Title rivals preview: Brighton v Arsenal, Palace v Man City and Man Utd v Liverpool

By on April 5, 2024

Rodri Manchester City

We have another huge weekend of Premier League action to look forward to as Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City continue to battle it out for the title.

Here, we’ll preview Arsenal’s trip to Brighton, Manchester City’s clash at Crystal Palace and Sunday’s huge showdown between Manchester United and Liverpool.

Brighton vs Arsenal

Arsenal have the chance to reclaim top spot once again when they take on Brighton at the Amex Stadium on Saturday evening.

The Gunners played out a routine 2-0 win over Luton Town at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night. Mikel Arteta made five changes to his starting eleven as he took the opportunity to rest some key players ahead of a hectic run of fixtures. Fringe players such as Emile Smith Rowe and Reiss Nelson were given the chance to impress while Thomas Partey has handed his first start since October following another injury-plagued campaign.

Smith Rowe certainly took his opportunity to impress as he played a part in both goals. First, he won possession which led to Martin Odegaard firing Arsenal ahead before the Arsenal No.10 set-up the second goal as Daiki Hashioka put through his own net. The Gunners barely got out of first gear as they eased to a 2-0 win to move one point clear of Liverpool at the top of the table.

The Reds responded by beating Sheffield United on Thursday night to move back to the summit, but with Liverpool not playing until Sunday, Arsenal can regain top spot once again with a win over Brighton on Saturday evening.

The Seagulls have endured an inconsistent season and they sit ninth in the table following a frustrating 0-0 draw at Brentford on Wednesday night. Roberto De Zebri will hope to get back to winning ways this weekend in order to keep their European qualification hopes alive.

Team news

Arsenal will assess Bukayo Saka after he missed the win over Luton with a knock. Jurrien Timber is still working his way back to full fitness from a long-term injury so this game comes too soon.

Gabriel Martinelli, Gabriel Jesus, Declan Rice, Jorginho and Jacub Kiwior are pushing for recalls to the starting eleven if Arteta opts to freshen things up again.

As for Brighton, they’ll continue to be without Solomon March due to a knee injury while Jack Ginshelwood, Kaoru Mitoma, Billy Gilmour and James Milner remain out. Evan Ferguson is also a doubt with an ankle knock.

Prediction: Brighton 1-2 Arsenal

Crystal Palace vs Man City

Manchester City can draw first blood this weekend as they take on Crystal Palace in Saturday’s early lunchtime kick off. The Cityzens currently sit three points behind leaders Liverpool with a worse goal difference. But a 4-0 win at Palace would see City go top of the table and put the pressure on their title rivals to respond.

Pep Guardiola’s men eased to a 4-1 win over Aston Villa on Wednesday night despite Kevin de Bruyne and Erling Haaland being given the night off. Phil Foden scored a superb hat-trick to get City back to winning ways following their successive league draws with Arsenal and Liverpool.

They’ll now take on a Palace side that lost 1-0 away to Bournemouth on Tuesday night. That following successive draws with Nottingham Forest and Luton Town and a defeat to Tottenham. That run of two points from four games has left Palace sitting 14th in the table so they’ll want to get back on track with a positive result this weekend.

Team news

Palace will be without Sam Johnstone, Cheick Doucoure, Rob Holding, Mar Guehi, Chris Richards, Odsonne Edouard, Jesurun Rak-Sakyi and Matheus Oliveira. However, Michael Olise could return from a thigh injury.

As for City, they’ll be without Kyle Walker as he’s still recovering from a thigh injury while Nathan Ake is a doubt with a calf problem that he picked up last week.

However, goalkeeper Ederson could make his return from a thigh injury that’s kept him out for the past few weeks.

Prediction: Palace 1-3 Man City

Man Utd vs Liverpool

Arguably this weekend’s biggest game sees a beleaguered Manchester United side play host to Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon.

United’s disappointing campaign continued as they’ve thrown away valuable points to last gasp goals in recent games. Despite not playing well, United were leading at Brentford with just seconds remaining only to conceded in the 99th minute to draw 1-1. The Red Devils then came from 2-0 down to lead 3-2 against Chelsea on Thursday night thanks to a double from Garnacho. However, they hit the self destruct button once again with Cole Palmer scoring in the 99th and 100th minutes to secure a dramatic 4-3 win for Chelsea.

Those results have pilled the pressure on Erik ten Hag so the Dutch coach desperately needs a positive result against arch rivals Liverpool this weekend. This game is always one of the biggest of the season and it’s expected to be a sell-out at Old Trafford. Fans can still buy Manchester United tickets via online resellers but prices will be at a premium for this huge match.

Man Utd sit sixth in the table and need a win to maintain any hope of qualifying for the Champions League this season, but they’ll be up against a formidable Liverpool team who are gunning for the title in Jurgen Klopp’s last season in charge.

The Merseysiders were given a scare by Sheffield United on Thursday night as the Blades were drawing 1-1 in the 76th minute at Anfield. However, Alexis MacAllister eased the nerves after putting Liverpool ahead with a rocket before Cody Gakpo came off the bench to make it 3-1 and secure the win.

Liverpool will know Man City and Arsenal’s results by the time they kick off so they’ll need to respond to their rivals if they win, or try to take advantage of any slips ups in the title race.

Team news

Man Utd have a crisis in defence as Jonny Evans and Raphael Varane both went off with knocks against Chelsea. They’ll need to be assessed but ten Hag is already without Lisandro Martinez, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia while Aaron Wan-Bissaka also picked up a knock, so he’s down to the bare bones at the back.

Casemiro was also taken off at Stamford Bridge and needs to be assessed while Anthony Martial remains on the sidelines so Man Utd have plenty of injury problems ahead of this game.

As for Liverpool, they’ll be without Joel Matip, Thiago Alcantara, Stefan Bajcetic, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Alisson Becker and Diogo Jota to injury. Wataru Endo will also be assessed after missing the Sheffield United game.

Prediction: Man Utd 1-2 Liverpool