Saints seek Red Devils revenge as Hodgson hunts Hornets win – 5 talking points

Fresh from an exciting midweek round, we look at five of the main talking points in gameweek 25.

Pa Sport Staff
Friday 11 February 2022 13:01
Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl and Watford boss Roy Hodgson
Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl and Watford boss Roy Hodgson

There is a full weekend of Premier League action to look forward to for the first time in three weeks.

Fresh from an exciting midweek round, the PA news agency looks at five of the main talking points in gameweek 25.

Will Saints exact revenge against stuttering United?

Southampton endured a torrid night at Old Trafford last February (Laurence Griffiths/PA)

This time last year Southampton were reeling from their latest 9-0 defeat as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side ran amok at an empty Old Trafford. Saints felt hard done by some decision-making as they were reduced to nine men and they return to Manchester United’s home for the first time since then with a spring in their step. Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men are in fine form and secured a thrilling 3-2 victory at Tottenham on Wednesday evening. United, by contrast, limped to a 1-1 draw at rock-bottom Burnley the previous night and now desperately need to give their top-four hopes a shot in the arm. Ralf Rangnick will also be hoping to get one over his former RB Leipzig colleague.

Hodgson hunts first Watford win

Having fired Xisco Munoz in September and given Claudio Ranieri the bullet in January, the Hornets have put their trust in experienced Roy Hodgson to lead them to safety. The 74-year-old’s reign began with a hard-fought 0-0 draw in dreadful conditions at Burnley and Jarrod Bowen’s goal was the only difference in the midweek trip to West Ham. Now comes Hodgson’s first home match as Watford attempt to kick-start their survival hopes. Brighton have stuttered a little lately but highly regarded manager Graham Potter is sure to make life difficult for the hosts, who have yet to score under former England boss Hodgson.

Lampard looks for first league win as Everton boss

Frank Lampard is looking for his first Premier League win as Everton boss (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Frank Lampard kicked off his time in the Goodison Park dugout with an impressive 4-1 win against Brentford in the FA Cup fourth round, but Tuesday’s 3-1 loss at Newcastle brought Everton back down to earth with a bump. The Toffees are just two points off the relegation zone – albeit with two games in hand on Norwich in 18th – and desperately in need of an upturn in fortunes. Deadline-day arrivals Dele Alli and Donny Van De Beek are pushing to make their first starts as 15th-placed Leeds head to the side directly below them in the table. Marcelo Bielsa’s side have history with Lampard from his Derby days and will be looking to get what could be a big win in the relegation battle.

Any shock in the top v bottom encounters?

Saturday’s fixtures round off at Carrow Road, where Norwich face the unenviable task of halting reigning champions Manchester City’s relentless run to another Premier League title. Southampton are the only side to stop them taking all three points since Crystal Palace won at the Etihad Stadium in late October. Few expect that unbeaten run to end on Saturday evening, just as you would have to be brave to bet against Liverpool winning at Burnley on Sunday. Jurgen Klopp’s men need to keep clocking up victories in the hope City stumble and Sean Dyche’s men face a tough ask to follow three straight league draws with a Turf Moor triumph.

Can West Ham keep up top-four fight at Foxes?

West Ham’s handling of the Kurt Zouma situation is in the spotlight (Adam Davy/PA)

David Moyes would have been elated if he had been told West Ham would be fourth in the Premier League come mid-February, even if those below them have games in hand. Tuesday’s 1-0 home win against Watford moved them onto 40 points but it has been quite the week for the east London club. Having narrowly avoided the mother of all FA Cup exits at non-league Kidderminster, this week has been dominated by defender Kurt Zouma abusing his cat and the club’s subsequent handling of the situation. The France international surprisingly started against Watford and will still be in the eye of the storm on Sunday afternoon at Leicester. The FA Cup holders were knocked out by Nottingham Forest last weekend and are in poor Premier League form, with Thursday’s 2-0 loss at Liverpool leaving Brendan Rodgers’ men in 12th position.

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