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Major talking points of the Premier League gameweek 26

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Arsenal face Newcastle this weekend Photo Reuters scaled
Arsenal face Newcastle this weekend. Photo/ Reuters
  • This weekend’s Premier League schedule has several major matches, including a crucial matchup between Arsenal and Newcastle in North London.
  • We look at talking points before game week 26

This weekend’s Premier League schedule has several major matches, including a crucial matchup between Arsenal and Newcastle in North London.

We look at talking points before game week 26

Everton need to beat Brighton again

Everton players Photo BBC

Everton players after a loss. Photo/ BBC

On Monday night, Everton moved above Luton with a home draw against Crystal Palace, so edging out of the relegation positions on goal differential. But Sean Dyche’s team is still in deep danger; they haven’t won in eight games since defeating Burnley in December.

One of the most memorable victories of the previous season came from a struggling Everton team, as they thrashed Brighton 5-1 at the Amex Stadium. Few predicted this outcome, as they only had 22.3% of the possession.

Dwight McNeil and Abdoulaye Doucoure each scored twice as Everton mercilessly punished Brighton on the counterattack. The Toffees need another significant victory to begin a push at safety.

The immediate upturn that followed the Premier League’s 10-point penalty has eased, and a goal deficit has been an issue. This season, no team in the division has underperformed their XG in the Premier League.

Arsenal face rivals Newcastle

The recent confrontations between Arsenal and Newcastle have been heated and might lead to bad blood between the two squads because of the implications for both clubs’ positions at the top of the league.

It started when Newcastle crushed Arsenal’s dreams of finishing in the top four during the 2021–2022 run-in, and it carried over into the previous campaign as both teams fought for the championship and Champions League football, respectively.

Arsenal was furious with the visitors’ time-wasting tactics during their most recent encounter at the Emirates, as they fought to a goalless draw in north London.

In the rematch, Arsenal took retribution with a convincing victory at St. James’ Park; however, controversy erupted once more this season when Anthony Gordon scored a controversial winner for Newcastle at the same location in November.

This weekend will see a lot on the line once more, so don’t be shocked if feelings flare up on the field as well as the touchline.

David Moyes under pressure

David Moyes Photo Hammers News

David Moyes. Photo/ Hammers News

At West Ham, David Moyes is feeling the heat from the supporters as the team has gone without a win for an extended period. After last weekend’s defeat against Nottingham Forest, he resolutely defended his position, but some fans are starting to lose trust in a manager who has conflicting views.

Monday night’s London Derby pits West Ham against Brentford, who have lost three straight games and are winless in their last six games combined. The Hammers risk regressing after threatening to contend for Europe once more.

It would be surprising if Moyes left before the season ended, and preferred candidates would be reluctant to join in the middle of the campaign. But would West Ham take a chance on a new course in the summer, when several elite managers seem to be available?

Awoniyi’s return might help Nottingham

Taiwo Awoniyi

Taiwo Awoniyi. Photo/Nottingham Forest

Even though Nottingham Forest defeated West Ham last weekend, Nuno Espirito Santo’s team is still dangerously close to the drop zone—just four points separate them from the bottom three. With penalties for violating the Profit and Sustainability Rules imminent, Forest desperately needs a run of wins to provide them some distance from the relegation spots.

The Midlands rivals Aston Villa, who have a strong home record and are vying for Champions League qualifying, are not exactly a team to look forward to traveling to.

But there is optimism for Forest now that Taiwo Awoniyi is back. The Nigerian has scored twice in his last four games after undergoing groin surgery. The forward’s strike against West Ham last weekend demonstrated his skill as he twisted inside the area and scored with precision.

After joining Forest, the 26-year-old has made 28 starts and scored 16 goals, averaging one every 147 minutes in the Premier League. To put that in perspective, Ollie Watkins (170) and Dominic Solanke (153) have both achieved higher records this season during career-best seasons. Forest needs to maintain him in top physical condition.

I am an ardent sports enthusiast interested in writing about football, motorsport and athletics.

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