Premier League questions: How will Man City respond? What now for Paul Pogba and Wayne Rooney?
By James Walker-Roberts
Last Updated: 14/04/18 7:50am
How will Manchester City bounce back? Will Liverpool look ahead? Can Paul Pogba maintain his form?
The Premier League run-in continues this weekend with Southampton v Chelsea and Tottenham v Manchester City live on Sky Sports on Saturday and then Newcastle v Arsenal and Manchester United v West Brom on Sunday.
With Stoke v West Ham also coming up on Monday Night Football, we look at some of the potential questions that could be answered this weekend...
Will Saints start survival bid? (Southampton v Chelsea, Saturday from 11.30am, Sky Sports Premier League)
With their hopes of a top-four finish looking slim, Chelsea might already have one eye on their next meeting with Southampton in the semi-finals of the FA Cup on April 22.
However, for Southampton this clash might well take priority.
Relegation battle analysed
We look at the reasons to be both optimistic and concerned for those Premier League sides hoping to beat the drop.
Saints reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup with victory over Wigan in Mark Hughes' first game in charge, but subsequent defeats to West Ham and Arsenal have seen them slip into the relegation zone in the Premier League.
They start the weekend three points from safety and have failed to win any of their last 22 Premier League matches against sides starting the day in the top six. Perhaps more worryingly, they have only won once in 2018 in the league.
Will Foxes close the gap? (Burnley v Leicester, Saturday, 3pm)
The top four might look almost set in stone, but there are still battles to be fought below.
For starters, Burnley, after winning four games in a row, are in with a chance of catching Arsenal in sixth place - the gap is five points with six matches left to play.
But the Clarets could also be caught by Leicester, who could close the gap to three points with a win at Turf Moor on Saturday.
If Burnley win it will be the first time they have won five consecutive matches in the top since 1968.
Points over performance for Palace? (Crystal Palace v Brighton, Saturday 3pm)
"If we can continue to play like that for the next five games we have to believe we can take enough points," said Roy Hodgson after Crystal Palace twice gave away the lead to draw 2-2 with Bournemouth last weekend.
The problem for Palace, though, has not so much been the performances, but the results.
They have played well against Tottenham, Manchester United and Liverpool recently but did not take a single point from the three matches.
That has led to them just sitting three points above the relegation zone and in need of a win against a Brighton side who have scored a league-low seven away goals this season.
Will Mounie lift Terriers? (Huddersfield v Watford, Saturday, 3pm)
Huddersfield came up short in their last home game as they lost 2-0 to relegation rivals Crystal Palace, but this looks another crunch fixture against a Watford side who have yet to score in four away fixtures under Javi Gracia.
The Terriers are four points above the relegation zone after Steve Mounie's ninth goal of the season helped them claim a 1-1 draw at Brighton last weekend.
That goal was Huddersfield's first in seven hours of Premier League action and they might need more from the striker sooner rather than later if they are to avoid the drop, particularly with games against Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal to finish the season.
Would a win this weekend be enough? It would certainly be a big step towards survival.
What now for Rooney? (Swansea v Everton, Saturday, 3pm)
"Nobody is too big to be brought off," was Sam Allardyce's message last week after he withdrew Wayne Rooney with less than an hour gone of the Merseyside derby.
Rooney looked annoyed by the decision and talks were planned between himself and Allardyce this week.
Whatever the outcome of those talks, it will be intriguing to see if Rooney starts against Swansea.
The 32-year-old has struggled to make an impact in a deeper midfield role in his last two games, so will Allardyce try again, or go for another option? What would the latter mean for Rooney's future at the club?
Will Liverpool look ahead? (Liverpool v Bournemouth, Saturday, 5.30pm)
Liverpool could hardly be in a better moment after beating Manchester City on Tuesday to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League.
But what's the best way to carry their positive momentum through to the first leg of the semi-finals April 24/25?
Might Jurgen Klopp be tempted to give some of his stars a rest this weekend, especially Mohamed Salah, who missed the last Premier League match with injury?
Or will he name the same side and hope wins against Bournemouth and then West Brom will set the Reds up perfectly for their final-four clash?
Both routes appear to carry some risks.
How do City bounce back? (Tottenham v Manchester City, Saturday from 7pm, Sky Sports Premier League)
It's been a week to forget for Manchester City after they blew their chance to win the title against Manchester United and then crashed out of the Champions League in midweek.
Former Tottenham and City midfielder Michael Brown thinks Spurs will have "belief and confidence" after seeing the league leaders' recent performances.
"If they have ever been given confidence it is now after the week that Manchester City have had," he added.
But how will City bounce back?
They responded well to their shock FA Cup defeat to Wigan in February, but failed to win any of their next three games after their Champions League exit last year.
A repeat could take some of the tarnish off their impressive campaign.
Will Kenedy maintain his impressive form? (Newcastle v Arsenal, Sunday from 1pm, Sky Sports Premier League)
Kenedy has been a key player for Newcastle since joining on loan from Chelsea in January, with his performances helping the Magpies move 10 points clear of the relegation zone.
So good has he been that Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and a number of English clubs have asked to be kept informed if he is ever made available for sale.
The key players in Newcastle's rise
Martin Dubravka, Kenedy and Jamaal Lascelles are among those to have impressed for Newcastle
The 22-year-old has certainly given Newcastle a much-needed injection of energy and pace, and Rafa Benitez will surely be desperate to keep him beyond the end of the season.
However, if he continues to impress there might well be competition.
Can Pogba impress again? (Manchester United v West Brom, Sunday from 3.30pm, Sky Sports Premier League)
"You have to deliver consistently."
That was Gary Neville's message to Paul Pogba after he helped transform the Manchester derby last weekend, scoring twice to make amends for a poor first-half performance.
Pogba himself even acknowledged that "with a performance like we had in the second half, if we had done this all season, I think we would be fighting for the title."
While the title looks out of reach, there is still time for United to finish the season a positive note and for Pogba to deliver some more match-winning displays.
"Paul can be the best in the world," said Ander Herrera after the derby win. If he can, he needs to start showing it on a more regular basis.
Will Arnautovic strike again? (West Ham v Stoke, Monday from 7pm, Sky Sports Premier League)
After haunting, and taunting, his former manager Mark Hughes a few weeks ago, Marko Arnautovic now comes up against his former club on Monday Night Football.
Arnautovic has had a hand in 13 Premier League goals this season, which is at least five more than any other West Ham player.
"He's got great ability, he's powerful, he's quick, he's got a level of arrogance and self-belief on the pitch, which is good, and I think there's another bit to go," said Hammers boss David Moyes last week.
Arnautovic's performances have been key in keeping the Hammers afloat, and another strong showing on Monday might ease any relegation worries.
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