Two of the Premier League's most storied rivalries will resume on Sunday as Liverpool will travel to Manchester to take on Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur will host neighbours Arsenal in the north London derby.
Both fixtures could have major implications on the league table, as Liverpool and Arsenal are chasing the EPL title and their opponents are fighting to position themselves for European football next year.
With the amount of history and bad blood between these clubs, spoiling a title bid would be a high point in otherwise disappointing seasons for both Spurs and the Red Devils.
Tottenham vs. Arsenal
According to My Football Facts, Arsenal lead the head-to-head battle, having won 103 out of a possible 253 games, with 59 games ending in a draw and one more tie being abandoned due to an air raid.
The Gunners are currently sitting in third place on the EPL table, holding a six-point lead over fifth-placed Tottenham with a game in hand.
As reported by Eurosport, Arsenal will be without Mesut Ozil for this key tie:
The German midfielder is a vital cog in Arsene Wenger's squad, providing team-mates with a reliable passing outlet and injecting creativity into a midfield that will also be without Welsh international Aaron Ramsey, according to Goal.com:
The Evening Standard's James Olley writes Wenger is looking into what might cause the high frequency of injuries at the club and quotes the French manager:
I am concerned that it happens. If you look at our overall injury list going into such a decisive part of the season, we have no Wilshere, Walcott, Ozil, Ramsey. We went to Bayern with no Gibbs or [Nacho] Monreal. Of course it is a concern, we are analysing very deeply why it happened to see if there is a link between these injuries.
For some, for example Walcott, it is completely bad luck. Wilshere, I don’t think it is linked with the other injuries, it is linked more with his history and the kick he got. The rest maybe we have to find out why it happened. We will analyse everything.
The Gunners have picked up four points out of their last three matches and need a win over Tottenham to keep pace with league-leaders Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool.
Tottenham have lost two of their last three matches and are coming off a brutal 4-0 loss to Chelsea, and Tim Sherwood is in dire need of a good result against hated rivals Arsenal if he wants any chance at coaching the club next season.
The Independent's Sam Wallace reports Wenger thinks his Tottenham colleague should be given a fair chance:
As shared by Go Spurs, one of the club's fan accounts, Younes Kaboul will be available for selection as his suspension was overturned by the FA. Injury concerns may still keep the experienced centre-back out of the starting line-up, however.
The last time these two rivals met in league play, Arsenal emerged victorious at the Emirates by a final score of 2-0.
Manchester United vs. Liverpool
The derby between England's two most successful clubs of all time may have lost some of its glamour in recent years, but it has lost little of its intensity.
Liverpool have had a difficult few years in the EPL but are right in the middle of a title chase, thanks to a well-balanced squad that scores goals at a very consistent rate.
According to WhoScored.com, the club hasn't been held scoreless since a 2-0 loss at the hands of Arsenal in November. Led by Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, the Reds boast arguably the league's deadliest strike force.
As shared by EPL Stuff, the duo are on pace to set a new EPL record for goals scored:
The season has been a disappointment for United with the team currently sitting in sixth place, down 11 points to Liverpool. David Moyes will face Greek champions Olympiacos in the UCL next week, and these next two ties could decide the manager's fate at Old Trafford.
According to Stuart Mathieson of the Manchester Evening News, Moyes agrees:
People could change their views. But I can only take one game at a time
I don’t know if you will find out a great deal more in these matches from what we’ve been. You know what we are. We are a work in progress. We are looking to make changes in time. But I hope we can show what we are capable of.
We are capable of winning these games. The players have shown it to me recently
Both teams should be able to field strong squads, with no major injuries to any of the expected starters.
United beat Liverpool the last time these two teams met back in September thanks to a single goal from Javier Hernandez.
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