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Premier League Round 32 Preview

EPL Round 32 Preview

As the 2021/22 English Premier League campaign hurtles towards its conclusion, there are still plenty of questions that remain unanswered.

Will Manchester United miss out on Champions League football at the expense of Arsenal? Which three teams will lose their top-flight status and drop down into the EFL Championship? But most importantly, who will be crowned Premier League champions?

In what is shaping up to be an intriguing weekend of action, Flashscore provides the perfect place to keep up to date with all the stories from the Premier League matches, including the Premier League live scores, previews and on-the-whistle match reports.

With a full fixture list of Premier League action on its way, some of the answers to those questions may begin to look a little clearer. Here is everything you need to look out for during this weekend’s Premier League matches.

Manchester City face Liverpool in clash of the title-chasing titans

Football matches are rarely as big as this during a title race. Separated by one point at the top of the Premier League table with just eight matches left to play, Sunday’s clash between Manchester City and Liverpool is unquestionably the most-anticipated game of the season.

While the outcome may not definitively decide who lifts the Premier League trophy in May, its result will likely give the victors a much-needed boost heading into the final stretch. Should City triumph, it will move the reigning champions four points clear at the top. Whereas a Liverpool victory will see the Reds leapfrog their opponents into first place.

As if the ramifications couldn’t already be more consequential, both teams enter this clash on the back of crucial Champions League quarter-final ties. Liverpool made the journey to the Portuguese capital to face Benfica, while City welcomed Spanish champions Atletico Madrid to the Etihad Stadium.

With the second legs to come after Sunday’s Premier League meeting, the respective managers will no doubt head into the fixture trying to juggle their best starting-11s. Much to the relief of both Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, neither side have any major injury concerns, with the only notable absentee City defender Ruben Dias.

Having been injured just before the international break, initial estimates suggested Dias could be out for between four and six weeks with a hamstring problem. One month later and the Portuguese international is yet to return, with major doubts surrounding his inclusion this weekend.

It’s likely Dias could be involved during next Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool, but Sunday is looking like a week too soon for the 24-year-old.

His absence in the centre of City’s defence will breed confidence into Liverpool’s attack, who will look to get at the patched-up backline. No side in the division has scored more goals than Liverpool this season, with their tally of 77, a lengthy seven clear of City’s 70.

What’s more, Liverpool has found the net in each of their last five Premier League away matches and have only drawn a blank on the road once all season. December’s 1-0 defeat to Leicester City was the last time the Reds failed to score in the league when playing away from home.

While the likes of Mohamed Salah, Diogo Jota and Saido Mane are enough to strike fear into any back-four, City’s defensive record is not something to be scoffed at. Boasting the strongest defence in the division this season, the Blues have registered five clean sheets from their last nine matches at the Etihad Stadium

However, City’s only clean sheet at home against Liverpool since 2017 came in the 2019/20 meeting, when the Reds had already wrapped up the league title. Scorers in nine of their previous 11 visits to the Etihad Stadium, Liverpool will fancy their chances of denying City another shutout this weekend.

Yet, as far as recent results at the Etihad Stadium go for Liverpool, their head-to-head record won’t inspire Reds supporters too much. Liverpool are winless in their previous five trips to East Manchester in the league, with their last victory coming in November 2015.

Should Klopp’s men want to climb to the top of the Premier League table, bucking that run will be of paramount importance, and they head into the match in stellar form. A run of 10 matches unbeaten in the league has Liverpool fans dreaming of a second title in three seasons, having ended their wait for a Premier League crown back in 2020.

As for City, their shaky form of late has allowed Liverpool the chance to regain a foothold in the championship battle. However, the Blues did settle the nerves with a confident 2-0 win over Burnley in their last league fixture. A return to home comforts could prove a blessing for City, as they’ve lost just one league game at the Etihad stadium since the beginning of November.

A contest that is set to be watched across the globe, both City and Liverpool will be desperate to make a statement this weekend and dent their closest rivals’ title bid. Likely to be a frantic affair at the Etihad Stadium, expect plenty of goals, action and unfiltered drama, as one team takes a step closer to being crowned Premier League champions.

Chelsea looking to bounce back after bruising Brentford defeat

Alongside the ongoing title race, a cutthroat battle for the remaining Champions League places is beginning to shape up. Five teams are expected to fight it out for two positions within the top four, with plenty of twists and turns expected along the way.

In pole position to finish inside the Champions League positions are current third-place outfit Chelsea, who suffered a humiliating defeat to relegation-threatened Brentford last time out. A loss that ended a strong run of form for Thomas Tuchel’s men, now leaves them with work to do if they wish to be involved in next year’s Champions League.

However, the worries for Tuchel and co. continue to pile up, as a testing trip to the South Coast to play Southampton awaits the Blues in their next league outing on Saturday, having only just scraped past the Saints last time around.

An 84th minute Timo Werner winner secured the points for Chelsea back in October, who at that point had been hoping to be involved in a title race themselves. A sharp decline from thereon in meant Tuchel’s men slipped away and will now be forced to concentrate their efforts elsewhere.

With the chance of a Champions League and FA Cup double still alive, it may be the case that Tuchel uses this trip to Southampton as an opportunity to rotate his starting-11 ahead of Tuesday’s second leg against Real Madrid. An emphatic record against the Saints suggests Chelsea may not have too much to worry about, having lost just one of their last 14 meetings.

Bad news for Southampton, who are already in the midst of a troublesome run. Saturday’s draw against Leeds United ended a spell of four straight defeats across all competitions for the Saints, who had scored just three goals in that time while conceding a worrisome 12.

If their head-to-head record is anything to go by, Chelsea are expected to escape Saint Mary’s Stadium unscathed, yet should the unthinkable happen and the Blues drop points, it’s likely the result won’t be too damaging for their top-four hopes.

Arsenal gunning for top four spot ahead of Brighton meeting

One of the stories of the season, Mikel Arteta’s resurgence as Arsenal boss has seen him lead his side to the brink of Champions League football for the first time since 2016/17.

Topping their group ahead of Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal’s last foray into the Champions League five years ago started off strongly, before ending in disappointment. Losing 10-2 on aggregate to Bayern Munich across both legs of their round-of-16 tie, the Gunners have been absent from Europe’s premier competition ever since.

Yet, despite a shaky start to their current Premier League campaign, a remarkable turnaround from Arsenal has seen them catapulted into the top four mix. With their Champions League fate now in their own hands, the side from North London will look to fend off the efforts of rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Man United in order to get across the line.

The next step on their Champions League quest sees them take on a Brighton side who are without a win in any of their previous seven matches. A goalless draw at home to Norwich City on Saturday was the latest stuttering performance from a team that had entered the new year with an outside shot of European football themselves.

Instead, their recent performances have seen Brighton plummet to the bottom of the form table, with no side in the league having taken fewer points from their last 10 matches. Something Arsenal will look to capitalise on, the Gunners will be fancying their chances on Saturday afternoon.

Despite a stalemate the last time these two met in October, Arsenal had won both of last season’s meetings and will be keen to make it three victories from four matches against the Seagulls. Despite this, Brighton has more often than not been a thorn in Arsenal’s side at times, having won three of the five meetings before that, while drawing the other two.

It’s unlikely to be an easy afternoon in the dugout for Arteta, but as one of the divisions’ form sides, the Gunners should have enough to bypass an underwhelming Brighton team.

Man United and Spurs facing tough tests in race for top four

Looking to capitalise on any slip-ups from the top four contenders are United and Tottenham, who will have to rely on results elsewhere if they wish to be playing Champions League football next season.

Held at home by Leicester City last weekend, United slumped to yet another disappointing result, as their Champions League hopes begin to drift away. It looks as if the Red Devils could be condemned to the Europa League, unless they can turn the tide from recent weeks, starting with a visit to strugglers Everton.

Involved in yet another draw the last time the two met in October, United will be keen to avenge the stalemate when they travel to Goodison on Saturday afternoon. It’s just two wins in the last seven matches against the Toffees for United, with a tricky test expected this weekend.

Everton are fighting for their lives at the bottom of the division, with a first relegation out of the Premier League hanging over their heads. Points are the only currency Everton can afford to deal in right now, as Frank Lampard looks to steer his side away from the drop zone.

Much like United, Tottenham also have work to do between now and the end of the campaign if they wish to finish inside the top four, with a trip to Aston Villa awaiting Spurs this weekend.

Demolishing a hapless Newcastle United side last time out, Antonio Conte’s side made it three wins on the bounce, as the feel-good factor is starting to return to North London. Victorious over Villa in the reverse fixture, Spurs will be eyeing up a fourth Premier League win on the bounce this weekend.

History suggests a Tottenham victory is likely, as they’re unbeaten away at Villa Park since January 2008. A run of 11 games without a defeat, it’s likely to be yet another profitable visit to the West Midlands for Spurs on Saturday.

Relegation battle hots up as season conclusion draws closer

At the opposite end of the table, the futures of various clubs in the division are hanging by a thread, as the battle to avoid the drop begins to hot up.

After their titanic clash with fellow relegation candidates Everton in midweek, Burnley returns to Premier League action with a six-pointer against bottom-placed Norwich City. While the Canaries’ time as a Premier League club may be coming to an end, Burnley will be looking to use the fixture as a springboard for survival.

The Clarets failed to beat Norwich the last time the two met, but a victory at Carrow Road this weekend would go a long way in helping their bid to stay up.

However, perhaps the biggest match at the bottom of the table this weekend will come from Vicarage Road, where Watford welcomes the visit of Leeds United.

Since taking over the Yorkshire-based outfit, Jesse Marsch has transformed Leeds’ fortunes, losing just two of his opening five matches. A frustrating draw at home to Southampton last weekend was eased by the fact that Leeds are now eight points clear of 18th-placed Watford, having played a game more.

Watford themselves pushed Liverpool close on Saturday afternoon, but it ultimately wasn’t to be for the Hornets. With daunting fixtures against City, Leicester and Chelsea still to come, Roy Hodgson’s side can ill-afford anymore dropped points against relegation rivals.

Elsewhere on Matchday 32 of the Premier League season

Kicking the weekend off in style, Newcastle will host a European-chasing Wolverhampton Wanderers on Friday evening. Humbled by Spurs last weekend, Eddie Howe’s side will be keen to finish the season off strong, having distanced themselves from the drop zone.

For Wolves, Champions League football had once looked like a real prospect, yet a run of two wins in six games between mid-February and early March hampered their hopes. On the rise yet again, the Wanderers know only a victory will keep them in touch with the continental positions.

Elsewhere, Crystal Palace will make their final preparations ahead of next weekend’s FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea with a visit to the King Power Stadium to face Leicester City. Both sides could be looking to rotate their starting-11, with the Foxes involved in a Europa Conference League quarter-final against PSV Eindhoven the following Thursday.

Whereas, Brentford will be eyeing up a famous league double over West Ham United on Sunday, having triumphed against the Hammers back in October. An outside bet for a top-four spot, West Ham will be hoping to sting a Bees side that sits above them in the form table.

Remember, you can keep up to date with all the latest Premier League team news, live scores and match reports on the Flashscore app.

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Article title: Premier League Round 32 Preview

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