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Premier League: What to expect this derby weekend

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The two Manchester clubs clash this weekend Photo Optusports
The two Manchester clubs clash this weekend. Photo/ Optus Sports
  • The two Manchester clubs are set to clash this weekend at the Etihad with United going in as the underdogs.
  • We look at the Manchester derby and other talking points of the Premier League weekend.

The two Manchester clubs are set to clash this weekend at the Etihad with United going in as the underdogs.

We look at the Manchester derby and other talking points of the Premier League weekend.

Hwang’s injury a big blow for Wolves

hwang hee chan injury Photo Supersport

Hwang Hee Chan injury. Photo/ Supersport

Wolves have put together a remarkable run of performances to move into the Premier League’s top eight and advance to the FA Cup quarterfinals. In their last eight games, Gary O’Neil’s overachievers have secured remarkable away victories against Brentford, Chelsea, and Tottenham, positioning them as improbable contenders for Europe.

The strategy has centered around counterattacking play, but there aren’t as many choices against Newcastle this weekend due to the probable absence of Matheus Cunha and Hwang Hee-chan, who have combined for 19 Premier League goals. Despite the lack of a recognized center forward for Wolves, Pedro Neto and their combination of agility and movement have performed incredibly well.

In January, Wolves released Saša Kalajdžić and Fabio Silva to depart on loan, which resulted in O’Neil lacking in offensive punch. Even while neither aligns with the season’s overall idea, this weekend would have benefited from having a Plan B alternative.

Spurs lethal fullbacks are back

Pedro Porro with fellow teammate Udogie Photo teamTALK

Pedro Porro with fellow teammate Udogie. Photo/ TEAMtalk

Spurs’ attempt to finish in the top four was thwarted last time out when they lost to Wolves at home. The team led by Ange Postecoglou had a poor day in North London and will be eager to make amends following a long vacation.

Pedro Porro and Destiny Udogie coming back to the side will increase Postecoglou’s options. These two have become one of the most potent wing-back combinations in Europe and have been essential to the daring playing style played under the Australian coach.

Udogie has two goals and three assists, while Porro is the team’s top assist producer in the Premier League with seven. Each is essential to recovering possession of the ball; Porro leads his Tottenham colleagues in tackles (67) and ball recoveries (131), while Udogie leads the squad in interceptions (28). Their impact on both ends has been much missed, so when Crystal Palace visits Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this Saturday, it will be nice to have them back.

Watkins is a force to reckon with

Ollie Watkins

Ollie Watkins. Photo/ TEAMtalk.

Ollie Watkins has been instrumental in helping Aston Villa achieve their goal of upending the elite and qualifying for the Champions League.

Since Unai Emery took over as manager, the 28-year-old has undergone a complete transformation, becoming maybe the league’s most versatile center-forward. With 10 assists and 14 goals in the league, Watkins shares the league lead in assists among players in the Premier League. No player has contributed more goals directly than Watkins.

There is a claim that no player has been as steady from the opening game to this point as he has been, thanks to his mobility, powerful presence, and selflessness, which have propelled Villa’s top-four assault. His longest run without a Premier League goal or assist since the season’s beginning is two games; he is a vital member of this Villa team.

Liverpool and Manchester City have shown they can function without their lucky charms, even if Mohamed Salah and Erling Haaland outperformed Watkins. Is Villa able to follow suit? Not likely. If Villa manages to shatter the glass ceiling and make it to the top circles of Europe, Watkins ought to be considered for individual recognition.

The Manchester Derby

The main event of the Premier League weekend is the Manchester Derby, which takes place at the Etihad Stadium between City and United. The former will be feeling confident against Erik ten Hag’s unimpressive team after warming up for the match with a massive win against Luton that saw Erling Haaland score five goals.

But in the Premier League this year, City’s performance versus opponents from the “Big Six” has been dismal. In their six games against Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs, Liverpool, and Manchester United, Pep Guardiola’s club has only triumphed once, drawn four times, and lost one.

The Citizens easily won 3-0 at Old Trafford in the first Manchester Derby, with Haaland scoring twice. The odds seem to be against the visitors leaving the Etihad with a win, since City has also won five of the last six derbies. Additionally, Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne were playing well in midweek.

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

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