The Premier League‘s top two clash this week in a fixture that could define the league season.
Manchester United, buoyed by securing Europa League progression in midweek, look to bounce back from defeat to Bournemouth with victory over visiting Brighton, while Chelsea host Crystal Palace in Saturday’s early fixture.
And the two North London clubs bid to stave off their respective crises with tough fixtures, with Arsenal facing top-four chasing Leicester and Tottenham Hotspur up against Chris Wilder’s impressive Sheffield United.
Here’s how we think the Premier League’s big six might line up this weekend:
Chelsea (vs Crystal Palace)
Mason Mount limped off during Chelsea’s thrilling Champions League draw with Ajax, and may well sit out this game.
Frank Lampard has been boosted by the return of N’Golo Kante this week, who should return to the starting lineup with Jorginho supsended after picking up his fifth booking of the season last weekend, but Ross Barkley is not yet fit to contend for a role, which means young Billy Gilmour could complete the midfield.
Reece James could also be named in Lampard’s starting lineup after an impressive midweek cameo.
Tottenham (vs Sheffield United)
Son Heung-min appeared to suffer no ill-effects from his involvement in the Andre Gomes incident with a superb showing in the Champions League, and the overturning of his red card means the South Korean should take his place in Tottenham’s front four this weekend.
While a start for the purposeful Giovani Lo Celso would make sense after he also impressed in midweek, Christian Eriksen may get one more opportunity as the lead creator behind Harry Kane, who is over the virus that caused him to miss the Everton draw.
Juan Foyth and Danny Rose could start at right and left-back.
Arsenal (vs Leicester)
Unai Emery has many selection decisions to make, with the set-up of his side not entirely clear after a week that brought two late goals and two draws.
A midfield diamond may be preferred against Leicester, with Granit Xhaka almost certain to remain out of the side after being stripped of the captaincy.
Hector Bellerin may start at right-back ahead of Callum Chambers, though there is little to choose between the players on form.
Manchester United (vs Brighton)
Ashley Young’s suspension and Luke Shaw’s injury means it is 19-year-old Brandon Williams who is likely to take the left-back berth for Manchester United against Brighton.
Both Scott McTominay and Harry Maguire picked up knocks against Partizan Belgrade, with McTominay’s believed to be more serious, but the pair seemed confident of their chances of playing this weekend.
Marcos Rojo is likely to partner Maguire, with a number of injuries leaving Ole Gunnar Solskjaer short of first-team centre-back options.
Liverpool (vs Manchester City)
The excellent showings of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in recent weeks mean Jurgen Klopp has something of a midfield conundrum, though such a crucial clash is perhaps not the time to depart from the norm.
Thus it is likely Klopp sticks with Georginio Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson in combination with the vital Fabinho, who was left out last weekend for fear of picking up a fifth yellow card.
Dejan Lovren will almost certainly continue to partner Virgil Van Dijk in central defence.
Manchester City (vs Liverpool)
Pep Guardiola has been accused of excessive tweaking in some of Manchester City’s bigger games since arriving at the club, but it is likely he learns from his mistakes and sticks with his tried and trusted team this weekend.
There is competition at both full-back positions, with Kyle Walker and Angelino the men in possession and thus perhaps likely to maintain their places after combining for the winner against Southampton.
David Silva and Ederson have been ruled out to add to Guardiola’s growing injury woes – the Spaniard’s namesake Bernardo will likely start in midfield, while Claudio Bravo will deputise in goal.