Deja vu for Liverpool and Man City plus more Premier League talking points

Plus, another test for Tottenham and Leicester in their respective title bids

Liverpool and Man City met in the League Cup final at the weekend.
Liverpool and Man City met in the League Cup final at the weekend.
Image: Adam Davy

Updated at 1740

1. Will Hazard’s drought continue?

3 MAY 2015 was the last time last season’s PFA Player of the Year Eden Hazard scored a Premier League goal.

Despite Chelsea’s improving form under temporary boss Guus Hiddink, the Belgian international’s struggles in attack have continued.

As ESPN notes, Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 42 times, Barcelona have won five trophies and 10 Premier League sides have hired a new manager since Hazard has found the net in the league.

However, tomorrow’s game against struggling Norwich is ostensibly the perfect opportunity to end his incredible drought, with the Canaries’ leaky defence having conceded more goals than any other Premier League side apart from Sunderland.

2. Another test for Leicester and Tottenham

Leicester and Tottenham both picked up three points at the weekend to boost their respective title bids, but neither side were entirely convincing amid tense victories.

Arsenal’s loss at United coupled with Man City’s League Cup exploits meant both underdogs were able to capitalise on the chance of gaining some breathing space on their rivals.

Yet more stiff tests await the Premier League’s current top two. Leicester host West Brom on Tuesday, while Tottenham travel to West Ham on Wednesday.

The Hammers in particular are likely to be difficult opposition. Despite Spurs comfortably winning the reverse fixture 4-1, Slaven Bilic’s men tend to be a different team at home, having conceded just four goals in their last eight games at Upton Park. Moreover, West Ham are unbeaten in their last 13 games at their stadium in all competitions, so Spurs will undoubtedly need a big performance to keep their impressive momentum going tomorrow.

3. Crucial few days for Arsenal

Britain Soccer Premier League Arsenal's Mesut Ozil, left and teammate Olivier Giroud wait in the centre circle to restart the game after Manchester United scored their third goal at the weekend. Source: Jon Super

Some would argue that Arsenal reverted to type on Sunday.

The Gunners have been fancied to challenge for the title fairly regularly in recent seasons, and despite many moments of promise, there seems to come a point in every campaign where their bid unravels. The next couple of days could be remembered at this season’s customary slide unless they can drastically improve imminently.

Last weekend’s defeat to a depleted Man United side enraged many fans, while former player Ian Wright told the BBC: ”There are still 11 games to go but, as things stand, I do not watch them and see a team that has what it takes to win the title.

“I don’t know who is going to win it out of Leicester and Tottenham, but I do believe it is between those two now.”

Given that they are effectively out of the Champions League as they prepare for the second leg against a far superior Barca side, the next two Premier League matches could conceivably make or break their season.

On Wednesday, they host Swansea, before a huge game at White Hart Lane with North London rivals Tottenham on Saturday.

4. Liverpool and Man City meet again

Having played 120 minutes plus penalties in last Sunday’s League Cup final, Liverpool and Man City are probably sick of the sight of each other at this stage.

Yet as fate would have it, the two sides meet again on Wednesday, as Liverpool get a chance for immediate revenge after their penalty shootout loss at Wembley.

One man who will be particularly eager to take to the field is Raheem Sterling. The England winger missed two gilt-edged chances on Sunday and had an ineffectual game overall, and so would have been a relieved man as his side ultimately won out in fortuitous fashion.

Sterling is unlikely to be afforded a respectful reception on his return to the club in which he spent three years and made just under 100 appearances, so the pressure will be on the 21-year-old once again to justify his eye-watering price tag.

5. Can Rashford’s continue meteoric rise?

Two weeks ago, no one other than the most avid Man United fans would have heard of Marcus Rashford.

Yet after scoring four goals in two starts for the Red Devils, the 18-year-old has become an overnight sensation.

Rashford reportedly earns just £500-a-week, a paltry sum by modern football’s lofty standards. though it is understood that talks about a new contract have started already, after he became United’s third-youngest scorer in Premier League history at the weekend.

And with few alternatives available, United’s new baby-faced assassin may well continue his scoring run against Watford on Wednesday, judging by how clinically he dispatched his two chances against Arsenal.

Tuesday (all games kick-off at 19.45 unless stated otherwise)

Aston Villa v Everton

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Bournemouth v Southampton

Leicester v West Brom

Norwich v Chelsea

Sunderland v Crystal Palace


Arsenal v Swansea

Stoke v Newcastle

West Ham v Tottenham

Liverpool v Man City (20.00)

Man United v Watford (20.00)

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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