Huge weekend for the title race as Arsenal face Villa while Spurs host Newcastle

By on December 8, 2023

Mikel Arteta Arsenal

It’s going to be another huge weekend at the top of the Premier League table. Leaders Arsenal face a daunting trip to the in-form Aston Villa, Tottenham will be looking to bounce back at home to Newcastle, Liverpool travel to Palace while Man City take on Luton. Let’s take a closer look at the games….

Aston Villa vs Arsenal

Arsenal once again left it late to secure all three points in a seven-goal thriller against Luton Town on Tuesday night. The Gunners twice took the lead but errors from goalkeeper David Raya helped Luton turn things around to lead 3-2 with 35 minutes remaining. However, Kai Havertz equalised before Declan Rice headed home a dramatic 96th minute winner for Arsenal.

The victory cemented Arsenal’s place at the top of the table and they now hold a two-point lead over Liverpool. But Mikel Arteta knows his side are in for an extremely tough game at Villa Park on Saturday evening. And the task is made even more difficult with the Arsenal defence stretched by injuries.

Takehiro Tomiyasu is facing at least a month on the sidelines after suffering a calf injury last weekend. With Jurrien Timber out for the season, the North Londoners are without their two most versatile defenders during the most hectic period of the season. They also have problems in midfield as Thomas Partey is also still recovering from a thigh injury, while Fabio Vieira and Emile Smith Rowe are also out for the foreseeable future, so injuries are threatening to derail their title push once again.

A thin squad isn’t what you need heading to statistically the toughest ground in Europe right now. Aston Villa made it 14 home wins on the bounce with a stunning 1-0 win over Manchester City in midweek. Villa dominated the defending champions and deserved took all three points, so Unai Emery will be hoping for a repeat performance against his former side.

Villa head into the game sitting third in the table, just four points behind Arsenal, so they can reinforce their title challenger status with another win this weekend.

Prediction: Aston Villa 1-1 Arsenal

Tottenham vs Newcastle

Tottenham have seen their title bid fall apart in recent weeks having extended their winless run to five games with a 2-1 defeat at home to West Ham on Thursday night. Spurs have taken the lead in each of their last five league games but have taken just one point from those matches.

The North Londoners opened the scoring against West Ham and should have put the game to bed in the first half but were made to pay for being wasteful in the final third. The Hammers turned things around after the break and consigned Tottenham to another defeat thanks to goals from Jarrod Bowen and James Ward-Prowse.

Tottenham now sit fifth in the table, nine points adrift of the leaders. However, they’re just three points off the top four so Ange Postecoglou will be looking to close the gap with a win over Newcastle on Sunday afternoon.

The Magpies head to the capital in need of a bounce-back win themselves. Eddie Howe’s side slumped to a shock 3-0 defeat to Everton on Thursday night and now lay seventh in the standings – one point behind Spurs.

With it being so close at the top of the table, both team desperately need a positive result this weekend and it should be a terrific game. It’s expected to be a packed house at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium but supporters can still buy Tottenham tickets from reputable resellers such as seatsnet.com.

Spurs have a mounting injury crisis to deal with as Ivan Perisic, Rodrigo Bentancur, Micky van de Ven, James Maddison, Ryan Sessegnon, Eric Dier and Manor Solomon are all missing. Therefore, Postecoglou doesn’t have too many options to rotate this weekend.

Newcastle are also dealing with a crippling injury list with upto 13 players set to miss the trip to North London. Jamal Lascelles faces a late fitness test but he could join the likes of Matt Targett, Harvey Barnes, Joe Willock, Sven Botman, Sean Longstaff, Callum Wilson, Dan Burn and Nick Pope on the sidelines.

Prediction: Tottenham 2-2 Newcastle

Crystal Palace vs Liverpool

Liverpool have the chance to move top of the table with a win when they take on Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday lunchtime. The Reds moved up to second spot with a 2-0 win over Sheffield United on Wednesday night. They now sit just two points behind Arsenal so they can leapfrog their rivals with a win in Saturday’s early kick-off.

The Merseysiders could be handed a major injury boost with Alisson Becker set to return from a thigh problem. However, Alexis MacAllister is out after picking up a knee injury so he joins Diogo Jota, Andrew Robertson and Thiago Alcantara on the sidelines. Joel Matip has also been ruled out for the season with a knee ligament injury.

Jurgen Klopp’s men have quietly been going about their business this season but look to be mounting a serious title push. Liverpool missed out on the top four last season but look a different side after rebuilding their midfield in the summer. A win at Palace tomorrow would see them move top and put the pressure on Arsenal ahead of their trip to Aston Villa.

They’ll be up against a Palace side that are in desperate need of a positive result following a poor start to the season. Roy Hodgson is under pressure to get their campaign back on track after losing to Bournemouth on Wednesday but it won’t be easy at home to Liverpool.

Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-2 Liverpool

Luton vs Man City

Manchester City fell further behind in the title race after a 1-0 defeat away to Villa. Pep Guardiola’s men were no match for the Villains and they were fortunate to only lose by one goal, so Guardiola will be demanding an improved display at Kenilworth Road.

Man City now sit fourth in the table and six adrift of Arsenal after failing to win any of their last four league games. So they need to get back to winning ways this weekend to keep pace with their title rivals.

Things don’t get any easier for Luton as they now host the champions having dramatically lost to Arsenal on Tuesday night. The Hatters almost pulled off a shock 3-3 draw but Declan Rice’s last gasp goal consigned them to defeat.

Everton’s win over Newcastle on Wednesday night has pushed Luton back into the relegation zone so they desperately need a positive result against City to boost their survival hopes.

Prediction: Luton 0-2 Man City