Title contenders: Previewing Liverpool vs Man City, Aston Villa vs Spurs

By on March 8, 2024

Ollie Watkins Aston Villa

We have a huge weekend to look forward to in the Premier League and one that could have massive implications for Arsenal and the title race as Liverpool take on Manchester City while Aston Villa host Tottenham.

With the other contenders all facing-off against each other on Sunday, Arsenal have an excellent chance to move top of the table with a win over Brentford on Saturday evening. Mikel Arteta will then have all eyes on Sunday’s fixtures to see how his main rivals get on. Let’s preview these two games:

Liverpool vs Man City

There is only one place to start and that’s at Anfield as leaders Liverpool take on second-placed Manchester City at 3.45pm on Sunday afternoon. This is obviously a massive game that will have a huge impact on the title race. Liverpool currently sit top of the standings but hold just a one point lead over City and are two points ahead of Arsenal, so things couldn’t be tighter at the top of the table.

Jurgen Klopp’s men needed a dramatic, and controversial, 99th minute winner to beat Nottingham Forest 1-0 at the City Ground last weekend. Darwin Nunez came off the bench to score the only goal of the game and ensure Liverpool remained top of the table. However, Forest were furious as the referee had mistakenly given the ball back to Liverpool following a forced stoppage shortly before the goal.

However, the result still stands and it means Liverpool maintained their winning streak since losing to Arsenal at the start of February. The Reds made it seven wins on the bounce in all competitions after beating Sparta Prague 5-1 away from home in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie on Thursday night. Nunez was the hero once again with a superb brace so he’ll be going into the City game full of confidence.

As for Manchester City, they will head to Anfield off the back of an excellent run of form themselves. Pep Guardiola’s men have won 16 of their last 17 games and are unbeaten in their last 20 in all competitions. They’ll be looking to extend that record with a positive result on Sunday where they know a win would move them top of the table and put them in an excellent position to retain the title.

City booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League with a 3-1 win over Copenhagen on Wednesday night. This came off the back of a 3-1 win over Manchester United last weekend and a 6-2 victory away to Luton Town in the FA Cup, so the Cityzens are still going well in all competitions and on-course for an unprecedented back-to-back trebles.

Team news

Liverpool continue to battle an injury crisis and they were handed two more concerns after Ibrahima Konate and Joe Gomez were forced off in Prague. Klopp has played down the severity of the issues but both players are doubts to face City.

Joel Matip, Diogo Jota, Thiago Alcantara, Stefan Bajcetic and Curtis Jones are all ruled out on Sunday. Ryan Gravenberch is also set to miss out as he continues to recover from an ankle injury while Trent Alexander-Arnold and Alisson Becker are other major absentees for the Reds. However, Mohamed Salah is back in contention after making his comeback on Thursday night.

Manchester City will need to assess Matheus Nunes after he suffered a dislocated finger in midweek. Jeremy Doku missed the game against Copenhagen due to a muscle issue so he’ll also need to be checked. Jack Grealish remains out with a groin injury.


Fans who buy Liverpool tickets always fancy their chances of beating anyone at home but the Reds have been grinding out wins lately and haven’t been convincing. Their injury problems will also severely weaken their starting eleven so City will see this is a good opportunity to claim a vital win. I don’t see City losing, but have a feeling Liverpool will take something from the game, so I’m backing a draw….which could be good news for Arsenal. Liverpool 2-2 Man City 

Aston Villa vs Tottenham

Sunday’s other big game sees Aston Villa take on Tottenham at Villa Park. Both teams are outsiders for the title, especially Spurs, but this is still a huge game in the race for the top four and Champions League qualification.

Villa have enjoyed a stunning season under Unai Emery and head into the weekend sitting six points off Arsenal and five points ahead of Tottenham in fourth. They are well positioned to secure that all-important final Champions League spot and will take a huge step towards securing it if they win on Sunday.

The Midlands clubs brought home a very useful 0-0 draw from the first leg of their Europa Conference League tie with Ajax on Thursday night so they’ll be confident of progressing to the quarter-finals. Villa have also won their last three league games so they come into this game in decent form.

As for Tottenham, they came from behind to beat Crystal Palace 3-1 last weekend to keep themselves in contention for the top four. A 2-1 home defeat to Wolves was a big set-back but Spurs do have a game in hand over Villa, and if they can win at Villa Park on Sunday, they’ll be right back in the running for fourth spot.

Team news

Villa will be without Boubacar Kamara for the foreseeable future after he underwent knee surgery. Emi Buendia is also out for the rest of the campaign with a knee injury while Tyrone Mings won’t play again this season with his own ACL injury.

Jhon Duran will need a late fitness test as he’s close to returning from a thigh injury while Jacob Ramsey is also a doubt with an ankle problem.

Tottenham are still without the services of Ryan Sessgnon due to a thigh injury while Fraser Forster is out with an ankle knock. Manor Solomon is still recovering from a knee injury while Brazilian forward Richarlison is a major doubt with his own knee problem.

However, right-back Pedro Porro could return as he’ll face a late fitness test having been out lately with a muscle injury.


This is a massive game in the race for the top four. Villa have been superb this season, especially at home, so they’ll be confident of winning to cement their place in fourth. However, Tottenham are a dangerous side who’ll cause Villa problems so this could go either way. I’m going to sit on the fence and predict another draw. Aston Villa 1-1 Tottenham