The Premier League continues this week on Tuesday and Wednesday, with a headline, top-of-the-table clash between Liverpool and Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. Here are five things to look out for.
Do-or-die for Guardiola and City
It is still too early in the season to start handing out crowns, but it would really be difficult to see a way back into the title race for Manchester City if they lose to Liverpool on Wednesday. Granted, the Reds have botched previous advantages to secure their first Premier League title in the past. Yet, it is more than fair to argue that this is the best side Anfield has seen for decades. They not only have the attacking prowess of other great Liverpool sides past, but they are now also more defensively sound than any other Premier League team in the last decade. A win at the Etihad would stretch their lead over the defending champions to ten points. If they keep up their form in the second half of the season, that will be all but an unsurmountable lead over Pep Guardiola and his hallowed City team.
Solskjær’s dream start to carry on
Ole Gunnar Solskjær wouldn’t have possibly dreamed of a better start to his career as interim manager of Manchester United. 5-1, 4-1 and 3-1 wins over Cardiff City, Huddersfield Town and Bournemouth have only been marred by the Red Devils’ apparent inability to maintain a clean sheet. Things could get even better for Solskjær and his reinvigorated charges, as they come up against a struggling Newcastle United side on Wednesday. Rafael Benitez’s side have only won one of their last seven matches, and have only managed to score four goals in that period.
Gunners to bounce back?
After a 22-match unbeaten run for Arsenal under Unai Emery, things have not been so rosy for the Gunners lately. They have lost three and drawn one of their last five games in all competitions. The last of those was a chastising 5-1 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield last weekend. They do have a good chance of bouncing back with a positive result when they take on second-from-bottom Fulham at the Emirates on Tuesday evening.
Relegation battle heats up
In 20th place, Huddersfield are six points away from safety. They take on Burnley on Wednesday, with the Clarets in 18th and five points ahead of them. Defeat would be nothing short of catastrophic. Burnley registered a crucial victory over West Ham United last time out and have a special chance to put some distance between them and other relegation rivals this week; Southampton (17th) face Chelsea and Fulham are of course up against the odds as they take on Arsenal.
Race for the Golden Boot
Just like the title race, it appears as though we might have a much more open tussle for the Golden Boot this year as opposed to last.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Harry Kane and Mohamed Salah are all tied on 13 goals so far. Aubameyang and Kane might fancy themselves to gain an advantage this weekend, when they take on Fulham and Cardiff respectively.