The English Premier League (EPL) weekend is here again with a lot of interesting encounters lined up.
Here is a preview of matches involving the top clubs:
West Ham vs Arsenal
The first Premier League match of gameweek 22 brings us a London derby in the east of the city as West Ham host Arsenal.
Unai Emery’s bright start at Arsenal has stuttered in recent weeks, with the Gunners’ unbeaten run coming to an end and just two wins in their last five Premier League games leaving the club three points off fourth place.
As for West Ham, Manuel Pellegrini’s side enjoyed an impressive December before coming unstuck, with four points from their last four matches putting the Hammers 10th.
Both managers need a win to kickstart their years, with expectations high for the London rivals.
The rivals have met 45 times in the Premier League: West Ham has won just seven of those, with Arsenal dominating with 29 wins and the teams sharing nine draws.
Arsenal has not lost in 11 away games at West Ham, going back to 2006. The Gunners beat West Ham 3-1 earlier this season at the Emirates.
Brighton vs Liverpool
Premier League leaders Liverpool are back in top-flight action as they head to the south coast to take on Brighton and Hove Albion.
Liverpool enjoyed a perfect end to 2018 as they sat seven points clear at the top of the EPL table, but a defeat to Man City saw the champions cut the gap to just four points.
Jurgen Klopp’s side followed that up with a surprise FA Cup third-round exit at Wolves, and the Reds need a return to winning ways if they are to avoid seeing their title advantage evaporate in January.
The teams have met three times in the Premier League, with Liverpool winning every time.
The Reds beat Brighton 5-1 on the south coast last season, won 4-0 at Anfield in the return fixture, and secured a 1-0 win at home earlier this season
Chelsea vs Newcastle
Maurizio Sarri needs a win on Saturday as Chelsea look to kickstart their season against Newcastle United.
The Blues currently sit fourth in the Premier League table but are struggling for goals with Arsenal and a resurgent Manchester United breathing down their necks as the race for Champions League qualification begins to heat up.
Sarri’s side lost the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final 1-0 at Tottenham in midweek, while a goalless League home draw against Southampton earlier this month may give Rafa Benitez hope that Newcastle can frustrate his former club at the Bridge.
The sides have met 47 times in the Premier League: Chelsea have won 23 of those encounters, Newcastle 12, and the teams have shared 12 draws.
Chelsea has lost just one of their 23 home Premier League games against the Magpies, and have won the last six at the Bridge in all competitions.
Tottenham vs Manchester United
Mauricio Pochettino and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer go head to head as Tottenham host Manchester United in a super Sunday showdown at Wembley.
Pochettino remains United’s number one target to become the club’s permanent manager this summer after Jose Mourinho’s dramatic sacking in December, though Solskjaer is certainly giving the Red Devils food for thought as caretaker manager.
Club legend Solskjaer has brought the feel-good factor back to Old Trafford, playing attractive football and winning his first five games in charge – but they meet a Tottenham side of real style and substance as Spurs sit third in the Premier League table.
While Ed Woodward may still see Pochettino as the coach to take the United hot-seat permanently, beating the Argentine at Wembley would do Solskjaer’s chances of landing the job no harm at all.
The teams have met 53 times in the EPL: United have by far the better record, winning 33 times to Spurs; nine, and the sides have drawn 11 games.
Despite United’s record, Spurs have beaten the Red Devils in three of their last four League meetings. Spurs beat United 2-0 at Wembley last January, and also crushed United 3-0 at Old Trafford in August.
Manchester City vs Wolves
Manchester City turns their attention back to their Premier League title defence on Monday night as Wolves head to the Etihad.
Pep Guardiola’s side enjoyed a huge 9-0 EFL Cup semi-final first leg win over Burton on Wednesday night and will be in the mood for more goals as they bid to chase down League leaders Liverpool.
With Jurgen Klopp’s pace-setters playing on Saturday, City has plenty of time to prepare for Nuno Espirito Santo’s impressive Wolves side who knocked Liverpool out of the FA Cup last weekend.
The teams have met nine times in the Premier League: Man City have won five of those, Wolves two, and the sides have shared two draws.
The last time Wolves and City met was in August 2018, with Wolves holding City to a 1-1 draw at Molineux.