Premier League: What you need to know for this weekend


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Tottenham will be taking on Manchester City on Saturday, and the young Spurs are making a name for themselves as they chase Chelsea.

The Premier League season continues this weekend with Matchday 22,

 and Sportsnet will have live coverage of five games:

Saturday, January 21
• Liverpool vs. Swansea City, 7:00 a.m. ET / 4:00 a.m. PT (Sportsnet World)
• Middlesbrough vs. West Ham United, 9:30 a.m. ET / 6:30 a.m. PT (Sportsnet East, Ontario, West and Pacific)
• Manchester City vs. Tottenham, noon ET / 9:00 a.m. PT (Sportsnet East, Ontario, West and Pacific)

Sunday, January 22
• Southampton vs. Leicester City, 7:00 a.m. ET / 4:00 a.m. PT (Sportsnet World)
• Chelsea vs. Hull City, 11:00 a.m. ET / 8:00 a.m. PT (Sportsnet World)

You can also follow all of the Premier League action this weekend online with SPORTSNET’S LIVE MATCH TRACKER.


Here's what you need to know ahead of this weekend…

THE BIG GAME
Manchester City vs. Tottenham: This is a contest with big implications for both sides. Spurs are tied for second place with Liverpool, who play the early match on Saturday, so they’ll be looking to keep pace with the Reds and try to close in on leaders Chelsea, who sit on a seven-point lead and host Hull City on Sunday.

Manchester City sits in fifth place, two points behind Arsenal, so they desperately need a win in order to stay in the thick of the top-four race.

City have won five of their last six home Premier League matches vs. Tottenham, but Spurs is the hottest team in the Premier League at the moment, having won their last six consecutive games. The London club have also won their last three league matches against City.

Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho is suspended, while Tottenham will be without defender Jan Vertonghen and midfielder Erik Lamela due to injuries.


PLAYER TO WATCH
Gabriel Jesus: The 19-year-old Brazilian forward has been given clearance to play for Manchester City and will be eligible for the match vs. Tottenham. Jesus joined City in a reported £27 million deal from Palmeiras in the summer, but he remained with the Sao Paulo club on loan. He’s been training with City since early January, and he could make his Premier League debut on Saturday.

COSTA AVAILABLE FOR SELECTION
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte revealed this week that striker Diego Costa will be available for the Blues’ home match against Hull City on Sunday.

Costa, the team’s top scorer with 14 goals this season, missed last weekend’s win at Leicester City with an apparent back injury amid reports of a dispute with Chelsea over being linked with a move to China.

Conte said Costa "restarted having training sessions on Tuesday with the rest of the team. I think the player wants to stay at Chelsea. He’s very happy to play with us. This idea (to move) is far from his mind."

DEPAY LEAVES UNITED, MOVES TO LYON
Memphis Depay this week completed his transfer move from Manchester United to Lyon, joining the French club on a 4 1/2-year contract.

Depay, 22, had a largely unsuccessful spell in England since joining United from PSV Eindhoven in June 2015. The Dutch forward leaves the Red Devils having scored just two goals in 33 league appearances.

Manchester United visits Stoke City on Saturday.

EVERTON’S DEULOFEU ON HIS WAY OUT
Gerard Deulofeu has left Everton and signed a loan deal with AC Milan that will keep him at the Serie A club until the end of the season.

Deulofeu, 22, has fallen down the Toffees' depth chart since manager Ronald Koeman took charge, making just 13 appearances in all competitions this season. The Spanish winger has been linked with AC Milan.

Everton visits Crystal Palace on Saturday.


JAMES SHARMAN’S THOUGHTS
Ahead of every weekend this season, Sportsnet commentator James Sharman will give his three thoughts on what’s going on in the Premier League. These might not always be the biggest stories, but rather his personal observations as the games approach each Saturday.

Here’s an excerpt from this week’s blog…

Can we all agree there is no loyalty in soccer? No longer should we feign disgust and anger when a player decides that he wants to break a contract before it ends. The player is just as likely to be sold by the club regardless of his contractual status—this is simply the way the game works.

However, we do have a right to feel aggrieved when a player not only demands a move, but then refuses to play. Sadly, Dimitri Payet has shown himself as one of the game’s bottom feeders, a child who lacks the maturity to objectively assess his situation


THE BIG QUESTION
After setting the pace with six consecutive wins to open the Premier League season, Manchester City have faltered a bit as they’ve dropped to fifth in the table ahead of this weekend.

All of which leads us to ask “The Big Question”…

What’s the blame for Manchester City’s struggles this season?

Sportsnet wants to know what you think, so have your say by voting in the poll. Then tune in to Sportsnet's Premier League coverage this weekend as soccer commentators James Sharman, Craig Forrest and Danny Dichio debate "The Big Question."




HE SAID IT
"The danger (is) that the Chinese offers become the benchmark for Europe. You cannot compete with that, but I still think that, when you’re a footballer, the first thing is that you want to play against the best players in the best teams." – Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger on how the big money on offer in the Chinese league can complicate contract negotiations.

Source: JOHN MOLINARO  - Sport Net
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