What absolutely WILL happen in the Premier League this weekend

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Paul Pogba starred for France in midweek – can he kick-start his season under Jose Mourinho at Manchester United?
Paul Pogba starred for France in midweek – can he kick-start his season under Jose Mourinho at Manchester United?

Pogba’s clean slate, West Ham in an absolute state, and Spurs to seal Chelsea’s fate? All the big Premier League potential talking points ahead of another crucial weekend…

Crystal Palace vs Liverpool

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Put your mortgage on…

Right-backs becoming fashionable all of a sudden. This match has its standout talents – Mohamed Salah, Wilfried Zaha, the continuing comeback of Ruben Loftus-Cheek – but keep an eye out for two emerging talents on the flanks.

READ MORE: Gossip – Bale and Hazard set for sensational swap deal

READ MORE: Gossip – Mourinho ‘convinces Bale to join Man Utd’

While Trent Alexander-Arnold’s old-head-on-young-shoulders act has sent him on a trajectory for the England squad, Palace’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka has been one of the finds of 2018 so far: fearless, excellent on the ball and, as of last week, and England under-20 international.

The match, according to Ceefax…

How will the match unfold?
How will the match unfold?

Retro indulgence

Back to 1990, and the glorious, seven-goal chaos that was the FA Cup semi-final between Crystal Palace and Liverpool at Villa Park (Warning: contains good things happening to Alan Pardew):

Brighton vs Leicester

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Glenn Murray to meet his physical match. His six goals in six games coincided with Brighton’s surge of February form, including the aerial domination of Arsenal at the Amex. But, as Premier League defenders go, they don’t come more nightclub-bouncerish than Wes Morgan and Harry Maguire. At the other end, the sight of Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy chasing Jamie Vardy could be the better spectacle.

The match, according to Ceefax…

How will the match unfold?
How will the match unfold?

Retro indulgence

League One, October 2008: Leicester are 2-0 up with half an hour to go, then lose 3-2 thanks to an 89th-minute own goal. Imagine telling a Leicester fan that night they’d be champions of England within eight years…

Manchester United vs Swansea

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Paul Pogba’s clean slate. One of the blessings in disguise of the widely sighed-about international break is that domestic rumblings can be safely brushed under the carpet.

READ MORE: Why Ryan Giggs has ‘told Gareth Bale to only drive one car and stop playing golf’

A superb free kick against Russia in midweek might not present a solution to how he fits into Jose Mourinho’s rigid system, but it certainly won’t do his dented reputation any further harm.  

The match, according to Ceefax…

How will the match unfold?
How will the match unfold?

Retro indulgence

1981/82: John Toshack’s Swansea, who had been playing fourth-tier football just four years previously, find themselves top of the league and beating Manchester United. Dreamland…until they were back where they started four years later.

Newcastle vs Huddersfield

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The long anticipated sight of Islam Slimani in a Newcastle shirt. Waiting until nearly April Fool’s Day to make your debut on loan is like turning up to a party just as it’s starting to wind down. How much of an impression can a player make in eight games?

The match, according to Ceefax…

How will the match unfold?
How will the match unfold?

Retro indulgence

Flat caps, side partings and frankly barmy acts of goalkeeping bravery: Newcastle battle through to the 1955 FA Cup semi-finals after seeing off Huddersfield in extra time.

Watford vs Bournemouth

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A Simon Francis-less Bournemouth to suffer. Alright, so you’re not entirely sure which one Simon Francis is (he’s the one that isn’t Charlie Daniels or Steve Cook) but the Cherries haven’t won a league game without him since 2015. Turns out he’s pretty important after all.

The match, according to Ceefax…

How will the match unfold?
How will the match unfold?

Retro indulgence

What do Watford and Bournemouth have in common? Luther Blissett, mainly. Here’s a curious little film about his equally curious time at AC Milan.

West Brom vs Burnley

Put your mortgage on…

“Our final game on Match of the Day tonight comes from the Hawthorns…”

The match, according to Ceefax…

How will the match unfold?
How will the match unfold?

Retro indulgence

August 2003: Burnley are taken apart by West Brom at the Hawthorns, including an absolute screamer from Macedonian legend Artem Sakiri, his one and only goal in English football.

West Ham vs Southampton

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An extra layer of London Stadium security. The international break might have paused the West Ham soap opera, but this – a visit from Southampton, just a place below them in the relegation zone – has the potential to be another toxic nightmare. If you live in east London and own a fluorescent orange jacket, you might be needed on Saturday.

The match, according to Ceefax…

How will the match unfold?
How will the match unfold?

Retro indulgence

The Hammers and the Saints share six goals – plus a pitch invasion – on the final day of the 1993/94 season, and Matt Le Tissier is more or less responsible for 50% of them.

Everton vs Manchester City

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David Silva to turn on the style again, somehow, despite his off-field distractions. “I think, when I play football, I forget everything,” he said before the international break, during which he returned to Spain to help care for his premature baby son. “It’s good for me to play.”

The match, according to Ceefax…

How will the match unfold?
How will the match unfold?

Retro indulgence

October 2005: Danny Mills (Danny Mills!) gets ideas above his station against Everton…

Arsenal vs Stoke

Put your mortgage on…

Another first-half Arsenal stroll against paper-thin opposition. Expect smooth interplay, insouciant finishing and other assorted flatterings to deceive…but is anyone fooled any more?

The match, according to Ceefax…

How will the match unfold?
How will the match unfold?

Retro indulgence

November 1996: Plucky Stoke take Arsenal back to Highbury for a League Cup 3rd round replay, have the temerity to take a 1-0 lead, before Ian Wright and Dennis Bergkamp take over…

Chelsea vs Tottenham

Put your mortgage on…

Spurs to put Chelsea’s top-four hopes out of their misery. Even without Harry Kane – who might even be a surprise returnee from injury – Tottenham’s cohesion and momentum have the edge over Antonio Conte’s out-of-gas team, who could be forgiven for having one eye on their summers already.

The match, according to Ceefax…

How will the match unfold?
How will the match unfold?

Retro indulgence

It was Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s birthday this week, so let’s belatedly celebrate by enjoying his perfect hat-trick against Spurs at Stamford Bridge back in 2002, shall we?

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