This weekend sees some more big clashes in the Premier League as Arsenal’s title credentials are tested by Liverpool at Anfield, whilst Tottenham and Everton go head-to-head in the race for fourth place. There is also the small matter of the South Wales derby between Swansea and Cardiff. Some of the players to watch this weekend are in good form, trying to put a bad weekend behind them, are facing old friends and could have a big impact on the game they’re involved in.
With all that in mind, here are our players to watch this weekend.
Toure faces up against his old club this weekend in Arsenal and is likely to be at the heart of the Liverpool defence. The defender is also coming into this game on the back of a calamitous error which cost the Reds victory against West Bromwich Albion. Can he put that behind him and help the Reds shut out the table toppers?
Wilshere has spent a couple of weeks on the sidelines and Arsenal fans will be pleased to see their midfielder return from injury, particularly with Aaron Ramsey absent. Against a side that has only dropped five points on their own patch this season, the Gunners will be glad to see an influential player return to the starting line-up who possesses a strong attacking threat.
Mirallas scored a crucial free-kick to give Everton all three points last week against Aston Villa and the forward is in pretty good form at the moment. He also scored a wonderful goal in the same fixture last season, so can he produce the goods again?
Not only is Caulker up against his old club when Cardiff travel to the Liberty Stadium to take on Swansea City, but he is also facing the club he scored the winner against earlier on in the season. Another solid defensive performance, and maybe another winner would leave Cardiff fans feeling delighted.
Crouch comes up against one of his many former clubs this weekend as Stoke City travel down to the south coast to take on Southampton. He may be a handful for the Saints defence if Stoke use him as the focal point of their direct play.
Robin Van Persie
One big positive for Manchester United recently is that since his return from injury, Van Persie has got two goals in two games. With bottom of the table Fulham visiting Old Trafford this weekend, it would not be surprising to see the Dutchman to score for the third consecutive game.
Having been linked with numerous clubs over the past 18 months or so, Thomas Ince has finally moved from Blackpool, with Crystal Palace his new club. He is a promising talent, and has the chance to show the Premier League just what all the fuss was about.
Spurs are going to be up against a very hard working and solid midfield when they face Everton, and Paulinho is going to have to battle in the middle of the park to ensure Tottenham get the upper hand in what is likely to be a close encounter.
Fulham have been leaking a lot of goals recently and Johnny Heitinga could have a pretty difficult afternoon at Old Trafford up against the trio of Robin Van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata. The Cottagers need something positive after hitting ‘rock bottom’, and a solid defensive performance from their new signing could give some cause for Fulham fans to hope.
Johnson has been in terrific form for Sunderland of late, having scored six goals in the last four games – along with two assists. His upturn in form also runs alongside that of his clubs as more and more people talk about the winger potentially being included in England’s World Cup squad come the summer.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald