League fixtures - the key talking points
© Reuters
Liverpool travel to Wolves as they bid to preserve their unbeaten season.

The Premier League marches on at pace with all 20 clubs involved in midweek fixtures.

Chelsea host Arsenal, Liverpool travel to Wolves and Manchester City face Sheffield United at Bramall Lane for the first time since 2008.

Here, the PA news agency looks at some of the main talking points ahead of the midweek action.

Palace look to draw on positives

Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha
Wilfried Zaha was instrumental in the draw at the Etihad (Nigel French/PA)

Crystal Palace’s last four league fixtures have ended in a draw, but a dramatic late intervention at the Etihad on Saturday saw them claim an impressive point against Manchester City. But Palace fans have to think back to Boxing Day to remember their club’s last victory. They will hope to end this run of stalemates, punctuated only by an FA Cup loss to Derby, at home to Southampton on Tuesday. It was a 1-1 draw with Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Saints on January 28 that began the drawing streak and Roy Hodgson’s men would love to recapture that winning feeling.

Can Wolves bite back?

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp (left) and Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp (left) and Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo (Nick Potts/PA)

It seems only the most dramatic dip in form could now stand in the way of Liverpool and their first Premier League title. Sixteen points clear of Manchester City and unbeaten in league action all season, Jurgen Klopp’s Reds head to Molineux on Thursday to face sixth-placed Wolves. The two sides last met on January 29, when a 1-0 Liverpool victory was marred by the controversial VAR decision to disallow Pedro Neto’s equaliser after he was deemed offside by the narrowest of margins. Nuno Espirito Santo’s squad are therefore searching for recompense and will be keen to repeat the 2-1 victory that saw them knock the Champions League holders out of the FA Cup last January.

United star sidelined

Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford
Marcus Rashford’s absence is a huge blow for Manchester United (Martin Rickett/PA)

Manchester United’s faltering season took another hit on Sunday when it was announced that Marcus Rashford is set for around six weeks on the sidelines due to a stress fracture of the back. The 22-year-old has been key for United this season, with his 14 league goals making him one of the few reliable aspects of an inconsistent side. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was without the striker during Sunday’s 2-0 loss to league-leaders Liverpool and his absence will be felt when they host Burnley on Wednesday.

Jose’s honeymoon is over

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho
Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Jose Mourinho is in need of a victory as his Tottenham squad endure a four-game winless run that has left them eighth in the table. Welcoming Norwich on Wednesday would seem the ideal fixture to return to winning ways, but Spurs’ last encounter with the Canaries left them with just a point after a 2-2 draw on December 28. Daniel Farke’s bottom-placed team ended their nine-game winless spell by defeating the sinking Bournemouth on Saturday, but even a below-par Tottenham pose a significantly stiffer test. Though Spurs’ 1-0 loss to Liverpool could be forgiven, the absence of Harry Kane is still unlikely to explain away Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Watford. Spurs have failed to score in each of their last three league games.

Bournemouth battle on

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe is under pressure (Joe Giddens/PA)

Having lifted the club from League Two to the top flight – either side of a brief stint at Burnley – Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe is coming under pressure for perhaps the first time after a run of 10 defeats in their their past 12 league matches. The weekend loss to Norwich, in which Steve Cook was sent off, compounded the Cherries’ misery as they slipped to 19th and lost their fourth consecutive fixture. Howe now prepares his squad to take on Brighton on Tuesday as pressure builds and a major upturn in form begins to look essential if the squad are to avoid relegation.

Lampard looks for vengeance

Frank Lampard (left) and Mikel Arteta
Frank Lampard (left) and Mikel Arteta (Peter Byrne/PA)

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has called for his squad to “take it out on Arsenal” after an injury-time goal snatched away what looked to be a safe point at Newcastle on Saturday. Tuesday night’s clash between the two squads will be the first off-pitch meeting between Lampard and his Arsenal counterpart Mikel Arteta since the latter was appointed as Gunners manager in December. While the Blues are searching for retribution, Arteta’s team have ground to make up after slipping to 10th in the table after a 1-1 draw with Sheffield United on Saturday.

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rhs 2.0
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool26251061154676
2Manchester CityMan City26173667293854
3Leicester CityLeicester26155654262850
4Chelsea2612594336741
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs2611784334940
6Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd2610972824439
7Manchester UnitedMan Utd2610883829938
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2681263532336
9Everton26106103438-436
10Arsenal2671363634234
11Burnley26104123039-934
12Southampton2694133248-1631
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2687112440-1631
14Crystal Palace2679102332-930
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2669113138-727
16Bournemouth2675142640-1426
17Aston Villa2674153450-1625
18West Ham UnitedWest Ham2666143045-1524
19Watford2659122440-1624
20Norwich CityNorwich2646162448-2418

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