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Can Spurs inflict fourth straight defeat on Man City and the Premier League talking points

Pep Guardiola’s team can potentially claim the title at Wembley this weekend, but their form suggests otherwise.

Raheem Sterling scoring against Tottenham in December.
Raheem Sterling scoring against Tottenham in December.
Image: Martin Rickett

1. Will Man City regroup and clinch the title?

THREE DEFEATS IN the space of a week have taken some of the gloss off a Manchester City side that was being pre-maturely hailed as one of the best club sides of all-time earlier this season.

Pep Guardiola’s men will undoubtedly win the Premier League title, while the League Cup is already in the bag. But Champions League exit at the hands of Liverpool means the Abu Dhabi United Group have still yet to secure European football’s top prize 10 years into their reign.

Having been denied the necessary three points that would have crowned them champions by neighbours Man United last Saturday, Man City visit Wembley Stadium on Saturday evening (7.45pm), where they will attempt to get over the line against Tottenham — they also need Man United to lose to West Brom.

City were 4-1 winners when the sides last met back in December, and although fourth-placed Spurs are the form team heading into this one, you have to go all the way back to August 2006 to find the last time the Citizens suffered four consecutive losses.

2. Back-to-back meetings for Saints and Chelsea

In the opening game of the weekend, relegation-threatened Southampton host Chelsea at St Mary’s in the first of two meetings between the clubs in quick succession. The Saints, 18th in the table and three points adrift of safety, have just one league win to their name in 19 attempts.

There were encouraging signs in the 3-2 defeat to Arsenal last Sunday and it was good to see Shane Long on the scoresheet for just the second time this season, but Mark Hughes’ side still came away empty-handed and time is running out to pull off a great escape.

Chelsea are winless in their two most recent league outings after a loss to Tottenham was followed up by the 1-1 draw with fellow Londoners West Ham, and their chances of finishing in the top four appear increasingly unlikely.

Next week, a repeat of this fixture takes place at Stamford Bridge in the FA Cup semi-finals.

3. Eagles and Seagulls clash in derby

Neither Crystal Palace nor Brighton have secured their top-flight status for next season yet, so Saturday’s encounter at Selhurst Park is a significant one.

Hovering just above the drop zone, the Eagles are in more immediate danger of slipping into the bottom three, while Chris Hughton’s men are four points better off with a game in-hand too.

The rivals have already faced off on two occasions this season, and they were feisty affairs as crowd trouble marred the league game at the AMEX Stadium before Brighton sent Palace out of the FA Cup.

Ireland defender Shane Duffy has been generally excellent on the Seagulls’ debut season in the Premier League, but the big Derry man will be looking to bounce back after a costly mistake last weekend allowed Steve Mounie to score in the 1-1 draw with Huddersfield.

4. Anfield hosts the Cherries

After Liverpool’s European heroics against Man City, Premier League action returns to Anfield on Saturday evening (5.30pm). The Reds have been handed a last-four tie with Serie A club Roma, who shocked the football world by overturning a 4-1 first leg defeat to send Leo Messi and Barcelona packing.

In the meantime, Jurgen Klopp’s side are still trying to close the gap on second-placed Man United and next up is a home fixture against Bournemouth.

AFC Bournemouth v Liverpool - Premier League - Vitality Stadium Mo Salah up against Bournemouth's Nathan Ake (left) and Simon Francis. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

The Cherries sit just two points off the magical 40-mark and they are unbeaten in their last three league games thanks to two draws (Crystal Palace and Watford) and a win over West Brom.

Klopp may opt to rest a couple of players after an intense week of football, and with centre-halves Joel Matip and  Ragnar Klavan unavailable through injury, Irish teenager Conor Masterson could again find himself on the Liverpool bench.

5. Revitalised United entertain doomed Baggies

Manchester United fans may still be on a high after last Sunday’s second-half comeback to spoil Man City’s title celebrations at the Etihad.

Seeing Paul Pogba get forward into the box to score two goals must have been pleasing, while new signing Alexis Sanchez is starting to show what he can do with one goal and three assists in his last two games for the club.

On Sunday afternoon, the Red Devils are at home to the bottom-placed side in the league. West Brom caretaker boss Darren Moore picked up a point against Swansea in his first match in charge last weekend, but there is no getting away from the fact that they are on their way to the Championship and this could prove another long afternoon.

That will very much depend on which United turns up, however.

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Ben Blake

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