Tottenham Hotspur face acid test at Manchester City as Manchester United prepare for Leeds United cauldron | Soccer News


LONDON: Tottenham Hotspur face a daunting trip to Manchester City this weekend, desperate to snap a losing streak that threatens to derail their season as Manchester United prepare for a hostile reception at Leeds.
Newcastle can move further away from relegation problems and dent West Ham’s first four ambitions as they seek their fourth straight league win while Norwich, Watford and Burnley are all desperate for points.
AFP Sport takes a look at some of the talking points ahead of the weekend’s action.
Antonio Conte made no secret of his displeasure with Tottenham’s actions in the transfer market in January, saying his side were “weakened”.
The former Chelsea and Inter Milan boss began his reign with flying colors in north London, unbeaten in the Premier League from November to January, but three straight league defeats have raised alarm bells.
Spurs sent Tanguy Ndombele, Giovani Lo Celso, Bryan Gil and Jack Clarke out on loan last month, while Dele Alli signed for Everton on a permanent deal.
They brought in Rodrigo Bentancur and Dejan Kulusevski from Juventus but Conte was disappointed with the club’s business, telling Sky Sport Italia he needed more experienced players to make it into the top four.
Tottenham are not yet in contention for a Champions League place next season – they are seven points behind fourth-placed Manchester United with three games less – but they face an uphill battle.
Spurs will look to build confidence from their home victory over Pep Guardiola’s men in August, when Nuno Espirito Santo was still at the helm, but little would induce them to halt City’s march to a fourth title in five years.
Manchester United huffed and puffed in midweek before finding a way to beat Brighton at 10, but they face a daunting test of their character at Elland Road on Sunday.
United and Leeds are at the center of one of the fiercest rivalries in English football, which has endured in intensity despite Leeds’ long absence from the top flight between 2004 and 2020.
In-form goalkeeper David de Gea, who has never faced Leeds in an away game in his decade at United, is well aware of the depth of feelings between the two sets of fans.
United returned to the top four following their 2-0 win at Old Trafford on Tuesday, ditching their unwanted habit of conceding in the second half, with De Gea stressing they needed to be consistent for 90 minutes.
“We should be fighting for better things than what we are doing right now,” the Spain international told PA news agency.
“But it’s realistic that we fight for the top four. That’s the goal. To finish in the top four is very important for us.”
Sean Dyche is the Premier League’s longest-serving manager and has been widely praised for keeping Burnley in the English top flight on a shoestring budget.
But their sixth straight season in the Premier League could be their last for now unless something drastically changes.
The north-west side, who travel to Brighton on Saturday, are anchored at the bottom of the table, seven points from safety after Newcastle’s run of good results.
If Burnley won their games in hand they would be back in the mix, but a solitary league win all season shows the scale of their task.
An American-backed takeover just over a year ago has so far failed to give Dyche a more competitive budget to work with.
And despite recent encouraging performances against Manchester United and Liverpool, Burnley, who lost striker Chris Wood in the transfer window, are set to drop.
Fixtures (1500 GMT unless otherwise stated)
Saturday
West Ham v Newcastle (1230), Arsenal v Brentford, Aston Villa v Watford, Brighton v Burnley, Crystal Palace v Chelsea, Liverpool v Norwich, Southampton v Everton, Manchester City v Tottenham (1730)
Sunday
Leeds v Manchester United (1400), Wolves v Leicester (1630)
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