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English Premier League

Goal-shy Chelsea eye Spurs win as Man. City seek consistency

Graham Potter takes struggling Chelsea to the happy hunting ground of Tottenham on Sunday desperate for a Premier League win as Manchester City seek to turn domination into goals.

Leaders Arsenal face a tricky trip to Leicester, while Liverpool are looking to bounce back from a 5-2 humbling at the hands of Real Madrid when they travel to Crystal Palace.

Third-placed Manchester United are not in action as they face Newcastle United in Sunday’s League Cup final at Wembley.

AFP Sport looks at some of the key talking points ahead of the weekend’s action in the English top flight.

Potter under pressure

Potter is under mounting pressure to produce results with his expensively assembled Chelsea squad but will take heart from the club’s impressive record against London rivals Tottenham.

Chelsea are aiming to extend their unbeaten Premier League run against Spurs to nine games and for a fourth straight away win in league fixtures between the clubs.

Antonio Conte’s Spurs are fourth in the table, 11 points clear of Chelsea, who have won just two of their past 14 matches in all competitions. 

Despite their heavy outlay in January, the Blues look desperately short of firepower — scoring only one goal in their past five matches.

Reports suggest the Stamford Bridge hierarchy are prepared to give former Brighton boss Potter time despite the miserable run and the manager himself called for patience towards his new signings after last week’s home defeat by bottom club Southampton.

But defeat at Tottenham would inevitably heap more pressure on the Englishman with sections of the Chelsea support already calling for him to be sacked.

Inconsistent City

City’s four Premier League titles in the past five seasons have been built on putting together a long streak of victories at some point of the campaign.

However, the defending champions are still waiting to hit top form this season.

Pep Guardiola’s men appeared to have turned the tide in the title race when they beat Arsenal at the Emirates earlier this month to move to the top of the table.

But they conceded a late goal last week to draw 1-1 against Nottingham Forest after dominating the game, with Chris Wood punishing their profligacy.

It was a similar story at RB Leipzig in the Champions League in midweek as City failed to make a dominant first half count before the Germans hit back after the break to level the first leg of their last-16 tie.

“It was a brilliant performance, we played really good but we didn’t score,” said Guardiola after dropping points at Forest. “We have to score.”

Arsenal are two points ahead of City at the top of the table, but also have a game in hand.

The Gunners ended a four-game winless run by coming from behind to beat Aston Villa 4-2 last weekend.

But Leicester’s 4-1 thrashing of Tottenham in their last home game serves as a warning of the threat posed by the Foxes.

Relegation dog-fight

Just eight points separate the bottom nine teams in the Premier League, setting up an intense battle for survival.

Four of those sides play each other this weekend, including Leeds and Southampton, who occupy the bottom two spots.

Leeds will be hoping for a bounce after naming former Watford boss Javi Gracia as their new manager.

Bournemouth, just outside the relegation places, face the daunting task of hosting City, while struggling West Ham host Nottingham Forest.

Sean Dyche is looking for a third straight home win as Everton try to inch towards safety at home to Villa.

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