This weekend will be the final run of games in the Premier League before the FIFA World Cup in Qatar next week.
Some teams like Newcastle will be disappointed with the upcoming break as it could disrupt their superb start to the season. For other sides like Wolves and even big hitters Liverpool it could be a welcome time off from action.
Nonetheless, as we gear up for the final round of fixtures before the World Cup, here are the 5 things to watch out for this weekend in the Premier League.
Newcastle hope to make a statement:
Newcastle vs Chelsea
At the start of the season, even the most optimistic of Geordie fans wouldn’t have predicted their side lying in the third spot after 15 games. Newcastle have had their best team in years and, under Eddie Howe are playing an attractive brand of football.
Chelsea on the other hand are blowing hot and cold. After parting ways with their Champions League Thomas Tuchel, they have struggled for consistency under Graham Potter.
Newcastle have got impressive results so far, a narrow defeat to Liverpool, a thrilling draw against Manchester City and getting a point at Old Trafford against Manchester United. Now this will be their chance to make a big statement against Chelsea. There are murmurs of possible Champions League football for Newcastle, dismantle Chelsea here and the murmurs will become loud roars.
Can Arsenal stay at the top of the Premier League heading into the break?
Wolves vs Arsenal
Few people would’ve put down Arsenal as the team to chase early in the season. Mikel Arteta’s men have played sublime football and shown the grit to battle it out and sit pretty atop of the Premier League.
They will face a Wolves side who recently sacked manager Bruno Lage and appointed Julen Lopetegui in his place. However, the Spainaird will manage his first game for the Wolves after the World Cup. This could be the last chance for some of the players to impress the new manager and the Foxes will play with their tails up.
Expect a test for Arsenal who would like to maintain their top spot heading into this break.
Can Kane inspire the Spurs before the World Cup?
Tottenham vs Leeds
Tottenham started off the season with a real determination but have only picked up three points from their last four games. With a number of teams competing at the top, this sort of form can be damaging to their ambitions this season.
Leeds have enjoyed a complete reversal of fortunes in recent weeks. After appearing lost a fortnight ago, Jesse March’s side stunned Liverpool at Anfield and then won a thriller against Bournemouth to leap away from the relegation zone to middle-table safety.
On paper, it should’ve been a straightforward task for Spurs, but the recent form of the two teams means this could go either way. Conte will be keen to get back on the track and Harry Kane will aim for the perfect send off before the World Cup.
Cherries hoping for a turn in fortunes
Bournemouth vs Everton
Bournemouth have found themselves at the wrong end of results in their last two games. They led 2-0 against Spurs only to lose 3-2 and then lost 4-3 to Leeds after being 3-1 ahead. Such results can dent the confidence of the side and can be the difference between staying or going down. This weekend they will have a chance to three points against Everton who are just above them.
Everton picked up some consistent results under Frank Lampard after their early season struggle. But they have again faltered and find themselves just above the relegation zone. They are slowly getting back their best team together and would hope to avoid a defeat to stay clear of the trap door. They have a team better than their league position suggests and will hope. A win for either side could be massive before the World Cup.
Can Emery continue his amazing start
Brighton vs Aston Villa
Brighton have finally got going under their new manager Roberto De Zerbi after two back-to-back wins in recent weeks. First came the sensational 4-1 win over their former boss Potter’s Chelsea side and last week they beat Wolves 3-2.
Aston Villa had no problem kicking off their new era in Unai Emery’s first game in charge. They ran Manchester United ragged and beat them 3-1 for the first home win over the Red Devils since 1995. The former Arsenal boss Emery has a point to prove in the Premier League and can do that with Villa if he continues in the same way.
It is a battle of two new coaches at the Amex Stadium as both managers will look to further raise their stock at their new club.
Every team would want to head into the break with confidence and in a decent position in the table. There is a lot of drama and excitement ahead of the final Premier League weekend before Qatar’s mega event gets underway.