The drama of the Premier League weekend will kick off a day later than initially scheduled due to a Covid-19 outbreak among the Newcastle squad.
The Magpies were going to travel to Birmingham for a Friday night fixture against Aston Villa before the virus complicated matters. Thus the weekend will begin at Turf Moor when Burnley host Everton in the 12.30 kick-off on Saturday.
Battered by Manchester City last weekend, Burnley will be aiming to recover from that 5-0 shellacking with a victory of their own over the Toffees. Carlo Ancelotti was frustrated to see his team also fall to defeat in round ten of the Premier League, going down 1-0 at home to Leeds. It was an open game with plenty of chances at both ends, but ultimately Raphinha’s goal was enough to secure all three points for Marcelo Bielsa’s visitors. We suspect Sean Dyche will have made defensive solidity the focus of his training sessions in the week after that Etihad battering, setting up a low-scoring game. The last two matches between these teams featured fewer than two goals. The odds of this game also featuring fewer than two goals seems high.
With no disrespect meant to Burnley, there can be more enticing fixtures found across the weekend. Premier League leaders Tottenham participate in a North London Derby when they host Arsenal on Sunday. Jose Mourinho’s side is unbeaten in six games in all competitions, winning five. Many critics had written off the Special One after his spell with Manchester United ended limply. However, he has proven that reports of his waning powers were greatly exaggerated with this fantastic opening to the campaign. Spurs, who have managed to keep clean sheets in their last four matches, face an Arsenal side struggling in front of goal. The Gunners are averaging one goal per game in the Premier League this season with the previously clinical Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looking far from his deadly self. The Gabonese forward has only scored two goals in nine league appearances this season. Such a slow start to the campaign makes the objective to match or better his tally of 22 goals last season unlikely. Arsenal, who have failed to win six of their previous eight league matches, need their star forward to locate his shooting boots. Unbeaten in their last four meetings with Arsenal, Tottenham seem like an excellent bet to win with a clean sheet at the weekend.
Of the other plotlines across the English top-flight, it will be intriguing to see if Chelsea can continue their unbeaten run at home to Leeds. Frank Lampard’s team have not lost any of their previous 12 matches in all competitions. Olivier Giroud has been mostly out of favour in this campaign, but it will be hard for his manager to ignore the striker’s four goals against Sevilla in midweek. A victory could take the Blues to the top of the table. Liverpool are also within touching distance of the summit with only goal difference keeping the champions behind Spurs. Wolves are tough visitors for the Reds to deal with, but their undefeated record of 43 league matches at Anfield makes it the most challenging venue in the country. You can find match previews for the games mentioned above, as well as ones involving teams like Manchester United and Manchester City, at Sportytrader, the home of expert tips and odds comparisons.