There’s a full Premier League fixture schedule to look forward to on his weekend – something that hasn’t been given in recent weeks.
Here, the PA news agency selects five of the interesting talking points.
Can Big Dunc rejuvenate Everton?
Former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez’s appointment to Everton always seemed uncomfortable and lasted less than seven months. The Spaniard received his marching orders after last weekend’s shock 2-1 defeat at beleaguered Norwich, with club great Duncan Ferguson once again looking to ship stability as caretaker manager. The Scot did well during a temporary four-game unbeaten stint in December 2019 before Carlo Ancelotti took over and will look to give Aston Villa a bloody nose on Saturday lunchtime. If Benitez’s departure wasn’t enough, there’s the glitch of Steven Gerrard managing his first game at Goodison Park and possibly even a first start for another former Liverpool star, Philippe Coutinho.
The unstoppable city tackles the saints
Reigning champions Manchester City have 56 points after 22 games, giving them an 11-point cushion over second-placed Liverpool. Pep Guardiola’s men are on a 12 Premier League winning streak and few expect their march to another title to be halted. City have lost just twice all season and they face Southampton, who came close to losing three when the sides met in September. A controversial canceled penalty deprived the Saints of the shot in a memorable win at the Etihad Stadium and they will need to produce an equally impressive performance to come any closer to a result on Saturday night.
Burney plays a game
Sean Dyche’s men are bottom of the Premier League ahead of Sunday’s trip to Arsenal – their first top game since the 3-1 defeat at Leeds on January 2. Burnley are five games behind some teams due to the impact of Covid-19 on the schedule, as well as snow leading to the postponement of November’s fixture against Tottenham. The Clarets would like a positive result in their first game since Chris Wood joined relegation rivals Newcastle and face an Arsenal side looking to bounce back from the Carabao Cup semi-final loss to Liverpool.
Shocked foxes seek to clip wings of seagulls
Those connected to Leicester will still be reeling from Wednesday’s loss to Tottenham. Brendan Rodgers’ men had a 2-1 lead in stoppage time but conspired to lose 3-2 in a frantic and remarkable conclusion. The Leicester boss lamented naivety and lost duels on an “extremely disappointing” night from which they will be desperate to bounce back on Sunday. Brighton are visitors to the King Power Stadium and are in the midst of a five-game unbeaten run, including Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea. Albion’s impressive boss Graham Potter will not be on the sidelines after testing positive for Covid-19.
Conte hopes to give his former club the blues
While Leicester nurse their injuries, Spurs will be hoping to kick off their wild midweek comeback. Antonio Conte’s reaction was exactly what you’d expect from the Italian livewire, who led Chelsea to the Premier League title in 2017 and will seek revenge for the Carabao Cup semi-final loss to Thomas Tuchel’s men earlier in the month. The German said his side needed to ‘recharge the batteries’ after blaming fatigue for their poor performance in the draw at Brighton, which extended their recent alarming run to two wins in their last nine top-flight outings .