Five talking points ahead of this weekend’s games in the Premier League

Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea - Carabao Cup: Semi-Final First Leg

With Manchester City not in Premier League action this weekend, there could be another shift in power in the title race as Liverpool and Tottenham do play.

Liverpool head to Manchester United in one of the division’s heavyweight clashes, while there are also several important games at the foot of the table.

Here, we take a look at five talking points ahead of the action.

Kane Return Boosts Tottenham

Harry Kane’s return from an ankle injury could not be better timed as he is back for Tottenham’s lunchtime game at Burnley, where Spurs could steal a march in the title race.

With Manchester City not in action due to the Carabao Cup final with Chelsea, and Liverpool not playing until Sunday afternoon, Mauricio Pochettino’s men, currently in third, will cut the gap on those two to just two points if they can win in Lancashire.

Much of the title race talk has only involved City and Liverpool, but if Spurs win and Jurgen Klopp’s side lose at Old Trafford, winning the title will be in their own hands, with visits to Anfield and the Etihad Stadium to come.

United vs Liverpool

Despite Jose Mourinho’s attempts to make recent games between the two sides dull as dishwater, the United-Liverpool clash remains one of the most highly-anticipated of the season.

And Sunday’s meeting at Old Trafford has a different dynamic, following the resurgence of United under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Liverpool’s title pursuit.

This represents a much sterner test for Jurgen Klopp’s side than it might have previously and Solskjaer may well take extra pleasure in strengthening his hopes of landing the Old Trafford job permanently by denting their greatest rivals’ title ambitions.

Diego Forlan of Manchester United celebrates scoring the second goal of the match with team-mates Ryan Giggs and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

The Norwegian, who scored three goals against the Reds as a player, has led United back into the top four and will be keen to consolidate that position.

Battle for Survival

Both Cardiff and Fulham could boost their differing chances of beating the drop as they are both in action on Friday night.

The Bluebirds, currently in 17th, could climb as high as 13th with a win over Watford at home and that will provide further solace to the unsavoury manner in which the fall-out of Emiliano Sala’s death – and disputes over his transfer fee and contract – have been played out in the public domain.

Fulham’s plight is far worse than Cardiff’s and there is a sense of now-or-never as they head across the capital to West Ham, hoping for a first away win of the season.

Crystal Palace v Fulham FC - Premier League

The Cottagers, who have lost five of their last six games, are eight points behind Neil Warnock’s side and surely must start winning soon if they are to avoid an instant return to the Championship.

Clock Ticks for Claude Puel

With no wins in six, which included an FA Cup embarrassment at Newport, the pressure is mounting on Leicester boss Claude Puel, who is also having to fight fires within his own dressing room.

There were rumours of a bust-up with Jamie Vardy ahead of the 3-1 defeat to Tottenham earlier this month, while the Frenchman has had to hold clear-the-air talks with Kasper Schmeichel after the goalkeeper’s father Peter criticised Puel’s management style.

A home game with Crystal Palace represents a chance to end the poor run, but could also provide another problem if they were to get beaten.

Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City - Premier League

Must-Win for Arsenal

The race for the final top four spot looks like coming down to one of Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea and the Gunners could enhance their chances with a home game against Southampton, who occupy the bottom three.

Arsenal were in Europa League action on Thursday night, but will hope to take advantage of Chelsea not featuring in the league this weekend and a potentially tricky home game for United against Liverpool.

The Saints could do with upsetting the odds as they remain entrenched in relegation danger and if they were to win it would be a big surprise.

Arsenal is a ground Southampton simply do not win at, in fact you have to go back to 1987 for the last time they triumphed at the home of the Gunners in the Premier League.

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