The Premier League returns this weekend after the international break.
Here, the PA news agency looks at some talking points ahead of the games.
Tough return for leaders
Manchester City’s quadruple quest resumes with a difficult trip to third-placed Leicester. City only need only 14 points to wrap up their third title in four years under Pep Guardiola but, such is their schedule, defeat could mean it not being mathematically finalised until mid-May. That would probably not be ideal as they look to focus on other competitions, notably the Champions League. They face a Foxes side chasing a double over City after a stunning 5-2 win at the Etihad Stadium in September. Former City striker Kelechi Iheanacho is in fine form after scoring seven in his last four games. It will be interesting to see if City’s record goalscorer Sergio Aguero features following the announcement he is to leave the club.
Must win for Liverpool at the Emirates
While recent history suggests champions Liverpool would always have found it tough to defend their title, few expected their form to nosedive in 2021 the way it has. Their hopes of retaining the Premier League crown have not only been shattered since the turn of the year but, having slipped to seventh, they are now in serious danger of missing out on the top four altogether. They have little room for error and dropping more points at Arsenal on Saturday would further damage their chances and probably leaving their hopes of a credible season hinging on their upcoming Champions League tie against Real Madrid.
West Brom hovering over the trap door
Sheffield United have seemed resigned to relegation for some time and West Brom also now appear to be approaching the point of no return. Manager Sam Allardyce has not given up hope yet but, having been openly discussing what might happen in the event of the Baggies going down, he recognises there is no escaping the seriousness of the club’s situation. Albion are 10 points adrift of safety and, with a tough trip to in-form Chelsea coming up, the trap door is looming.
Newcastle feeling the heat
Newcastle are on the right side of the safety line at present but, after their dismal loss to Brighton last time out, plenty of their fans are fearing the worst. They still have a two-point advantage and a game in hand over Fulham but, with a trip to Craven Cottage on a potentially nerve-shredding final day to come, they and under-fire manager Steve Bruce are anxiously looking over their shoulders. A visit from a Tottenham side still hoping to qualify for the Champions League this weekend is hardly ideal in the circumstances.
Grealish poised to return for Villa
One positive Newcastle can cling to this weekend, however, is that Aston Villa talisman Jack Grealish is set to return to action as his side host Fulham. The influential Grealish has been out since February with a shin problem and Villa have won only one of six games without him. That has damaged their hopes of finishing in a European position but his recovery could give them a lift.
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