In Review

All eyes on Chelsea as Premier League returns

Will off-pitch incident distract Chelsea from defending their Premier League lead?

The Premier League returns after a two week hiatus because of FA Cup action, and leaders Chelsea's match will doubtless be overshadowed by the events of midweek in Paris.

The BBC reports that three people have been suspended from attending Stamford Bridge while enquiries continue into the video footage that appeared to show Chelsea fans pushing a black man off a Paris metro train.

Chelsea v Burnley

As for the game itself, Chelsea captain John Terry has warned that Burnley represent a banana skin for the Blues – seven points clear at the top of the table – after the glamour of a trip to Paris to play in the Champions League. "That's what it's all about – players digging deep at this time of year," said Terry, aware that in December Burnley held Manchester City to a 2-2 draw at the Etihad. "[Burnley] have shown already at Man City that they're hungry and fighting. Where we and they are in the table means nothing. We will certainly be up for it."Chelsea returned from France without any fresh injury problems while Burnley have Republic of Ireland defender Stephen Ward available for selection after he recovered from an ankle injury.

Man City v Newcastle

Second place Manchester City are also at home on Saturday, the Sky Blues hosting Newcastle as they seek to close the gap on Chelsea. Manager Manuel Pellegrini will be pleased to see the return of the Ivory Coast duo Yaya Toure and Wilfried Bony. The pair spent January helping their country win the Africa Cup of Nations, and their presence will strengthen City against the Magpies. With City playing Barcelona in the Champions League next week, Newcastle manager John Carver hopes the hosts' minds won't be fully focused on the Premier League. "'We know that City have a huge Champions League game coming up on Tuesday against Barcelona, so what changes Pellegrini will make, I'm not entirely sure," said Carver. "We are going there knowing that we are playing against a good side, but we are not going to be fearful."

Crystal Palace v Arsenal

Arsenal shouldn't be too fearful as they travel across London to play Crystal Palace even with all their injury problems. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mikael Arteta and Aaron Ramsey are still sidelined but Jack Wilshere is on the mend, although Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was coy when asked if the England midfielder would be making his first appearance for the Gunners since November. "I cannot tell you whether Wilshere will start," he told reporters at his pre-match conference. "I've not picked the team definitely. It's difficult to come back immediately."

Man Utd v Swansea

Swansea travel to Old Trafford to play third place Manchester United in the knowledge that their hosts will be out for revenge given what happened on the opening day of the season. Goals from Ki Sung-Yueng and Gylfi Sigurdsson gave the Swans a 2-1 victory to wreck Louis van Gaal's first competitive game in charge of United.  "It was a fantastic day," reflected Swansea boss Garry Monk ahead of tomorrow's clash. "Any win at Old Trafford is a great achievement but they've changed a lot since then, they've climbed the table steadily and are in a fantastic position."

Sunday 

The pick of Sunday's games pits fourth place Southampton against Liverpool, four points behind the Saints in seventh, while the London derby between West Ham and Tottenham should be a spicy affair given the alleged bad blood between the respective boardrooms.

The weekend's other fixtures

SATURDAY

Aston Villa v StokeHull v QPRSunderland v West Brom

SUNDAY

Everton v Leicester

Recommended

The Ronaldo effect: what big players mean for the finances of major football clubs
Pin badges showing face of Cristiano Ronaldo
Expert’s view

The Ronaldo effect: what big players mean for the finances of major football clubs

The heavy consequences of ‘light touch’ refereeing
Man Utd’s Bruno Fernandes confronts Southampton’s Jack Stephens
Why we’re talking about . . .

The heavy consequences of ‘light touch’ refereeing

‘Kane has found a gentlemen’s agreement is meaningless in the brutal world of football’
Harry Kane
Instant Opinion

‘Kane has found a gentlemen’s agreement is meaningless in the brutal world of football’

Premier League: pundit predictions
Manchester City are the Premier League defending champions
Expert’s view

Premier League: pundit predictions

Popular articles

Doctor says we should not sleep naked because of flatulent spraying
The feet of a person sleeping in a bed
Tall Tales

Doctor says we should not sleep naked because of flatulent spraying

Penguins ‘might be aliens’
Penguins
Tall Tales

Penguins ‘might be aliens’

The most extreme weather events in 2021
Wildfire in Greece
In pictures

The most extreme weather events in 2021

The Week Footer Banner