Mon, 18 Jan 2021

LONDON, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- Fans will be allowed back in some stadiums in the Premier League this weekend for the first time since March to enjoy another vital round of matches in this intense non-stop season.

It seems ironic that the first time up to 4,000 supporters will be allowed into grounds (depending on the level of coronavirus restrictions each team's respective region is in) coincides with the postponement of Friday's game between Aston Villa and Newcastle United, due to an outbreak of coronavirus among the Newcastle squad and staff.

This is the first game to be postponed due to COVID-19 since play was halted between March and June in the first wave of the virus.

The weekend now opens with relegation threatened Burnley, who should see goalkeeper Nick Pope return, entertaining Everton, whose form has been highly irregular in recent games and who will be without Lucas Digne for a long spell with an ankle injury.

Manchester City put five goals past Burnley a week ago and will expect a comfortable win at home to Fulham on Saturday afternoon. Fulham pulled off a shock at Leicester by playing a defensive 5-4-1 formation and coach Scott Parker will try and repeat that in the Ethiad Stadium.

Former Manchester United coach David Moyes has taken West Ham United to fifth in the table and now has the chance to ends his former club's impressive away record of eight consecutive wins.

Manchester United travel after a Champions League defeat at home to Paris Saint Germain left them with work to do next week to reach the knockout stage of the competition and with Marcos Rashford struggling with a shoulder injury that could see him rested as a precaution.

Chelsea and Leeds United coaches Frank Lampard and Marcelo Bielsa resume the rivalry from two seasons ago when Leeds were caught spying on Lampard's Derby County side and there is apparently no love lost between the pair.

Chelsea rotated nearly all of their team in Wednesday's 4-0 win away to Sevilla and Lampard's big decision will be whether to keep Olivier Giroud in his side after the veteran scored all four goals in the Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.

The north London derby between league leaders Tottenham and Arsenal is Sunday's biggest game as Jose Mourinho's side look to worsen Arsenal's record of just one win, a draw and four defeats in the Premier League.

Thomas Partey is a doubt for Arsenal, as is David Luiz after his clash of heads with Wolves' Raul Jimenez a week ago, meanwhile Harry Kane and Sergio Reguilon are doubts for Tottenham after missing out in the Europa League on Thursday due to undisclosed injuries.

Liverpool forward Diogo Jota has scored nine goals since joining from Wolves this summer and the Portuguese faces his former club this weekend in another key game.

Goalkeeper Alisson Becker is the latest to be added to Liverpool's long injury list and Caoimhin Kelleher is likely to stand in as he did against Ajax in midweek, meanwhile Raul Jimenez's head injury should give a chance to Wolves' young striker Fabio Silva.

Sunday also sees West Brom aiming to build on last week's first win of the season (against Sheffield United) when they entertain Crystal Palace, while Sheffield's search for that elusive first triumph continues at home to Leicester City.

The round of games ends on Monday with a south coast derby between Brighton and Southampton.

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